Daily news - 26th October 2020

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Reminder: All COVID-19 PPE now available free of charge via portal

Drug and alcohol services are reminded that they can now use the Government's PPE portal to obtain all the COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) they need, free of charge. The contact details of services registered with NDTMS or CQC have been provided to the PPE portal, and service managers informed by their regional NDTMS team. However, not all services have registered on the portal – PHE encourages services to register on the portal to start benefiting from the offer of free PPE. Note: only email addresses provided to the portal by NDTMS/CQC are valid for registration. Contact your regional NDTMS team if you have not yet received an invitation email or if you need to register. Access the portal: https://nhs-ppe.co.uk


UK news

Operator of Glasgow safe drug-use van charged over service

Peter Krykant, whose work has won MPs’ praise, cautioned under Misuse of Drugs Act | Guardian, UK

Police Scotland statement on mobile drug consumption van operating in Glasgow

Police Scotland has released an updated statement after reports and commentary wrongly stated a man had been arrested in relation to a mobile drug consumption van which operates in Glasgow | Police Scotland, UK

NHS inpatient detox units face closure without urgent funding reform

The five remaining NHS inpatient detox units (IPUs) in England could permanently close without urgent changes to the way they are funded, a group representing NHS addiction service providers has warned | NHS Addictions Provider Alliance (NHS APA)

Legal loophole allows children to get free vape samples

Health campaigners have expressed alarm after it emerged that a loophole in the law means it is legal for marketing companies to hand out vapes to children for free | Guardian, UK

Managing older people’s perceptions of alcohol-related risk: a qualitative exploration in Northern English primary care

[Open access]  Later life is a time when older people may be open to making changes to their alcohol use, particularly when suggested by practitioners. Older people can struggle to recognise potential risks or perceive little gain in acting on perceived risks. Such perceptions may be challenging to navigate in supportive discussions | BJGP, UK

Cannabis compound blocks pain pathway

Advocates of cannabis have long cited the drug’s benefits in pain management. Now, new research from Imperial could help to explain these effects, by showing how one of the key active compounds, cannabidiol (CBD), acts on nerve cells | Imperial College, UK

Quantile regression of tobacco tax pass-through in the UK 2013–2019. How have manufacturers passed through tax changes for different tobacco products?

[Open access] This study uses retail sales data to assess the extent to which recent tax changes have been passed on to smokers and whether this varies across the price distribution | BMJ, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Minimum Prices

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of introducing a minimum price for alcohol | They work for you, UK

‘Wine o’clock came earlier every day’ - Fears over alcohol epidemic in Sheffield after problem drinking soars in lockdown

Fears are growing that the coronavirus crisis is leading to an epidemic of problem drinking after one Sheffield alcohol clinic reported the numbers of people using their service had tripled during lockdown | The Star, UK

Bristol SU sets up new drug harm reduction campaign

Bristol University SU, in collaboration with Bristol Drugs Project, has launched a harm reduction campaign around drug use for the first time in its history. The campaign, named ‘All About Drugs’, will begin with activities across a three day period from 28-30 October | Epigram, UK

Blackpool is hopeful its new approach to drugs deaths and support plan will pay off

The town has had a higher rate of deaths related to drug misuse than any other local authority in England and Wales since 2009 | i news, UK

Edinburgh service for people with alcohol-related brain damage given mental health award

A residential facility in Edinburgh for people with Alcohol Related Brain Damage (ARBD) has been given a mental health award | The Scotsman, UK

Anne-Marie Leah Betts anniversary - video

It's been 25 years since Leah Betts died from an ecstasy overdose and 7 years since Anne-Marie's only daughter Martha died from the same cause | Transform Drug Policy Foundation, UK

Duty Free Allowances

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to support duty free stores prepare for the changes to duty free shopping from 1 January 2021 | They work for you, UK

Axe-throwing venue gets booze licence - despite concerns 'axes and alcohol would not make good bedfellows'

Whistle Punks said the licence will raise more money and support the 'longevity of the business' | Manchester Evening News, UK

Study Title: Understanding risky drinking and abstinence in UK police: an interview study - survey

The purpose of this study is to develop our understanding of UK police employees’ own personal experiences of risky drinking or abstaining from alcohol. We are not interested in police employees’ experiences of drinking whilst working. The study will first involve a short screening questionnaire to see if you are eligible to participate in the interview. If you are eligible to participate, the researcher will contact you to arrange a time and date for the interview | Liverpool University, UK

Freshwater Five: radar casts doubt on guilty verdict for £53m cocaine haul

Lawyer appealing for release of fishermen says evidence shows their boat was in wrong place for drugs transfer off Isle of White | Guardian, UK

John Gilligan arrested in Spain during drug raid

Mr Gilligan was arrested as part of an investigation into a gang suspected of sending marijuana and prescription drugs from Spain to Ireland and the UK | BBC, UK

Two Bristol men charged after £400k worth of cocaine found inside box of protein powder

Two men from Bristol have been charged with conspiracy to import class A drugs after £400,000 worth of cocaine was found hidden inside boxes of whey protein powder | ITV, UK



International news

Introduction of standardised packaging and availability of illicit cigarettes: a difference-in-difference analysis of European Union survey data 2015–2018

[Open access] Standardised packaging of tobacco products is intended to reduce the appeal of smoking, but the tobacco industry claims this increases illicit trade. We examined the percentage of people reporting being offered illicit cigarettes before and after full implementation of standardised packaging in the UK, Ireland and France and compared this to other European Union countries | BMJ, UK

Measuring Illicit Trade in Tobacco in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

9 open access articles | BMJ Tobacco Control, UK

Countering the environmental effects of public injecting

Did Florida’s first needle exchange programme result in fewer items of used injecting equipment being left in public places? The answer comes from a walkthrough of Miami neighbourhoods and interviews with people who inject drugs before and after the programme opened its doors | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

British ex-chief executive of opioid addict treatment group Indivior, Shaun Thaxter, jailed in US for six months

Dramatic fall from grace comes four months after high-flier quit as chief executive with £2.3 million payoff | Evening Standard, UK

Police in Japan arrest British man suspected of importing gummy sweets laced with ecstasy

[Limited number of free articles per week] Police in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, confirmed on Wednesday that Matthew Owens, 33, is suspected of importing 53 gummy sweets laced with ecstasy | Telegraph, UK

Malaysian man has death sentence quashed as judgment in Singapore makes judicial history

On Monday, judicial history was made in Singapore when the death sentence imposed on Malaysian national, Gobi a/l Avedian, for importing class A drugs was overturned.  He is the first person in known history to have had a death sentence overturned on a review by the Singapore Court of Appeal after exhausting all the usual avenue of appeals | The Death Penalty Project, UK

Timothy Leary Turns 100: America’s LSD Messiah, Remembered By Those Who Knew Him

An oral history of the man who inspired millions to "turn on, tune in, drop out" | VICE, UK

Gardaí and Revenue seize €7m worth of cannabis in Dublin

Three men have been arrested in relation to the seizure of cannabis with an estimated street value of over €7m in Dublin today | Irish Examiner, Ireland

'SOLID-EXCEED October School' Online Seminars 26.10 - 30.10

GPHN are proud to support the SOLID-EXCEED October School, a series of online seminars focusing on social work and harm reduction in different countries. Running from 26-30 October each day you can participate in a different seminar run by specialists from Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, China and Kazakhstan | SOLID, Germany

Pandemic’s deadly side effect: Global rise in bootleg alcohol poisonings

With a tanking economy and public health woes, Turkey sees a major uptick in the ingestion of methyl alcohol, which can cause severe injury or death | The World, USA

Positive Tests for Fentanyl, Heroin, Opioids Climb During Pandemic

Rates of positive tests for heroin, non-prescribed fentanyl and non-prescribed opioids each saw significant increases during the first two months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published by Quest Diagnostics | Addiction Professional, UK

Uncovering genetic roots of marijuana use disorder

A large study exploring possible genetic influences on cannabis use disorder has identified two regions in our DNA—one newly identified and a second that replicates a past finding—that appear to contribute to one's risk of becoming dependent on marijuana | Medical Xpress, USA

As opioid crisis marches on, the subject of drug addiction is barely a blip in the presidential election

Like millions of Americans, Diane Urban watched the first presidential debate last month at home with her family. When it was over, she turned off the television and climbed into the bed her 25-year-old son Jordan used to sleep in | Chicago Tribune, USA

Inside the CDC Data That Confirm the Pandemic Is Driving Up Overdose Deaths

For months, media outlets including Filter have reported on a collage of anecdotal and local alerts from around the country that drug overdose deaths have been spiking since the COVID-19 pandemic began. On October 14, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finally confirmed this development on a national scale with the release of preliminary data | Filter Magazine, USA

The Western Cape wants minimum booze prices. Those worked elsewhere – after big legal fights

The consideration of a minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol in the Western Cape should be "fast-tracked as an urgent priority", that province's premier Alan Winde has told the provincial legislature | Business Insider, South Africa

‘Blood in the water’: Why the next 12 months is critical for vaping regulation

GPs are likely to be gatekeepers for access to nicotine-containing e-cigarettes. What is the evidence for their efficacy and safety – and what commercial interests are in play? | RACGP, Australia

Embedding research into Aboriginal drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation in NSW

This seminar will examine the research that the Aboriginal drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation services in NSW have undertaken in collaboration with NDARC.  Specifically, it will identify the overall process that is guiding the program of research and highlight the key outputs at each stage in the process | NDARC, Australia

Sydney news: Police seize $40m of cannabis, one of the largest hauls in Australian history

Police raided three properties in Minimbah, Melinga and Moorwood, seizing 13,353 cannabis plants | abc news, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Prevention must be made a priority

We need to act now to change our unhealthy environment and prevent 14,000 deaths every year from Scotland’s biggest killers | Alliance, UK

Why MPs like Ben Bradley are failing tremendously at deflecting from the Conservatives’ record on child poverty

For a government that claims to be guided by the science, a cursory glance at the evidence would show that overall use of drugs is in decline in these communities | Independent voices, UK

Alex’s story: as someone with former problematic cocaine use, I think the drug should be legally regulated

My name is Alex Wolfe-Warman and I used cocaine from the age of 21 to the age of 42 | Anyone's Child blog, UK

Alcohol in the pandemic: the perfect storm

Are people drinking more or less in the UK since the pandemic started? The answer is ‘both’. While overall sales of alcohol are down (sales receipts from HMRC show a 2.4% drop Apr-July 2020), it looks like those who were drinking in the most hazardous fashion previously, are now drinking more | Recovery Review blog, UK

Alcohol-free drinks that'll make you happy not to drink

A host of really delicious no-lo alcohol products are now available online, but the good stuff isn’t cheap | Guardian, UK

Tim Dowling: ‘By week three of not drinking, I imagined I’d be in a better mood’

I always think I’m going to feel amazing. It’s just a reminder of all the non-alcohol-related things that are wrong with me | Guardian, UK