Daily news - 28th October 2020

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UK news

Drug-related hospital statistics

Between 1996/97 and 2018/19, there was a greater than threefold increase in the rate of drug-related hospital stays in Scotland from 73 to 260 stays per 100,000 population | ISD Scotland, UK

Record number of Scots admitted to psychiatric wards for problems caused by drugs

The latest figures show steady increases in admissions among adults aged between 35 and 54 in particular, with more than half of all admissions linked to use of multiple drugs or substances such as hallucinogens, solvents or psychoactive drugs including ecstasy | Herald, UK

A cluster feasibility trial to explore the uptake and use of e-cigarettes versus usual care offered to smokers attending homeless centres in Great Britain

Smoking rates in the UK are at an all-time low but this masks considerable inequalities; prevalence amongst adults who are homeless remains four times higher than the national average. The objective of this trial was to assess the feasibility of supplying free e-cigarette starter kits to smokers accessing homeless centres and to estimate parameters to inform a possible future larger trial | PLOS One, UK

From Bench to Bedside: Where is preclinical cannabinoid research taking us?

Mapping over the last 30 years has shown that the endocannabinoid system is far more complex and intricate than we could have imagined; it even exists in primitive organisms such as protists | CMC, UK

SDF and Terrence Higgins Trust launch training course for frontline staff on chemsex in Scotland

The free course, co-facilitated by Scottish Drugs Forum and Terrence Higgins Trust, aims to improve the knowledge of those who work with people who may engage in chemsex, particularly those who work in sexual health, drug, LGBTQ+ and mental health services. Select a date to register a place: 16th of November / 14th of December 2020 | SDF, UK

Webinar and film launch – Engaging with policymakers and the public to promote ethical drug policy

After the launch of the short film – Putting UK drug policy into focus, which explores the problems with UK drug policy as an example of a criminal justice focused approach to drugs, we will hear from a panel with a wealth of experience working with national and international policymakers and directly with the public | University of Bristol, UK

Why do students take drugs? - event

Tue, November 3, 2020. 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM GMT. This is an interactive conversation with Ivan Ezquerra Romano, co-founder of Drugs and Me. From brain to mind, Ivan will explore with us the reasons that influence our psychoactive drug use. We will focus on university life during the pandemic and how the ‘why’ questions can help us stay safe | UCL Neuroscience Society, UK

Repeat heroin offenders could avoid jail if they stay in touch with police

Illegal drug users could avoid being prosecuted for repeat substance offences under a police force’s new plans | Yahoo News, UK

Drug crime: Statistics for England and Wales

This briefing paper looks at drug crime prevalence in England and Wales and the criminal justice outcomes for those found guilty of drug offences. It also covers the impacts of drug misuse | House of Commons Library, UK

Police powers and procedures, England and Wales, year ending 31 March 2020

Statistics on stop and search, arrests for notifiable offences, detentions under the Mental Health Act 1983, fixed penalty notices for motoring offences, breath tests, and other PACE powers | Home Office, UK

Black people nine times more likely to face stop and search than white people

Figures for England and Wales show police use of powers at their highest for six years | Guardian, UK

Drop in breathalyser tests 'means drivers think they can get away with offences'

[Limited number of free articles per week] Breathalyser tests have dropped to the lowest since records began in 2002, with police cuts blamed | Telegraph, UK

County lines drug gangs recruiting children at the school gate, MP claims

[Limited number of free articles per week] Labour Shadow Youth Justice Secretary Peter Kyle has said gangs understand and exploit the 'vulnerability of children' | Telegraph, UK

Covid-19: Scotland to ease pub and restaurant restrictions

Pubs and restaurants in many areas of Scotland will be able to serve alcohol indoors again from next week, the first minister has announced | BBC, UK



International news

Electronic cigarette use among 14- to 17-year-olds in Europe

[Open access] Studies comparing adolescent e-cigarette use in different countries are scarce. We study students’ e-cigarette and conventional cigarette ever-use, their social correlates and e-liquid use in seven EU countries | EJPH, UK

France to Run Pilot Programme to Supply Patients with Free Medicinal Cannabis

Following a short delay, Olivier Véran, the French Minister of Solidarity and Health, has signed a decree to start a pilot programme, which would eventually supply patients with free medicinal cannabis | Canex, UK

Is reflective listening all that’s needed?

Just two alcohol studies tested Carl Rogers’ classic account of the “necessary and sufficient conditions” for effective therapy. Each stripped out motivational interviewing’s directive elements, leaving only ‘Rogerian’ empathic and reflective listening. If Rogers who “doubted every authority including his own” had lived to see the results, he might have felt his doubts only partly justified | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Results of Australian ‘pill testing’ trial

Onsite drug safety testing services have been established in response to drug-related deaths at music festivals. An independent evaluation points to the success of pill testing in Australia, but the relatively narrow scope of the service meant that there were missed opportunities for harm reduction | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

New Zealand counts down to verdicts on cannabis and euthanasia votes

Campaigners for legal changes could be stymied by voter desire for the status quo after a tumultuous year | Guardian, UK

The War on Drugs and Anglo-American Relations, 2001-11 - event

Thu, 12 November 2020. 18:00 – 19:30 GMT. A discussion with Dr Philip Berry on his newest book on the inside story behind counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan, 2001-2011 | School of Security Studies, UK

Cannabis plan for State-owned bogs goes up in smoke

Bord na Móna shelves initiative to use landbank for cultivating medical marijuana | Irish Times, Ireland

Pandemic may be making it harder for pregnant women who use opioids to get effective treatment

Opioid use in pregnancy has prompted new guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics aimed at improving care for women and for newborns affected by their mothers' drug use | CBS News, USA

New study will examine women with opioid-use disorder in criminal justice system

A new five-year, $842,000 grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) will allow Penn State researchers to examine opioid-use disorder among criminal justice-involved (CJI) women | Penn State News, USA

STASH, Vol. 16(11) - “Oh, s***, y’all got Narcan, right?”

The “opioid epidemic” is a problem that many urban communities of color have been experiencing since as early as the 1940s. However, instances of opioid overdoses have increased exponentially since then, with 72,000 overdose deaths in 2017 alone, many of which are thought to have been induced by fentanyl-contaminated heroin | BASIS, USA

Should Psychedelic Therapists Have Psychedelic Experience?

Psychedelics are front and center of a new and rapidly growing medical industry that recognizes their profound healing potential. More and more people are taking psychedelics in clinical settings, with trained therapists guiding them through unpredictable terrain, helping them process and heal their wounds | Synergetic Press, USA

There’s an HIV Cluster Upstate, as Cuomo Starves Harm Reduction Orgs

Harm reductionists’ worst fears are coming to pass. A cluster of new HIV cases has sprouted in an Upstate county, increasingly among people who inject drugs, according to a state-published health advisory obtained by Filter | Filter Magazine, USA

Killer High: Exploring the Phenomenon of LSD-Fuelled Murder

In the past three years there have been at least 11 homicides reportedly involving acid. Why? | VICE, USA

Retailers call for a fair go with the sale of e-cigarettes

Industry associations are calling on the government to allow small businesses who currently sell cigarettes and other nicotine products to be given access to less harmful alternatives such as vaping or e-cigarettes | C-Store, Australia

Drug trafficking outreach worker's sentence halved on appeal

A drug outreach worker who trafficked heroin near Melbourne's first supervised injecting centre has had his jail term cut in half after successfully appealing the one-year sentence imposed by a magistrate | Age, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Not consultation – partnership: lessons from alcohol services’ work with Punjabi communities

In this blog, Professor Sarah Galvani discusses the lessons we can learn from guidance on alcohol services' work with Punjabi communities, published in June this year | Alcohol Change UK, UK

Professor Les Iversen, Tightrope Walker and Unsung Hero of Cannabis Law Reform

As with so many scientists who have had some influence in the political field, Les Iversen had to tread a tightrope between scientific evidence and the ignorance, bigotry, prejudice of those in politics who are far more concerned with tabloid headlines than facts. He must take a huge amount of credit for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis in 2018. He has never received the recognition for this that he is due | Clear, UK