Daily news - 29th October 2020

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UK news

Synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists

This report provides an updated harms assessment to the ACMD's previous reports on synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists | ACMD, UK

Crime in England and Wales: Quarterly data tables

Downloadable Excel spreadsheet including drug trafficking and possession offences. [Revels a rise in recorded drug offences during lockdown] | ONS, UK

Metropolitan Police records 43 per cent rise in drug offences during lockdown

The Office for National Statistics said police in London recorded a 43 per cent rise in drug offences between April and June as officers nationwide stepped up “proactive police activity in crime hotspots” | Evening Standard, UK

'Ketamine is big here': why Bristol University is testing drugs for its students

Universities are waking up to the idea that it’s better to tackle student drug-taking through information, not punishment | Guardian, UK

ASSIST-Lite screening tool: how to use

Guidance for health and social care professionals on using the ASSIST-Lite tool to identify substance use and provide appropriate intervention. Updated: Added link to 'Alcohol structured advice tool' in all 3 attachments | PHE, UK

New £1.1m study to assess impact of bar/club opening hours on emergency services

A new £1.1 million study led by the University of Stirling is seeking to understand recent changes in opening hours for bars and nightclubs, and how these changes impact on health, crime levels, and emergency services in Scotland | University of Stirling, UK

‘Monkey Dust’ and the Anatomy of a Tabloid Drug Scare Story

A damning new study examines the British media’s response to monkey dust, a drug that supposedly turned users into “zombies” with "superhuman" strength | VICE, UK

Covid rules: Confusion as social clubs serve alcohol in tier 3 areas

An apparent loophole in government rules has caused confusion over whether social clubs are subject to tier three Covid restrictions on serving alcohol | BBC, UK

Covid-19: Nottinghamshire tier 3 to feature 9pm alcohol rule

Nottinghamshire's auction houses, car boot sales, betting shops, saunas and tattoo parlours must close, the government has announced | BBC, UK

'Overdose reverse' kits will be given to drug users in Inverclyde

Greenock ambulance station has joined the Scottish Ambulance Service in its take-home Naloxone pilot scheme which was originally rolled out in Glasgow | Greenock Telegraph, UK

'I needed to fix myself for my kids': breaking the cycle of domestic abuse

Families with complicated lives are being helped by a project that supports both parents during their child’s first two years | Guardian, UK

Treating alcoholism with MDMA - event

Thu, 29 October 2020. 15:00 – 16:00 GMT. Dr Ben Sessa will reveal the results from his latest research MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in patients with alcohol use disorder | Drug Science, UK


International news

The Global State of Harm Reduction 2020

The Global State of Harm Reduction is the only report that provides an independent analysis of harm reduction in the world. Now in its the seventh edition, the Global State of Harm Reduction 2020 is the most comprehensive global mapping of harm reduction responses to drug use, HIV and viral hepatitis | HRI, UK

Burning Issues: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2020 - online launch 4/11/20 

On 4/11/20 from 10am GMT, come to the online launch of Burning Issues: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2020, the second in the landmark GSTHR series documenting the development of THR and responses to safer nicotine products around the world. Key members of the GSTHR team including Harry Shapiro and Professor Gerry Stimson will explore the report’s findings, alongside guests including Professor David Nutt, Clive Bates, Fiona Patten and Samrat Chowdhery. Registration (free) and full programme | GSTHR, UK

A large-scale genome-wide association study meta-analysis of cannabis use disorder

Variation in liability to cannabis use disorder has a strong genetic component (estimated twin and family heritability about 50–70%) and is associated with negative outcomes, including increased risk of psychopathology. The aim of the study was to conduct a large genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify novel genetic variants associated with cannabis use disorder | Lancet, UK

Activists push to keep medical cannabis high on agenda

Brussels saw new lobby groups pop up; France planned to launch a new medical cannabis program for 3,000 patients; and Luxembourg was going to unveil a plan to make recreational cannabis legal | Politico, UK

European harm reduction sessions

In replacement of the 5th European Harm Reduction Conference, we organize a day of major sessions | Correlation European Harm Reduction Network Office, The Netherlands

Position Paper of the Fair Trade Cannabis Working Group in the Caribbean

The Fair(er) Trade Cannabis Working Group arose from the Fair(er) Trade for Small Traditional Farmers workshop, which was held in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines from 7th to 11th November 2019 | TNI, The Netherlands

Study examines the long-term health effects of vaping, e-cigarettes on children

Adolescent use of e-cigarettes and vaping products is at epidemic proportions, yet the adverse health effects are understudied, with almost no data on younger patients. The problem is sizable as children start vaping at a younger and younger age | News Medical, USA

Study shows multidisciplinary approach successful in curbing opioid use

A new study by University of Kentucky College of Medicine researchers outlines a medication plan that may be a key to treating those suffering from opioid use disorder | Medical Xpress, USA

Teen boys more likely to associate marijuana use with improving sexual activity

Teen-age boys exposed to pro-cannabis advertising and social media posts are more likely than female peers to associate marijuana use with improving sexual activity, new research from Washington State University suggests | News Medical, USA

Five states are set to vote on marijuana legalization. Here's everything you need to know

Voters in New Jersey, Arizona, South Dakota, and Montana are set to weigh in on legalizing cannabis for all adults over the age of 21. South Dakota also has a medical-cannabis measure on the ballot. Mississippi voters will weigh in on a medical-marijuana program | Business Insider, USA

My Daughter’s Birth Exposed the Medical Community’s Anti-Drug Stigma

In January, a few weeks after my 49th birthday, my partner, Carolyn, gave me a most unexpected gift. She emerged one day from the bathroom with an immunoassay test cartridge, which immediately made me think of the fentanyl test strips I had spent two years dipping into bags of street heroin and cocaine | Filter Magazine, USA

A new push for supervised drug use spaces emerges in Seattle budget talks

After a stalled push to set up a site where residents can safely use drugs in Seattle, advocates and some City Council members want to move forward with a new approach in 2021 budget talks | Seattle Times, USA

'Business as usual': Sydney cocaine use bounces back after COVID-19 dip

Sydney's cocaine consumption took a hit when the initial COVID-19 lockdown was imposed earlier this year, but use of the prohibited party drug quickly recovered | SMH, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

The EU is in danger of throwing out its balanced strategy on drugs

[Seems to be outside paywall at the moment] A plan to shift the focus of policy to security, criminalisation and enforcement is a mistake | FT, UK

Removing the structural barriers to addiction recovery

Addiction, like many other health related problems, presents in different guises. The paths to addiction are complex – a myriad of overlapping social, emotional and physiological issues. In contrast, the stereotypes relating to addiction are simplistic | Action on Addicton, UK

What do we know about drug crime?

Work with Offenders looks at a new House of Commons briefing | Work with Offenders blog, 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

Well done on your sober October, but you’ll need a plan to remember for November

After a month without booze, you may be keen to cut down your drinking for good. But how? | Guardian, UK

Cigarette smoke can reprogram cells in your airways, causing COPD to hang on after smoking ends

Smoking is the most common cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, an often fatal respiratory condition that afflicts millions of Americans. But for many patients living with COPD, stopping smoking isn’t the end of the battle | Conversation, USA