Daily news - 3rd September 2020

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September is recovery month - see more below


UK news

Healthy pregnancy indicators

New indicators for smoking, obesity, early access to maternity services, folic acid supplement use and alcohol and drug misuse in early pregnancy | PHE, UK

Health leaders warn Boris Johnson over axing of Public Health England

More than 70 organisations have written to the prime minister with concerns about the future of health improvement | Guardian, UK

Joint statement to the Government on Public Health Reorganisation (PDF)

As organisations committed to improving health and reducing inequalities, we are deeply concerned that the Government’s plans for the reorganisation of health protection in the UK pay insufficient attention to the vital health improvement and other wider functions of Public Health England (PHE) | Smokefree Action Coalition, UK

Public Health Protection

The NHS Confederation, the British Medical Association, the British Dental Association, NHS Providers, the Royal Society for Public Health and many health charities have expressed real doubts about the Secretary of State’s plans for Public Health England | They work for you, UK

Anti-smoking drive in Scotland linked to asthma cases drop

Fewer under-fives were admitted to hospital in Scotland with asthma-related complaints following a campaign encouraging adults not to smoke in their homes, according to a new study | BBC, UK

SDF statement on reports of a drug consumption facility in Glasgow

Media reports have suggested that a mobile drug consumption facility organised by community activists has begun operating in Glasgow this week | SDF, UK

Naloxone - Fighting against death from overdose

To promote awareness of the power that Naloxone has to save lives in an overdose situation we have put together this series of interviews with people who have direct experience with Naloxone | BDP, UK

Pulse Online: Learning from Lockdown (Webinar)

Thursday, 10 September 2020, 10:00. The Covid-19 epidemic and resulting lockdown has presented substance misuse services in the community with unprecedented challenges, especially in how to maintain clinical prescription services, and support for clients who haven’t been able to see their support workers face-to-face or to participate in groups, and whose experience of lockdown has generated additional support needs... | Forward Trust, UK

Success Stories

Individual recovery stories posted to help mark Recovery Month | Recovery Connections, UK

COVID-19 sector survey

This is the second iteration of this survey asking about the experiences and reflections of services working directly with people experiencing homelessness. It will help us better understand the range of activity that is currently happening to support people experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness. It will also enable us to feed timely information back to local and national governments to ensure the voices and needs of the people you are working with are heard and polices and services are improved to support this | Crisis, UK

Addiction and Dependency - funding opportunity

We support charities with an annual income of £25,000 to £1 million working with people whose lives are significantly affected by their dependency on alcohol, drugs, other substances or gambling, as well as their families. We offer a two year unrestricted grant of £50,000 alongside a Development Partner to help your charity navigate change | Lloyds Bank Foundation, UK


International news

QMJC August 2020: Interaction rituals in an open drug scene

In August 2020, members of Qualitative Methods Journal Club reviewed Grønnestad et al.’s 2020 paper, Interaction rituals in an open drug scene. This ethnographic study examined human interactions and rituals within an open drug scene in a Norwegian city through participant observation as well as interviews (n=11) with people who used drugs (PWUD) who were part of the scene | SSA, UK

Cutting the Flow: Argentina as a Success Case against Drug Trafficking 2016–2019

Three Latin American countries centralise cocaine production in the world: Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia. However, the leading consumer markets are the United States and Europe | JIED, UK

The other public health crisis killing Canadians

Opioid deaths have been rising again in the shadow of the pandemic, notably in the Canadian province of British Columbia, where overdose casualties have reached historic highs. Is enough being done to end this second public health crisis? | BBC, UK

Seven Chief Public Health Officers Call for Drug Decriminalization, But Justin Trudeau Isn’t Budging

VICE News reached out to top health officials across the country and found a surprising level of support for ending the war on drugs | VICE, UK

The Volteface Interview with Helen Clark: UK Kiwis, Enrol and Vote Yes to the Cannabis Bill

There are an estimated 60,000 New Zealanders based in the United Kingdom at this moment in time. The Oceanic nation has a once in a generation opportunity to open up the door to drug policy reform by voting yes in the upcoming cannabis referendum, due to take place on October 17th | Volteface, UK

Prevalence of potentially serious alcohol–medication interactions in older adults in a community pharmacy setting: a cross-sectional study

Previous prevalence estimates of POtentially Serious Alcohol–Medication INteractions in Older adults (POSAMINO) are based on in-home inventories of medications; however, this method is associated with under-reporting of medications when compared with dispensing records. This study aims to estimate the prevalence of POSAMINO among community-dwelling older adults using drug dispensing data from the community pharmacy setting | BMJ Open, Ireland

Why drug dealing and drug use will increase after Covid-19

Analysis: research shows that drug consumption and dealing have previously increased during recessions and economic downturns | RTe, Ireland

Numbers seeking treatment for cocaine abuse likely to increase in the coming years

Countries like Ireland that have seen a sharp rise in treatment for cocaine use in recent years should prepare for further increases, a new study has warned | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Call for expressions of interest. Phase 1 of collection of models of good practice. Joint ECDC/EMCDDA PWID Guidance (2011) update

The joint ECDC & EMCDDA guidance on Prevention and control of infectious diseases among people who inject drugs is currently being updated. In addition to ongoing systematic reviews of peer-reviewed literature, a collection of models of good practice has been initiated by the two agencies, that should add practice-based evidence derived from interventions implemented in real-life, European settings. We are inviting applications to report models of good practice targeting PWID population | ECDC and EMCDDA, Sweden and Portugal

Fight against drugs: Commission initiates ban on new harmful psychoactive substance isotonitazene

The Commission is initiating the process to ban isotonitazene (pictured), a new psychoactive substance, across the European Union. This synthetic opioid can cause severe harm to health and can in some cases lead to death | EU Reporter, Belgium

World Drug Report Survey 2020

The objective of this survey is to maintain the relevance of the World Drug Report by understanding how it is used and the extent to which it fulfils the needs and expectations of its readers. The survey is estimated to take no more than 10 minutes to complete. The identity of individual respondents is not recorded and anonymity will be preserved in the processing and analysis of the responses | UNODC, Austria

France introduces €200 spot fine for drug use from today

The new law states that from today (September 1), instead of being taken into police custody, people aged 18 or over found to be using cannabis or cocaine will be given an on the spot fine of €200 | Connexion, France

A low dose of lysergic acid diethylamide decreases pain perception in healthy volunteers

The present clinical study is the first to revisit the potential of LSD as an analgesic, and at dose levels which are not expected to produce profound mind-altering effects | Journal of Psychopharmacology, The Netherlands

Role of e-cigarettes and pharmacotherapy during attempts to quit cigarette smoking: The PATH Study 2013-16

Among US daily smokers who quit cigarettes in 2014–15, use of e-cigarettes in that attempt compared to approved cessation aids or no products showed similar abstinence rates 1–2 years later | PLOS One, USA

Epidemic of youth nicotine addiction? What does the National Youth Tobacco Survey 2017-2019 reveal about high school e-cigarette use in the USA?

Between 2018 and 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration announced various restrictions on e-cigarette manufacturers in response to a perceived epidemic of e-cigarette use and nicotine dependence among high school students. The stimulus came from headline figures from the 2018 and 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS). We analysed e-cigarette use and dependence in the NYTS in relation to lifetime history of use of tobacco products | Qeios, USA

Even with a license to prescribe a popular addiction treatment drug, many doctors aren't giving it to their patients

Only about half of the physicians licensed to prescribe buprenorphine—an opioid-based medication to treat addiction—actually prescribe it to patients, a national study from the Pew Charitable Trust has found | Medical Xpress, USA

Navigating inpatient care with opioid use disorder: Treatment pathways and their relationship to overdose

Inpatient treatment is one of the most commonly used services among opioid use disorder patients, but relatively little is known about how opioid use disorder patients navigate inpatient systems of care or how various levels of inpatient care relate to opioid overdose. This study reveals potential areas for improvement within inpatient tiers of care... | Recovery Research Institute, USA

Can alcohol use disorder treatment help individuals reduce drinking and maintain these reductions over time?

There are many pathways to an improved life for individuals with alcohol use disorder. While some may choose abstinence as their treatment goal, others may prefer to reduce their drinking without quitting entirely | Recovery Research Institute, USA

Naloxone inventory app gives Nevada clearer view of opioid epidemic

A new system for tracking distribution of the anti-overdose drug Naloxone is giving officials better data with which to fight the nationwide opioid epidemic, which still kills more than 100 people each day | Statescoop, USA

Follow the Money: Why Marijuana Research Tells Us the Same Old Story

Scientific research enriches minds but drains wallets. In the US and globally, public and private funders have directed more money to cannabis research in recent decades—but the research that gets funded is primarily focused on marijuana’s potential to harm, rather than heal | Filter Magazine, USA

Feds fund 2 safe drug supply sites in Toronto to combat ongoing overdose crisis

The federal government announced funding for two safe drug supply sites in Toronto in an ongoing effort to combat the opioid overdose crisis which continues to worsen amid the COVID-19 pandemic | Global News, Canada

Canada Is So Close to Decriminalizing Drugs: Let’s Make It Happen

On August 17, a set of guidelines issued by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) called on prosecutors to pursue non-criminal sanctions for simple drug possession | Filter Magazine, Canada

'Homebake heroin': How COVID-19 has turned WA's drug market upside down

There's been a dramatic drop in the use of methamphetamine in Western Australia as drug smugglers struggle to get past the state's hard border, and now there's a warning addicts are turning to a deadly alternative - homebake heroin | Brisbane Times, Australia

Drug overdoses killing Indigenous people at three times the rate of other Australians

For the past five years Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been dying from overdoses at three times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians | SBS.com.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Joint statement to the Government on Public Health Reorganisation

Dear Editor. Over 70 organisations and alliances committed to improving health and reducing inequalities have endorsed a joint statement which we have sent to the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Health and the interim leadership of Public Health England (PHE)... | BMJ letter, UK

No child left behind - a public health informed approach to improving outcomes for vulnerable children

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, local government, health, education and other public services have sought to make sure that vulnerable children are protected. As we look ahead, these children and their families remain central to our public health plans and ambitions | PHE blog, UK

Expert reaction to two conference abstracts on chemicals present in e-cigarettes and how they combine

Conference abstracts, presented at the meeting of the European Respiratory Society, discuss chemicals present in e-cigarettes and how they combine | Science Media Centre, UK

The Newcastle Herald's Opinion, September 1, 2020: Overdose 'epidemic' report poses questions for drug laws

Half a century has passed since the hippie revolution of the 1960s introduced drugs into popular culture | Newcastle Herald, Australia