Daily news - 8th September 2020

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UK news

Problem drug use in Scotland: Government response to the Committee’s First Report of Session 2019

Government responses to the committee's 19 recommendations on ways to address Scotland's drug problem | House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee, UK

DDN September 2020 out now

Service providers are telling us that six months into lockdown, there are opportunities in the ‘new normal’. One of the most exciting prospects is the government’s pledge to ‘end rough sleeping for good’ (p6). Will we get the next steps right to make the most of what Dame Louise Casey calls an ‘extraordinary opportunity’? | DDN, UK

Drug and Alcohol Education Lessons — Map to your scheme of work now

[Published in July ready for childrens' return to school this month] Developed for Public Health England, this resource pack will include several lesson plans and resources for each key stage, as well as a comprehensive teacher guidance document, including knowledge organisers and a briefing paper on the evidence base underpinning effective drug and alcohol education | PSHE, UK

The NHS addictions provider alliance

[New website] NHS APA is an alliance of NHS addictions service providers from across the UK. Working collaboratively with service users, carers and other organisations, NHS APA is committed to contributing positively to the ongoing development of the addictions field, including within drug and alcohol, gambling and gaming treatment and support services. Find out more about the alliance's work | NHSAPA, UK

Scotland’s first cannabis-based medicine approved for NHS

A cannabis-based medicine has been approved for use on the NHS in Scotland for the first time, giving hope in the treatment of rare types of childhood epilepsy | STV, UK

Billy Caldwell’s mother Charlotte pleads for new prescription as medicinal cannabis supply runs out

From November 2018 until June 2020, a Canadian company supplying the medicine, Aurora, covered all the costs associated with importing and administering the prescription | i news, UK

Catching golden opportunities to create public health evidence as they fly by...

Dr Helen Walters, an NIHR Public Health Consultant Advisor, introduces four newly launched public health research teams [including the remote provision of drugs and alcohol services in Leeds] that have been contracted under the PHIRST scheme to enable local authorities to rapidly evaluate interventions aiming to improve health and tackle health inequalities in their areas | NIHR, UK

Understanding risk behaviours & harms for people involved in chemsex, transactional sex or IPED use - video

On Friday the 4th September 2020, SDF published a research report on Understanding the Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Risk Behaviours of Defined ‘at risk’ groups | SDF, UK

Police to spare young offenders from prisons so criminals can serve longer sentences

[limited number of atticles free to read per month] Under the new proposals, offenders under the age of 25 who have committed non-violent crimes will be asked to attend counselling or youth groups rather than be sentenced to jail. The policy which is referred to as “New Generation Policing” has been developed by the charity Revolving Doors Agency and will be implemented initially by seven police forces in the UK | Telegraph, UK

Top papers

The ten most downloaded papers in 2019 | Addiction, UK

Can you help the NHS improve our information for people taking methadone?

NHS.uk are looking for people who take methadone to help test a new webpage. You'll need a smartphone, tablet, or computer. The research is confidential and we’re offering a £50 shopping voucher as a thank you | NHS.uk, UK

Aspire Recovery Games

[Facenok page] Celebrating Recovery Month September 2020 with images from the Recovery Games over the years | Aspire Drug and Alcohol Services, UK

Cranstoun fifty years

A collection of writing for Cranstoun's service users | Cranstoun, UK

WDP and City Lit partner for a third time to provide learning opportunities to those in recovery

Leading drug and alcohol charity WDP has renewed its partnership with City Lit, one of the country’s top destinations for evening, weekend and daytime courses, for a third successive year. City Lit will be offering WDP service users access to an array of online and face-to-face courses across a wide range of subject areas, in exchange for their hard-won Capital Card points | WDP, UK

Coronavirus: Hospitality Ulster to meet ministers about drink-only pubs

Representatives of NI's pub industry said they will meet Stormont ministers later seeking "urgent" measures to help reopen non-food bars | BBC, UK

Wales and Scarlets rugby star Rhys Thomas opens up about alcohol battle

"How could I be an alcoholic? I'm not that guy with the brown paper bag." | BBC, UK

These are the Queen’s favourite alcoholic drinks, according to a former royal chef

A number of alcohol brands hold royal warrants - a brand can apply for such status after being served in the royal household for at least five years. These include, but are not limited to, Agnostura bitters, Bacardi-Martini, Bollinger champagne, GH Mumm champagne, Krug champagne and Johnnie Walker Scotch | Independent, UK

Man ran two-year drug smuggling operation from three prisons

A prisoner ran a two-year-long drug smuggling operation from three Scottish jails by phone and mail, a court has heard | BBC, UK

Charges as police seize £200k of cocaine

A 24-year-old man from County Tyrone has been remanded in custody after police seized an estimated £200,000 of cocaine in an animal feed sack | BBC, UK

Pair jailed over Whitehaven ex-post office cannabis farm

Two men involved in a cannabis farm worth more than £540,000 in a Cumbrian town centre have each been jailed for more than three years | BBC, UK

Three arrested 'for trying to throw drugs into Erlestoke Prison'

Police were called by a member of the public reporting a suspicious vehicle at about 11:20 BST on Sunday | BBC, UK

English wines get seal of approval – archive, 1979

8 September 1979: Eight English wines were declared to be the first winners of the nearest British equivalent of the French Appellation Contrôlée mark of excellence | Guardian, UK


International news

Psychedelics and Mental Health in the COVID-Era

Psychedelics, mental health, COVID-19, and our drug laws: The Silent Pandemic and the search for innovation in the treatment of mental health problems. Please read this article by Beatrix Vas – and watch the movie they produced about research on psychedelics! | Drug Reporter, Hungary

Clinton Foundation works to put naloxone in recovery homes as opioid epidemic is overshadowed by COVID-19 pandemic

Overdose deaths are rising at double-digit rates this year as people recovering from addiction have been locked down and shut out of their usual support systems | USA Today, USA

Juul to Cut More Than Half of Its Workforce

E-cigarette pioneer aims to shrink 2,200-person staff down to about 1,000 as part of broader retreat | Wall Street Journal, USA

COVID-19 cocktails: push for tighter alcohol advertising restrictions on social media

University of Queensland researchers reveal how alcohol advertisers are using social media to prey on parents and encourage drinking as a way to cope with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic | University of Queensland, Australia

Recreational cannabis regulation and harm reduction

In early 2019, BERL was commissioned by the Ministry of Justice to support the development of an evidence base to inform the proposed regulations for a legal market for recreational cannabis in New Zealand | BERL, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Release Statement Monday 7th September 2020

With deep sadness we mourn the loss of Gary Sutton, Release’s Head of Drug Services who passed away on the 5th September. We are heartbroken for his family, Monique, Katie and Emily, whom he loved so very much | Release blog, UK

Harry’s Blog 104: Baptists and Bootleggers

The term was coined by an economist to explain why those with seemingly opposing interests can sometimes find themselves in accord with one another. His example was how those campaigning for Prohibition found unwitting common cause with bootleggers whose fortunes were made with the passing of the Volstead Act. Regarding the battle over vaping, it’s more to do with the Baptists aiding the bootleggers to preserve their existing mega bucks | NSP blog, UK

Drug consumption van launched in Glasgow

According to media reports a drug consumption van organised by community activists began operating in Glasgow last week | Hepatitis C Trust blog, UK

Supporting people affected by homelessness and alcohol dependency during the pandemic

Dena Pursell, Care Navigator at Groundswell in London, gives a view from the frontline of drug and alcohol services for homeless people during the COVID-19 pandemic | Alcohol Change UK blog, UK

COVID 19 Industry blog series

Welcome to the first in our blog series charting the events of COVID-19 and their impact on the wider alcohol sector. Featuring alcohol charities, partnerships and industry bodies, together we seek to examine what happened during the crisis, the lessons learned and changes that could be implemented going forward to help the recovery | Portman Group, UK

Bolivia reverses years of progress with new draconian cocaine policy, supported by the EU

Bolivia has seen widespread public protests in recent months against the interim government, led by Jeanine Añez, which has twice postponed elections due to coronavirus. Her government has repeatedly violated its mandate by passing new laws and persecuting its political opponents, including coca growers in the Chapare region east of Cochabamba, who we collaborate with on research projects | Conversation, UK

As the PMTA Deadline Looms, the Vaping Industry Faces Potential Disaster

The Family Smoking Prevention & Tobacco Control Act mandates that all new tobacco products must receive a premarket tobacco application authorization to be sold on the U.S. market. Any product without a PMTA approval cannot be legally sold in the United States and is considered “adulterated” or “illicit” under federal statute | Inside Sources, USA

If reducing harm to society is the goal, a cost-benefit analysis shows cannabis prohibition has failed

The case for a referendum on New Zealand’s cannabis law was already urgent in 2015 when the supposedly more pressing issue was whether we should change the flag. As I argued at the time, prohibition had failed and was costing society far more than the drug itself | Conversation, New Zealand