Daily news - 9th September 2020

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UK news

Alcohol-free and low-strength drinks: Understanding their role in reducing alcohol-related harms

This report examines the market for alcohol-free and low-strength beers, ciders, wines and spirits – “NoLo drinks” - in the UK. It looks at recent trends in the market for these products, the demographics of consumers that are drinking them and the potential impacts on health outcomes. In addition, the report considers the regulation of NoLo drinks in the UK and how this differs from other markets | Alcohol Change UK, UK

Response to the ACMD report on novel benzodiazepines

A letter from the Minister of State for Fire and Policing to the ACMD, in response to the ACMD report – Novel benzodiazepines: a review of the evidence of use and harms of novel benzodiazepines | ACMD, UK

Despite the tobacco industry blowing smoke, plain packs really work

On 20 May 2016, the UK (with France) became the second country in the world to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes and rolling tobacco. This meant that tobacco companies could no longer put brand logos, colours or promotional text on packs | University of Bath, UK

‘Dual diagnosis’: is the chasm in service provision getting bigger?

At the turn of the millennium government’s aim was not just to make progress on caring for people with both substance use and mental health problems, but to engineer a “radical rethink”. What happened, and does today’s Britain offer a more welcoming and effective response to the most troubled of its substance use patients? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Wider Impacts of COVID-19 on Health (WICH) monitoring tool

[Updated] The following metric has been added: Behavioural Risk Factors - Alcohol Purchasing, Volume per Household | PHE, UK

UK's overall consumption of alcohol halved during lockdown, data finds

The overall UK consumption of alcohol halved during lockdown, data from Nielsen has suggested, despite staggering sales rises through the supermarkets | The Drinks Business, UK

Ending furlough scheme in autumn will force more pubs to close, warns Labour

Pressure builds on Rishi Sunak to extend coronavirus economic measures | Independent, UK

Police chiefs back medicinal cannabis cards which will 'effectively discriminalise' the drug for 3.5m Britons with conditions such as MS and cancer

A system of ‘cannabis cards’ for medicinal users which will effectively decriminalise the drug is being backed by police chiefs. Around three and a half million people with health conditions will be allowed to use the card under the proposal, according to The Times | Mail Online, UK

Tories slammed for failing to listen to Scottish MPs on drugs deaths crisis

The Conservative Government in Westminster has dismissed plans put forward after an extensive inquiry despite record deaths in Scotland | Daily Record, UK

Drugs consumption van back on the road after police insurance 'sabotage' claim

Peter Krykant is determined to help alleviate the drugs deaths health crisis in Scotland and has overcome the latest obstacle put in his way | Daily Record, UK

Launching the 2020 Recovery Street Film Festival #RSSFLive 

All the films were passed to the judges for scoring, the votes are in and we have a winner! We are excited to announce that the online launch will take place on 10th September at 4pm, live streamed our Facebook page. Don’t panic if you don’t have Facebook we will also be posting the films on our Twitter and shortly after the launch they will all be available on our YouTube channel | RSFF, UK

The Bridges – innovations and what we’ve learnt from the pandemic

When we first went into lockdown, it was an incredibly stressful time for all of us at The Bridges. Clients were devastated because they could no longer attend mutual aid meetings out in the community, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), which are such a crucial part of their treatment | Forward Trust, UK

DrugFAM Bereaved by Drug & Alcohol Use Virtual Conference

Sat, 10 October 2020. 10:00 – 15:00 BST. The conference is a unique event which allows bereaved families to come together and share their feelings and stories with others who have either gone through or are going through the same emotions they are experiencing | Adfam, UK

Small Grants Scheme awards announced

We are delighted to announce that we will be funding three projects led by early career researchers in the alcohol field through the new IAS Small Grants Scheme. The call was announced at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown | IAS, UK

Ecstasy death girl Grace Handling 'told friend she took three blue pills'

A schoolgirl who died after allegedly being supplied with ecstasy told a friend she had taken three blue pills, a court has heard | BBC, UK

How Britain became the world's leading producer of low- and no-alcohol spirits

[Limited number of free articles per month on registration] With brands sold across the globe and sales on the rise, Britain has an unquenchable thirst for distilling (and consuming) no-low drinks | Telegraph, UK

Queen's Guards Jailed After Partying and Testing Positive for Cocaine

Thirteen Royal Guards have been sentenced to a spell in military jail after post-football drinks escalated and they mixed with civilians without social distancing | VICE, UK

Drug dealers' manslaughter sentences reduced on appeal

Two drug dealers who were convicted of manslaughter after a man was stabbed to death have had their sentences reduced | BBC, UK

Brighton: Man stabbed to death in 'vicious drug deal attack'

A man died after being stabbed eight times in a "short but vicious attack" during a drug deal, a court heard | BBC, UK


International news

COVID-19 and smoking: resources, research and news

Newly updated. This page provides resources, research and news reports about COVID19 and smoking, vaping and other tobacco products for the information of health professionals, researchers and the general public | BMJ Tobacco Control, UK

The economics of banning alcohol - audio

[Broadcast at 08.30am] After several countries banned alcohol as part of their lockdown measures, we ask if prohibition ever works? Ed Butler reports from South Africa, where a recent ban on alcohol was welcomed by some healthcare professionals and those fighting violence in the country. Havard economist Jeffrey Miron and University of California criminologist Emily Owens discuss whether limits on alcohol are ever really effective | BBC, UK

European Drug Report 2020 — teaser video

How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting drug use, supply and services? What are the health costs of drug use in Europe today? What do the latest data tell us about drug production and trafficking trends? Be the first to know when the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) launches its European Drug Report 2020: Trends and Developments in a live online media event on 22 September | EMCDDA, Portugal

Open letter on the proposed EU Drugs Agenda

A sign-on letter of the International Drug Policy Consortium’s (IDPC) members, raising our very serious concerns regarding the new EU Agenda and Action Plan on Drugs, recently published by the European Commission was prepared and sent to the German presidency of the EU Horizontal Working Party on Drugs | Drug Policy Network, Serbia

UV researchers patent a kit to detect GHB in alcoholic beverages and soft drinks

The MODeLiC (Organic Materials for Controlled Detection and Release) research team led by Ana María Costero, Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Valencia (UV), has developed a system with colorimetric sensors that change color when there is γ-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) in a beverage | News Medical, USA

Russia's regions and their preferences for strong alcohol

HSE University economists (Ludmila Zasimova and Marina Kolosnitsyna analyzed two data sets for Russian regions in 2010-2016: the official statistics of the Russian Statistics Agency on alcohol sales and estimates of unregistered alcohol consumption modeled by the study's authors relying on the Ministry of Health's own methodology | EurekAlert, USA

Trends in e-Cigarette Use in Adults in the United States, 2016-2018

e-Cigarettes are generally perceived to be less harmful than traditional cigarettes. A considerable public health challenge is their use among young adults who have never smoked and among vulnerable subgroups, including individuals with mental health conditions and pregnant women. The rapidly evolving e-cigarette market, outdated tobacco laws and regulations, and the recent outbreak of e-cigarette or vaping product use–associated lung injuries highlight the need for up-to-date data on e-cigarette use | JAMA Internal Medicine, USA

Smoking or Vaping May Increase the Risk of a Severe Coronavirus Infection

Though few studies have investigated the connection specifically, cigarette smoke and vaping aerosol are linked to lung inflammation and lowered immune function | Scientific American, USA

Vaping Links to Covid Risk Are Becoming Clear

[Free registration may be required] Researchers are starting to home in on the ways in which the use of e-cigarettes raises the chances of catching the virus, and suffering its worst effects | NYTimes, USA

Social smokers just as at risk of lung cancer as those smoking 20 a day

People who smoke socially are more than twice as likely to die of lung disease and more than eight times as likely to die of lung cancer than non-smokers, a study suggests | Science Focus, USA

As overdose deaths spike, families ask why B.C. has failed to fully regulate addiction treatment

Coroners panel called for a provincial system to ensure evidence-based care by September 2019 | CBC News, Canada

How COVID-19 has changed young Aussies’ drug habits

COVID-19 has put parties and festivals on hold across the country. But while Australians have been taking fewer party drugs, two in five have reported an increase in their consumption of cannabis | SBS News, Australia

Morrison Government invests $24 million into FASD for International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day

The Morrison Government has given a $24 million boost to an important cause that carries with it a simple but important message | News.com.au, Australia

FASD: a whole of community issue

The ninth day of the ninth month – in honour of the 9 months of pregnancy - marks International FASD Awareness Day | adf, Australia

Medical cannabis study for spinal injury pain wins NSW Health funding

Treatments for chronic pain caused by spinal injury can cause side effects almost as difficult as the pain it is treating. Experts at the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics and Brain and Mind Centre will see if cannabidiol is an effective alternative | University of Sydney, Australia

NDARC Higher Degree Research Showcase 2020

In this webinar, NDARC’s higher degree research (HDR) candidates give a series of presentations on their thesis topics and results so far. The event provided HDR candidates with a valuable opportunity to present their work to an online audience and encouraged opportunities for knowledge exchange, collaboration and networking | NDARC, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Regulating Cannabis

In April 2016, I was in New York for an ISSDP meeting on cannabis policy in the Americas. At the end of the first day, I was due to meet up for dinner with Niamh Eastwood and Alex Stevens. I was a little early, so decided to have a drink in the bar of my hotel before setting off for the restaurant | Toby Seddon, UK

Covid risks making society more unequal than since early Victorian times

As life expectancy stalls and infant mortality rises, abolishing Public Health England will only make things worse | Guardian, UK

Escaping the grips of a drug addiction and the torment of a traumatic childhood - There is hope! - video

We look at addiction in its full force, we don't understand that behind that are the scars of trauma. It is about support not punishment and criminalisation. I had to be brought back to life six times before I finally accessed harm reduction. I spent 30 years in a cycle of gangs, drug addiction, homelessness and jail but now I use my lived experience to support others. If harm reduction didn't exist, I wouldn't exist and if recovery didn't exist then I wouldn't live the life I have today | MyPOV, UK

Why did the US justice department let Purdue off the hook for the opioid crisis?

Prosecutors believed Purdue was implicated in mail and wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy. Yet the firm got a slap on the wrist | Guardian opinion, UK

The Points Interview: Ronny Spaans

Today we’re excited to feature a Points Interview with Dr. Ronny Spaans, Associate Professor in Nordic Literature at Nord University in Nordland, Norway. He also teaches Dutch at the University of Oslo. Here he discusses his new book, Dangerous Drugs: The Self-Presentation of the Merchant-Poet Joannes Six van Chandelier (1620-1695) | Points blog, USA




And finally...

Son sells 28 years of birthday whisky to buy first home

A man whose father gave him 18-year-old whisky every year for his birthday is selling the collection to buy a house | BBC, UK