Daily news - 16th September 2020

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UK news

The future of public health: the National Institute for Health Protection and other public health functions

Further to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s announcement of the new National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP) on 18 August 2020, this document provides a high-level overview of our plans to better protect and improve the public’s health, including where we will act immediately to strengthen our health protection systems and our focused response to COVID-19 ahead of the winter. [No specific mentions of drug policy] | PHE, UK

Plans to record pregnant women's alcohol consumption in England criticised

Pregnant women’s alcohol consumption could be recorded on their child’s medical records under plans for England being considered by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), prompting criticism from pregnancy rights advocates | Guardian, UK

Cannabis farms are a modern slavery 'blind spot' for UK police, study suggests

Migrants arrested for tending plants in the flats, houses and attics where cannabis is grown in bulk are often victims of trafficking and "debt bondage" – yet many are not recognised as such by police, according to a new study | University of Cambridge, UK

Drug and alcohol problems in remote and rural Scotland: Responding during COVID and beyond - video

Rural and remote Scotland presents unique and persistent challenges in the delivery of services. Innovations and hard-won progress have meant unique local service configurations have developed over the years | SDF, UK

COVID 19: Impact Report

This report is a deep dive into the multitude of ways that the pandemic has altered how we work and illustrates how, through an agile mindset and passionate, dedicated staff, we have adapted our services and continue to provide vital support for people seeking help with their alcohol or drug use | BDP, UK

Glasgow mobile drugs van gets international recognition

Peter Krykant's converted minibus that helps drug addicts has been praised by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark | Daily Record, UK

Inside the Three Types of 'Illegal Rave' This Lockdown Summer

British tabloids have dubbed every party an "illegal rave" – but there have been three distinct types of event thrown over the summer months | VICE, UK


International news

Dark Nudges and Sludge in Big Alcohol: Behavioral Economics, Cognitive Biases, and Alcohol Industry Corporate Social Responsibility

Nudges steer people toward certain options but also allow them to go their own way. “Dark nudges” aim to change consumer behavior against their best interests. “Sludge” uses cognitive biases to make behavior change more difficult. We have identified dark nudges and sludge in alcohol industry corporate social responsibility (CSR) materials | The Millbank Quarterly, UK

Panama governor stopped in car with 79 drug parcels

Police in Panama say they have detained two Panamanian nationals who were travelling in a car carrying 79 packets of illegal drugs | BBC, UK

More spent on alcohol despite Covid-19 closure of pubs as people switch from beer to wine

Irish people spent more on alcohol in the first seven months of the year despite the closure of pubs due to Covid-19 restrictions. And while consumption of beer dropped, people are buying more wine as Ireland's drinking culture moved from the pub to the home | Independent, Ireland

National Lottery Grants

We are distributing National Lottery funding to community groups and voluntary organisations. We are providing this funding under the Respite Care Grant Scheme and the National Lottery Grant Scheme. Groups and organisations who provide Health and Personal Social Services can apply for funding | HSE, Ireland

European Drug Prevention Prize 2021 - call for applications is open

The Pompidou Group calls for youth projects to submit applications for the 2021 edition of the European Drug Prevention Prize. Applications should be submitted using the below application form and respecting the eligibility criteria and procedures detailed in the document ‘Concept, rules, procedures’. The deadline for applications is 30 November 2020 | Council of Europe, France

Thanks to the internet, young Czechs are taking less drugs, says new survey

Young Czechs are also smoking and drinking less as their activities of choice have shifted to the online world | expats.cz, Czech Republic

Russian Drug Users Describe Life and Trends During the Pandemic

Drug use is globally interconnected. Just thinking of the routes illegal drugs take up to the point of consumption—from being grown or synthesized in producer countries, refined and produced in secondary locations, then often smuggled across borders and oceans—often makes you wonder, as a drug user, about people elsewhere in the world, doing pretty much what you’re doing | Filter Magazine, USA

Mponitoring the Future: 2019 Overview the Sponsored by The National Institute on Drug Abuse at The National Institutes of Health Key Findings on Adolescent Drug Use

Vaping marijuana and vaping nicotine have increased dramatically among 19- 22 year olds, with both more than doubling between 2017 and 2019, according to the University of Michigan’s annual U.S. national Monitoring the Future (MTF) Panel Study [Press release here (PDF)] . In addition, use of marijuana in any form in 2019 among young adults ages 19-22 was at or near the highest levels seen over the past four decades | University of Michigan, USA

COVID-19 risk and outcomes in patients with substance use disorders: analyses from electronic health records in the United States (PDF)

The global pandemic of COVID-19 is colliding with the epidemic of opioid use disorders (OUD) and other substance use disorders (SUD) in the United States (US). Currently, there is limited data on risks, disparity, and outcomes for COVID-19 in individuals suffering from SUD | Molecular Psychiatry, USA

Heroin-addicted individuals have unique brain disturbances resembling those of Alzheimer's

Heroin-addicted individuals have alterations in the expression a gene called FYN—a gene known to regulate the production of Tau, a protein that is highly elevated and implicated in neurocognitive disorders like Alzheimer's disease | Medical Xpress, USA

Association of Current Opioid Use With Serious Adverse Events Among Older Adult Survivors of Breast Cancer

In this cohort study among 38 310 older adults who survived breast cancer, opioid use after active cancer treatment was associated with a nearly 15-fold increase in immediate risk of adverse drug events related to substance misuse, including overdose, and a 2- to 3-fold increased immediate risk of other adverse drug events related to opioid use, such as falls and fractures or all-cause hospitalization | JAMA Network, USA

Sexual violence, binge drinking, and alcohol problems: Gender differences among adolescents

Sexual violence is any sexual act that happens without the victim’s freely given consent. Drinking alcohol often co-occurs with sexual violence; half of all incidents involve alcohol use by the victim, perpetrator, or both | BASIS, USA

Majority of Surveyed Doctors Misattribute Tobacco Harms to Nicotine

Government fearmongering and crackdowns on nicotine vaping products have likely contributed to widespread ignorance about the difference between the harms of tobacco and nicotine | Filter Magazine, USA

Study reveals how cannabinoids may be useful to prevent colon cancer

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are caused by unrestrained inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract | Medical Xpress, USA

Towards Better Delivery of Cannabidiol

This review identifies issues compromising current delivery of solid-state CBD, and how advanced pharmaceutical development strategies can enable CBD to realise the full potential as a successful therapeutic agent | MDPI, USA

Why Miller Lite turned its beer can into a TV antenna for NFL football

The Cantenna plugs into your TV for you to watch free, over-the-air broadcasts of the games instead of streaming from “a shady Russian website.” | Fast Company, USA

COVID-19 Could Make 2020 Canada's Worst Year for Overdoses

Data obtained by VICE News shows at least 2,450 Canadians have died this year, in part because of lockdown measures and an unstable drug supply | VICE, Canada

Meth inhalation risk in former home labs

Families unknowingly living in properties previously used as methamphetamine or ‘ice’ labs could be suffering from significant risks of inhalation and skin exposure as meth moves from gyprock walls and other furnishings into air, raising contamination levels throughout their property | Flinders University, Australia

Drug on-the-spot fines save justice system thousands of dollars

Festival drug users being fined has saved the criminal justice system nearly $200,000 but experts say the scheme could be unfair to those in disadvantaged circumstances | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

Change in drug law saves criminal justice system $300,000 in six months but could have been more

The State Government saved more than $300,000 in six months when it started issuing infringement notices for drug possession instead of prosecuting drug users in the court, a new report has found | NDARC, Australia

Swimming with crocodiles: Lessons learned from 40 years of trying to influence policy

Drawn from last year’s James Rankin oration at the APSAD conference, Professor Steve Allsop looks at the divide between those who argue that researchers have a critical role in policy advocacy, and others who say this should be left to the bureaucrats and politicians | NDARC, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Associate feature: Putting prevention first on alcohol

Personal choice versus the nanny state. That’s the way that public health prevention is characterised by opponents. But with one quarter of Scots regularly drinking more than recommended, surely there’s more to it? | Holyrood, UK

Boozy Britain: how the nation drank in lockdown

[Limited number of free articles per month] A frightening new report shows more of us are hitting the bottle. Six writers share how lockdown changed their relationship with alcohol | Telegraph, UK

Why are Illegal Drugs still a Cinderella Issue in Development? (Looking at you CGD!)

Why don’t more mainstream aid organizations work on the issue of illegal drugs like cannabis, coca or opium poppy? We’ve known for decades that the prevalent approach to these – prohibition – harms small-scale farmers that grow them, fuels violence, undermines the rule of law and contaminates politics (the UN estimates the illegal drugs trade is worth $500bn a year – that buys you a lot of politicians) | Oxfam blog, UK

“Nightmarish” “Horrifying”: Thomas Randall’s The Twelfth Step

At a convention in St. Louis in July 1955, Alcoholic Anonymous celebrated its twentieth anniversary. The event coincided with the release of the second edition of Alcoholics Anonymous. Bill Wilson emphasized the need for A.A. to move beyond reliance on its quasi-paternal founders and grow up | Points blog, USA