Daily news - 17th September 2020

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UK news

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do

3.18: Can I go to my support group? Support groups can take place in gatherings of any number in a public place, if the support group is organised by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support to its members or those who attend its meetings. This includes those with, or recovering from, addictions (including alcohol, narcotics or other substance addictions) or addictive patterns of behaviour | Cabinet Office, UK

COVID-19: guidance for commissioners and providers of services for people who use drugs or alcohol

[Updated] Added statement on hands, face, space; updated guidance on return to school; added links to social distancing and what you can and can't do; amended to reflect change to 6 people meeting | PHE, UK

Non-Communicable Disease Prevention A manifesto for the next Parliament: Addressing Scotland’s biggest killers through action on societal factors that cause ill-health (PDF)

It has been estimated that almost 14,000 deaths in Scotland are preventable through public health action. That’s why ten charities dedicated to addressing NCDs and the risk factors that impact the nation’s health have come together to set out a series of priorities to improve the health of everyone in Scotland and reduce the burden of noncommunicable disease on Scotland’s NHS | Alcohol Focus Scotland et al, UK

Increase in alcohol-industry funded research is a cause for concern, study suggests

The alcohol industry is increasingly funding academic research into the impacts of alcohol consumption – with some studies making claims about the health benefits of alcohol, new research suggests | University of York, UK

Duty-free changes: Cigarette, alcohol and VAT rules for travelers from 2021

Cheaper cigarettes, long-haul travellers able to bring in 69 litres of alcohol, but inbound tourism hit by removal of VAT refunds for visitors – the new government rules from 2021 will transform the duty-free landscape | Independent, UK

SSDP Takeover: Q&A with Bristol Drug Project’s Sorcha Ryan

Sorcha Ryan is the Festival and Harm Reduction Lead of Bristol Drug Project, an organisation belonging to Bristol ROADS (Recovery Oriented Alcohol and Drugs Service). Here, Sorcha will be sharing advice on how to stay safe on campus and within the community when using drugs during lockdown | Volteface, UK

SSDP Takeover: Covid’s Impact on Student Drug Use

With changes to venues, demand and support looming on the horizon, Eleri Crossland predicts a significant shift in the way UK students interact with illegal drugs | Volteface, UK

Alcohol use and recovery in rural Scotland: The 'Rural Matters' report launch

Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) warmly invites you to join us online on 23rd September from 2-4PM BST for the launch of our ‘Rural Matters’ report: Understanding alcohol use in rural Scotland: Findings from a qualitative research study | RCPE, UK

A new CURE to help smokers with their addiction

Patients who smoke in Stockport will now receive new support with their tobacco addiction thanks to a new approach, and a new team based at Stepping Hill Hospital | About Manchester, UK

County lines: Home Secretary Priti Patel warns gang leaders 'we're coming after you'

Priti Patel accompanied Met Police officers on a raid in Brixton, south London on Wednesday morning | ITV, UK


International news

British Columbia pioneers programme to offer safer alternatives to street drugs

The Canadian province, facing an epidemic of overdoses, is expanding ‘safer supply’ guidelines to let nurses prescribe opioids | Guardian, UK

Singapore Should Rehabilitate, Not Execute, Drug Users

Halt Imminent Execution of Syed Suhail Bin Syed Zin; Abolish Death Penalty | Human Rights Watch, UK

Drug Detention: Compulsory Treatment Centres and Gender-Based Violence in Mexico

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there has a been a multiplication of calls from international and regional bodies, as well as from civil society organizations, to release people from prison. However, as TalkingDrugs has previously covered, compulsory drug treatment centres are generally overlooked | Talking Drugs, UK

Labeling e-cigarette emissions as 'chemicals' or 'aerosols' increases the perceived risk of exposure

A new study led by Dr. Matthew Rossheim at the George Mason University College of Health and Human Services provides important findings on how labeling of secondhand emissions from e-cigarettes can help more effectively communicate the harm from e-cigarettes and build support for tobacco-free campus policies | News Medical, USA

Study tackles long-term opioid use among retired NFL players

Many former National Football League (NFL) players who took opioid painkillers early in their retirement still used them nine years later, a new study finds | Medical Xpress, USA

Researchers Confirm the Lifesaving Power of a Safe Supply of Drugs

A team of researchers working at a clinic in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia has added to the evidence behind advocacy for a safe, legal supply of opioids. It will come as no surprise to harm reductionists that opioid-dependent people with access to a regulated substance were found to be more likely to avoid overdose—and also to live less chaotic lives | Filter Magazine, USA

The Postal Crisis Exacerbates the Overdose Crisis

We are in the midst of what has been dubbed a “postal service crisis.” And although the potential impact on the presidential election has dominated headlines, that isn’t the whole story | Filter Magazine, USA

One in 10 older dental patients inappropriately prescribed opioids

A new study by researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh suggests that a significant proportion of older patients receiving opioids at dental visits also use psychotropic medications -- a potentially harmful combination | EurekAlert, USA

There's no place like home: Cleaning toxic tobacco smoke residue in our homes

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a number of challenges, including that many are spending more time at home than ever before. This is a significant problem for those with neighbors who smoke | EurekAlert, USA

UC Berkeley launches new center for psychedelic science and education

Fifty years after political and cultural winds slammed shut the doors on psychedelic research, UC Berkeley is making up for lost time by launching the campus’s first center for psychedelic science and public education | Berkeley News, USA

Nicotine vapour more rewarding for adolescents than adults

University of Guelph researchers are the first to discover that adolescents react differently to e-cigarette vapor than adults | Medical Xpress, Canada

Researchers uncover how vitamin E acetate might cause lung injury in vapers

E-cigarette, or vaping, associated lung injury (EVALI) has sickened thousands of people, most under the age of 35. Studies have linked vitamin E acetate, an oily substance in some vaping liquids, to the disorder. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Chemical Research in Toxicology have uncovered a possible mechanism | News Medical, Canada

Drug users, advocates weigh in on why Sask. overdose deaths are at record high

Police and people with addictions say fentanyl use was growing before pandemic, but is worse now | CBC News, Canada

‘Life-saving and Life-changing’: BC’s Safe Supply Program Gets Major Expansion

More drugs covered, more people eligible and increased access all promised as part of overdose crisis response | The Tyee, Canada

Africa: Tobacco Harm Reduction - Experts Say that We Should Trust Science to Save Lives

On September 10th, an international tobacco harm reduction media event was held in Sofia, Bulgaria. 140 journalists from all over the world were invited to participate | AllAfrica, South Africa et al

A timeline of alcohol-relevant restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic (PDF)

The aim of this report is to provide a resource outlining the implementation, easing and re-introduction of all COVID-19 regulations that might impact alcohol consumption| La Trobe University, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Alcohol consumption is spiralling out of control – we need to seriously address addiction

People living with this illness deserve empathy, access to treatment and support. The government should use the upcoming spending review to invest in addiction services | Independent voices, UK

Hands off my beer! We already have units, don't make calorie counts compulsory too

[Limited number of free articles per month] A new report argues that alcohol should no longer be exempt from nutritional labelling | Telegraph, UK

Alcohol and pregnancy: the inconvenient truth

[Limited number of free articles per month] When I was pregnant with my first child in the summer of 2010, I toasted the start of my maternity leave with a cold glass of Prosecco in the beer garden of my local pub | Telegraph, UK

US regulator adds to confusion around heated tobacco products

The emergence of new consumer tobacco and nicotine products, notably electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products has produced controversy and confusion. This is partly because the two products are often conflated, not least by Philip Morris International, the world’s largest tobacco company | BMJ Editorial, USA

The Double Standards of Cannabis and Nicotine

The principal benefit of recreational cannabis, as the name implies, is recreation. Many who enjoy using the substance do so solely because of the pleasure they derive from it | CEI, USA