Daily news - 21st September 2020

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UK news

Glasgow drug users and MP hail ‘lifesaving’ van that defies UK law

Former addict praised for setting up safe space for injecting in city dubbed Europe’s drug deaths capital | Guardian, UK

MPs demand 'shooting galleries' where addicts can inject drugs legally

EXCLUSIVE: Drug consumption rooms are already used in Europe and have been hailed as reducing drug deaths and HIV - but critics fear bringing them to UK towns and cities will discourage users from kicking the habit | Mirror, UK

Smokers urged to join 'Stoptober' as quitting rate in England rises

The proportion of people who have successfully quit smoking this year is at its highest in more than a decade, new figures show | Guardian, UK

Drug and alcohol education

The PSHE Association drug and alcohol schemes of work for key stages 1-4 have been developed for Public Health England. This pack includes lesson plans and resources for each key stage — with knowledge organisers included — as well as a comprehensive teacher guidance document, and a briefing on the evidence base underpinning effective drug and alcohol education | PSHE, UK

Declared funding and authorship by alcohol industry actors in the scientific literature: a bibliometric study

[Open access] We aimed to investigate the extent and type of scientific research 1918–2019 which was supported by the alcohol industry, including alcohol companies themselves and other organizations, such as trade associations | EJPH, UK

Lockdown accelerates growth of no- and low-alcohol category

There has been an “accelerated desire” by consumers for no- and low-alcohol drinks in lockdown, according to beer sommelier Annabel Smith | Talking Retail, UK

Listings of cannabis-related businesses

In response to queries from cannabis-related companies interested in listing in the UK, the FCA is today setting out its approach to assessing these applications. This is pending a guidance consultation which will follow in due course | FCA, UK

Hannah Deacon on the medical cannabis gap: 'Matt Hancock should hang his head in shame'

[Limited number of free articles per week] The mother of Alfie Dingley expresses solidarity with exasperated parents who are unable to get an NHS prescription for their children | Telegraph, UK

NHS waiting lists for people trying to come off heroin reaches six months

Figures seen by The Irish News for September show that 76 people struggling with addiction are facing delays of 29 weeks in the Belfast trust to get onto a specialist programme | Irish News, UK

20/97 Evaluation of the roll out and uptake of ASSIST-Lite: Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Tool

The Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme is accepting stage 2 applications to this call | NIHR, UK

Problem-solving courts pilot announced

The MoJ acknowledges that many offenders’ behaviour ‘is linked to substance misuse and other complex needs’ (para 168, page 54 - A smarter approach to sentencing). The pilot courts would be based on similar courts in New York with regular reviews of a case by the same judge to ensure an offender engages with the treatment and other support services put in place to divert them from committing further crimes | LAG, UK

Exploring smokers' experiences of using e-cigarettes - study recruitment

We are currently recruiting for a new study funded by Public Health England. We require current smokers to switch from smoking cigarettes to using an e-cigarette (provided by us) for one week. You will be asked to complete some online surveys before, during, and after the vaping week. We will also ask you some follow-up questions one week later | University of Bristol, UK

New tactics against 'county lines' are working, say police

Exclusive: worst-affected county force aims to eliminate drug gangs’ business model | Guardian, UK

'They see us as heavy-drinking nuisances': students face Covid marshals

Patrols in cities and campuses aim to stop mass gatherings that flout pandemic regulations | Guardian, UK

Firms could test office staff for Class A drugs in bid to stamp out cocaine use

The Government is set to look at the nationwide implementation of proposals by Tory London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey, who aims to blitz coke use in the capital | The Sun, UK

MPs and top police officers urge Government to clampdown on unregulated 'bail hostels' 

[Limited number of free articles per week] Telegraph probe finds thousands of ex-offenders and vulnerable people are being housed in “unlicensed hostels” by “criminal landlords” | Telegraph, UK

Bestival death: Ceon Broughton will not face retrial

A man who gave his girlfriend drugs at a music festival and filmed her as she died will not face a retrial after his manslaughter conviction was overturned | BBC, UK

Royal Navy seize £81m of cocaine in triple drugs bust

A Royal Navy task group has landed a triple blow to drugs traffickers in the Caribbean after seizing cocaine that would be worth an estimated £81m on Britain’s streets | Royal Navy, UK

NCA investigation keeps £120m Class A drugs haul off UK streets

A massive haul of potentially deadly Class A drugs has been stopped from hitting UK streets after an international operation led by the National Crime Agency | NCA, UK

Police claim ‘complete takedown’ of major Albanian drug traffickers

Takedown said to be the biggest bust of an Albanian-led drug cartel in history | Independent, UK

Three jailed for roles in £58m Hunsdon drug smuggling ring based

Cocaine and heroin were shipped from Holland in 39 deliveries to a business unit on a farm in Hertfordshire, St Albans Crown Court heard | BBC, UK

Drug trafficker who ran into North Sea jailed for more than five years

A drug trafficker who ran into the North Sea in a bid to evade police has been jailed for more than five years after he was caught with heroin | BBC, UK


International news

Drink, doctors and medications. Alcohol Treatment Matrix row 3

Key studies on the treatment of alcohol dependence in a medical context or involving medical care. The evidence challenges us to place medications in the context of the practitioners delivering them, managements and organisations which shape the therapeutic environment, and the local treatment system’s preparatory, supportive and follow-on care | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

The impact of banning alcohol during Covid-19

Some countries have experimented with alcohol prohibition during the pandemic to keep hospitals emptier. What was the impact? | BBC, UK

Hong Kong’s first CBD cafe opens its doors to customers

Cannabis may be illegal in Hong Kong, but a new cafe is offering a range of food and drinks that contain parts of the cannabis plant without breaking any local laws | Associated Press, UK

Potent drug supply drop, not domestic drug policies, likely behind 2018 OD death downturn

The slight decline in drug overdose deaths in 2018 coincides with Chinese regulations on the powerful opioid carfentanil, rather than the result of domestic U.S. efforts to curb the epidemic, a new analysis reveals. What many - including President Donald Trump - perceived as a decline in overdose deaths in 2018, appears to be a return to the historic exponential curve | Science Daily, USA

Assessment of Opioid Prescribing Patterns in a Large Network of US Community Health Centers, 2009 to 2018

In this cross-sectional study of 3 227 459 opioid prescriptions abstracted from electronic health records of patients treated at a network of community health centers between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2018, the number of prescriptions per 100 primary care patients decreased 73.7% from 110.8 in 2009 to 29.1 in 2018. Other metrics of opioid use decreased to a similar degree | JAMA Network, USA

Substance use disorders linked to COVID-19 susceptibility

A National Institutes of Health-funded study found that people with substance use disorders (SUDs) are more susceptible to COVID-19 and its complications | NIH, USA

Q&A: COVID-19 pandemic shows signs of affecting alcohol addictions

Less social interaction, increased isolation and more daily life stressors are just some of the challenges people face while going about their daily lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. For people who are also dealing with addictions to alcohol, these sudden life changes also make it challenging to cope with their addictions | Medical Xpress, USA

Cannabis Consumption Surges During Pandemic As Sleep Issues And Anxieties Mount, Says New Poll

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a nearly double-digit increase in cannabis consumption among users as well as a "massive, lasting uptick" in those turning to cannabis delivery services to deal with sleep issues and rising anxieties | Forbes, USA

Effect of 2 Integrated Interventions on Alcohol Abstinence and Viral Suppression Among Vietnamese Adults With Hazardous Alcohol Use and HIV

In this 3-group randomized clinical trial involving 440 participants, the combined intervention and brief intervention, which both incorporated motivational enhancement therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, significantly increased the percentage of days abstinent from alcohol at 12 months compared with the standard of care | JAMA Network, USA

Why The Next Government Needs To Address Drug Related Incarceration In Singapore

This GE, political candidates have been addressing issues of mainstream concern: salvaging the economy, immigration laws, and even minority struggles. But there is one issue that politicians always shy away from: drugs | RICE, USA

Indian Law on advertisement of brand extensions of alcohol and tobacco products and how it poised to become tougher

India’s Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) recently put out an advisory for private satellite TV channels to ensure that liquor, tobacco and other intoxicants are not advertised directly or indirectly on their channels in violation of existing law | Lexology, USA

CCSA to Lead Update of Canada’s Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines

The 20-month initiative is being led by CCSA with funding support from Health Canada and will involve key scientific experts, researchers and knowledge mobilization specialists, and representatives from federal, provincial and territorial governments and national organizations | CCSA, Canada

Global drug market shifts during the COVID-19 pandemic

How have illegal drug markets adapted to the emergence of COVID-19 and social/mobility restrictions imposed across many nations? | NDARC, Australia

New Zealand's largest ever medicinal cannabis crop gets the go-ahead in Marlborough

Puro received the license allowing it to commercially cultivate 90,000 plants for medical use from the Ministry of Health on Thursday | TVNZ, New Zealand

Q+A debate: Should cannabis be legalised?

New Zealanders are set to vote in the upcoming referendum on whether or not they support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill | TVNZ, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Leslie Iversen obituary

Neuropharmacologist who searched for new gateways for drugs to treat the brain and mind | Guardian, UK

Ian Hamilton: Drug testing employees—shame is never a successful way to solve complex social ills

Ensuring that people who have problems with drug misuse receive the help they need should be our priority, not catching them out by crudely applied drug testing, says Ian Hamilton | BMJ Opinion, UK

Don’t Ban Smoke-Free Nicotine Products Like The IQOS Heat-Not-Burn System and E-Cigarettes

When Philip Morris International (PMI) reacted to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of a modified risk tobacco product marketing order for its proprietary IQOS heat-not-burn product, it heralded it as a broader public health victory | Inside Sources, UK

In these sobering times, don’t lecture us on booze

[Limited number of free articles per week] The week has brought non-stop doom and gloom from would-be prohibitionists | Telegraph, UK

Calorie labels on alcohol are long overdue – but lay off pregnant women

[Limited number of free articles per week] Authorities have picked the wrong target in their campaign to convey an inconvenient truth: that alcohol is bad for our bodies | Telegraph, UK

Fighting drug trafficking in the Golden Triangle: a UN Resident Coordinator blog

Drug trafficking has long been a problem in the Golden Triangle, the region where Thailand’s Chiang Rai province meets Myanmar and Laos. In this blog, Gita Sabharwal, UN Resident Coordinator in Thailand, and Jeremy Douglas, who represents the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, explain how the United Nations and the Thai government are working together to tackle the issue | UN, USA

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder amid COVID-19: Fewer services, potential boost in rates

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is the leading developmental disabilityin Canada. Despite its preventable nature, there is concern among FASD researchers about a potential increase in FASD prevalence rates as a result of COVID-19, in addition to the impact the pandemic is having on the community | Conversation, Canada