Daily news - 22nd September 2020

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UK news

Covid: Pubs and restaurants in England to have 10pm closing times

All pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues in England must have a 22:00 closing time from Thursday, to help curb the spread of coronavirus | BBC, UK

So near yet so far: why won’t the UK prescribe medical cannabis?

Although cannabis-based products for medicinal use are now legal in the UK, it is still challenging for patients to gain access, and only very few National Health Service prescriptions have been written to date. This paper attempts to make sense of why the UK lags behind so many other countries which also have legalised medical cannabis | BMJ Open, UK

Quit smoking this Stoptober

Stoptober is back for 2020, with the primary aim of encouraging the nation’s smokers to make a quit attempt for the month of October and beyond.For materials that can be used all year around, please visit our smoking cessation page | PHE, UK

Surge in smokers trying to quit see increased success rates in 2020

This year’s Stoptober campaign is calling on smokers to put their lungs first and breathe easier ahead of flu season | PHE, UK

Smoking and Respiratory Disease (PDF)

Smoking cessation is one of the most effective ways to prevent respiratory diseases and also one of the most effective treatments for people who have them. This factsheet provides an overview of the harm caused by smoking and the different types of respiratory diseases | ASH, UK

Law banning smoking in front of kids in cars has never been used in court

The law was introduced four years ago but nobody in Scotland has been convicted | Daily Record, UK

Council banned staff from smoking at their desks at home

[Limited number of free articles per month] Hammersmith and Fulham council told staff 'any part of a private dwelling used solely for work purposes will be required to be smoke-free' | Telegraph, UK

Senior/experienced representatives from the UK voluntary and charity sector (Ref - PHRPC/20/04)

This opportunity is for current UK voluntary/charity sector employees working at a senior level and/or with a breadth of experience and knowledge of UK public health issues. The PHR programme funds approximately £13m of UK based Public Health research every year. It is keen to fund research that is of importance and relevance to Public Health practice | NIHR, UK

SHAAP/IAS ‘Men and Alcohol: Key Issues' report launch, September 2020 - video

'Men and Alcohol: Key Issues' - Watch the video of the launch of SHAAP and IAS's (Institute of Alcohol Studies) report on the Men and Alcohol seminar series (2019/20) which includes recommendations for research, policy and practice, held over Zoom on 9 September 2020 | SHAAP, UK

SUAB Webinar: Why don't they just stop using drugs then? with Andrew Bennet

Wed, 14 October 2020. 13:00 – 14:00 BST. Making the case for trauma and ACE informed substance use services | SUAB, UK

Seeing Green. A Film About Perspective, Family And Weed

CLEAR is proud to present a new campaign film, in partnership with the filmmaker Tom McNie, whose work paints a portrait of cannabis use among ordinary British families, in ordinary British households up and down the country | CLEAR, UK

Downing Street to spearhead gambling reforms, say insiders

It is understood the PM and top adviser Dominic Cummings both want action | Guardian, UK

Prisoners produce more than 600 pints of 'hooch' as they are forced into lockdown

[Limited number of free articles per month] Prisoners at a 'troubled' jail turned to illegal distilling as they were locked down for more than 20 hours a day | Telegraph, UK

Deemster warns of 'ridiculous' levels of cannabis being sent to Isle of Man

A "ridiculous" amount of cannabis is being illegally imported to the Isle of Man and a "message needs to be sent" that those involved will be jailed, a judge has said | BBC, UK


International news

'I picked up a drink and casually set fire to my life': how addiction nearly destroyed me

Find a job, lose the job, go to jail: Guardian reporter Mario Koran found himself in a dangerous cycle. But behind bars, he discovered a new purpose | Guardian, UK

Drug trafficker tunnels out of Indonesian jail through sewers

Prisoner under death sentence dug hole from cell in Jakarta into waste pipes to road outside | Guardian, UK

Burning Issues: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2020

Official Launch Event - Wednesday 4th November 2020 from 10:00am GMT / 12:00pm CAT, to 15:30 GMT / 17:30 CAT, with live- streaming from London, UK and Lilongwe, Malawi. GSTHR Executive Editor Harry Shapiro (UK) and Project Director Professor Gerry Stimson (UK) will introduce the report with a host of guest speakers from across the world | GSTHR, UK

European Drug Report 2020 - register to watch launch live

Sign up to watch at 10.00 (Lisbon) – 11.00 (CET) on 22.09.2020 | EMCDDA, Portugal

Cannabinoids decrease the metabolism of glucose in the brain

This reduction leads to deficiencies in social interaction | EurekAlert, Spain

Sweden just raised taxes on alcohol – to fund its defence

The sale and tax of alcohol is strictly regulated in Sweden, with beverages over an alcohol content of 3.5 percent only available to buy from state-owned monopoly Systembolaget | The Local, Sweden

Prof Gerry Stimson on India's e-cigarette ban - video

Professor Gerry Stimson is a British public health social scientist, emeritus professor at Imperial College London from 2014, and an honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine from 2017 | Association of Vapers India, India

Prof David Sweanor on India's e-cigarette ban - video

Professor David Sweanor is an adjunct professor of law at the University of Ottawa. He has spearheaded the development of world-leading tobacco control initiatives both in Canada and globally since the early 1980s, first as counsel to the Canadian Non-Smokers’ Rights Association and then as an independent consultant, academic, adviser and fund | Association of Vapers India, India

Emergency room experienced a surge in opioid overdoses during pandemic

In a paper published Friday by the Journal of the American Medical Association, Virginia Commonwealth University researchers released data showing an alarming surge in opioid-related overdoses during the COVID-19 pandemic | Medical Xpress, USA

College students with disabilities at greater risk for substance abuse

College students with physical and cognitive disabilities use illicit drugs more, and have a higher prevalence of drug use disorder, than their non-disabled peers, according to a Rutgers study | Medical Xpress, USA

Declaring the vape industry illegal will only drive it underground

Amid all the bad news of the COVID-19 pandemic, one bright spot was the relative resilience of young people. Then came a survey of more than 4,000 people aged 13 to 24 conducted in May: Users of e-cigarettes were five times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 than non-users | The Hill, USA

North Hills School District sues Juul, contending e-cigarette company targets young people

The North Hills School District on Monday became the latest in the Pittsburgh area to file a federal lawsuit against Juul, alleging the e-cigarette maker purposely targeted its products to young people, forcing the district to reallocate resources to battle what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has called an “epidemic.” | Trib Live, USA

Stevanato and Bexson Biomedical to develop a customised wearable ketamine delivery device

Stevanato Group, a leading producer of glass primary packaging and provider of integrated capabilities for drug delivery systems, and Bexson Biomedical, a research stage company developing a subcutaneous ketamine treatment platform for pain management and mental health disorders, have signed an agreement | Manufacturing Chemist, USA

A Record Means Discrimination—But National Expungement Week Is Here

For Mauro Melgar, record expungement is not just an abstract policy, it’s something that has had a profound impact on his life | Filter Magazine, USA

Impacts of COVID-19 and associated restrictions on people who use illicit stimulants in New South Wales: Findings from the Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on travel and gathering have likely had major impacts on drug supply, use and harms and there have been significant challenges with delivery of drug treatment and harm reduction services | NDARC, Australia

Patients prefer medicinal cannabis in chemotherapy trial

Medicinal cannabis has been shown to make a difference for cancer patients to relieve the side-effects of chemotherapy | 9 News, Australia

TGA audit finds some medical cannabis products do not match potency claims

Almost a quarter of 22 medical cannabis products tested by the Therapeutic Goods Administration failed to comply with required standards, data has revealed | Cannabiz, Australia

Kiwis Comfortable With Alcohol On Social Occasions

A study by the NZ Alcohol Beverages Council (NZABC) found 87% of New Zealanders say adults should be able to enjoy alcohol as part of a social occasion – and 76% of non-drinkers agreed with this | Scoop, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

A Shameful Affair - Chief Exec Blog on the harmful effects of stigma

Two weeks ago the UK Government published its response to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee report into Problem Drug Use in Scotland. The response has been received with criticism both sides of the border for refusing every one of the Committees asks | Phoenix Futures, UK

Ecstasy users are more empathetic than those who take other drugs – even when not on it

If you’ve ever seen someone in a club on MDMA, it may not surprise you to hear it’s linked to a heightened ability to share other people’s feelings and emotions. Yet in our new study, we found that even when the effects have faded, mild MDMA users showed greater empathy than people who use other common recreational drugs, such as cannabis, cocaine and ketamine | Conversation, UK

Portman Group research shows Brits moderated their drinking while in national lockdown

Since lockdown measures were first imposed back in March, we at the Portman Group have been eager to see how extended isolation and social distancing has impacted the drinking habits of people across the UK. Looking to gain a developed insight, we worked with YouGov and commissioned our first poll to look at a baseline for weekly drinking and the changes that followed during lockdown | Portman Group blog, UK

Current drug policy is failing, it’s time we treat addiction as a health issue instead of a criminal justice one

While we continue to isolate and stigmatise drug use the problem will only get worse. We need to reform the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act and introduce safe drug consumption rooms | Politics Home, UK

It is time to recognise that drug policies are fuelling exploitation and slavery

On 10 September 2020, we organised a webinar to discuss the interactions between drug policies and the trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable people | Anyone's child blog, UK

Why are police still charging youth with simple drug possession? The case for decriminalisation in Canada

Young people stopped by police while carrying drugs for personal use often swallow the substance to avoid additional charges, with potentially life-threatening consequences. Assistant Professor and Pediatric Emergency Physician Dr Kirstin Weerdenburg, and Kristyn Anderson, a Clinical Social Worker and PhD student, both of Dalhousie University, believe police discretion and decriminalisation are the way forward | Policing Insight, Canada