Daily news - 23rd September 2020

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UK news

Public Attitudes to Minimum Unit Pricing in Scotland

Public Health Scotland today published an analysis of responses to relevant questions in the 2013, 2015 and 2019 Scottish Social Attitude Surveys (SSAS), which asked a representative sample of the Scottish adult population about their attitudes to Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) | Public Health Scotland, UK

‘Almost half of Scots in favour of minimum unit pricing’

Alcohol sales dropped by 5% since the implementation of the policy in 2018 | STV, UK

Drug van ‘a safe space away from filthy and dangerous alley’

The man behind the drug consumption van says he will continue operating the service despite risk of prosecution | STV, UK

Coronavirus: How are pubs keeping customers safe?

Pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants in England are to shut no later than 22:00 each evening as part of measures to try to halt the spread of Covid-19 | BBC, UK

Coronavirus: Alcohol-only pubs can reopen in Northern Ireland

About 600 drink-only bars in Northern Ireland can reopen their doors from Wednesday for the first time since March | BBC, UK

Labour MPs Demand the Decriminalisation of Drug Possession

The party's drug policy reform group wants a 'new approach' to the war on drugs, including a possible legalised cannabis market in Britain | VICE, UK

Does mixing drinks, your age or quantity and type of alcohol make for a worse hangover?

Our recent research shows that the amount of alcohol you consume, the alcoholic drink type you consume, and whether you mix your alcoholic drink types may all contribute to the severity of hangover you experience | SSA, USA

Behind The Scenes | Health & Harm Reduction - webinar

 24th September, 2020 at 9:30am. Find out about health and harm reduction support provided in BDP's Health & Harm Reduction Centre and outreach projects.  We will also explore the support and resources of our nursing team and the varied support they offer, including Blood-Borne virus infections and testing | BDP, UK

SDF and The Drug Deaths Taskforce: Benzos - What’s happening? - webinar

Fri, Oct 2, 2020 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM BST. Scottish Drugs Forum, with the Scottish Drugs Death Task Force, present two webinar events on the use of illicit benzodiazepines; the link with fatal drug overdoses; and means to address the challenge of benzodiazepine use in Scotland | SDF, UK

Two charged over £750,000 hotel drugs seizure in Buckie

Two men have been charged after cannabis with a potential street value of more than £750,000 was seized at a hotel in Moray | BBC, UK


International news

UK had highest number of young cocaine users in Europe last year – report

EU drugs agency says availability of cocaine in Europe is at its highest | Guardian, UK

29. International Drug Policy with Steve Rolles - podcast

In 1971, the war on drugs went international when the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances was signed into international law. This Convention broadened the scope of previous UN drug legislation, facilitating the prohibition of almost any drug imaginable at the time | Drug Science, UK

FinCEN: Why gold in your phone could be funding drug gangs

A gold refiner that was used by criminals to launder drug money has been allowed to sell gold into global supply chains used to make smartphones and cars | BBC, UK

€245,000 worth of cocaine seized at Dublin Airport

The three people, all aged in their 20s, had ingested around 280 pellets of cocaine (pending analysis). They were arrested and taken to Ballymun Garda Station | RTe, Ireland

European Drug Report 2020: Trends and Developments

This report provides a comprehensive analysis of patterns emerging across Europe in the areas of drug supply, illicit drug use and associated public health problems. National data sets are also provided across these themes and on key harm-reduction interventions. The report is available in English with a summary of a selection of the main findings available in 24 languages in the accompanying Key Issues publication | EMCDDA, Portugal

European Drug Report 2020: Key Issues

This report, available in 24 languages, presents a summary of some the main findings of the 'European Drug Report 2020: Trends and Developments the EMCDDA’s latest analysis of the drug situation in Europe. The issues selected here have been chosen for their policy relevance and general interest | EMCCDA, Portugal

Statistical Bulletin 2020

The annual Statistical Bulletin contains the most recent available data on the drug situation in Europe provided by the Member States | EMCCDA, Portugal

Launch of the 2020 European Drug Report: speech by Commissioner Ylva Johansson - video

High availability across all drug types, drug production within Europe and highly potent substances are among the concerns addressed today by the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) in its European Drug Report 2020: Trends and Developments. In its latest annual review — marking 25 years of monitoring — the agency describes the drug situation at the end of 2019, along with recent changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 | EMCDDA, Portugal

Tobacco responsible for 20% of deaths from coronary heart disease

Every year, 1.9 million people die from tobacco-induced heart disease, according to a new brief released today by the World Health Organization, World Heart Federation and the University of Newcastle Australia ahead of World Heart Day, marked on 29 September | WHO, Switzerland

Tripping over the other: Could psychedelics increase empathy?

There is increasing evidence that psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is effective for a range of psychological conditions. There are likely numerous mechanisms of action that contribute to these clinical effects. One such mechanism of action might involve psychedelics increasing levels of empathic functioning. This paper synthesises research concerning the relationship between psychedelics and empathy, emphasising neuroscientific and clinical contexts | Journal of Psychedelic Studies, Hungary

Ann Arbor OKs move to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms, plants

Magic mushrooms and other psychedelic plants and fungi are now effectively decriminalized in Ann Arbor, at least in terms of city police enforcement priority | mlive, USA

The “Date-Rape Drug” Narrative Has Been Weaponized Against GHB Users

Wait…” my therapist reacted during our weekly FaceTime session. I had just mentioned my nightly routine of throwing back a seltzer flavored by my drug of choice, GHB. Stuck inside more than ever before, my roommates have instead opted for weed or beer, as we all try to relax after being cooped up all day with the world around us indelibly transformed | Filter magazine, USA

Canadians Are Buying Way More Weed During the Pandemic

Spending went up $79 million in the months after lockdown orders took place | VICE, Canada

Access to nicotine-containing e-cigarettes

Today the TGA announced an interim decision that, if made final, would clarify the regulation of e-cigarettes containing nicotine, and nicotine fluids for vaping. The proposed changes would mean that certain nicotine containing products could only be supplied with a doctor's prescription | Australian Government Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Drugs Even More Available Across Europe

EMCDDA annual report highlights fears about innovative drug distribution models developed during lockdown and the impact of COVID-19 | Russell Webster, UK

Expansion of all quality treatment is needed to address Scotland’s drug crises

In this blog post, Scottish Drugs Forum’s CEO, David Liddell, writes on our public health crises and the role of treatment within them | SDF blog, UK

Could prioritising alcohol harm prevention and support establish positive lockdown legacy, asks Drinkaware?

From the start of lockdown, when it was reported that alcohol sales had jumped 22% and supermarket shelves were being left bare, Drinkaware expressed concern for people for whom alcohol is – or could be – an issue. Not only drinkers, but also those impacted by someone else’s drinking, such as the children of alcohol-dependent parents or victims of abuse where alcohol is involved | Drinkaware blog, UK

How my dad’s drinking impacted my life

An estimated 308,000 children currently live with at least one adult who
drinks at a high risk level in England. According to evidence presented to the Commission on Alcohol Harm, this can have a devastating impact on the whole family. In this blog, Ruth* shares what it was like for her growing up with a parent with an alcohol addiction | AHA UK blog, UK

Working towards fair, humanised policy on drugs with ENCOD

MCN speaks to Maja Kohek of the European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies about education, policy and harm reduction | MCN, UK