Daily news - 24th September 2020

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UK news

UK regulator strengthens opioid warnings

Stronger warnings about the risk of dependence and addiction to be added to the patient information leaflet and discussed with patients | MHRA, UK

Opioids: risk of dependence and addiction

New recommendations following a review of the risks of dependence and addiction associated with prolonged use of opioid medicines (opioids) for non-cancer pain. Before prescribing opioids, discuss with the patient the risks and features of tolerance, dependence, and addiction, and agree together a treatment strategy and plan for end of treatment | MHRA, UK

Addictions: Public Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has for public health addictions policies and strategies following the merger of Public Health England with NHS Test and Trace and the Joint Biosecurity Centre. Answer: The Government will continue its focus on health improvement and preventing ill-health, with support from the expert teams who currently sit in Public Health England (PHE), who will continue with their excellent work. We are not envisaging any changes to where responsibilities such as drugs, alcohol, gambling and sexual health will sit until spring 2021... | They work for you, UK

Recommendations from the Labour Campaign for Drug Policy Reform (LCDPR) (PDF)

Over 700 people attended meetings in cities around the UK, and at the 2019 Labour Party Conference. The campaign also received 22 online submissions from members of the public and third sector organisations. These contributions have been collated and analysed by the LCDPR Expert Working Group (EWG) who are providing the advice [in this repprt], based on the themes and recommendations emerging from the consultation | LCDPR, UK

Rural Matters

This project aimed to learn about the cultural and social context of drinking in rural areas and barriers to accessing services in rural Scotland. A literature review was undertaken, and five community consultations and 25 semi-structured interviews were conducted... Based on evidence from this research, recommendations have been developed for research, policy and practice, in order to prevent alcohol harms and improve support | SHAAP, UK

Proposed changes to how smoking-attributable risk is calculated

Current calculations for smoking-attributable risks are based on a single study from 1982 to 1988. In this document we propose a new calculation and data source. This consultation closes at 11:59pm on 2 November 2020 | PHE, UK

Coronavirus: Alcohol-only pubs reopen in Northern Ireland

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

Passenger purchases of alcohol and tobacco

This note sets out the rules regarding the tax treatment of alcohol and tobacco purchases made by passengers, and sets out proposals the Government has published for reforming these rules in the context of Brexit, and the UK’s departure from the EU single market | UK Parliament, UK

Cannabis Resource

This in-depth booklet covers different types of cannabis products, routes of administration, dealing with the munchies and much more | CREW, UK

Portman’s new chair sets sights on building membership and advancing thought leadership

Philip Rycroft, the new chair at Portman Group, used his first interview in his new role to outline his vision for expanding the reach and success of the industry regulatory body | Harpers, UK

First Recovery College online summit

To mark national Recovery Month this September, the Recovery College is holding its first ever virtual summit on Friday 25 September from 12noon to 4pm, and it is open for people who work/ volunteer in or have lived experience of addiction and recovery services | NHS Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber, UK

Ten police officers suffer corrosive substance burns during drugs raid

[Limited number of free articles per month] The injured police had been taking part in a drugs raid in north London when the incident occurred | Telegraph, UK

Lockdown sees rise in Belmarsh prisoners receiving drug contaminated letters

[Limited number of free articles per month] Though guards managed to stop 42 contaminated letters entering the prison, packages which contained cannabis, and its synthetic equivalent spice, were flagged as a problem by the report by the Independent Monitoring Board | Telegraph, UK

Tonne of cocaine found hidden in fruit at the Port of Dover

About a tonne of cocaine with a street value of approximately £100m has been found hidden in a shipment of fruit | BBC, UK

Drugs smugglers in Jersey jailed for £900k haul

Border agents intercepted a 37ft yacht carrying cannabis, MDMA and cocaine off the coast of the island last June | BBC, UK

Talking Horses: mystery of cocaine horse set to remain unsolved

Phoenix Thoroughbreds claimed drug would not have affected Walk In The Sun’s performance but panel says it is ‘pointless’ speculating how it got there | Guardian, UK


International news

Drugs and Alcohol Today: Volume 20 Issue 3

Special Issue: Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: lessons learned on harm reduction and public health. All articles open access | Emerald Insight, UK

The placebo effect *is* the main active ingredient

A highlight from Alcohol Treatment Matrix row 3. In the first cell of the row we learnt that it’s not primarily the active ingredients of medications which help patients, but the supposedly inactive ‘packaging’ in the form of taking a pill and the credibility, engagement, contact, and treatment context that goes with it. Learn how to make the most of this powerful influence | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Taking Back What's Ours! A documented history of the movement of people who use drugs

From July through September 2020, as part of HIV2020 Online, INPUD and Rights Reporter Foundation released an original ten-part film series - Taking Back What's Ours! An oral history of the movement of people who use drugs - featuring the stories, histories and reflections of drug user advocates around the world | INPUD, UK

Dark web drugs raid leads to 179 arrests

Police forces around the world have seized more than $6.5m (£5m) in cash and virtual currencies, as well as drugs and guns in a co-ordinated raid on dark web marketplaces | BBC, UK

E-cigarettes to become available as prescription-only items in Australia from June 2021

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has announced an interim decision to reclassify nicotine as a prescription-only medication | Guardian, UK

Mexico's drug war leaves 39,000 unidentified bodies in its morgues

Investigation by Quinto Elemento Labs finds alarming number of people buried in common graves | Guardian, UK

Duterte Labels Drug War Critics Malevolent Predators Who "Ooze Blood”

The President of the Philippines used his inaugural United Nations speech to lash out at human rights campaigners who are in the line of fire in the country's war on drugs | VICE, UK

Self-Reported Alcohol, Tobacco, and Cannabis Use during COVID-19 Lockdown Measures: Results from a Web-Based Survey

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) has led to measures of social distancing and quarantine worldwide. This stressful period may lead to psychological problems, including increases in substance use | Eur Addict Res, Switzerland

EUSPR 2020 Award nominations

Nominations for 2020 EUSPR awards are now open. The closing data for nomination is Wednesday 30th September at 1pm, UK time. This is an important opportunity for EUSPR members to recognise individuals who have made an important contribution to Prevention Science | EUSPR, Spain

COVID-19 Guidance and resource update

These materials have been updated as of September 18, 2020 | ASAM, USA

New report shows impact of Connecticut overdose tracking program fighting opioid epidemic

A new report shows the strong impact Connecticut's Statewide Opioid Reporting Directive (SWORD) is having in its first year of tracking opioid overdoses | Medical Xpress, USA

Are video games another marketing tool for the tobacco industry?

Since their conception, video games have become increasingly popular. So it makes sense that video games make an attractive medium for companies to promote their brands. But what about harmful products, like tobacco products? Have tobacco companies used video games for promotion? | BASIS, USA

Suboxone Is Now a Drug of Choice for Some in Philly. That’s No Bad Thing

John (not his real name) was a regular on the Avenue. A biracial man in his late 20s, he was one of a handful of unhoused people who sleep on cardboard boxes and use drugs in the shadow of the Constitution Medical Plaza in South Philly | Filter Magazine, USA

Taxes on liquid-type e-cigarettes to be doubled in S. Korea from next year

Liquid-type e-cigarettes are expected to become more expensive in South Korea from next year as the government seeks to double the special tax on the type due to fairness issues | Pulse News, South Korea

The long-term effect of the NSW Drug Court on recidivism

The current study extends an earlier evaluation of the NSW Drug Court undertaken by Weatherburn et al. (2008). It aims to assess whether the Drug Court has any long-term positive effect on re-offending | BOSCAR, Australia

Five young men died from rare synthetic drug cocktail, coroner told

Five young men who died within months of each other were found to have mistakenly consumed a cocktail of synthetic drugs that caused them to act bizarrely, with one falling from a CBD balcony and another suffering a heart attack after running into windows and walls | The Age, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Declaring all alcohol consumption during pregnancy: is the proposed guidance evidence-based?

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has proposed a new mandatory policy whereby all alcohol consumed by pregnant persons will be recorded, including any alcohol consumed before becoming aware of the pregnancy | University of Liverpool, Addiction Research, UK

Commentary on Raitasalo et al. (2020): Looking beyond the borders—what else is driving the decline in adolescent alcohol consumption?

Raitasalo and colleagues have provided new insights into the ongoing investigations of declining youth drinking by conducting a robust cross‐national analysis among countries with similar drinking cultures and political environments. They found that reductions in the perceived availability of alcohol and daily smoking, along with increases in parental control were associated with the decline in heavy episodic drinking (HED) across Finland, Norway and Sweden between 1999 and 2015 | Addiction commentary, UK

New Jersey needs every day to be Free Naloxone Day | Opinion

September 24 kicks off New Jersey’s second annual Free Naloxone Day when pharmacies across the state will give away doses of the opioid overdose reversal medicine commonly known as “Narcan.” | NJ.com, USA

The missing question from New Zealand’s cannabis debate: what about personal freedom and individual rights?

Much of the debate on New Zealand’s referendum on recreational cannabis legalisation has focused on health, the economy, criminal justice and the uncertainties about the impact on youth and adult use | Conversation, New Zealand