Daily news - 30th September 2020

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UK news

Scottish Health Survey 2019 - volume 1: main report

The Scottish Health Survey 2019 main report presents statistics on general health, cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, smoking, physical activity, alcohol, mental wellbeing, diet, obesity, dental health and Adverse Childhood Experiences | Scottish Government, UK

Alcohol brief interventions

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) presents the number of Alcohol Brief Interventions (ABIs) delivered in Scotland in 2019/20. ABIs are short discussions which aim to help individuals reduce their drinking to within sensible guidelines | ISD Scotland, UK

National drug and alcohol treatment waiting times

Between April and June 2020, 95.3% of the 7,195 people who started their first drug or alcohol treatment waited 3 weeks or less, an increase from the same quarter in the previous year (93.4%), which may be in part attributable to a fall in the number of completed waits during the quarter (10,560 in April to June 2019) | ISD Scotland, UK

Ten Minute Rule Motion: Problem Drug Use - Tommy Sheppard MP - 29 Sep 20 - video

Tommy Sheppard MP delivers his Ten Minute Rule Bill in Parliament on current UK drug policy and legislation. Second reading has been approved for 13th Nov 2020 | SDF, UK

Press Release: Scottish National Party MP Leads Cross-Party Effort To Tackle Drug Crisis

[On the 29th September] the SNP’s Tommy Sheppard introduced a Bill in Parliament which seeks to declare problem drug use a public health emergency, and which ramps up pressure on the UK government to take urgent steps to address the crisis – including backing the SNP’s long-standing calls to allow for safe drug consumption facilities | Talking Drugs, UK

Smoking and obesity identified to have causal link with susceptibility to severe COVID-19 and sepsis

An international collaboration of scientists from the UK, Norway and the USA have identified genetic evidence supporting a causal effect of smoking and obesity on increasing susceptibility to severe COVID-19 and sepsis | St Georges University of London, UK

Scotland and COVID-19: Rising Alcohol Harm and Lack of Services Fuel Vicious Cycle

In Scotland the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the long standing alcohol problem in the country. While the landmark minimum unit pricing (MUP) policy was able to drive down alcohol consumption, new data is showing that the pandemic is reversing this hard won progress. Alcohol harm is rising across the country and the deficiency in alcohol services is adding fuel to the fire | Movendi, UK

People in Wales are 'drinking less' as a result of minimum alcohol pricing

Six months on from minimum unit pricing being introduced in Wales, a charity has said that people are 'drinking less' as a result | ITV, UK

Pubs and restaurants must shut in NI at 11pm

Hospitality leaders had urged a later closing time for Northern Ireland than in the rest of the UK, where it is 22:00 | BBC, UK

Getting High Without Drugs with Dr. David Luke - podcast

Psychologist Dr David Luke, is a Senior Lecturer studying states of transpersonal consciousness. It is well known that psychedelic drugs can induce altered states of consciousness but is this approach too heavy handed to derive benefit from a transpersonal experience? | Drug Science, UK

Ecstasy: The Battle Of Rave

When Ecstasy and Acid House first swept Britain, a group of lives would be changed forever. One Story. Half real life. Half drama. Welcome to Ecstasy: The Battle Of Rave | BBC, UK

New e-learning course seeks to improve staff confidence in discussing contraception with people who use drugs

The free-to-access course, launched today by Scottish Drugs Forum, explores various methods of contraception, as well as discussing which methods may be best suited to individuals who are currently experiencing drug-related issues | SDF, UK

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

Friday 2nd October 13:00-14:15. Scotland has always had a high rate of benzodiazepine use, often in combination with other drugs...This webinar will examine the evidence from drug testing and drug-related deaths and possible responses including drug checking and education | SDF, 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

We are trying to understand how psychedelics affect human cognition - survey

You are being invited to take part in a research study organised by Imperial College London. Before you decide it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the information carefully and discuss it with others if you wish | Imperial College London, UK

Glasgow man behind Scotland's first drugs consumption room launches fundraiser in bid to expand support

Peter Krykant, who is a recovering heroin addict and former drugs worker, began operating the country's first drugs consumption room in Glasgow earlier this month - without government approval | Glasgow Times, UK

I Smuggled Liquid MDMA Hidden In Gin Bottles Onto An Island

"I knew the profit would easily pay for my Ibiza holiday and all of the summer festivals." | VICE, UK

Prison lockdown, Covid and gambling

The Forward Trust has begun research into gambling addiction in 19 UK prisons during the Covid-19 lockdown | The Psychologist, UK

Drug dealing crime group taken out in dawn raids

The suspected ringleader of a drug dealing operation and three others have been arrested in West London as part of an investigation linked to Operation Venetic | NCA, UK


International news

Comparing responses to public health and industry-funded alcohol harm reduction advertisements: an experimental study

Conduct a head-to-head experimental test of responses to alcohol harm reduction advertisements developed by alcohol industry Social Aspects/Public Relations Organisations (SAPROs) versus those developed by public health (PH) agencies | BMJ Open, UK

Binge drinking in towns and cities has increased by nearly 4 per cent since 2012 because of the 'Uber effect', study claims

The introduction of ride-sharing service Uber led to binge drinking in towns and cities increasing by 3.7 per cent before lockdown began, a study has concluded | Mail Online, UK

Vaping increases the chances of regular smoking threefold, Australian review finds

Every one of 25 existing studies examined found people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to take up ‘combustible’ smoking | Guardian, UK

Which opiate-type medication performs better: methadone or buprenorphine?

Study examines patients’ long-term criminal justice outcomes after being allocated to either methadone or buprenorphine. How well each medication can retain patients in treatment may be the ultimate distinguishing factor, but putting a limit on the duration of treatment in the first place – as in this study – may be what limits its protective effects | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Skin-cleaning among hospitalized people who inject drugs: a randomized controlled trial (PDF)

[Open access] To test the hypothesis that among hospitalized people who inject drugs (PWID), a brief intervention inskin-cleaning would result in greater reductions in follow-up emergency department (ED) or hospitalization rates com-pared with a usual care condition | Addiction, UK

United Nations Toolkit on Synthetic Drugs

[ Site visitors are required to enter a small number of details, such as name, before gaining access] The UN Toolkit on Synthetic Drugs supports the international community to implement comprehensive responses to counter the synthetic drugs problem. The content of Toolkit is organised into modules on different topics such as forensics, postal security, access to medicines, legal approaches, treatment and prevention and precursor control. New modules, tools and resources are being added to the Toolkit on a continuous basis to keep it current, beneficial and relevant | UNODC, Austria

‘The Drug Became His Friend’: Pandemic Drives Hike in Opioid Deaths

In the months since the pandemic took hold in the U.S., the opioid epidemic has taken a sharp turn for the worse. More than 40 states have seen increases in overdoses | NYTimes, USA

Over 2 decades, the FDA consistently approved new opioids based on studies lacking critical safety and efficacy data

Over the past 2 decades, data submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for new opioid approvals has lacked critical safety and efficacy information. During this timeframe, the FDA approved opioids on the basis of pivotal trials of short or intermediate duration, often in narrowly defined pain populations, excluding patients who did not tolerate the drug | Medical Xpress, USA

Is vaping really all that different? A qualitative study of recreational marijuana users’ experiences with vaping marijuana

In 2019, there was a nationwide public health crisis in the U.S. resulting from vaping-related lung injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported1 a total of 2,807 hospitalizations and sixty-eight confirmed deaths due to vaping, which was later found to be associated with an additive in vaping products called vitamin E acetate | BASIS, USA

The Importance of Drug Researchers Being Able to Disclose Their Own Use

Should drug researchers be open about their own drug use? This topic of research was decades in the making for Monica Barratt, who studies the intersections between drugs and the digital world as a senior research fellow at RMIT University in Australia | Filter magazine, USA

Life as a Criminalized Vapes Dealer in Buenos Aires

Natalia is sitting in a leather chair in the corner of her office. “I need stealth,” she says, insistently. She’s moving her hands, one over the other. It seems to relax her. She takes off her glasses and gestures to me to sit. “Do you want a maté? | Filter Magazine, USA

Family rallies to help Sophia, an orphan of the overdose crisis with rare genetic abnormality

More help is needed to get addicts into treatment, says family of young woman lost to overdose crisis | Vancouver Sun, Canada

E-cigarettes 'gateway' to smoking for non-smokers

Using e-cigarettes triples the chance of a non-smoker taking up cigarettes and there is "insufficient" evidence that they help smokers quit, according to a new report submitted to the Government | ANU, Australia

NSW Drug Court reduces risk of reconviction in the long term, new research finds

Treating drug related offenders is far more effective than sending them to prison according to new research conducted jointly by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) and the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), UNSW Sydney | NDARC, Australia

Changes made to recent opioid reforms

Annual secondary review requirements have been relaxed, easing access concerns for palliative care patients | RACGP, Australia

Illicit Drug Data Report 2018–19

In 2018–19, there were 112,474 drug seizures and 153,377 illicit drug arrests. 26.6 tonnes of illicit drugs were seized nationally with methylamphetamine remaining one of the most consumed and seized illicit drugs in Australia | ACIC, Australia

Gone in a puff: Hamilton City Council prohibits vaping in public areas

Vaping will now join smoking as a prohibited activity in public spaces in Hamilton | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Labour Must Not Turn Its Back on Drug Reform

Under the Blair government, Labour led the way on the War on Drugs. Now, with clear evidence of its devastating impact on working-class and minority communities, the party must take seriously the demands for reform | Tribune Magazine, UK

Stressful times are an opportunity to teach children resilience

Between the global COVID-19 pandemic, the associated economic downturn and widespread protests over racism, it’s difficult for everyone. Many people are struggling, consumed with anxiety and stress, finding ourselves unable to sleep or focus | Conversation, USA