Daily news - 6th April 2021

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UK news

Mayor of London to examine benefits of cannabis legalisation

Exclusive: Sadiq Khan says he will set up an independent drugs commission in the capital if re-elected | Guardian, UK

‘Naloxone training a life saver in tackling overdoses’

Police officers are learning to use the medication, which can reverse an opioid overdose and save lives | STV News, UK

Scottish election 2021: Greens set out 'different approach' to drug deaths

Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater has vowed to tackle Scotland's drug deaths as part of the party's election campaign | BBC, UK

Scottish election 2021: Drugs bus activist hopes to create a fairer Scotland

Peter Krykant knows he is different from the other candidates standing for the Holyrood election in May | The Scotsman, UK

Blackpool gets seven new measures to tackle drug addiction in the resort

The figures for substance misuse in Blackpool remain a concern and are considerably higher than the national average | Lanc Live, UK

Warning after Northern Ireland young people hospitalised after vaping drug 'spice'

It is understood those affected thought they were purchasing THC or cannabis oil, but they were unknowingly supplied with and had taken the synthetic drug ‘spice’ | Belfast Live, UK

Safety and tolerability of natural and synthetic cannabinoids in adults aged over 50 years: A systematic review and meta-analysis

[Open access] Cannabinoid-based medicines (CBMs) are being used widely in the elderly. However, their safety and tolerability in older adults remains unclear. We aimed to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of safety and tolerability of CBMs in adults of age ≥50 years| PLOS One, UK

Government explores next steps to clean up tobacco litter in England

Ministers considering measures to make tobacco industry reduce litter caused by their products | Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Department of Health and Social Care, Rebecca Pow MP, and Jo Churchill MP, UK

Recycling: Nitrous oxide canisters littering Wales collected

Thousands of laughing gas canisters that litter Cardiff may be saved from landfill in a new recycling scheme | BBC, UK

#33 - Trauma and Stress - podcast

This week’s episode features Dr Gabor Maté, a Hungarian-Canadian physician who’s main interests include childhood development and trauma, and their impact on lifelong physical and mental health | Drug Science, UK

MDMA for Alcohol Use Disorder

In this webinar, Dr Ben Sessa explains how MDMA therapy could treat alcohol use disorder (alcoholism), based on results from his recent safety and tolerability study | Drug Science, UK

PhD addicted to research: Cannabis Use Disorder - podcast

A special episode covering the latest on Cannabis Use Disorder | SSA, UK

SSA Conference 2020: addictive behaviours and the UK Armed Forces

This session, recorded at the SSA conference in November 2020, covered addictive behaviours in relation to the UK armed forces, covering serving personnel, service leavers and their families. The session was presented by Simon Bradley and Lorna Templeton and Ian Whyte, and was chaired by Arun Dhandayudham | SSA, UK

Current List - April 2021

This is a quick summary of the main discovery for each research paper we have published, organized issue by issue. Each key finding is below the article title, with a link to the abstract | SSA, UK

Homeless people who refuse help should be forced to accept assistance, ministers told

[Limited number of free articles per week] Conservative MP Nickie Aiken highlighted the case of a woman living in an underpass with maggots growing from her leg | Telegraph, UK

Rev Richard Coles: Partner's alcoholism like 'a demon'

The Reverend David Coles died in December 2019 at Kettering General Hospital after what was initially described as "a long illness" | BBC, UK


International news

Care and control: how far should collaboration go?

Key review argues that criminal justice and treatment conducted in a criminal justice context should see themselves as partners in a common effort, but one is geared to protecting society, the other to what’s best for the patient. Resulting differences come to a head in rules about confidentiality | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Lockdown brings alarming rise in modern slavery

Sexual exploitation rose by a quarter and criminal exploitation by 42% in 2020, analysis of helpline data shows | Guardian, UK

Global dark web drug network dismantled

Suspected members of an organised crime group responsible for selling vast quantities of MDMA on the dark web have been targeted in raids across the North East and Surrey | NCA, UK

Spain drug bust: 'Speedboat smugglers' arrested

Spanish police have arrested 100 suspected gang members, accused of smuggling drugs from Morocco to Spain in speedboats | BBC, UK

How Britain's crown dependencies plan to cash in on cannabis

Just miles off the coast of the UK, Britain’s crown dependencies smell opportunity in the air | ITV, UK

New York Goes Legal: What’s Next?

New York has officially legalised adult-use cannabis, becoming the 16th state in the USA to do so. It is predicted to be the largest market on the East Coast generating $2.5 billion in annual sales by its fourth year and approximately $300 million collected in tax revenue | Volteface, UK

Senate Democrats pledge to reform marijuana laws and ‘repair the damage done by the war on drugs’

‘But at some point we’re going to move forward’ with or without Biden support, Schumer says | Independent, UK

Eight in 10 smoker parents worried about setting bad example for kids by smoking or vaping

Just under half of the 490 smokers polled say their children have now rumbled parents for their smoking or vaping habits and asked them to quit | The Sun, UK

Epidemic of opioid overdose deaths surged during pandemic

Some 88,000 people died from drug overdose deaths in 12-month period ending in August 2020, driven largely by ‘illicitly manufactured fentanyl and synthetic opioids’ | Independent, UK

Hunter Biden says he ‘smoked more parmesan cheese than anyone you know’ in depths of crack addiction

President’s son gives candid interview about drug history, relationship with brother’s widow and business dealings in Ukraine as he promotes new memoir | Independent, UK

George Floyd's girlfriend shared his opioids pain – Derek Chauvin refused to see it

Courteney Ross’s testimony showed how police departments fail in their duty to protect those who battle addiction | Guardian, UK

Hong Kong police seize record 700kg of cocaine

Authorities say collapse of travel during Covid has forced smugglers to make bulk shipments instead of using drug mules | Guardian, UK

Nathan Baggaley: Olympian tried to smuggle $150m of cocaine

An Australian Olympic kayaker and his brother have been found guilty of attempting to smuggle A$200m ($152m; £109m) of cocaine into the country | BBC, UK

Establishment of a High Level Taskforce to consider the mental health and addiction challenges of persons interacting with the criminal justice system

The establishment of the Taskforce is further to the Government’s commitment to ensure the critical mental health needs for people in prison are met, addiction treatments are provided and primary care support is available on release, in order to ensure improved outcomes for individuals and for society | Department of Justice, Ireland

'Soldiers come home with addiction problems and PTSD, but there's no real support'

More needs to be done to help veterans who previously served in the Defence Forces, the Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel has said | Journal, Ireland

New ESPAD results: teenage drinking and smoking down, but concerns over risky cannabis use and new addictive behaviours

The study, published in collaboration with the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA), is based on a 2019 survey in 35 European countries, including 25 EU Member States | ESPAD, Portugal

EMCDDA webinar: Advocacy for science-based prevention: the evidence doesn’t speak for itself

28.04.2021 — 12.00–13.30 (Lisbon time), 13.00–14.30 (CET). To raise awareness on, and interest in, the role of the European Prevention Curriculum (EUPC) in advocating for the application of science-based strategies in policy- and decision-making at local level | EMCDDA, Portugal

The Biden-Harris Administration’s Statement of Drug Policy Priorities for Year One (PDF)

The overdose and addiction crisis has taken a heartbreaking toll on far too many Americans and their families. Since 2015, overdose death numbers have risen 35 percent, reaching a historic high of 70,630 deaths in 2019 | The Whitehouse, USA

COVID-19 Questions and Answers: For People Who Use Drugs or Have Substance Use Disorder

Having a substance use disorder can make you more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19.  People who use drugs may also have underlying medical conditions that put them at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and they may have concerns and questions related to their risk | CDC, USA

Co-involvement of Opioids in Drug Overdose Deaths Involving Cocaine and Psychostimulants

From 2009 through 2019, the rate of overdose deaths involving both cocaine and opioids increased at a faster pace than the rate of overdose deaths with cocaine but no opioids | CDC, USA

Benzodiazepines up risk for nonfatal drug-related poisoning in OUD

An increased risk for nonfatal drug-related poisoning is associated with benzodiazepine treatment in patients with opioid use disorder, according to a study published online March 3 in The American Journal of Psychiatry | Medical Xpress, USA

People are buying illegal opioids on the dark web

Illegal drug sales on the dark web are common, hard to detect and are fueling America's opioid epidemic, a University of Texas study reveals | Medical Xpress, USA

Stressors of emerging adulthood, alcohol misuse, and drinking motives among young adult men and women

Emerging adulthood is a period of profound change during which young people are expected to become independent and take on increased responsibility | BASIS, USA

Interest in Quitting e-Cigarettes Among Adult e-Cigarette Users With and Without Cigarette Smoking History

Approximately 2.8% to 3.2% of US adults are current e-cigarette users, with a majority being current cigarette smokers or former cigarette smokers | JAMA Network, USA

Cost-effectiveness of a Smoking Cessation Intervention for Parents in Pediatric Primary Care

In this economic evaluation, the CEASE intervention integrated into pediatric primary care practices had an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $1132 per quit. CEASE was cost-effective at a willingness-to-pay threshold of $2000 per quit in 88.0% of simulations based on changes in parent-reported smoking prevalence | JAMA Network, USA

MNT investigates: How lung cancer stigma holds back research and treatment

The American Cancer Society estimate that about 235,760 people in the U.S. will receive a new diagnosis of lung cancer in 2021. Around 131,880 people in the country will die from the condition this year alone | MNT, USA

For 80% of Americans with resolved drug problem, significant personal achievements

Addiction is associated with social exclusion, loss of access to resources, and general disengagement from civic life | Medical Xpress, USA

Predicting who may do best with psychedelic-assisted therapy

As psychedelics gain ground as a potential therapy for mental health disorders, there remains a pressing concern that patients in clinical trials may have adverse effects to the drugs | Medical Xpress, USA

What It’s Like to Be a Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocate in Taiwan

Vaping captures headlines in the United States, where outcry over a perceived youth “epidemic” drives health misinformation and efforts to restrict products that could save smokers’ lives—with international implications | Filter Magazine, USA

Lawyers for George Floyd’s family say jurors should look past his drug use after hearing testimony about his addiction

Two lawyers for the family of George Floyd said jurors in the trial of Derek Chauvin should look beyond Mr. Floyd’s drug use after his girlfriend testified on Thursday about their shared struggles with addiction | NYTimes, USA

Inside Ibogaine, One of the Most Promising and Perilous Psychedelics for Addiction

Amber Capone had become afraid of her husband. The “laid-back, bigger than life and cooler than cool” man she’d married had become isolated, disconnected and despondent | TIME, USA

Giving the ok to ‘Stay In. Drink Up.’ What happens when the alcohol industry is in charge of alcohol marketing regulation during the COVID-19 pandemic (PDF)

Twelve months since Australia first went into lockdown, Cancer Council has released a report demonstrating how industry codes failed to protect the community from harmful alcohol advertising during the COVID-19 pandemic | Cancer Council WA, Australia

‘Dirty look is enough’: Mornington Peninsula beach smoking ban steers clear of fines

Smoking will be banned at some of Mornington Peninsula’s most popular beaches and public areas in a bid to reduce the tens of thousands of cigarette butts littering the coastline | The Age, Australia

Online vape sales 'putting children at risk'

More must be done to prevent vaping products being bought online and delivered to children, a public health expert says | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Research and the recovery movement: Science and advocacy

On Thursday the 25th of March 2021, around 200 people attended the launch of the findings from REC-PATH, the first European research study that involved a longitudinal cohort following changes in recovery wellbeing over time in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands | Recovery Pathways blog, UK

Continuing “Very Heavy Drinking” and Also Meeting An Improved Definition of Recovery?

In their 2020 Commentary published in The Journal of Addiction Medicine (a journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine aka ASAM), Kelly and Bergman state that... | Recovery Review blog, UK

Why are the UK’s drug laws so backward?

As US states pursue overdue reform, Britain remains wedded to a dogmatic and ineffective war on drugs | New Statesman, UK

Through a glass, darkly

Nick Cohen on the ill-starred but seductive love affair between writers and alcohol | The Critic, UK

CBD, marijuana and hemp: What is the difference among these cannabis products, and which are legal?

New York recently became the 15th U.S. state to legalize cannabis for recreational use | Conversation, USA

Drugs could soon be decriminalised in the ACT. Here’s why that would be a positive step

In February this year, Labor backbencher Michael Pettersson introduced a private members bill to remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of some illicit drugs in the Australian Capital Territory | Conversation, Australia