Daily news - 8th April 2021

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UK news

COVID-19: guidance for commissioners and providers of services for people who use drugs or alcohol

Updated guidance to reflect current practice in services | PHE, UK

Profile of 16/17-year-old smokers Based on analysis of data from the UCL Smoking Toolkit Study and ASH Smokefree Youth Surveys (PDF)

Between 2007 and 2019, smoking prevalence in the 16/17-year-old age group fell from 23.3% to 7.8%. The population of smokers in this age group fell by 66.5% between 2007 and 2019, the biggest decline of any age group | ASH, UK

Are painkiller prescriptions out of control?

[Limited number of free articles per week] As NICE advises doctors not to prescribe painkillers for more than three months, we reveal the toll of opioid dependence in Britain | Telegraph, UK

Scotland's drugs deaths: 'I want my son’s funeral to be a drug death warning'

Three weeks ago Nathan Hadlow died after taking street Valium. He was just 20. His mum, Tracy, allowed BBC Scotland to film his funeral in the hope his death could serve as a warning to others | BBC, UK

River Rock Scotch whisky ad 'banned' for 'irresponsible' link to mountaineering

A Scots whisky company has had an "irresponsible "advertising campaign banned for linking the consumption of alcohol with mountaineering | Herald, UK

Cannabis is already being decriminalised by the back door

[Limited number of free artixles per week] Prosecutions have fallen by third in past decade, according to new figures that come as Sadiq Khan calls for review into drug’s legalisation | Telegraph, UK

Cannabis legalisation: A way to make society safer? - video

London mayor Sadiq Khan has announced an enquiry into the benefits of cannabis legalisation. This comes after New York was the latest US state to legalise the drug. Some have praised the decision, saying it is a step in the right direction, while others have warned of the dangerous consequences of such a law | Politics.co.uk, UK

How London Could Effectively Decriminalise Cannabis

London Mayor Sadiq Khan wants to examine the benefits of cannabis decriminalisation. But how much power does he have to change the law? | VICE, UK

Mapping the Cannabis Debate: London Mayor’s Race Goes to Pot

This week the London Mayor’s race erupted around a question that is bound to delight drug reformers – cannabis reform in the capital. Whilst the naysayers are crying electoral point-scoring on both sides across the echo chambers of Twitter, groups like Volteface have been busy behind the scenes engineering an environment that is ripe for such discussion | Volteface, UK

Three Drug Dealers Reflect on a Year of Lockdown

It’s been a tough year. Between not seeing friends, putting careers on hold and praying that coronavirus avoids everyone you hold near and dear, loads of people craved a chemical shortcut to escape all the stress | VICE, USA

Best CBD oil in the UK: the top brands reviewed 2021

CBD is one of the biggest wellness products in recent years - we decode the best of the best | BBC, UK

Cannabis farm found in Stirling city centre

Officers discovered the drug cultivation in Murray Place at about 10:30 after receiving a tip-off | BBC, UK


International news

UNDP Brazil Condones Forced Abstinence and Religious Pathologisation of People Who Use Drugs

The terms of reference of the bid defend the idea that there is an epidemic of drug use in Brazil, a hypothesis refuted by a study previously censored by the Brazilian government. UNDP’s institutional and financial support to this initiative is an approving nod not only to the religious wing of the government, but to Brazil’s Evangelical Caucus as a whole | Transform, UK

EPISODE #106​ Understanding Cannabinoids with Dr. Saoirse O'Sullivan and Dr. Andy Yates... Video

In this episode we take an in-depth look into cannabinoids, exploring the three classes - endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids in detail, alongside the uses, benefits and limitations of each type | Canverse, UK

Another Round: How a film about a drinking experiment became a celebration of life

In the most diverse film awards season to date, a Danish film about four middle-aged white male friends experimenting with alcohol has become one of its biggest success stories | BBC, UK

Edging forward: How the UN’s language on drugs has advanced since 1990 (Version 2)

Diplomatic processes at the United Nations (UN) are notoriously slow and difficult, perhaps increasingly so in a modern world of multi-polar geopolitics and tensions | IDPC, UK

Irish sprinter Leon Reid charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine

The 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Leon Reid is among five men charged with drugs, possession of firearms and money-laundering offences | Guardian, UK

Department of Health annual report 2019

Prevention, early intervention, and empowering people to look after their own health and wellbeing are essential elements of our Healthy Ireland strategy – the ‘whole of Government’ framework for improving health and wellbeing and the quality of people’s lives | DoH, Ireland

How can EU countries be prepared and equipped for a continued rise in Synthetic Opioids prevalence, use and incidents?

The SO-PREP project wants to contribute to: A better understanding of the current context around SO in Europe. Better informed prepared and equipped national health systems to tackle SO in Europe. Ttimely and adequate implementation of tailored responses to SO to mitigate related problems of dependence and (fatal and non-fatal) overdoses across Europe | Trimbos, The Netherlands

Billboard and storefront ads for cannabis linked to problematic use in teens

Adolescents who frequently see billboard or storefront advertisements for recreational cannabis are more likely to use the drug weekly and to have symptoms of a cannabis use disorder, according to a new study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs | Medical Xpress, USA

Virginia Becomes First Southern State To Legalize Cannabis

A new bill will allow adults in Virginia to possess and cultivate small amounts starting in July | Huffington Post, USA

Denver dabbles with magic mushrooms, but using them to treat mental health disorders remains underground

Nearly two years after Denver made history as the nation’s first city to decriminalize hallucinogenic mushrooms for personal use, the nightmare of rampant abuse and public intoxication feared by opponents has failed to materialize | LA Times, USA

“Mind Control Menace”—The FDA’s Comic Attempt to Terrify Teen Vapers

A terrible menace has descended on a small town. It appears to be a plague, an ever-spreading green vapor that targets high school students and transforms them into zombies. Soon, half the students in the school are walking around with frighteningly blank, pale-green eyes | Filter Magazine, USA

COVID-19 shows us why Canada needs a federal alcohol act

Alcohol misuse accounts for 38 per cent of all health care costs. Canadians are drinking more. This is a perfect policy window to implement an act | Policy Options Politique, Canada

Victorian town first to have a medical cannabis oil factory

A small Victorian town has become the first Australian region to have a medical cannabis oil manufacturing plant | The Age, Australia

Are nicotine e-cigarettes and vaping devices dangerously available?

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has stated from 1 October 2021, importing nicotine containing e-cigarette products from overseas websites without a valid prescription will be illegal | abc.net.au, Australia

Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction

This monthly newsletter shares the latest news and updates from the UNSW Medicine Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction Theme and Maridulu Budyari Gumal - SPHERE Clinical Academic Group (CAG) | UNSW, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Editorial: The Moral Complexities of Drug Policy

Drug policy is a complex sphere to navigate for a whole host of reasons. The most important and difficult being that drug use is perceived to be a moral issue | Volteface, UK

Members of the Senedd acknowledge the importance of hepatitis C care in prisons

This week, the Senedd’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee published its report into health services in Welsh prisons. The Hepatitis C Trust’s written evidence to the Committee was referenced in the report | Hepatitis C Trust blog, UK

Passive vaping: an impending threat to bystanders

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), also known as vapes, are gaining popularity among youths in many parts of the world, including the US and Europe | Conversation, Spain

Guy Felicella: Treating addiction means treating trauma

Opinion: Part of the reason treatment failed for me so often is that at no point did we ever deal with the root cause of my substance use: the trauma that I endured in my childhood | Vancouver Sun, Canada