Daily news - 2nd February 2021

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UK news

DDN February 2021

The Dry January campaign reports significant success this year, striking a loud chord in lockdown (p8). A characteristic of this success is its immediacy – website, Facebook page, app – as well as the capacity for global reach, and its direction as a healthy lifestyle initiative rather than a competition with an expiry date chimes with everyone’s interest in cultivating a stronger immune system | DDN, UK

Tobacco legislation coming into force between 2010 and 2015: post implementation review

Reviews of how the legislation has been implemented | Department of Health and Social Care, UK

Drug seizures and arrests in Northern Ireland, period ending 31 December 2020

Quarterly update of class A, B and C drug seizure incidents and arrests by PSNI | Police Service of Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, UK

Antipsychotic prescriptions rising much faster than psychosis rates

England has seen a modest rise in psychotic symptoms in recent years, while antipsychotic medication use doubled over the same period, according to a study by UCL and City, University of London researchers | UCL, UK

2020 - The Year Of The Mushroom

As we welcome in the new year, Drug Science reflects on the year of 2020 for psilocybin research and celebrates these achievements. Here we focus on the use of psilocybin-assisted therapy in three different conditions to reflect the breadth of research currently taking place worldwide | Drug Science, UK

Susannah Constantine: 'As a high-functioning alcoholic, it's very difficult to ask for help.' - audio

Susannah Constantine describes herself as an author, journalist, PA to three teenagers and middle-aged lapsed fashionista turned podcaster to the wardrobes of the superstars - but she's recently written about her alcoholism | BBC, UK

More Women Are Dealing Cocaine. This is Why

When Lily woke up in a police cell one morning in March last year after a big Friday night out, she couldn’t initially remember what she was doing there. The custody sergeant told her she had been caught with seven grams of cocaine and a burner phone | VICE, UK

High and dry: London medical cannabis company enters administration

London-based pharmaceutical company Senzer has entered administration, after failing to get enough backing to float on the Alternative Investment Market | City AM, UK

Current List - February 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 | Addiction, UK

Gambling Commission announces package of changes which make online games safer by design

The Gambling Commission has announced a package of strict measures which will strengthen the protections and controls for those who gamble through online slots games – including the introduction of limits on spin speeds, and the permanent ban on features that speed up play or celebrate losses as wins | Gambling Commission, UK

Northamptonshire Police operation jails 'untouchable' drug dealers

Drugs gang bosses who thought they were "untouchable" have been jailed in a massive covert operation which resulted in 72 convictions, said police | BBC, UK


International news

Cannabis company lists in London to fund Covid trial

[Limited number of free articles per week] Australia's MGC Pharmaceuticals aims to raise £5m to fund final-stage trials of anti-inflammatory Covid treatment called Artemic | Telegraph, UK

How New York Quietly Ended Its Street Drug War

New data analyzed by VICE News reveals a monumental drop in arrests and convictions for low level drug crime in NYC, as the city finally tries to disentangle itself from a war on drugs that it once led on the world stage | VICE, UK

Coronavirus: South Africa lifts alcohol ban as Covid rules ease

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has eased some restrictions imposed due to coronavirus, including lifting an unpopular ban on alcohol sales | BBC, UK

Responding to drugs and homelessness: Innovative approaches in Europe - webinar

Feb 3, 2021 12:00 PM in Lisbon. A conversation with: Cristiana Merendeiro, Associação Crescer, Portugal; Geert De Bolle, Housing First Belgium-LAB, Belgium; Elina Liikanen, Finnish Blue Ribbon Foundation, Finland | EMCDDA, Portugal

Groundbreaking drug decriminalization law goes into effect today

Starting [Monday 1st February], people will no longer be arrested and jailed for possession of small amounts of drugs, thanks to Oregonians who voted overwhelmingly for ballot Measure 110. Oregon is the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize simple possession of all drugs | Health Justice Recovery Alliance, USA

In survey of those with uncontrolled asthma, half smoked cannabis

Only about 40% of physicians inquire about cannabis use | EurekAlert, USA

Co-use of alcohol and marijuana and beliefs among teens

New research from the Prevention Research Center of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation examines whether recreational marijuana legalization in Oregon and marijuana and alcohol retail outlet density levels are associated with co-use and beliefs supportive of use of each among teens | EurekAlert, USA

Cancer deaths attributable to cigarette smoking in 152 US metropolitan and micropolitan areas

Proportion of smoking-related deaths in evaluated areas varied by a difference of nearly four times | EurekAlert, USA

Association of Medical Stimulants With Mortality in the US From 2010 to 2017

The role of nonopioids in the drug overdose epidemic in the US is frequently overshadowed. From 2015 to 2016, mortality rates involving cocaine and psychostimulants were smaller than opioids, but were rising faster than opioids. We examined individual substances listed on death certificates to better understand stimulant-associated mortality and assess rates over time | JAMA Network, USA

Medical cannabis for opioid use disorder: The association between state policies and dispensary marketing claims

Cannabis might have benefits for opioid use disorder treatment but it has yet to be FDA-approved for treatment in the United States due to a lack of rigorous research | Recovery Research Institute, USA

“We do recover”: More evidence that tens of millions of adults in the United States have recovered from a substance use problem

Substance use disorders are chronic medical conditions for some, requiring ongoing, comprehensive care. At the population level, though, they are characterized by varying levels of severity, from mild to severe distress and impairments in functioning | Recovery Research Institute, USA

Pennsylvania Bill Poised to Increase Barriers to Buprenorphine Access

A Pennsylvania state senator intends to reintroduce a bill that would impose new regulations on buprenorphine providers and create additional barriers for people seeking buprenorphine treatment | Filter Magazine, USA

The “Secret Handshake”—A Program Gifting Cannabis to Unhoused People

For some people in Los Angeles’ homeless community, a dime bag of weed can make a small but welcome difference. Last spring, partially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sidewalk Project began gifting grams of cannabis to the unhoused people it works with, an informal practice dubbed the “secret handshake.” | Filter Magazine, USA

Government of Canada supports four safer drug supply projects in British Columbia

Life-saving initiatives will provide pharmaceutical-grade medication as alternative to toxic illegal drug supply during COVID-19 outbreak and beyond | Government of Canada

Ottawa and the provinces are expected to adopt the advice of an expert scientific panel, and urge Canadians to drink even less | Globe and Mail, Canada

Paramedics attend a record 40 suspected opioid overdose calls, 3 deaths in 24 hours

Toronto saw record number of overdose deaths in December 2020 alone, public health unit says | CBC News, Canada

RCMP Warn A New Drug May Be On The Streets

Health Canada revealed that a substance found in a drug seizure contained Isotonitazene. The synthetic opioid causes effects that have drawn similarities to fentanyl | 91.1 The Bend, Canada

E-cigarettes: proceed with caution

The decision to make nicotine-containing e-cigarettes Prescription-Only from October places pharmacists at the frontline of counselling on a highly controversial product | AJP, Australia

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, to be available over the counter in pharmacies

A chemical compound extracted from cannabis used to treat a number of health issues including pain and insomnia can be bought over the counter for the first time in Australia from Monday | 7 News, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

A Slow Train Comin’ – changing attitudes on drug-related deaths

Last week, the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, delivered a statement on drugs policy to the Scottish Parliament where she stated that the Scottish Government has pledged to deliver £250 million additional funding to prevent drug overdose deaths. This week, Austin Smith, Policy Officer at SDF, reflects on the events and changes that has led to the First Minister’s announcement of a new approach, leadership and investment | SDF, UK

‘I feel so good I may never drink again!’ Readers on their success – or failure – during dry January

Readers explain whether they looked, felt and slept better – or if they turned back to alcohol to cheer up a miserable month | Guardian, UK

What if we were always a little bit drunk?

Glasses at the ready — a new film suggests we need alcohol more than we might think | Unherd, UK

Scotland's drug-deaths crisis: We must look at how the victims lived not just how they died – Tom Wood

Some positive news in our long struggle with Scotland’s drug deaths. At last the First Minister has gripped the problem and her commitment of £250 million over the next five years is welcome indeed | Edinburgh News, UK