Daily news - 3rd February 2021

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UK news

Alcohol-specific deaths in the UK: registered in 2019

Deaths caused by diseases known to be a direct consequence of alcohol misuse by sex, age, region and deprivation | ONS, UK

Local Alcohol Profiles for England (LAPE): February 2021 update

Update of Indicators in the Local Alcohol Profiles for England (LAPE) interactive tool | PHE, UK

Alcohol deaths hit record high during Covid pandemic

Deaths caused by alcohol hit a new high during the first nine months of 2020, provisional figures for England and Wales show | BBC, UK

Alcohol-Specific Deaths 2009-2019

Alcohol-specific deaths in Northern Ireland, 2009-2019 | NISRA, UK

Alcohol-related deaths in NI highest on record

Data released on Tuesday by Statistics agency Nisra showed there were 336 alcohol-related deaths in 2019, the most recent year statistics are available for | BBC, UK

Dry January boosts zero alcohol beer as supermarket sales keep soaring

[Limited number of free articles per week] Strong sales growth for all the grocers is expected to fall in the coming months, says Kantar | Telegraph, UK

Open arms: the role of pubs in tackling loneliness

Pubs, and their publicans, are a key part of our community infrastructure alongside libraries, cafes, shops and community centres. Given their role we wanted to build our understanding of how pubs can use their place in our social life to tackle loneliness | Loughborough University, UK

’Street benzo’ deaths surge linked to criminalisation

Drug deaths in Scotland involving a type of ‘street benzo’ or ‘street valium’ rose to their highest-ever level in 2019, with a report suggesting a decision to prohibit the substance has led to a surge in its popularity | Health and care.scot, UK

Knowledge Exchange Event: Long Acting Injectable Buprenorphine

On the 27th January 2021, Drugs Research Network Scotland (DRNS) was pleased to host a virtual knowledge exchange event discussing Long Acting Injectable Buprenorphine. Delivered in partnership with colleagues from NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Lothian, the two-hour event was designed to share experiences and knowledge of the treatment | DRNS, UK

Armed Forces: Addictions

What recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of drug and alcohol addiction support services for (a) serving armed forces personnel and (b) veterans| They work for you, UK

The real thing: my battle to beat a 27-year Diet Coke addiction

I have been obsessed with the sugar-free soda since I was four, spending £500 a year on up to seven cans a day. This is what happened when I tried to quit | Guardian, UK

Addiction and the Family International Network (AFINet) Webinar Series

The UK based charity Addiction and the Family International Network (AFINet) has started a free monthly webinar series - this is open to both members and non members.  So far we have heard from Richard Velleman (UK), Gallus Bischof (Gemany) and Minna Ilva (Finland), and each presentation is followed by a Q and A session and a discussion | AFINet, UK

Women and Alcohol - free event

Tue, February 16, 2021, 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM GMT. Join us for the first of our 2021 Seminar Series where we will explore the issues affecting women and their relationship with alcohol | ASCERT, UK

Delivering Medication Assisted Treatment for Addictions via Telehealth

Tue, March 2, 2021, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM GMT. This seminar provides an opportunity to learn about practices delivering telehealth mediated MAT, including legal and pharmacy aspects | DigitAS project team, University of St Andrews, School of Medicine, UK

Illegal 'Covid Rave': Police seize drugs and music equipment

Five men were arrested at a derelict building in Northumberland, near Consett and the border with County Durham, on Saturday evening | BBC, UK

Josh Reeson: New arrests in drugs death investigation

Three further arrests have been made in connection with the death of a boy after he took the drug ecstasy | BBC, UK


International news

Volteface Interview with Helaku Whyles: Re-contextualising cannabis through design

Ahead of this week’s public ECAN event, we caught up with one of the speakers to find out more about the re-contextualisation of cannabis through design | Volteface, UK

Democrat senators vow to legalise cannabis this year

‘The War on Drugs has been a war on people—particularly people of colour,’ statement says | Independent, UK

New EU rules may put paid to cheaper alcohol and cigarettes from overseas

The EU is considering stopping Irish holidaymakers loading up on cheaper alcohol and cigarettes when they travel to other countries – with new rules that would also affect trips to Northern Ireland | Independent, Ireland

January 2021 – UNODC-SMART: Almost 1,050 NPS reported to UNODC from 126 countries and territories

New psychoactive substances (NPS) remain a global phenomenon with 126 countries and territories from all regions of the world having reported one or more NPS to the UNODC Early Warning Advisory (EWA) on NPS. Governments, forensic laboratories and partner organisations worldwide have identified and reported a total of 1,047 substances up to December 2020 to the UNODC EWA on NPS | UNODC, Austria

Cheaper chocolate and alcohol are a public health setback

Norway's budget settlement between the government and the Progress Party resulted in getting rid of the sugar tax for chocolate and sweets, halving the tax on soft drinks, cutting the taxes on snuff by 25 percent and on beer and wine by 10 percent | Medical Xpress, Norway

Nearly third of US young people prescribed psychoactive drugs admit misusing them

Nearly a third of US teens and young adults prescribed a psychoactive drug misuse that drug, with the likelihood of misuse rising with age, suggests an analysis of national survey responses published in the online journal Family Medicine & Community Health | Medical Xpress, USA

Vet tranquilliser now implicated in third of fatal opioid overdose cases in Philadelphia

The vet tranquilliser, xylazine, is now implicated in almost a third of fatal overdoses involving heroin and/or fentanyl in Philadelphia, reveals research published online in the journal Injury Prevention | Medical Xpress, USA

Survey: Half of the people with uncontrolled asthma smoke cannabis

As the number of states increase where medical and recreational cannabis use is legal, so does the importance that physicians discuss with patients the effects of cannabis on those with asthma | News Medical, USA

Where do individuals get the prescription opioids they misuse?

In the U.S., 9.9 million Americans have misused prescription opioids in the past year, and 1.7 million have prescription opioid use disorder | Recovery Research Review , USA

Using emergency department visits to actively link patients with alcohol use disorder to specialty addiction treatment

Hospital emergency departments (EDs) must contend with some of the most severe elements of alcohol use disorder. On top of treating alcohol-related consequences, EDs often bear the greatest financial burdens associated with alcohol use disorder | Recovery Research Review , USA

When My Suboxone Doctor Quit on Me, It Left a Frightening Void

Early in 2020, shortly before pandemic entered the everyday lexicon and face masks became de rigueur, I went to my scheduled Suboxone appointment to find the doctor’s office more sterile than usual | Filter Magazine, USA

Toronto mayor and Scarborough MPP ask Ontario to restrict cannabis stores

Calls come after 'overwhelming' opposition to mall pot shop | Toronto.com, Canada

HRA Welcomes Pharmacy Guild Support (PDF)

Harm Reduction Australia (HRA) Co-Founder, Annie Madden AO and HRA President & CoFounder, Gino Vumbaca have welcomed the Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s 2021-22 PreBudget Submission calling for long overdue reforms to the Opioid Dependence Treatment (ODT) Program and its discrimination against people needing this program | HRA, Australia

Australia’s doctors to examine addiction in wake of COVID-19 pandemic at IMiA21 conference

GPs from across Australia and the world will come together in February to look at addiction amidst the COVID-19 pandemic at the International Medicine in Addiction Conference (IMiA21) | Mirage News, Australia

What has changed in the year since cannabis possession was legalised in the ACT?

Dire warnings of legal loopholes, a mental health crisis and drug driving fears accompanied the legalisation of cannabis in the ACT last year | abc.net.au, Australia

New committee hopes to have vaping regulations overturned

The National Retail Association (NRA) has formed a new Committee to be the voice for retailers of vaping products in Australia | C-Store, Australia

Police chief defends sacking of Port Augusta officer who gave distressed man cannabis

South Australia's police chief has defended his decision to terminate the employment of an officer who gave cannabis to a mentally distressed man in what a judge described as a "misguided act of kindness" | abc.net.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

What cannabis can learn from Covid: Hydroxychloroquine research suggests the next step for medical cannabis research

Medical cannabis research shares many characteristics with hydroxychloroquine research. Owing to the political and social history of cannabis, the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis and cannabis-derived products is a political, as well as scientific, discourse | IJDP viewpoint, UK

Learning how to listen in a pandemic

So much has been written about the pandemic, most of which seems to focus on the plight of the working professional classes. When attention is given to those who face multiple disadvantages in our society, the analysis is too often based on unfounded assumptions | Involve, UK

Biden legalizing cannabis would be a huge step toward racial equality. As a privileged white user, I know it’s true

I can post selfies from a tour bus while I smoke with no consequences, while Black people’s lives are ruined for having the same habit | Independent voices, UK