Daily news - 5th February 2021

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UK news

Six month delay to government’s new health protection agency

England’s new health protection agency will not be ‘fully staffed and up and running’ until October, the executive chair of NHS Test and Trace revealed today, despite the government’s plan for it to be ‘established and fully operational by Spring 2021’ | HSJ, UK

NI licencing law changes mean Easter 'could be overrun by alcohol misuse'

Rev David Clements told MLAs Christmas had been "overrun" by alcohol and said it would be a shame if Easter followed suit | BBC, UK

Webinar: Residential Rehab and Detox - Mapping a way forward for Tier 4

Thu, 4 March 2021, 10:00 – 12:00 GMT. This webinar will discuss the challenges facing Tier 4, and ask how the system needs to change to improve access to these vital services | Collective Voice, UK

SUAB Webinar: The impact of parental substance use on children

Tue, 23 February 2021, 13:00 – 14:30 GMT. Hannah Todman, MMU, and Virginia Wright, PHE, will discuss the impact of parental substance use on children and young people | SUAB, UK

Vaping and Tobacco Harm Reduction - Clive Bates

Wed, 10 February 2021, 16:00 – 17:00 GMT. This discussion will take a brief tour through the science and policy controversies surrounding the concept of tobacco harm reduction: the idea of delivering the mild recreational drug without products of combustion of tobacco leaf | Drug Science, UK

Helping you to help patients taking or withdrawing from prescribed psychiatric drugs - survey

Guidance from the BPS and its partners, published just over a year ago, gives psychological therapists the information they need to help clients struggling with side effects and withdrawal issues which have resulted from an increase in the prescription of psychiatric drugs | SMMGP, UK

Grooming Gangs

I beg to move, That this House has considered e-petitions 300239 and 327566 relating to grooming gangs | They work for you, UK

Cranstoun announced as new provider to help tackle domestic violence

We are pleased to announce a partnership with a new service provider Cranstoun, which will help tackle serious domestic violence offenders through the national Drive programme | Cranstoun, UK

EncroChat: UK drugs boss captured as police crack coded messages

James Duckworth, 42, used the handle "atomicmantis" on messaging service EncroChat, Merseyside Police said | BBC, UK

Couriers caught near Ecclefechan with drugs worth nearly £6m jailed

Two drug couriers caught with cocaine with a maximum street value of almost £6m have been jailed | BBC, UK

The Great British Art Tour: how a pop art image of Mick Jagger in custody highlighted hypocrisy

“I had felt a strong personal indignation at the insanity of legal institutions which could jail anyone for the offence of self-abuse with drugs,” Hamilton said | Guardian, UK


International news

Performance and image enhancing drug interventions aimed at increasing knowledge among healthcare professionals (HCP): Reflections on the implementation of the Dopinglinkki e-module in the HCP workforce in Europe and School of Pyschology, University of New South Wales, Australia

Healthcare professionals (HCPs) provide an important point of contact through which people who use performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs) could access reliable information, advice, and interventions on a range of PIEDs, their use and related harms. However, HCPs often report difficulties engaging and building rapport with people who use PIEDs, and research suggests that they often lack specialist knowledge on these substances | IJDP, UK

Employability for people in recovery in Europe: EAER Project

Tue, Feb 9, 2021 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM GMT. The EAER project is a partnership of four European organisations which have aimed to use their collective knowledge to create resources that would help people in recovery access employment and to share knowledge and practice with other organisations working in employability projects with people who have a history of problem substance use | EAER, UK

Hunter Biden memoir about drug addiction to be published

Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden and an ongoing target for Republican supporters, has announced that his memoir, Beautiful Things, will be published in April | Guardian, UK

European Medicinal Cannabis Alliance Launched By Maltese MEP On World Cancer Day

A Maltese MEP has launched a Europe-wide alliance of policy-makers seeking to promote better understanding over medicinal cannabis and harmonising legislation across Member States | Lovin Malta, Malta

Pressure mounts on government to make permanent changes to alcohol laws in South Africa

While government’s decision to stop the prohibition on the sale of alcohol this week has largely been welcomed, it is facing calls from a growing number of sectors to introduce more permanent laws around liquor sales in South Africa | Buisness Tech, South Africa

Prevalence and Co-occurrence of Alcohol, Nicotine, and Other Substance Use Disorder Diagnoses Among US Transgender and Cisgender Adults

In this study of 15 637 transgender and 46 911 cisgender adults, transgender adults had a significantly higher prevalence of nicotine, alcohol, and drug SUDDs than cisgender adults | JAMA Network Open, USA

Psychedelic Toads Pushed To The Limit, Conservationists Urge Synthetic 5-MeO-DMT Option

You can add the Sonoran Desert Toad to the current escalating body count of threatened species worldwide, as the amphibious creature’s psychoactive secretions continue to gain popularity with psychedelic enthusiasts | Forbes, USA

A Black History Month Celebration of Black Scholars of Addiction

During February 1926, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (currently, Association for the Study of African American Life and History; ASALH), under the direction of a historian, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, declared the first celebration of Negro History Week | BASIS, USA

Jazz Pharma to Buy Cannabinoid-Drug Maker for $7.2 Billion

Jazz Pharmaceuticals Plc has agreed to acquire GW Pharmaceuticals Plc, maker of the first drug derived from the cannabis plant to win approval in the U.S., for $7.2 billion in cash and stock | Bloomberg, USA

The Kind Man Who Used to Sell Me Heroin

In popular culture, people who sell drugs are stereotyped as remorseless monsters, like the loathsome Mikey Forrester from the book Trainspotting, who’d kill their own grannies for 20 bucks. And news media depictions of “dealers” are heavily racialized, peddling an Innocent White Victim narrative in the overdose-crisis era | Filter Magazine, USA

New study examines addiction medicine treatment in Vietnam

An assessment published this week in the journal The Lancet HIV provides new insight about an initiative to integrate treatment of opioid use disorder along with HIV in Vietnam | Medical Xpress, USA

Low dose oral ketamine treatment in chronic suicidality: An open-label pilot study

[Open access] Recently, low-dose ketamine has been proposed as a rapid-acting treatment option for suicidality. The majority of studies to date have utilised intravenous (IV) ketamine, however, this route of administration has limitations | Nature, Australia

The legal and illegal ways people are turning to psychedelics as the drug regulator rejects reclassification bid

In Melbourne's St Vincent's Hospital, down the hall from the cancer day unit, there's an unassuming room known simply as "The Retreat" | abc.net.au, Australia

Woolworth's social responsibility called out over Darwin liquor store

Indigenous community groups in Darwin have hit out against the Woolworths Group for what they say is the company's failure to have genuine community consultation over the construction of a Dan Murphy's liquor store | abc.net.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Five per cent of children at risk of serious violence either as victims or perpetrators

[Limited number of free articles per week] 40 per cent of young people at risk live in just 10 local authorities, most of which are deprived parts of North East and North West | Telegraph, UK

David Oliver: Wider health determinants aren’t just for pandemics

Health politics are dominated by the power of the immediate. Future health gains through long term policies are easier to ignore than what happens now. The truism that we need to rebalance priorities away from reacting to sickness towards preventing ill health, tackling inequalities, maximising wellbeing, or helping people live better with long term conditions has become an orthodoxy | BMJ viewpoint, UK

Can’t remember last night? 48% of drinkers have had a blackout by age 19

Alcohol-related blackouts aren’t good for anybody’s health, but they are particularly dangerous for young people. Our recent research found blackouts are common once young people start drinking. At age 14, nearly one in ten adolescents who drank alcohol in the past year had a blackout | Conversation, Australia