Daily news - 9th February 2021

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UK news

Understanding high death rates of people with multiple and complex needs

Many people experiencing homelessness, drug and alcohol problems, mental ill health, and repeat offending die early as they become desensitised to death through suffering vast loss and lack of hope, new research (PDF) has revealed | FUSE, UK

Smoking and tobacco: working towards the endgame as a vital part of post-COVID-19 recovery

[Open access] As we enter 2021, it is essential that our profession reflects on the lessons learnt, and the opportunities and challenges we have faced to be able to actively respond to a world focused on COVID-19 recovery | BJN, UK

Neural roots/origins of alcoholism identified by British and Chinese researchers

The physical origin of alcohol addiction has been located in a network of the human brain that regulates our response to danger, according to a team of British and Chinese researchers, co-led by the University of Warwick, the University of Cambridge, and Fudan University in Shanghai | University of Warwick, UK

Psychedelics and the Nature Connection with Dr Sam Gandy

Thu, 25 February 2021, 16:00 – 17:00 GMT. Dr Gandy will reveal how psychedelics can promote pro-environmental behaviours that are needed to prevent further ecological destruction | Drug Science, UK

The Value of Small in a Big Crisis

Tue, 23 February 2021, 10:00 – 11:30 GMT. The distinctive contribution, value and experiences of smaller charities in responding to the COVID 19 pandemic | Lloyds Bank Foundation For England And Wales, UK

The new Greenback: Why investors are getting high on medicinal cannabis firms

For years, advocates of medicinal cannabis products have predicted that the industry is set to revolutionise healthcare – and make investors a tidy profit. That time may finally be coming | City AM, UK

Exclusive: UK prisons testing wastewater for illegal drug use

[Limited number of free articles per week] Process originally used to test for Covid employed to combate twofold rise in inmates addicted to illicit substances | Telegraph, UK

Daniel Kinahan says drug gang claims a 'campaign' against him

Mr Kinahan has no criminal convictions, but was named in Irish courts as the head of a prominent drug cartel | BBC, UK

Class A drugs disguised as vape oils sent to Guernsey in the post

After being seized by police, they were found to contain what are known as 'synthetic cannabinoids/cannabis derivatives'. This is even the case with items that are labelled on websites as CBD or containing no controlled substances | ITV, UK

Bristol 'riot' Tesco gets alcohol licence a decade later

he Tesco Express on Stokes Croft in Bristol was originally refused an alcohol licence following residents' concerns about street drinking | BBC, UK


International news

Stroke victims to be given psychedelic drug DMT in groundbreaking study

Psychedelic drug DMT could help stroke victims recover by rewiring their brains faster, according the first clinical trial of its kind | Metro, UK

Vapers with Covid-19 up to 20 per cent more likely to transmit it than infected non-smoker, study finds

[Limited number of free articles per week] If a smoker is using their e-cigarette intensely and breathing out lots of smoke, the risk to others increases by up to 17 per cent | Telegraph, UK

'Grim and very sad': Gardaí examine possible alcohol poisoning in Cavan deaths

Gardaí are investigating if the deaths of a man and a woman in a remote Co Cavan house was the result of accidental alcohol poisoning | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Positivity of New Synthetic Cannabinoid 4F-MDMB-BICA Increasing in U.S. as Prevalence of 5F-MDMB-PICA Wanes (PDF)

The objective of this public announcement is to notify public health and public safety, law enforcement, clinicians, medical examiners and coroners, laboratory personnel, drug treatment providers, and other related communities about new information surrounding the emergent synthetic cannabinoid 4F-MDMB-BICA | NPS Discovery, USA

Death by suicide? Drug overdoses muddy waters for investigators, amplify mental health crisis

Classifying a death as suicide may be easiest for medical examiners and coroners in the western United States, which reports the highest suicide rates officially. Suicide by firearm is the leading method there, and usually clear in terms of evidence | EurekAlert, USA

Alcohol As A Coping Response: Hyperkatifeia & How It Influences Our Drinking

It’s well documented that alcohol has a profound impact on the brain. Almost immediately alcohol disrupts communication between neurons, and over time, heavy drinking can lead to damage that takes several forms | Forbes, USA

Did Virginia Lawmaker Claim Marijuana Overdoses Are A Problem? Here Is The Response

Well, the joint was jumping in Virginia on Friday as both the State House and State Senate passed bills that would legalize recreational marijuana for adults | Forbes, USA

Is Vaping A Social Justice Issue? | RegWatch (5mins) - audio

Hear Professor Lynne Dawkins’s take on whether vaping should be considered a social justice issue | Regulator Watch, USA

Ontario announces new drug detecting scanners at 10 jails, but critics have questions

Ontario is installing new ion-based drug scanning devices at 10 jails across the province in an effort to stop contraband from making its way behind bars — a move the government says is meant to enhance inmate and staff security, but is prompting concerns about their efficacy | CBC News, Canada

Nova Scotia to spend $500,000 on opioid overdose prevention

The money will provide one-time bridge funding for ReFIX, the only overdose prevention site in the province | The Telegram, Canada

Federal Health Minister must immediately remove the discriminatory and unlawful payments plaguing the opioid treatment system (PDF)

Following multiple media reports in BioPharmaDispatch and responses from the Minister and Department of Health, HRA Spokesperson Annie Madden AO says the potentially unlawful and unenforceable private fees being charged to patients accessing the Opiate Dependence Treatment (ODT) Program in community pharmacy must be replaced immediately with access to the PBS co-payment and safety net system | HRA, Australia

Cracks in the ice

The new Cracks in the Ice toolkit is now live. We've improved the design and user experience of the toolkit based on feedback from people who use ice, their families and friends, health professionals and community members | Cracks in the ice, Australia

Seven men admit role in Uber Eats style drug courier business

Seven men have admitted to being involved in a “next generation” drug courier service which police likened to food delivery businesses like Uber Eats | abc.net.au, Australia

COVID-19 lockdown has mixed effects on smokers

The results of the survey, undertaken by University of Otago, Wellington researchers Professor Janet Hoek, Dr Philip Gendall, Associate Professor James Stanley, Dr Matthew Jenkins and Dr Susanna Every-Palmer, have been published in the international journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research | University of Orago, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

New Horizons grant awards announced, exploring new areas of alcohol harm

We are thrilled to announce the four research studies funded under our New Horizons grant programme, following our open call for applications in May 2020 | Alcohol Change UK blog, UK

Still More Crack Users In Prison Drug Treatment

The latest figures on alcohol and drug treatment in secure settings | Russell Webster, UK

Cocaine: falling coffee prices force Peru’s farmers to cultivate coca

A slump in world coffee prices has pushed farmers in Peru’s central jungle to rip up their plants and replace them with coca leaf – the raw material used in cocaine. This countrywide trend has driven coca leaf production close to 55,000 hectares or up to 500 tons of cocaine annually – enough to satisfy annual demand in the United States three times over | Conversation, UK