Daily news - 10th February 2021

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UK news

10% of teenagers have tried hard drugs by age 17

The research, published today in a briefing paper by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at the UCL Social Research Institute, examines engagement in substance use and antisocial behaviours among Generation Z as they reached late adolescence | UCL, UK

Covid: 'Let charities vaccinate the homeless'

Charities have urged the Welsh Government to allow them to administer the Covid vaccine to people who are homeless or addicted to drugs | BBC, UK

New LSE report shows value of training police officers who support PSHE lessons

Police officers with appropriate training support delivery of effective PSHE education lessons on drugs and the law in a way that increases trust in police fairness, according to a report released today by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) | PSHE, UK

Police in the classroom Evaluation of a three-wave cluster-randomised controlled trial (PDF)

Can police officers build relationships and trust with students in schools? Using a clustered-block-randomised design and a three-wave panel with 13-15-year-old students from 81 schools across England and Wales, we test the impact of officers getting involved in school education, where they meet young people in their space, and present sessions designed to engage and encourage discussion | LSE, UK

What Happens When You Mix Antidepressants with Recreational Drugs?

Just under one in six of England’s adult population are on antidepressants, while one in ten admit to using illegal drugs. This crossover poses a few potential problems: when combined, antidepressants and recreational drugs come with their own set of side-effects and risks | VICE, UK

Fiona Bruce MP presses the Government on Alcohol Harm

Fiona Bruce MP has pressed the Government to publish a new strategy to combat alcohol harm as one of the Government’s priorities after reports this week of increased alcohol harm | Fiona Bruce.org.uk, UK

Childhood Epilepsy Case Study: Gino Londra

A Closer Look at the Families Struggling to Cope with the Huge Financial and Personal Burden of Accessing Medical Cannabis to Treat Childhood Epilepsy | Drug Science, UK

‘What’s happening on the streets with benzos?’ – Free e-Learning course aims to upskill workers

A new, free to access e-learning course on the use of benzodiazepines in Scotland has been launched today by Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF). The course – ‘What’s happening on the streets with Benzos?’ – has been developed to increase participants’ understanding of the associated harms and escalation of benzodiazepine use in Scotland | SDF, UK

All About Drugs with Bristol SU and The Drug Science and Psychedelic Research Society - [Facebook link]

Thursday 11th Feb. Following on from the last event, The Drop and Bristol SU have teamed up with The Drugs Science and Psychedelic Research Society to bring you the latest instalment of the ‘All About Drugs’ campaign. This time round it’s all about ketamine, drugs online and your wellbeing during Covid, with a Q&A with our guest speakers from Volteface and Neurosight at the end. This is a free event | Bristol SU et al, UK

Crew: Drugs and the law, share your experience - survey

We have launched a short survey to find out your experience of the drug legislation in Scotland. The Misuse of Drugs Act (1971) will have been in place for 50 years this year and we’d like to hear from you the impact you feel that this piece of legislation has on people who take drugs and the people close to them | Crew, UK

Covid-19: 'Lockdown won't stop our children being exploited'

A mother has spoken of how her son disappeared after getting caught up in a "county lines" drugs trade amid threats to his life. She urges parents to look out for signs that their child could be being groomed by criminal gangs during lockdown | BBC, UK


International news

Harm reduction in Europe: a framework for civil society-led monitoring (PDF)

[Open access] Civil society organisations (CSOs) play a vital role in developing and implementing efective measures to reduce the harms of drug use. They are also fundamental actors to monitor and evaluate programmes and policies for improvement. While harm reduction services are subject to monitoring, and international and European indicators exist, a framework for civil society-led monitoring does not exist. This paper analyses the challenges and added values of developing such a framework for the European region | BMC, UK

How can you prioritise the child when your patient is the parent?

Guidance insists child welfare is paramount, even if your client is not the child, but their parent. The temptation is to sideline this uncomfortable but important work, placing the onus on managers to counter this through training, support, monitoring and supervision | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Cannabis Reform In France: Public Consultation On Adult Use

France has the highest use of cannabis in Europe, but it still remains illegal for both adult and medical uses. On the 13th of January 2021 the French government launched a consultation, asking the public’s opinion on the legalisation of cannabis for adult use | Volteface, UK

South Dakota judge overturns public’s decision to legalise cannabis

Christina Klinger ruled it as 'unconstitutional' on Monday | Independent, UK

E-Cigarette-Only and Dual Use among Adolescents in Ireland: Emerging Behaviours with Different Risk Profiles

This is the first study to show, among a generalisable sample, that dual-use is the most prevalent behaviour among adolescent nicotine product users in Ireland. Risk factor profiles differ across categories of use and prevention initiatives must be cognisant of this | International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Ireland

Cheap herbal cigarettes/bidis widely available online and marketed as 'healthy' option

Cheap herbal cigarettes and bidis—a blend of herbs rolled in tendu leaves—are widely available online and often marketed as a safer, healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, along with various other unverified 'health' claims, finds research published online in the journal Tobacco Control | Medical Xpress, USA

Researchers find a more accurate method to gauge prenatal alcohol use

When health researchers ask pregnant women about their alcohol use, expectant women may underreport their drinking, hampering efforts to minimize alcohol use in pregnancy and prevent development of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) in children | Medical Xpress, USA

Boston’s “Methadone Mile” and the Wars on Drug Users, Unhoused People

Four gentrifying Boston neighborhoods—Roxbury, Dorchester, the South End and South Boston—collide and form the intersection of Massachusetts Ave and Melnea Cass Blvd, named for a revered Roxbury civil rights leader. For short, “Mass and Cass.” | Filter Magazine, USA

Telehealth Services Are Expanding OUD Medication Access—For Some

Amid the pandemic, regulatory changes around buprenorphine access are making it easier for some people with opioid use disorder (OUD) to access the life-saving medication—yet some of the most vulnerable patients are still being left behind | Filter Magazine, USA

Lawmakers urge Biden to back opioid-treatment measure

Bipartisan group calls on president to ‘deliver on your promise’ to expand access in early test of administration’s opioid strategy | Washington Post, USA

Can a Company Patent the Basic Components of Psychedelic Therapy?

Compass Pathways, a Peter Thiel-backed psychedelic mental health company, has made patent application claims on aspects of psilocybin-assisted therapy as basic as using soft furniture and holding hands | VICE, USA

Japan Tobacco warns of profit decline, to slash jobs and focus on heat sticks

Japan Tobacco Inc (JT) said on Tuesday it planned to cut around 1,000 jobs and focus its efforts on winning market share in heated tobacco devices, as it forecast an unexpected slump in profit this year | Reuters, USA

The Future of the Cocaine Trade to Europe

The flow of cocaine to Europe may have suffered along with most licit businesses due to the Covid-19 crisis, but few believe the damage to the drug trade will be permanent.  The pandemic has accelerated certain aspects of the evolution of cocaine smuggling that will shape its future | Insight Crime, Colombia

Call for tougher age restrictions on YouTube vaping cannabis videos

YouTube videos showing cannabis vaping as fun and joyful are widely available and easily accessible to young people, a study led by University of Queensland researchers has found | University of Queensland, Australia

Medicinal cannabis clinic gives alternative to black market - Drug Foundation

A medicinal cannabis specialist GP clinic that has opened in Wellington will help stop some people running afoul of the law by buying off the black market, but only for those who can afford the expensive prescriptions, the Drug Foundation says | RNZ, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Government funding announcement

Over the last fortnight there have been two important funding announcements around substance misuse and criminal justice. In this blog we look at the detail of the announcements, how they will sit alongside existing programmes and what this means for government policy on multiple disadvantage | MEAM blog, UK

No light at the end of the bottle...

Head of Quality and Governance for NHS APA members Inclusion, Kieran Doherty, reflects on the latest ONS alcohol data from an alcohol treatment perspective | NHS APA blog, UK

Work addiction can be harmful to mental health

As a culture, we’ve come to value growth and productivity, making paid work not only a necessity, but a central concern in peoples’ lives. Yet this attitude towards work is harming us more than it’s helping, with research showing that workaholism (also known as work addiction) is a growing problem in the industrialised world | Conversation, UK

A minimum price for alcohol helped curb problem drinking in the Northern Territory — is it time for a national rollout?

The “floor price” for alcohol introduced by the Northern Territory in 2018 reduced the consumption of cask wine by half, without significantly impacting sales of other types of alcohol, according to our new analysis of the policy’s effectiveness | Conversation, Australia