Daily news - 12th February 2021

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UK news

Reported road casualties in Great Britain, provisional estimates involving illegal alcohol levels: 2019

Provisional estimates on personal injury drink drive accidents in Great Britain for 2019 | Department for Transport, UK

Record number of Brits take part in Dry January following spike in problem drinking

EXCLUSIVE: Figures have revealed that deaths caused by alcohol have reached the highest level since records began | Mirror, UK

Obesity 'bigger killer' than smoking in England and Scotland

University of Glasgow researchers looked at health surveys of nearly 200,000 adults. The team found that between 2003 and 2017 deaths from smoking decreased from 23.1% to 19.4% | BBC, UK

Cannabis oil: Fresh hopes for mum trying to obtain epileptic son's drug

A mother whose severely epileptic son relies on "lifesaving" medical cannabis oil hopes it can be produced in the UK after Brexit-related supply problems | BBC, UK

How do people who use drugs experience treatment? A qualitative analysis of views about opioid substitution treatment in primary care (iCARE study)

[Open access] This study included first-hand accounts of people who use drugs about what supports them in their recovery journey. The key lessons learnt from our findings indicate that people who use drugs value receiving treatment in humanised and destigmatised environments. We also learnt that a good relationship with primary care professionals supports their recovery journey, and that treatment plans should be flexible, tailor-made and designed with patients | BMJ Open, UK

The association of acute alcohol use and dynamic suicide risk with variation in onward care after psychiatric crisis

[Open access] Despite the association of alcohol use with recurrent suicidal acts, individuals attempting suicide after drinking alcohol face barriers accessing crisis care following emergency assessment... We investigated the effect of acute alcohol use and ongoing suicidality on onward care decisions after emergency assessment | DAD, UK

Identification of Behavior Change Techniques From Successful Web-Based Interventions Targeting Alcohol Consumption, Binge Eating, and Gambling: Systematic Review

[Open access] Web-based interventions are thought to overcome barriers to treatment, such as accessibility and geographical location, which can undermine the effectiveness of traditional face-to-face interventions. Owing to these features, researchers are increasingly testing the efficacy of web-based interventions as ways to reduce alcohol misuse, binge eating, and gambling | JMIR Publications, UK

Coroner says Oxford University must overhaul its drugs misuse policy to prevent future deaths after physics student, 23, died from overdose

A coroner has called for Oxford University to overhaul its drugs policy after a gifted physics student died from an overdose | Mail Online, UK

The Reality of Legalizing Cocaine, Heroin, and Ecstasy | The War on Drugs - video

The War on Drugs has failed but ending it is more complex than just letting people sell heroin to kids in supermarkets | VICE, UK

The MDA at 50

The Misuse of Drugs Act will be 50 years old this year. We will be asking MPs to use this anniversary as an opportunity to speak out on drug policy | Transform, UK

Low-and-no alcohol drinks brands foresee a 'boom time' when pubs reopen

[Limited number of free articles per week] The prospect of a booze ban, and the nation's changing drinking habits, could play into the hands of 0% beer and spirits makers | Telegraph, 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

Three guilty of crossbow killings at Brierley Hill cannabis farm

An accountant and his father have been convicted of mistakenly killing their relative with a crossbow and murdering a cannabis farm burglar seconds later | BBC, UK

County Lines 'Manc Joe' drug gang's Anthony Kamara jailed

An eighth member of a county lines drugs gang which used teenagers as slaves has been jailed for six years | BBC, UK

Cannabis factories worth £4m discovered in Southampton

Two men, initially arrested on suspicion of producing Class B drugs, were now being treated as potential victims, Hampshire Constabulary said | BBC, UK


International news

IDPC's Strategic Plan 2021-2023

In January 2021, the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) agreed its Strategic Plan for 2021-2023, following a period of consultation with our membership and partners | IDPC, UK

Punitive drug laws: 10 years undermining the Bangkok Rules

For centuries, criminal laws, justice systems, and prisons have been designed for, and by, men. The 2010 United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders, also known as the ‘Bangkok Rules’, break away from this history by establishing the first set of international human rights standards that focus on the specific needs and experiences of women deprived of liberty | IDPC, UK

Maximising access to drug treatment while minimising diversion of medications — new EMCDDA report looks at striking the balance

Opioid substitution treatment (OST) is a key evidence-based tool used to manage opioid dependence and improve related health and social consequences. Yet increasing reports of the diversion and misuse of the controlled drugs used in this treatment in Europe are a cause for concern | EMCDDA, Portugal

Balancing access to opioid substitution treatment (OST) with preventing the diversion of opioid substitution medications in Europe: challenges and implications

This report reviews how opioid substitution treatment (OST) is implemented in European countries and examines the public health consequences of the diversion and misuse of prescription OST medications. It looks at how OST medications are diverted to the illicit market, the motivations behind diversion and misuse, and considers the measures to prevent diversion and how they must ensure that the treatment remains available and accessible for those who need it | EMCDDA, Portugal

Through a gender lens: women and tobacco in the WHO European Region (2021)

This report provides a brief summary of some of the challenges, old and new, that women and girls face in the context of the tobacco epidemic in the WHO European Region, outlining the gendered nature of tobacco use and exposure and how the tobacco industry continues to target them through gendered messaging | WHO, Denmark

We Must Understand Youth Adversity to Address Adolescent Substance Use

Epidemiologic research about adolescent substance use historically has focused on monitoring the prevalence of use over time, so as to guide program planning and policy development. In this essay, I propose a shift in how we do business | BASIS, USA

Can a Cigarette Stock Be an Ethical Investment?

Tobacco companies like Philip Morris International hope that a shift to e-cigarettes will help them shake their toxic reputation with investors | Wall Street Journal, USA

Psychedelic Drug DMT To Be Trialed On Stroke Victims

Researchers are to begin trialing the use of the psychedelic drug DMT as a treatment for stroke patients, after preclinical studies on rats indicated that the substance could help the brain repair itself following injury | IFL Science, USA

Commonwealth Fund survey, 2020

For the first time, the survey included comparable information about behaviours affecting health (use of alcohol, tobacco, electronic vaping devices, cannabis and illicit drugs). Other topics covered include cost barriers to care, coordination of care and patient experience | Canadian Institute for Health Information, Canada

Illicit Drug Toxicity Deaths in BC January 1, 2010 – December 31, 2020 (PDF)

This report summarizes all unintentional illicit drug toxicity deaths in British Columbia (accidental and undetermined) that occurred between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2020, inclusive | British Colombia Coroners Service, Canada

B.C. asks federal government for exemption to decriminalize illicit drugs

British Columbia is asking the federal government to grant the province an exemption under federal law to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use | Globalnews, Canada

A boost for harm reduction in Viet Nam through take-home methadone doses

Twelve years ago, in 2008, the very first client received a dose of methadone in Viet Nam. Since the inauguration of this vital lifesaving intervention, over 160,000 clients have made use of the service with some 52,000 currently utilizing the service as of end 2020 | UNODC, Vietnam

Hangxiety: three ways to reduce alcohol-related regret

With the time warp of Christmas and New Years behind us, we can reflect on Australia’s heavy drinking culture and feelings of regret often associated with drinking alcohol | University of Queensland, Australia

Australia records highest month in history for alcohol retailer turnover in December

There is growing concern about the impact of increases in retail alcohol sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the influence of largely unregulated alcohol advertising | Fare, Australia

A minimum price for alcohol helped curb problem drinking in 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 | Mirage, Australia

Buprenorphine: Helping prison inmates to stay away from illegal drugs

Last year, New South Wales Corrective Services injected about 900 prison inmates a month with a view to keeping them away from illegal drugs | Mondaq, Australia

Call to delay controversial SA youth drug program

A group of drug, mental health, human rights and child protection experts have called on the State Government to delay trialling a contentious drug treatment program on detained children following warnings it could breach human rights standards | In Daily, Australia

Pettersson introduces drug reform bill to the Assembly

The time has come for ACT drug laws to reflect contemporary values, Michael Pettersson MLA (ACT Labor) argued in the Legislative Assembly this morning, introducing his bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of hard drugs | Canberra Weekly, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Ian Hamilton: Alcohol related deaths are on the rise, but we remain a nation in denial

The UK is stuck in a deadly catch-22 where access to help for alcohol addiction is harder, while people drinking at hazardous levels have increased their consumption, writes Ian Hamilton | BMJ opinion, UK

New Public Health England report shows moderate reduction in active hepatitis C infection among injecting drug users

Public Health England’s (PHE) annual report exploring infections and injecting behaviours among people who inject drugs in the UK was published recently. The report is informed by the Unlinked Anonymous Monitoring (UAM) Survey of people who inject drugs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Needle Exchange Surveillance Initiative (NESI) in Scotland, among other sources | Hepatitis C Trust blog, UK

Increased alcohol consumption during the pandemic: explained

Alcohol is both a sneaky and effective drug: sneaky because problems take years to manifest and effective as it provides an instant change in the way we feel and think | Mental Elf, UK

Medical cannabis law has been left in a haze

[Free one month trial available] Threshold of psychoactive content is unclear and makers are left relying on an arcane exemption | Times comment, UK