Daily news - 15th February 2021

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UK news

County Lines exploitation: applying All Our Health

This guide is part of ‘All Our Health’, a resource which helps health professionals prevent ill health and promote wellbeing as part of their everyday practice. The information below will help front-line health and care professionals use their trusted relationships with patients, families and communities to improve their mental health and wellbeing | PHE, UK

COVID-19: How lockdown is taking its toll on millions caught in battle with addiction

The Action on Addiction charity says it saw an 86% rise in the number of people seeking help this January compared with last year | Sky News, UK

Huge spike in demand for alcohol treatment 'due to pandemic'

But health bosses say they are pleased to see more people asking for help | Yorkshire Live, UK

Learning from lockdown: support for people experiencing homelessness

There are few clearer measures of societal health than homelessness. On this count, and despite its enormous material wealth, England is in poor shape. Relative to the recent past, and any country we might want to compare ourselves to, we have a problem with homelessness | NHS Strategy Unit, UK

Medical cannabis in the UK and the industry’s future

Despite the evidence of the growing potential of the cannabis industry and wider acceptance, the domestic distribution of medical cannabis remains low. This means almost all the medical cannabis prescribed in the UK is imported and unlicensed | Open Access Government, UK

Edinburgh family's joy as life saving cannabis oil to be produced in Scotland

An Edinburgh mother has spoken of her joy at the news her drug resistant epileptic son’s ‘life saving’ cannabis oils are set to be produced in Scotland | Edinburgh News, UK

'This was a life-saver': ex-smoker learned she had lung cancer after joining study

Case study: Judy Miller, 74, applied to take part in research into detection of lung cancer | Guardian, UK

Pubs and restaurants will serve outdoors from APRIL if Covid cases continue to fall at current rate

The reopening of hospitality is being fast-tracked in a major boost to the blighted sector — and thirsty Brits | The Sun, UK

The 7,000-year-old alternative to 'smart drugs' - video

Illegal use of so-called smart drugs has grown in recent years, despite the risks. Are there more natural ways to boost your brain? | BBC, UK

Alcohol Occasionals - Men’s alcohol consumption when becoming a father

Thu, 25 February 2021, 12:30 – 14:00 GMT. Elena Dimova - "Exploring men’s alcohol consumption in the context of becoming a father: A scoping review" | SHAAP, UK

Crazy Diamond: how LSD ruined Pink Floyd's fragile genius Syd Barrett

[Limited number of free articles per week] By the age of 23, Pink Floyd's poetic frontman had changed music forever – then the drugs unloosed something inside him | Telegraph, UK

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing: Middlesbrough and ex-Cardiff winger was banned for cocaine use

The Football Association (FA) has revealed the 28-year-old served a three-month ban after a positive drugs test administered on 4 July, 2020 | BBC, UK

Two arrested in Filton after class A drugs delivery

Two men have been arrested after more than £12m of class A drugs were found heading to South Gloucestershire | BBC, UK

PSNI seize illegal cigarettes and drugs worth £200k

More than 110,000 packets of illegal cigarettes and suspected Class B drugs worth an estimated £200,000 have been seized, police have said | BBC, UK


International news

‘Dangerous data’ part 3: The gloves come off

Third weekly instalment of the series on controlled drinking as a treatment goal. Controversy moves to the USA, where the 1976 Rand report’s finding that post-treatment remission usually involved continued drinking was likened to “playing Russian roulette with the lives of human beings” | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Doctors who say no to opioid use face threats from patients

Doctors say they're facing increasing threats of violence for refusing to prescribe opioids or trying to wean patients off the addictive painkillers | Independent, UK

One drug dealer, two corrupt cops and a risky FBI sting – podcast

Davon Mayer was a smalltime dealer in west Baltimore who made an illicit deal with local police. When they turned on him, he decided to get out – but escaping that life would not prove as easy as falling into it | Guardian, UK

World's oldest known beer factory may have been unearthed in Egypt

Ancient Egyptian site in Abydos apparently dates back to beginning of the first dynastic period | Guardian, UK

Single programming document 2021–2023

The new Single programming document sets out the EMCDDA’s activities for the period 2021–2023, marking the start of a new five-year roadmap under Strategy 2025. At the heart of the agency’s work in 2021 will be the development of a new business model, which places customers and digital transformation at its core | EMCDDA, Portugal

EMCDDA webinar: Responding to drugs and homelessness. Innovative approaches in Europe - video

This webinar will involve discussion with front line workers from three European countries — Belgium, Finland and Portugal — who have implemented solutions to address issues linked to homelessness among vulnerable populations, including people who use drugs. They will present the main innovations in this field as well as explore some of the major facilitators and barriers to successful implementation | EMCDDA, Portugal

Systematic Evaluation of State Policy Interventions Targeting the US Opioid Epidemic, 2007-2018

In this cross-sectional study of state-level drug overdose mortality data and claims data from 23 million commercially insured patients in the US between 2007 and 2018, state policies were associated with a reduction in known indicators of prescription opioid misuse as well as deaths from prescription opioid overdose and increases in diagnosis of opioid use disorder, overdose, and drug overdose mortality from illicit drugs | JAMA Network Open, USA

Accelerated Overdose Deaths Linked With COVID-19

More than 81 000 people died of drug overdoses in the US between June 2019 and May 2020, a record-breaking number that CDC officials suggested is related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic | JAMA, USA

Jamaica faces marijuana shortage as farmers struggle

Heavy rains followed by an extended drought, an increase in local consumption and a drop in the number of marijuana farmers have caused a shortage in the island’s famed but largely illegal market that experts say is the worst they’ve seen | LA Times, USA

Mexico's poor have little luck obtaining opioids intended for palliative care

If you're poor and terminally ill in southern Mexico, there's far less chance you'll get the painkillers you need for palliative care than your cousins in more prosperous regions, particularly those pharmacy-rich areas along Mexico-U.S. border, say UCLA researchers and colleagues who studied opioid dispensing levels across the country | Medical Xpress, USA

Cannabis Companies Join Forces to Promote a Unified Legalization Agenda

More than two dozen of the world's largest cannabis companies are coming together to push a unified message on cannabis legalization. The new organization, U.S. Cannabis Council (USCC), will lobby and organize on the state and federal levels to push lawmakers toward ending cannabis prohibition... | Cheddar, USA

Police issue warning about dangerous new orange and pink fentanyl

A recent overdose in Newmarket led police to discover a new strain of the dangerous drug, fentanyl, that they said was new to investigators | CTV News, Canada

The cost of a crisis

An epidemic of drug overdoses has claimed more than 20,000 Canadians since 2016 — about the same number of victims as the coronavirus. Here, The Globe puts names and faces to those we lost, taking them out of the shadows of grief and shame | Globe and Mail, Canada

Kings Cross businesses want removal of injecting centre to revive strip

Kings Cross businesses are calling for the removal of the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre from the downtrodden strip if the area is to thrive from the removal of the lockout laws | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

Advocates say ACT plan to decriminalise illicit drugs will help community but deep concerns remain

Chris Gough lived in the grip of heroin dependence for close to a decade. At 42, he still needs methadone but has turned his life around, and now helps others through his work in the drug treatment sector | abc.net.au, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Need rehab? How can we hinder you?

Although the signs are good that journeys to residential rehabilitation in Scotland are about to get a lot easier, there are still some challenges to face. We could quadruple capacity, but if the pathways are not there or blocks exist, more places will make little difference | Recovery Review blog, UK

Social value building momentum

Social value has been present in the commissioning landscape for a number of years now and in doing so it can highlight the role services play in creating economic, social and environmental value for communities | Turning Point blog, UK

Cocaine, cannabis or ecstasy – whatever your drug, it has an impact on the planet

Human costs of using drugs are well-known – but the environmental impact is one of the best-kept secrets | Independent voices, UK

More Evidence That Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Might Increase Overdose Deaths

At a Cato Institute policy forum in October 2019, Columbia University public health researcher David Fink presented data showing that Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), designed to surveil opioid prescribing by health care practitioners to their patients in pain, have no appreciable effect on the fatal or non‐​fatal opioid overdose rate, but may have the unintended consequence of increasing overdoses from heroin | CATO Institute, USA

Future Generations Will Condemn the Drug War: Reform Is Urgent and Inevitable

Virtually all cultures in history have used psychoactive drugs. One of the few objects nomadic Indigenous Australians carried from one camp to the next was so-called “bush tobacco” or “pituri”, containing the psychoactive ingredient nicotine which reduces heat loss when sleeping semi-naked in the desert | Sydney Criminal Lawyers blog, Australia

Pot Paparazzi: Shame, stigma and repetition gets Queensland print media through slow news days

The start of 2021 has seen a spate of concerning reporting by Queensland print media, which seems intent on naming and shaming people who use drugs. As outlined in our recent piece, this sort of reporting perpetuates the already immense stigma and judgement suffered by those who use drugs | AOD Media Watch, Australia