Daily news - 18th February 2021

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UK news


Our Director, Harry Shapiro, talks about his time working in addiction. From the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence (ISDD) in 1979 to DrugScope and DrugWise. Harry also talks about how addiction treatment and policies have changed over that time. He also comments on the future of addiction treatment and his recent work on e-cigarettes | SSA, UK

Preliminary indications of the burden of COVID-19 among people who inject drugs in England and Northern Ireland and the impact on access to health and harm reduction services

The aim of the study was to describe the impact of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic on people who inject drugs (PWID) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland | Science Daily, UK

Partners or Opponents? Alcohol Industry Strategy and the 2016 Revision of the U.K. Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines

[Open access] In 2016, the U.K. Chief Medical Officers published revised low-risk drinking guidelines, based on an updated evidence review. These guidelines advised that men and women drink no more than 14 units per week—a reduction for men—while emphasizing the dangers of drinking in pregnancy and as a risk factor for cancer. The aim of this study is to examine how the alcohol industry responded to the publication of the guidelines | JSAD, UK

Overdose prevention service is ‘a health response to a health issue’

Peter Krykant operates the UK's first overdose prevention service out of an old ambulance. A former addict himself, he tells The Big Issue why more safe injection facilities are urgently needed | The Big Issue, UK

Medical cannabis dependence: A critical review of issues and evidence

For recreational users, the estimated chances of becoming dependent on cannabis after any lifetime exposure is 8.9%, which is considerably lower than for cocaine (20.9%), alcohol (22.7%) or tobacco (67.5%). Nonetheless, the United Nations reports that cannabis dependence is now the primary reason for drug treatment across the world (39%), surpassing numbers receiving opioid treatment (33%) | Drug Science, UK

Applications for funding opens for grassroots, community and residential organisations

Later this week, applications will be accepted for two new Scottish Government funds, worth £1 million each, to support grassroots, community and residential organisations to improve drugs services | SDF, UK

SHAAP writes to the Chancellor of the Exchequer with a call to increase alcohol duty ahead of the Budget

On 15 February 2021, SHAAP wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer with a call to increase alcohol duty by 2% above inflation, ahead of the Budget | SHAAP, UK

Slash alcohol duty and we’ll spend cash saved on hiring, UK spirits firms tell Chancellor as Budget approaches

British spirits firm bosses have said they could go on a hiring spree as the country faces its highest unemployment levels in decades - if the Chancellor slashes alcohol duty his upcoming Budget | Evening Standard, UK

Police officers in 'miracle' spray trial help save overdose victims

Officers armed with Naloxone were able to save the lives of two people in Flintshire | Daily Post, UK

Cannabis use and the brain with Janna Cousijn

Suzi Gage talks to Janna Cousijn about her paper on the long term consequences of cannabis use for the brain, written for the series Clinical issues: substance use disorders and the body | Addiction, UK

Anne Longfield: Vulnerable children 'seen as data points'

In her final speech in the role, Anne Longfield highlighted the case of 16-year-old Jacob, who died after being coerced into drug trafficking | BBC, UK

British American Tobacco sees pick-up in consumers using vaping

British American Tobacco on Wednesday claimed progress on cutting its “harm footprint” after seeing a pick-up in consumers using vaping and other reduced risk products | Evening Standard, 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

The Impact Prize for influence on policy and practice

To support our strategic aim, ‘to harness and communicate the evidence base to inform policy and practice’, this prize will be awarded, at our Annual Conference, to an individual who has produced innovative work with a public-facing impact through mass media, influencing policy and/or practice in the field of addiction | SSA, UK



International news

Webinar | Quality in Treatment

23rd February, 1pm - 2:15pm UK Time. On February 23rd, ISSUP Global would like to invite you to their upcoming Webinar on the topic of quality in substance use disorder treatment. This Webinar aims to increase knowledge of; What quality in treatment is; Why quality in treatment is important; International initiatives relating to quality in SUD treatment; Current or ex-service user role in assuring treatment quality. The webinar also aims to encourage participants to join the new Quality in Treatment network and share good practice | ISSUP, UK

Overview of some international initiatives on quality in treatment - video

A 30 minute YouTube lecture giving an overview of some International initiatives on quality in drug use disorder treatment services and systems. The lecture is given by Annette Dale-Perera and was filmed in Autumn 2020 by UNODC  | ISSUP, UK

Drug-free in Norway? - audio

Can Norwegians with psychosis benefit from radical, drug-free treatment? In a challenge to the foundations of western psychiatry, a handful of Norway’s mental health facilities are offering medication-free treatment to people with serious psychiatric conditions | BBC, UK

Barcelona to ban smoking on four of its beaches

Pilot scheme will operate from end of May to mid-September as part of city’s ongoing clean air drive | Guardian, UK

California bill would decriminalize psychedelics, paving the way for medical treatment

The bill touts the benefits of the drugs and would expunge the criminal records for those already convicted of possession or use of a substance | Guardian, UK

New multi-city syringe study uncovers latest patterns of injecting drug use

The latest patterns of injecting drug use in a selection of European cities are explored today in a new study from the EMCDDA. The report presents the results of an innovative project investigating the substances used by people who inject drugs, by chemically analysing the content of used syringes | EMCDDA, Portugal

An analysis of drugs in used syringes from sentinel European cities: results from the ESCAPE project, 2018 and 2019

This report presents new findings from the ESCAPE (European Syringe Collection and Analysis Project Enterprise) network, based on the chemical analysis of the contents of used syringes across sentinel sites in Europe. Syringes were collected in 2018 and 2019 from the bins of street automatic injection-kit dispensers and at harm reduction services in eight European cities: Amsterdam, Budapest, Cologne, Helsinki, Lausanne, Oslo, Paris and Vilnius | EMCDDA, Portugal

European Syringe Collection and Analysis Enterprise (ESCAPE) – generic protocol

This protocol documents a new approach that has been developed to monitor substances injected by people who inject drugs through analytically confirmed data at the local level: the analysis of residual content of used syringes | EMCDDA, Portugal

A Guide to Lisbon’s Forthcoming Managed Alcohol Program

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Portuguese officials have worked to ensure supports are in place for unhoused people at risk of experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms. But one promising alcohol harm reduction program has yet to get off the ground due to economic barriers | Filter Magazine, USA

Study finds unintended consequences of state, opioid policies

In response to the increase in opioid overdose deaths in the United States, many states have implemented supply-controlling and harm-reduction policy measures aimed at reducing those deaths. But a recent study from Indiana University found the policies may have had the unintended consequence of motivating those with opioid use disorders to switch to alternative illicit substances, leading to higher overdose mortality | Medical Xpress, USA

Physician group rejects AMA's claim that the opioid crisis is no longer driven by prescriptions

Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing sent a letter Feb. 16 to the American Medical Association criticizing its stance that the opioid epidemic is not fundamentally driven by prescribed opioids, but rather heroin and fentanyl that is illegally produced and obtained | Becker's Hospital Review, USA

As Addiction Deaths Surge, Profit-Driven Rehab Industry Faces 'Severe Ethical Crisis'

As the nation's addiction crisis deepened, Tamara Beetham, who studies health policy at Yale University, set out to answer a simple question: What happens when people try to get help? | npr, USA

Envisioning a psychedelic future for psychiatric treatment

Jason Wallach has a vision. He sees Philadelphia becoming a center for psychedelic studies. From his laboratory at the University of the Sciences, Wallach is leading a network of national researchers delving into the mind-altering substances | Medical Xpress, USA

What a Legal Cocaine and Heroin Market Would Look Like

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

Mental Health and Substance Use During COVID-19: Summary Report

The mental health and substance use impacts of the pandemic have been greater for people living with, or at risk of, mental health and substance use disorders | CCSA, Canada

Why 7-Eleven's plan to serve alcohol in Ontario sparks concern — and curiosity — in business community

‘Novel approach’ would see convenience store giant selling alcohol for in-store consumption | CBC News, Canada

18th February - Facebook being irresponsible says ADF

Alcohol and Drug Foundation CEO Dr Erin Lalor, AM, said it was regrettable that not-for-profit organisations, like the ADF, and other vital community groups had been caught up in the Facebook ban.  The ADF’s Facebook page had been stripped of content this morning | ADF, Australia

International survey on cannabis for endometriosis - survey

Do you have endometriosis and use cannabis (legally prescribed or illicit) to manage your symptoms? We need your help for this new research being conducted by researchers from Western Sydney University and the University of New South Wales | Endometriosis.org, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

From trippy drugs to therapeutic aids – how psychedelics got their groove back

For many years, drugs such as LSD, psilocybin and Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) were viewed only as highly dangerous drugs. However, in recent years they have had a bit of rebrand. Now they’re believed by some to have the power to heal, to reconnect us with nature – even resolve political tensions | Conversation, UK

Growing older and more stigmatised on methadone

In a compelling study from Dublin, Paula Maycock and Shane Butler (Trinity College) make the point that little is known about the stigma experienced by individuals attending drug treatment services over prolonged periods.  They explored this through the lived-experience narratives of 25 people prescribed long-term methadone | Recovery Review blog, UK

Alcohol monopolies

Scotland has made progress in reducing harm from alcohol and an important part of that approach has been attention to regulating the price, availability and marketing of alcohol, known as the World Health Organization's ‘Best Buys’. However, the Scottish off-trade alcohol market remains lightly regulated in comparison to many countries. Here, Robin Room discusses international examples of alcohol monopolies | SHAAP blog, UK

COVID 19: Industry blog series

Featuring alcohol charities, partnerships and industry bodies, we have put together this blog series to chart the experience of COVID-19 for the alcohol industry. The blog will look at the impact of the pandemic, as well as the actions taken by key industry players. Every Monday and Thursday we will publish a blog post penned by a leading organisation within the alcohol sector to offer an insight into their COVID-19 experience | Portman Group, UK

Alcohol use is worryingly high among Nigerian students: here’s who is most at risk

Many young people drink alcohol – whether it’s out of curiosity, ignorance, peer pressure or other reasons. It’s a major public health concern | Conversation | UK