Daily news - 19th February 2021

Weekly subscribe button

UK news

Parents 2 x more likely than non-parents to drink more since Covid

Alcohol may be taking its toll on North East families during the pandemic as new figures show parents are twice as likely as non-parents to be drinking more heavily since it began | Balance North East, UK

Alcoholic Drinks and Drugs: Rehabilitation

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to statistics on alcohol and drug treatment in secure settings 2019 to 2020, published on 28 January 2021, what assessment he has made of the reasons for the (a) decrease in the proportion of young people completing substance misuse treatment in secure settings and( b) increase in the proportion of young people declining substance misuse treatment | They work for you, UK

Offenders: Rehabilitation

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to statistics on alcohol and drug treatment in secure settings 2019 to 2020, published on 28 January 2021, if he will make an assessment of the effect on reoffending levels of the finding that 65.5% of adults with a substance misuse treatment need do not successfully engage in community-based structured treatment following release from prison | They work for you, UK

Abstinence advice at antenatal appointments improves outcomes

New research published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth suggests that midwife advice about the low risk alcohol guidelines for pregnant women beyond the initial booking appointment can ‘lead to improved outcomes for women and infants’ | IAS, UK

Pregabalin (Lyrica): reports of severe respiratory depression

Pregabalin has been associated with infrequent reports of severe respiratory depression, including some cases without the presence of concomitant opioid medicines | MHRA, UK

The war on drugs: interview with Angela Constance

On 17 December, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stood in front of parliament and admitted that her government’s record on reducing drugs-related deaths was “indefensible” | Holyrood, UK

Comparing death counts, Lock Down drinking and Long Covid

There have been reports that we are drinking more in Lock Down. We examine the evidence | BBC, UK

New government report warns UK nightlife could face 'extinction' without urgent action

The inquiry, led by Jeff Smith MP and backed by dozens more, surveyed 20,000 stakeholders across the industry | RA Magazine, UK

Webinar: Eliminating hepatitis C in London - Updates and next steps

Thu, 25th February 2021, 13.00-14.30 GMT. This event will hear from leaders in hepatitis C care to explore progress towards elimination in London and include a Q&A session | London Joint Working Group on Substance Use and Hepatitis C | London Joint Working Group on Substance Use and Hepatitis C, UK

Understanding Steroid Use - Dr Christian Jessen

Wed, 31 March 2021, 18:00 – 19:00 BST. TV Doctor Christian Jessen will be hosting this Drug Science live event on anabolic steroids, stigma, body dysmorphia, and harm reduction | Drug Science, UK

PhD Addicted to Research: your PhD supervisors

One of the most important aspects of any PhD is the relationship you have with your supervisors. Having an effective working relationship with all your supervisors can make all the difference to the three (and more) years you will spend on your PhD. In this episode Merve, Carol and Dan talk about their experiences of being supervised, as well as sharing their top tips for ‘managing’ your supervisors... | SSA, UK

The British Horseracing Authority is to introduce saliva screening tests on jockeys

Horse racing is to become the first major sport in Britain to introduce saliva testing that will screen jockeys on the day for banned substances, including cocaine | BBC, UK

Freshwater part 1: are the wrong men in jail? - podcast

In 2011, five men were sentenced to a total of 104 years for conspiracy to import £53m worth of cocaine. They have always said they are innocent. Now, as new evidence is due to be put before the court of appeal, we investigate the case of the Freshwater Five | Guardian, UK


International news

Gardaí seize more than €12m of cocaine in County Cork

The 172kg of suspected class A drugs were found at Ringaskiddy Port on Thursday by Gardaí (Irish police) and customs officers | BBC, UK

Cartel-Style Drug Violence Is Coming to Europe

Photojournalist Teun Voeten has reported on conflict around the world, and watched as drug violence has crept up in his Dutch homeland | VICE, UK

Story of heroin addiction in 1970s West Berlin gets modern remake

Amazon Prime’s version of bestselling book and cult film based on Christiane F’s adolescence will launch on Friday | Guardian, UK

Breaking: Prime Minister To Present Draft Law To Regulate ‘Responsible Use’ Of Cannabis In Malta

Cannabis users in Malta may soon be able to grow their own weed and avoid police arrests for possession, as the government moves to legalise “responsible use” of the substance | Lovin Malta, Malta

Ensuring Access to Clean Needles Can Save Lives, but Legal Barriers Persist

Of particular importance from a policy perspective, bloodborne disease infections related to syringe sharing are also on the rise, with recent outbreaks in Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Indiana, among other states. Cases of infective endocarditis, which is caused largely by unsafe injection, are increasing as well | Network for Public Health Law, USA

Pain and Isolation Are Driving America’s Lockdown Overdose Surge

The pandemic is causing a surge in drug overdoses due to increasing isolation, desperation, and erratic supply | VICE, USA

What Could Cannabis Reparations Look Like In DC?

Nothing short of a reparative approach to recreational cannabis policy in the District of Columbia will sufficiently address the harm that past drug policies have caused to Black and Brown communities, according to the findings of a new report | Filter Magazine, USA

The Last Days of Heroin: Fentanyl’s Rise and the Pattern It Represents

Five years ago, British Columbia saw a change. People who use drugs in the Canadian province started overdosing in higher numbers, as fentanyl arrived into the unregulated opioid supply | Filter Magazine, USA

Washington Lawmakers Approve Drug Decriminalization Bill In Committee Vote

A landmark drug decriminalization and treatment bill in Washington State cleared its first legislative hurdle on Monday, with a panel of lawmakers voting to advance the measure just hours before a key deadline | Marijuana Moment, USA

Liberals' Justice Reform Bill Keeps War on Drugs Alive, Policy Experts Say

The Liberal government’s newly proposed criminal justice reform legislation fails to address inequities around addiction treatment and will reinforce harms associated with drug criminalization, drug policy experts and harm reduction advocates say | VICE, Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected underserved people in Canada, including those who experience homelessness and/or substance use

Homeless shelters and residential substance use facilities from across Canada can join LTC+ and receive up to $10,000 funding to contribute towards pandemic response. This funding can be used where the need is the greatest, including vaccine roll-out, staff time, harm reduction training or supplies, purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) and/or mental health training/support | CFHI, Canada

Northern health alert issued after benzos spike detected in December overdose deaths

Northern Health re-issued a public alert warning of drug contamination after the B.C. Coroner’s Office reported a recent spike in benzodiazepines connected with illicit drug overdose deaths | Toronto Star, Canada

Adapting harm reduction services during COVID-19: lessons from the supervised injecting facilities in Australia

The COVID-19 crisis has had profound impacts on health service provision, particularly those providing client facing services. Supervised injecting facilities and drug consumption rooms across the world have been particularly challenged during the pandemic, as have their client group—people who consume drugs | Harm Reduction Journal, Australia

Rural GPs encouraged to take up training to help patients with alcohol and drug use problems

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is encouraging more rural and remote GPs to update their skills using the latest research to support patients with alcohol and other drug (AOD) use problems in their communities | Mirage, Australia

Can't remember the night before? Research finds blackouts common in young drinkers - audio

Have you ever drunk so much alcohol you couldn't remember the night before? Those who have say it's not a great feeling, now new research has found blacking out is common in young people, in fact by the age of 19, almost half of those surveyed had experienced a blackout | abc.net.au, Australia

Psychiatrist cleared after ‘poppyseed defence’ to positive drug tests

A north shore psychiatrist and former heroin addict who blamed positive drug tests on poppyseeds he ate at restaurants has had his registration to practise medicine restored | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Peter Krykant & UK drug consumption rooms – is their time finally here?

I met Peter Krykant exactly one year ago when he visited a Mock-up Safer Drug Consumption Room (DCR) that Transform had brought to the Scottish Government’s Drug Death Summit in Glasgow. He was tired, and exasperated that while there had been yet more talk, there had been no action | Emerald Publishing, UK

In My Professional Opinion - Vaping and Tobacco Harm Reduction

This discussion takes a brief tour through the science and policy controversies surrounding the concept of tobacco harm reduction: the idea of delivering the mild recreational drug without products of combustion of tobacco leaf | Drug Science, UK

Will London’s budding cannabis market turn the EU green with envy?

One after the other, medical cannabis companies are listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), and investors are piling in cash, keen to be early investors in what they hope will become a major industry in the UK | City AM, UK

Mechanisms of Change in Addiction Recovery Revisited

Mechanisms of change involve precise behaviors that when performed over time elicit radical changes in personal character and identity, personal lifestyle, and interpersonal relationships. They involve decisions, actions, and rituals that strengthen motivation for recovery, serve as building blocks of a recovery-centered lifestyle, and elevate the quality of personal and family life in long-term recovery | William L White papers, USA

Cocaine in 1980s America: Fine for the Wealthy & Well-Educated; Bad for the Poor

The years directly preceding the American “crack epidemic” of the 1980s are worth re-examining. Cocaine was by no means new, and people had been using and sometimes smoking, or freebasing, the drug for years. In the early eighties, however, many cocaine users were well-educated white professionals, wealthy celebrities, or captains of industry | Points blog, USA