Daily news - 22nd February 2021

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UK news

Residential rehabilitation provision

A survey of residential rehabilitation services in Scotland shows that there are 418 beds available for the treatment of both drug and alcohol addiction | Scottish Government, UK

More drug rehab treatment to be made available in Scotland

Research has identified that far more needs to be done to bond detox treatment to rehab | Daily Record, UK

Close to home: Delivering a national Housing First programme in England

Housing First is an effective way of tackling and preventing rough sleeping for people whose homelessness is compounded by serious mental health issues, drug or alcohol dependency, or a history of trauma. Our report Close to Home makes the case for a national Housing First programme, and draws on recent learning to map out what this should entail | CJS, UK

Sir Keir Starmer says he opposes relaxing drugs laws and insists he is ‘proud’ to be patriotic

Sir Keir’s words will come as a blow to campaigners who have called for drug addiction to be treated as a health issue, rather than a criminal matter | i news, UK

The socioeconomic distribution of alcohol-related violence in England and Wales

Inequalities in alcohol-related health harms have been repeatedly identified. However, the socioeconomic distribution of alcohol-related violence (violence committed by a person under the influence of alcohol)–and of subtypes such as alcohol-related domestic violence–remains under-examined | PLOS One, UK

First study of safety and tolerability of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine-assisted psychotherapy in patients with alcohol use disorder

3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) therapy has qualities that make it potentially well suited for patients with addictions, but this has never been explored in a research study. We present data from the Bristol Imperial MDMA in Alcoholism (BIMA) study | Journal of Psychopharmacology, UK

Vaping, smoking and gateway research: the SSA talks to Dr Jasmine Khouja

Vaping research raises many questions about our understanding of addiction. The relationship between vaping and smoking, particularly among young people, is at the centre of many debates about vaping | SSA, UK

Is e-cigarette use in non-smoking young adults associated with later smoking? A systematic review and meta-analysis

[Open access] The aim of this review was to investigate whether e-cigarette use compared with non-use in young non-smokers is associated with subsequent cigarette smoking | BMJ Tobacco Control, UK

Alcohol Policy UK: a message to our readers

Dear readers, Regular followers of Alcohol Policy UK will have been aware that over the last year or so, updates to the blog have been far less frequent. Below I set out to provide an update as to why and offer some background and reflections | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Webinar: Addressing blood-borne viruses across London

Mon, 1st March 2021, 13.00-14.30 GMT. This event will hear from organisations engaging in outreach across London and explore how services can engage people in BBV testing and treatment | London Joint Working Group on Substance Use and Hepatitis C

Scots cops urged to carry overdose treatment after two lives are saved in Wales

North Wales crime commissioner says Scottish Police Federation is ignoring the "first Peelian principle" - to protect life | Daily Record, UK

Sudden spike in Powys drug overdoses as fake 'Benzos' circulate

An alarming spike in the number of Powys drug overdoses has led to one death and three people requiring intensive care in just four weeks | Powys County Times, UK

Inside Britain’s last temperance bar – the first of a new brand of boozer

[Limited number of free articles per week] An alcohol ban in pubs is under consideration, and young people are shunning drink. Is Mr Fitzpatrick's the future of our watering holes? | Telegraph, UK

Drugs seized as evidence in police investigations going missing almost once a fortnight

[Limited number of free articles per week] Out of all the types of evidence that go missing from custody of Britain's biggest police force, drugs were the most frequent to disappear | Telegraph, UK

Former drug user transforms the way police deal with people living with addiction

George Charlton has been working with Northumbria Police for almost 20 years to radically reform the attitudes towards people who find themselves caught up in the cycle of addiction | Chronicle, UK

British racing to introduce saliva tests for jockeys to detect drugs

Pilot scheme announced on same day as suspension for jockey Philip Prince following positive test | Independent, UK

New doubt over fishermen’s cocaine smuggling convictions

Revelations over withheld evidence on eve of appeal court hearing into two of the ‘Freshwater Five’ found guilty over £53m drug haul | Guardian, UK

Freshwater part 2: the circumstantial evidence

In the second part of Freshwater, Anushka Asthana examines the circumstantial evidence presented at trial against the Freshwater Five including a series of phone calls from sea and why a man with no prior fishing experience was onboard the boat that night | Guardian, UK

Freshwater part 3: the clifftop evidence

A major part of the evidence against the Freshwater Five came from the clifftop above Freshwater Bay. It was there that police saw bags being thrown from the men’s boat. But the defence still have questions about what the police actually saw | Guardian, UK

Freshwater part 4: radar

When the Freshwater Five’s lawyer, Emily Bolton, found new evidence not disclosed at the men’s trial, it set her on a path to the court of appeal and another version of events that adds weight to their claims | Guardian, UK

Cocaine 'worth £184m' found in banana boxes sent from Colombia

Cocaine weighing 2,300kg and with an estimated value of £184m has been found inside a consignment of bananas that arrived in the UK from Colombia | BBC, UK

Harwich: Lorry drivers jailed over heroin find 'worth £3.2m'

Stanislaw Walczak, 43, and Robert Wyzuj, 55, were stopped in their HGV at Harwich ferry terminal in Essex after arriving from the Netherlands in February 2020 | BBC, UK

Basingstoke drugs murder: Gang member jailed over teenager's death

Taylor Williams, 18, was stabbed in the heart at a flat in Basingstoke, Hampshire, in August 2019 | BBC, UK



International news

Tobacco giant bets £1bn on influencers to boost 'more lung-friendly' sales

As smoking falls out of fashion, BAT is pinning its hopes on younger users of e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches | Guardian, UK

‘Dangerous data’ part 4: Sobells decisively crack the abstinence consensus

Fourth weekly instalment of the series on controlled drinking as a treatment goal. Published in 1973, hard-to-explain-away results from the solidity of a randomised trial showed successful treatment need not conform to abstinence-only orthodoxy. Mark and Linda Sobell paid for their findings with decades of challenges to their integrity | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Drug gangs 'have taken over' Limerick housing estate

A dedicated task force for a Limerick city estate, similar to ones in Dublin, is needed to take control back from drug gangs, the Dáil has been told | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Cocaine trade 'rocketing' warns top EU drug official after Cork seizure

Cocaine trafficking from South America into Europe is “rocketing” and the money spent on it by Irish users is "going straight into the hands" of cartels | Irish Examiner, Ireland

'Grave error' in Government's new medicinal cannabis scheme

A “grave error” in the Government’s new scheme to allow some medicinal cannabis products to be prescribed and funded for patients in Ireland is that it omits the drug already relied on by many, campaigners say | Irish EXaminer, Ireland

Norway seeks to decriminalise recreational drug use

Norway's government has proposed a bill aimed at decriminalising the possession and use of small amounts of narcotics, saying users should be offered treatment rather than face jail | RTe, Ireland

Californian law would make 'therapeutic' drugs such as LSD legal

Psychedelic drugs such as LSD, ketamine and magic mushrooms could be decriminalised in California amid a wave of drug liberalisation that is sweeping across the US | Independent, Ireland

Civil Forfeiture Does Not Seem To Reduce Drug Use or Help Fight Crime

A new study [ Does Forfeiture work? Evidence from the United States (PDF) ] provides further evidence that property seizures are driven by financial motives rather than public safety concerns | Reason, USA

Top US lawmakers want to make cannabis federally decriminalized: What to know

Unraveling marijuana laws could be a long, tedious process, but some lawmakers have said they're ready to try | C Net, USA

University professor claims heroin helps maintain ‘work-life balance’

A professor at a prestigious university says his love of heroin, MDMA and meth leaves him “refreshed” and ready “to face another day” | News.com.au, Australia

The Impact of Global Drug Policy on Women: Shifting the Needle

11:00 A.M. 3 March 2021. A new publication, The Impact of Global Drug Policy on Women: Shifting the Needle, analyzes the disproportionate impact of failed international drug control policies on women | WOLA, USA

Australia: NSW police found to have conducted unlawful Stop and Search

Two men are spotted by police walking at night, not late, on a street in Burwood, in Sydney's inner west. The patrolling police think they look suspicious, so decide to stop and search them | Mondaq, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Cannabis reform could put UK finances on a high

[Limited number of free articles per week] Legalisation could save the UK £890m a year in reduced spending by police, prisons, courts, and the NHS, according to research | Telegraph, 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

‘Which came first, the booze or the boys?’: untangling a love affair with alcohol

For better and for worse, drinking has been a constant thread running through writer Megan Nolan’s relationships. She reflects on the dual thrills of alcohol and romance | Guardian, UK

Can a gin-free cocktail really raise our spirits?

Despite what you might think (or practise), booze sales in the UK are falling fast, and more and more of us are turning to no-and-low alcohol drinks | Guardian, UK

From 'weird' to 'smelly': the non-alcoholic beer taste test

Australian sales of zero and very low alcohol beer have doubled in the past year – but are the brews enough to satisfy Guardian staffers’ thirsts? | Guardian, UK

Aerial Fumigation in Colombia: A Success for Someone

In 2011, when the multi-billion-dollar Plan Colombia had officially come to an end, the UNDP described the “rural development model” in Colombia as “highly inequitable and exclusionary.” | GDPO, UK

Pain, Power, and Prejudice in the United States

The relationship between patients and physicians is necessarily grounded in a power-knowledge relationship. One way of understanding this is through Foucault’s concept of power-knowledge. This is the idea that power and knowledge are inextricably linked; knowledge begets power and power begets knowledge | BASIS op ed, USA

George Shultz was among the first to understand drug policy and prohibition

The late George Shultz was among the founding members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, a group of former heads of state and other personalities, which I currently chair. We advocate for an end to the “war on drugs” and its dire consequences, which are felt at a global scale | The Hill opinion, USA

Daphne Bramham: Vancouver mayor hangs re-election hopes on drug decriminalization and safe supply

For Kennedy Stewart, harm reduction is about safe supply, supervised injection sites, free needles and is “a management tool, not a way to bring an end to addiction.” | Vancouver Sun, Canada

The South African play that’s tackling the scourge of the street drug whoonga

The drug whoonga has plagued South African communities for at least a decade, yet only gained significant public attention when it appeared more visibly in the inner-city and surrounding suburbs of Durban, the major city in the country’s KwaZulu-Natal province | Conversation, South Africa

Alcohol not injecting room the real worry for the revival of Kings Cross

Alas The Daily Telegraph’s reporters lying in wait for weeks in a hotel room directly opposite, their cameras trained on our entrance, missed the scoop. The flickering light of the TV emanating from behind the closed curtains suggested they may have been distracted by that night’s State of Origin match | SMH opinion, Australia

Victoria Decriminalises Public Drunkenness

Three years after the death of Yorta Yorta woman, Tanya Day, who was arrested for public drunkenness and suffered a fatal fall in a police cell at Castlemaine Police Station, Victoria has finally passed legislation to decriminalise public drunkenness | Sydney Criminal Lawyers blog, Australia