Daily news - 24th February 2021

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UK news

Vaping better than nicotine replacement therapy for stopping smoking, evidence suggests

As number of vapers in England plateaus, incorrect perceptions of its relative risks compared to smoking may be discouraging smokers from using vaping to quit | PHE, UK

Vaping in England: evidence update February 2021

Annual update of Public Health England’s e-cigarette evidence review by leading independent tobacco experts. This report covers vaping for smoking cessation | PHE, UK

Evidence strengthens that vaping is effective for stopping smoking but not reaching its full potential with adult smokers

Smoking remains the largest single risk factor for death and years of life lived in ill-health and is a leading cause of health inequalities in England | Kings College London, UK

Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services in England April 2020 to September 2020

58.2% of people successfully quit (self-reported) Of 81,280 people setting a quit date, 47,333 were successful | NHS Digital, UK

Personal, social, health and economic education in schools (England)

This House of Commons Library briefing sets out the rules relating to the provision of personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) in England, as well as statutory health education from 2020. [Includes alcohol and other drugs] | UK Parliament, UK

Contacts to the NSPCC about drug and alcohol misuse among parents soar during the pandemic

The number of people contacting us with concerns about drug and alcohol misuse among parents has risen by 66% since April 2020. Between January - March 2020, we were receiving just over 700 contacts a month from worried adults. Since the first lockdown began, however, that number rose to an average of 1,178 contacts a month | NSPCC, UK

Street Drug Discussions - Deep Dive into Alcohol

Alcohol is among the most harmful of all recreational drugs, and yet it is the most widely used in the UK. But how much do you really know about what alcohol does to the body and brain? | Drug Science, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Rehabilitation

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to tackle (a) age and (b) socio-economic inequalities in alcohol treatment service provision | They work for you, UK

Why the US Has Embraced Drug Law Reform, But the UK Won't

In the US, drug reform is at the centre of political debate while in Britain politicians continue to shove the issue under the carpet. Here’s why | VICE, UK

Met police hails success in county lines drugs crackdown

Covid lockdowns and new tactics have contributed to rise in charges against drug dealers | Guardian, UK

Police commissioner wants to give free cannabis to prisoners in bid to cut crime behind bars

North Wales Plaid Cymru commissioner Arfon Jones, a former police inspector, said the radical idea could reduce prison violence and prevent overdose deaths in prisons | Mail Online, UK

Isle of Wight fishermen's drug smuggling 'simply impossible'

It was "simply impossible" for two fishermen, convicted of smuggling cocaine off the Isle of Wight, to have collected the drugs from the sea, the Court of Appeal has heard | BBC, UK

Covid: Politician suspended in booze row back in Senedd Labour group

Senedd member Alun Davies has re-joined Labour's group in the Welsh Parliament following his suspension for drinking on parliament premises during an alcohol ban | BBC, UK

Suspected cannabis plants found inside former NatWest bank

Police say a possible cannabis-growing operation was discovered inside a former bank that caught fire | BBC, UK


International news

Criminal justice therapy: melding care with control

In theory the great advantage of treatment ordered by the criminal justice system is that it can ‘hold’ patients in treatment and get them to comply with the programme sufficiently to gain benefits. But what does the coercion which grips patients do to the quality of the contacts it enforces? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Norway set to decriminalise personal drug use

The Norwegian government has introduced proposals that would decriminalise the personal use of illegal drugs in small quantities, including heroin and cocaine The draft bill was introduced last week by the minority centre-right government | Justice Gap, UK

Will the UN Revamp its Disastrous “Drug Free World” Campaign in Brazil?

Amidst a global pandemic and a worldwide progressive wave of drug decriminalisation for medical purposes and adult personal use, the UN is partnering with the Brazilian government, seemingly in an attempt to revamp its “Drug-Free World” campaign | VICE, UK

El Chapo's wife helped him run drug empire from jail, US court hears

Emma Coronel is ‘not a big fish’, experts say, but indictment accuses her of assisting dramatic jailbreak in 2015 | Guardian, UK

Analysis of Active and Passive Tobacco Exposures and Blood Pressure in US Children and Adolescents

In this cross-sectional study of 8520 US children and adolescents aged 8 to 19 years, tobacco exposure was associated with statistically significant higher odds of having elevated blood pressure after adjustment for potential confounders | JAMA Network, USA

Psychedelic Therapy Needs to Confront the Mystical

Many people have a spiritual experience on psychedelics. How they make meaning of it could be influenced by the metaphysical beliefs of their therapists | VICE, USA

Microneedle patches for microdosing psychedelic pharmaceuticals

Although one may think of psychedelic pharmaceuticals as being dangerous and detrimental, scientists have been conducting experiments and clinical trials on some of them and have obtained positive results when testing them for medical use | Medical Xpress, USA

Casey William Hardison: A Clandestine Chemist’s View on Cognitive Liberty

When I first spoke to Casey William Hardison last October, he was calling from a Wyoming jail cell. Now he’s running for president in 2024 | Filter Magazine, USA

'Toxic' new yellow fentanyl linked to overdoses in Brockville, Smiths Falls

Public health officials are warning of what appears to be a dangerous new form of fentanyl — a yellow powder — turning up in Brockville and Smiths Falls | Mid-North Monitor, Canada

Medicinal cannabis course launched for Australian GPs

HealthCert Education has launched a CPD-accredited medicinal cannabis program for medical practitioners. The Griffith University-reviewed program is quality assured by the Australian and New Zealand College of Cannabinoid Practitioners (ANZCCP) | Hospital Health, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

What can we learn from repeat drink drivers’ attitudes and beliefs about drink-driving?

Drink-driving, or driving while over the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit, is an offence that could lead to serious injury or loss of life. In 1979, there were 1,640 deaths from road accidents involving drink-driving; by 2010, this dropped to 240 | IAS, UK

The link between England football victories and the recorded increase in alcohol-related domestic abuse is likely to be causal

Anna Trendl writes that, while the exact mechanism by which national football victories lead to an increase in the number of domestic abuse cases is complex, the evidence shows that alcohol plays a key role in this relationship | LSE, UK

Vaping and Tobacco Harm Reduction - In My Professional Opinion - video

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

What Keir Starmer should have said about drug policy

I wrote a piece for LabourList in August arguing that a plan to overhaul the UK’s unjust drugs policy is just around the corner | Labour List, UK

Have your say on the future of stop smoking support in Wales

Would you like to have your say on the future of stop smoking support in Wales?  ASH Wales is giving you the opportunity to help shape the future of quit smoking support and by taking part, you could win £200 | ASH Wales blog, UK

He Lost His Son to an Overdose. Now He’s Taking On the ‘Top Drug Cop.’

One activist is asking the Biden administration to remember the failures that led to the opioid epidemic as it chooses the next head of the F.D.A. | NY Times opinion, USA

The New Offence of Combined Drink and Drug Driving in New South Wales

Driving under the combined influence of alcohol and other drugs has long been understood to compound the dangers of impaired driving | Sydney Criminal Lawyers blog, Australia