Daily news - 25th February 2021

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UK news

Drugs: 'Major concern' over online purchases

Charities say they are expecting a "storm" of addiction problems when the Covid pandemic subsides, due to access to drugs online | BBC, UK

Homeless deaths 2019

More than half of homeless deaths were drug-related | National Records of Scotland, UK

Drugs: Death

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the report entitled Drug deaths: England and Wales see highest number since records began published in the BMJ on 15 October 2020, what steps he is taking to address the high numbers of drug-related deaths in the UK | They work for you, UK

Certain occupations may be associated with higher rates of heavy drinking

Working in certain occupations may be associated with a higher likelihood of heavy drinking in people aged 40-69 years, researchers at the University of Liverpool have found | University of Liverpool, UK

Addiction Services: Dual Diagnosis Provision

Ms P Bradley asked the Minister of Health for an update on the lack of addiction services in the community, especially for those who have a dual diagnosis | They work for you, UK

Who would be targeted by increasing the legal age of sale of cigarettes from 18 to 21? A cross‐sectional study exploring the number and characteristics of smokers in England

[Open access] To establish the number of smokers in England who would be targeted by increasing the age of sale of cigarettes from 18 to 21 years and to assess the smoking and socio‐demographic profile of those smokers | Addiction, UK

Longread: Medical Cannabis & ADHD – The Patient’s Experience

A recent literature review by PhytoSciences Ghana has provided a summary of the preclinical evidence for the medicinal use of cannabinoids as an alternative treatment for mental health disorders. In light of these conclusions we have interviewed a patient who uses medicinal cannabis to manage ADHD and OCD, to explore how the findings of this research relate to her experiences | Volteface, UK

Lifesaving drug overdose antidote to be carried by police in Walsall

West Midlands Police is using naloxone as a nasal spray that can temporarily reverse the deadly effects that can be caused by drugs like heroin, methadone, morphine and fentanyl.  It can buy time until paramedics arrive | West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, UK

Psychedelics and the Nature Connection with Dr Sam Gandy

Thu, 25 February 2021, 16:00 – 17:00 GMT. TODAY. Dr Gandy will reveal how psychedelics can promote pro-environmental behaviours that are needed to prevent further ecological destruction | Drug Science, UK

County lines: Met Police crackdown leads to over 1,000 charges

A fresh county lines drug dealing crackdown has led to over 1,000 charges in just over a year, the Met has said. Since November 2019, the force have closed 324 lines which originated in London and ran to county force areas | BBC, UK

Fish and chips and smoking cannabis with friends ‘not daily exercise’, say police after fines handed out

“No... meeting your mates for fish and chips and to smoke cannabis in not classed as 'daily exercise' or 'essential travel',” the wider Sheffield North East Neighbourhood Policing Team said in a Facebook post | Independent, UK



International news

Twenty-three tonnes of cocaine seized in Europe's biggest haul

German and Belgian joint investigation uncovers stashes in Hamburg and Antwerp | Guardian, UK

Comparison of e‐cigarette use prevalence and frequency by smoking status among youth in the United States, 2014–19

[Open access] Reports of youth e‐cigarette use often do not disaggregate by underlying smoking status. This study compared annual 2014–19 youth estimates of past 30‐day e‐cigarette use prevalence and frequency by smoking status in the United States | Addiction, UK

New Zealand police reveal student binge drinking strategy: more pubs

Officers in Dunedin say having a few large pubs would place students into a ‘controlled environment’ | Guardian, UK

Bruce Springsteen fined $500 over drinking charge

Bruce Springsteen has been fined $500 (£355) after pleading guilty to consuming alcohol in a New Jersey national park where drinking is banned | BBC, UK

Lonely adolescents are susceptible to internet addiction

Loneliness is a risk factor associated with adolescents being drawn into compulsive internet use. The risk of compulsive use has grown in the coronavirus pandemic: loneliness has become increasingly prevalent among adolescents, who spend longer and longer periods of time online | Science Daily, Finland

Effect of Cigarette Constituent Messages With Engagement Text on Intention to Quit Smoking Among Adults Who Smoke Cigarettes

In this randomized clinical trial of 789 adults who smoke cigarettes, participants assigned to the constituent plus engagement and constituent-only message conditions demonstrated increased quit intentions from preintervention to postintervention relative to participants in the control condition | JAMA Network, USA

Association of Opioid Use Disorder Treatment With Alcohol-Related Acute Events

 This case-control cohort study of 13 335 individuals with OUD from a large, nationally representative data set found that patients prescribed OUD medication had significant reductions in alcohol-related acute events | JAMA Network, USA

Study shows opioid use among US patients with knee osteoarthritis costs 14 billion dollars in societal costs

A team led by Elena Losina, PhD, Robert W. Lovett Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, of Brigham and Women's Hospital, used a computer simulation to estimate the annual and lifetime contribution of opioids to knee osteoarthritis-related costs | EurekAlert, USA

Incarceration is strongly linked with premature death in US

An analysis of U.S. county-level data found a strong association between jail incarceration and death rates from infectious diseases, chronic lower respiratory disease, drug use, and suicide, in a new study by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health | Medical Xpress, USA

Do teenage behaviors predict young adult gambling participation and problems

Longitudinal studies of gambling are rare. As a result, we know little about early age risk factors for the development of gambling-related problems in early adulthood (ages 18-29). Knowing more about risk factors from across the lifespan is important for prevention and harm reduction | BASIS, USA

NYU launching $10M Center for Psychedelic Medicine in Manhattan

NYU Langone Health’s Department of Psychiatry plans to establish a Center for Psychedelic Medicine, a hallucinatory hub that will support research on treating addiction, chronic pain, opioid addiction and “existential distress” — among other physical and emotional maladies — using psychedelics | NY Post, USA

Charleston, WV, Wants a Syringe Service Program. Electeds Want It Criminalized

Despite efforts by Charleston, West Virginia, politicians to re-criminalize syringe distribution, harm reduction is popular among local residents, according to the newly released findings of a survey assessing community perceptions of much-embattled local syringe service programs (SSP) | Filter Magazine, USA

California County Eyes Mandatory Drug Treatment Bill

Anewly introduced California Assembly bill would sentence people arrested on drug charges to an alternative form of incarceration: mandatory treatment in a “secured residential treatment facility.” | Filter Magazine, USA

Harm reduction workers encouraged by new mental health and addiction plan

Moncton overdose prevention site will open quickly once funds are available | CBC News, Canada

Cocaine drives Victoria’s growing drug habit

Victoria has overtaken NSW as the state with the highest proportion of cocaine users in the country after two new reports showed a surge in the drug’s popularity | The Age, Australia

Critical drug support needed for prisoners re-entering the community 

The overdose of a man one day after he was released from Port Philip Prison has prompted Victorian Coroner Jacqui Hawkins to recommend the Victorian government overhaul the way it supports people who use drugs when they are imprisoned and when they exit Victoria’s prison system | Coroner's Court of Victoria, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

British people are really missing the pub – here’s why

The events of the past year have had a devastating impact on the hospitality sector in the UK. At the forefront of lockdown’s sacrifices for many is the closure of an institution that is a cornerstone of british culture – the pub | Conversation, UK

NIAAA Guest Blog—The Behavioral and Biological Effects of Alcohol and COVID-19

During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers and scientists from across the biomedical spectrum have focused on the diverse health impacts of the novel coronavirus. For their part, alcohol researchers are investigating numerous ways that alcohol might affect COVID-19 risk and severity, as well as how the pandemic may influence alcohol consumption patterns and problems | CADCA blog, USA