Daily news - 26th February 2021

Weekly subscribe button

UK news

Drugs in the Time of COVID: Interim Report

Since the beginning of the first national coronavirus lockdown, Release has operated a public, online survey designed to monitor how people are buying their drugs. This interim report presents findings from the first 2,621 responses, received between the survey’s launch on the 9th April 2020 and the 17th September 2020 (inclusive); which captures drug purchases made in anticipation of and during the first national lockdown, as well as purchases made during the easing, and eventual lifting, of that first lockdown | Release, UK

What Really Happened to Britain's Drug Supply During the First Lockdown?

A survey by drug information charity Release reveals existing stashes kept trade going during last year's lockdown in Britain – and that many dealers practised social distancing and wore masks and gloves | VICE, UK

Opioid agonist treatment could substantially reduce drug related deaths if used more widely

New evidence that opioid agonists such as methadone and buprenorphine could substantially reduce drug related deaths if more widely used in the community and prison, and for longer, has been published in Lancet Psychiatry today | University of Bristol, UK

Drugs: Rehabilitation

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support he is providing to NHS inpatient detoxification units in England to tackle rising numbers of drug-related deaths | They work for you, UK

Associations between occupation and heavy alcohol consumption in UK adults aged 40–69 years: a cross-sectional study using the UK Biobank

Understanding the relationship between occupation and alcohol use offers opportunities to provide health promotion programmes based on evidence of need. We aimed to determine associations between occupation and heavy alcohol consumption in working individuals aged 40–69 years | BMC Public health, UK

Addiction Audio: Online search behaviour and minimum unit pricing

In this episode of Addiction Audio Rob Calder speaks to Professor David Leon about his research into on-line search behaviour as minimum unit pricing of alcohol was introduced in Scotland, and what it told him about how people responded to minimum unit pricing policies | SSA, UK

Call for more research to help new dads reduce alcohol consumption

A new international study led by Glasgow Caledonian University researchers found a huge gap in research exploring men’s experiences of drinking in the transition to fatherhood | GCU, UK

Budget 2021: Support pubs by cutting beer duty, say Conservative MPs

A group of Conservative MPs is calling for a reduction in the tax paid on beer in next week's Budget | BBC, UK

The Portman Group releases new guidance for hard seltzer producers

The social responsibility and regulatory body has also released the results of consumer research, which shows that just 7% of UK consumers have heard of the term ‘hard seltzer’ | Drinks Retailing, UK

Psychedelics and Mental Models

04 March 2021, 5:00 pm–6:00 pm. The seminar will be delivered virtually by Dr Lebedev who is a psychiatrist and an assistant professor at the Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Aging Research Center. Alexander investigates belief formation mechanisms and how they can be altered in various mental states and psychiatric conditions | UCL, UK

Alcohol for individuals

Friday March 5th, 1-3pm (UK). Controlled drinking is a viable option for some, according to James Morris, a post-doctoral researcher at London South Bank University and the host of a podcast which explored the middle road taken by BBC presenter Adrian Chiles. Nevertheless, though initially daunting, calling it quits is sometimes the easier choice to make. Perhaps 95% of those seeking the support of South Africa’s Tribe Sober community find the alcohol-free approach suits them better, says its founder Janet Gourand | Phil Cain, UK

Homicide in England and Wales: year ending March 2020

[Includes a section on alcohol and drug-related homicides] Analyses of information held within the Home Office Homicide Index, which contains detailed record-level information about each homicide recorded by police in England and Wales | ONS, UK

Police stop-and-search powers 'should be suspended'

Police powers to stop and search people in a specified area should be immediately suspended, Justice says | BBC, UK

JUSTICE launches timely report on racial disparities of children in the youth justice system

This Working Party of JUSTICE, which publishes its report Tackling Racial Injustice: Children and the Youth Justice System on 25 February 2021, seeks to examine the causes of BAME disproportionality in the Youth Justice System (YJS) of England and Wales | JUSTICE, UK

From dealing drugs to delivering food: Pastor Mick on Burnley's Covid crisis – video report

Pastor Mick Fleming has devoted all of his time in this lockdown to supporting the poorest communities in Burnley. But his life hasn’t always been this way | Guardian, UK

Newcastle e-scooters: Five men charged with drink-driving

E-scooters were introduced in Newcastle on 16 February but have been switched off overnight after reports they were being misused | BBC, UK


International news

Morocco mulling legalising medicinal cannabis

Morocco, a country where large volumes of cannabis are grown illicitly, is considering legalising production for therapeutic use of the drug, the government said Thursday | Mail Online, UK

Mental health of homeless people hit hard during Covid-19 pandemic

The mental health of homeless people has been impacted by social isolation linked to measures aimed at controlling the spread of Covid-19, with one leading charity organisation saying more mental health outreach is needed | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Gateway Theory in Finland: From Cannabis Decriminalisation to Legalising all Drugs

A citizens’ initiative in Finland aiming to decriminalise cannabis gathered the required 50,000 signatures at the end of 2019. Read this article by a Finnish activist, Aleksi Hupli! | Drug Reporter, Hungary

New Report Details Tobacco Industry’s Predatory Marketing of Menthol Cigarettes to Black Americans and the Devastating Health Impact

A new report released today details the tobacco industry’s decades-long targeting of Black communities, especially kids, with marketing for menthol cigarettes and the devastating impact on the health and lives of Black Americans | Tobacco Free Kids, USA

United States E-cigarette & Vape Market Report 2021-2028: Technological Advances in e-Cigarettes & Growing Awareness for Safer Tobacco Alternatives

The U.S. e-cigarette & vape market size is expected to reach USD 40.25 billion by 2028. It is projected to register a CAGR of 27.3% from 2021 to 2028 | Cision PR Newsire, USA

Leading Progressive Drug Policy Orgs Cheer Reintroduction of Bipartisan MAT Act

Leading harm reduction, drug policy, and health care organizations People’s Action, VOCAL-NY, the Drug Policy Alliance, and National Harm Reduction Coalition today released the following statement in response to Rep. Paul Tonko, D—N.Y., reintroducing the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act today in the House of Representatives: | People's Action, USA

Removing one barrier to opioid use disorder treatment

On January 14, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) submitted notice to the Federal Register that it would issue practice guidelines that exempt physicians from the requirement to apply for a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) in up to 30 patients at one time | Medical Xpress, USA

Moving Toward Health and Social Equity for Women Who Use Cannabis During Preconception, Pregnancy, and Lactation

Expanding legalization and increasing social acceptability and accessibility of cannabis may potentially be associated with increased use of cannabis among women of reproductive age | JAMA Network, USA

Syringe Programs Key to Connecting Women With PrEP, Research Shows

What is the best way to protect more women who use drugs from HIV treatment? Researchers examined one aspect this question with a pilot study in Philadelphia in which they gave participating women PrEP, the HIV prevention regimen | Filter Magazine, USA

Temporary parklet approved in Vancouver as safe drinking space for managed alcohol program

Pilot at 111 Princess Ave. developed in response to concerns about increased drinking in the street | CBC News, Canada

Consultation: Updating Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines

CCSA is excited to have received funding from Health Canada to lead an initiative to update Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines (LRDG). The updated guidelines will provide Canadians information to make well-informed and responsible decisions about their alcohol consumption | CCSA, Canada

Key findings from the ‘Australians’ Drug Use: Adapting to Pandemic Threats’ (ADAPT) Study Wave 3

The Australians' Drug Use: Adapting to Pandemic Threats (ADAPT) Study is exploring the short and long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the experiences of Australians who use illicit drugs. Findings will be used to ensure drug-related issues during COVID-19 are better understood and more accurately represented, so as to better inform drug treatment and harm reduction in Australia | NDARC, Australia

CSIRO to develop new medicinal cannabis

The CSIRO has been granted a licence to partner with local manufacturers to drive the development of new medicinal cannabis products in a move tipped to create Australian jobs | 7 news, Australia

Boozeless in Brunswick: New venue raises the bar for non-alcoholic drinks

The founders of Brunswick Aces gin distillery, a non-alcoholic spirit maker, believe the establishment will be the first of its kind in Australia | The Age, Australia

Dangerous batch of synthetic cannabis may be behind Christchurch death

Safety organisation Drug Information and Alerts Aotearoa New Zealand (DIANZ) issued a high alert for a batch of synthetic cannabis involving two particular cannabinoids, 4F-MDMB-BINACA and MDMB-4en-PINACA | NZ Herald, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Hope on the horizon for our overlooked Tier 4 services

The effects of the era of austerity on local government commissioned drug and alcohol treatment and recovery services have been well documented by Collective Voice and others. But ours is not a straight-forward system | Collective Voice blog, UK

Enlightened drug reforms are sweeping the US. Why is Britain so far behind?

While other countries turn away from the futile ‘war on drugs’, politicians here are still falling for the ‘evil’ narcotics narrative | Guardian opinion, UK

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 | Counting Pips, UK

Letters to the Editor: Alcohol minimum unit pricing delay is ironic

The news that there may be changes to the opening times for pubs and nightclubs when they reopen and also the likelihood that galleries, theatres and exhibition places will be granted licences has made me wonder about the speed at which these changes can be implemented | Irish Times opinion, Ireland

NSW Greens Deliver Workable and Timely Cannabis Legalisation Bill

NSW Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann has introduced a bill into state parliament that aims to establish a regulated retail cannabis market in NSW – as well as decent provisions for homegrow – at a time when, if world trends are anything to go by, there’s a real likelihood the plant could be legalised | Sydney Criminal Lawyers blog, Australia