Daily news - 4th January 2021

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UK news

Housing First Pilot: national evaluation reports

Housing First is an intervention which supports homeless people with multiple and complex needs, which most commonly relate to co-occurring mental health issues and alcohol and/or drug misuse, to access and maintain independent housing | Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, UK

Record number of Britons to take part in dry January

Sales of no and low alcohol alternatives rise during lockdown year | Guardian, UK

Sign up for the official Dry January

Download the free Try Dry app to double your chance of a totally alcohol-free month and long-term benefits | Alcohol Change UK, UK

Alcohol-related hospital admissions rise by 45 per cent in a decade, as charities warn of further cuts to treatment services

[Limited number of free articles per week] In 2018-19 there were 1,261,907 hospital admissions where the primary or any secondary reason for admission was linked to alcohol in England | Telegraph, UK

One in five are spending £66 more a month on alcohol during Covid pandemic with seven in 10 splashing more cash on luxuries

A survey undertaken by AA Financial Services revealed 71 per cent of people had upped their spending in 2020 | Mail Online, UK

Drugs activist Peter Krykant to run for Scottish Parliament at May election

A drugs campaigner who operates a safe consumption space in Glasgow has announced he will run for a seat in the Scottish Parliament at the upcoming election | The National, UK

Review of the year 2020

2020 will forever be remembered as the year COVID-19 transformed our lives. But one note of optimism was the way services immediately rose to the challenge of looking after their clients in extraordinarily difficult circumstances | DDN, UK

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 11 December (HL11105), where information on the number of children diagnosed as having foetal alcohol spectrum disorder is held | They work for you, UK

Dr Ed Day’s optimism for the future of Recovery Systems

Ed Day addressed the importance of building a partnership between professionals and people with lived experience in overcoming addiction | NHS Addictions Provider Alliance, UK

Examining correlates of cannabis users' engagement with a digital intervention for substance use disorder: An observational study of clients in UK services delivering Breaking Free Online

Cannabis is among the most widely used drugs, with the literature demonstrating that cannabis use disorder (CUD) may be more prevalent than previously thought. Research should explore novel approaches to behavioral support to meet treatment need, including computer-assisted therapies such as Breaking Free Online (BFO) | Science Direct, UK

Are psychedelic drugs the future of treating mental illness?

For many of us, the words MDMA, ketamine and magic mushrooms mean party drugs, illicit substances or a throwback to the swinging sixties | Metro, UK

2020 Was the Year of the Magic Mushroom

During an incredibly anxious year, the therapeutic and spiritual benefits of psilocybin were welcomed with open arms and open minds | VICE, UK

Antidepressant use in England soars as pandemic cuts counselling access

More than 6m people receive drugs as experts warn of Covid pandemic’s effects on mental health | Guardian, UK

Knowledge Exchange Event: Long Acting Injectable Buprenorphine

Wed, 27 January 2021, 14:00 – 16:00 GMT. The session will share the experiences from practitioners who are already providing this treatment, as well as an insight into experiences from others who have been delivering the treatment to specific patient groups. There will be time for small group discussions to share experiences | DRNS, UK


International news

The great opportunity: how Covid transformed global crime

Drug smugglers have had to navigate less porous borders, too. To begin with, says Niamh Eastwood, the executive director of the UK centre for drug expertise Release, the UK’s illegal drug market proved remarkably resilient | Guardian, UK

Dutch high hopes for legal cannabis farms hit by nimby protests

Drug supply experiment falters as Netherlands plan for greenhouses stirs anxiety among local residents | Guardian, UK

Illinois erases 500,000 low-level cannabis charges

State completes the legal process four years ahead of 2025 deadline | Independent, UK

Boom in Afghan methamphetamine production propels drug across world

[Limited number of free articles per week] Booming production in Afghanistan is feeding into growing trafficking across Asia | Telegraph, UK

Drug testing at music festivals will be ready to be rolled out by summer 2021

Junior Minister Frank Feighan says a working group has looked at the issues of drug testing and amnesty bins | Journal, Ireland

A qualitative study of e-cigarette use among young people in Ireland: Incentives, disincentives, and putative cessation

Smoking prevalence in Ireland is falling in all age groups, but e-cigarette use is rising among young people. This qualitative study explores young people’s accounts of e-cigarette use in Ireland | PLOS One, Ireland

Garda begin seizing highly-potent cannabis

The Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau has begun seizing a highly-potent cannabis product that is about four times stronger than regular herbal cannabis | Irish Times, Ireland

How UK Club Bouncers Prey On People Who Use Drugs

For college students in Britain, where the culture of electronic music is deeply embedded in the university experience, fear of corrupt drug policing extends beyond the police to the bouncers and the private security firms employed by nightclubs | Filter Magazine, USA

Vaping could cloud your thoughts, new studies suggest

Both adults and kids who vape were more likely to report difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions than their non-vaping, non-smoking peers on two annual national surveys. Survey results also suggest that kids were more likely to experience mental fog if they started vaping before the age of 14 | Science Daily, USA

COVID-19-related treatment service disruptions among people with single- and polysubstance use concerns

[Open access] Individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs), including those in long-term recovery, and their loved ones are facing rapid changes to treatment and support services due to COVID-19. To assess these changes, the Addiction Policy Forum fielded a survey to their associated patient and family networks between April 27 and May 13, 2020 | JSAT, USA

Identifying and responding to problem gambling in mental health settings: Clinician knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors

Problem gambling often goes undetected and untreated. However, many individuals experiencing problem gambling seek treatment for other mental health concerns that often co-occur with gambling problems | BASIS, USA

One psychedelic experience may lessen trauma of racial injustice

A single positive experience on a psychedelic drug may help reduce stress, depression and anxiety symptoms in Black, Indigenous and people of color whose encounters with racism have had lasting harm, a new study suggests | Medical Xpress, USA

Gov. Cuomo wants to give people recovering from drug addictions who live in crowded housing COVID-19 vaccine priority, and Republicans are furious

On Monday, Cuomo told reporters that a batch of the 259,000 expected vaccine doses would go, as a matter of priority, to people served by OASAS — the Office of Addiction Services and Supports | Business Insider, USA

Overdose Survivors’ Top Priorities Are Basic Needs, Research Shows

Anew study elevating the voices of opioid users who survived an overdose found that emergency department (ED) healthcare workers can best support the overdose patients by utilizing a patient-centered, non-judgmental approach, and by focusing on meeting their basic needs rather than on substance use treatment (SUD) | Filter Magazine, USA

What It’s Like to Be “Out” as a Person Who Uses Heroin

In May 2019 Louise Vincent, executive director of the Urban Survivors Union, urged privileged drug users to “come out” in an article for Filter. Many people who use highly stigmatized drugs will be only too aware of why this is desirable | Filter Magazine, USA

2020’s Biggest Wins and Losses for Canadians Who Use Drugs

Though 2020 was characterized primarily by the catastrophe of COVID-19, Canada’s public health landscape was marked by significant milestones—both forward and backward—in the fight to end the drug war | Filter Magazine, USA


Blogs, comment and opinion

Now I've quit benzodiazepines, this year will be the first I can remember for a decade

I went through acute withdrawal from anxiety medication alone at home during the pandemic | Guardian, UK

Lose weight, save money, cut out booze? I could do that! But give up smoking?

It took me five years just to admit that I wanted to quit | Guardian, UK

I had outgrown bingeing and hangovers – so I decided to drink more often

When I became a father, I had to change my relationship with alcohol. But was giving up the only option? | Guardian, UK

A sober-curious silly season: 'Drinking has been a part of my Christmas experience for decades'

For food and drink writer Max Brearley, 2020 has been a chance to reset his relationship with alcohol – but the holidays required some strategic moves | Guardian, UK

Moving back home during the pandemic forced me to confront my dad's alcoholism

My father’s addiction dominated my childhood – but I thought I’d escaped relatively unscathed. Lockdown made me reconsider | Guardian, UK

My Predictions for Cannabis in the UK in 2021

"On medicinal cannabis, the senior clinicians and bureaucrats at NHS, NICE and the professional medical bodies will continue to do all they can to block access. Until key individuals are offered fat fees to run clinical trials they will continue to insist that this is the only form of evidence that is acceptable..." | Peter Reynolds, UK

Woolworths is forging on with its Dan Murphy's plan for Darwin. That makes me angry

NT communities such as Bagot choose to be dry – and despite its approval, they choose to oppose the alcohol superstore | Guardian, UK

Is the UN Ready For Drug Policy Reform?

As the United Nations downgrades cannabis under the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, it has raised the hopes of many advocating for wider global reform of drug policy | Truffle Report, USA

The Portrayal of Drug use and Addiction in American Comic Books and Graphic Novels 

Representations of addiction and addiction recovery in literature, music, art, film, theatre, and comedy simultaneously reflect and shape the historical evolution of these experiences. In this first of a five-part series, we explore the portrayal of drug use and addiction in American comic books and graphic novels | William L White Papers, USA