Daily news - 6th January 2021

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UK news

Seven in 10 adults are motivated to get healthier in 2021 due to COVID-19

29% of smokers agreed they smoked more since the second national lockdown, attributing the change to being worried about their physical and mental health (42%) and having money worries (41%). 23% of drinkers (at least 1 unit a week) claimed that their alcohol intake has increased since the second lockdown – this is reflected in a 28% increase in take home alcohol sales compared to the previous year | PHE, UK

ASSIST-Lite screening tool: how to use

Guidance for health and social care professionals on using the ASSIST-Lite tool to identify substance use and provide appropriate intervention. Updated with tools for mental health and general healthcare services to include volatile substances in the 'Other substances' section | PHE, UK

Highlights from the Effectiveness Bank in 2020

Highlights from Drug and Alcohol Findings' in-depth analyses about what worksto reduce problems associated with drinking and illicit drug use throughout the year 2020 | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Mother fears son could die as Brexit stops medical cannabis supply

Government gives two weeks notice that access to epilepsy treatment for nine-year-old Alfie Dingley will end | Guardian, UK

Why Experts Are Warning Against Drinking Booze When You Have The Vaccine

Even if you're not getting the Covid-19 vaccine anytime soon, it might be worth giving Dry January a go. Here's why | Huffington Post, UK

Alcohol takeaways to be banned in England until mid-February

All non-essential retail, hospitality and personal care services told to shut their doors | Independent, UK

'Selling takeaway pints helped us top up our furloughed staff's wages – but we're not giving up'

[Limited number of free articles per week] A ban on takeaway alcohol in lockdown means that pubs like The Bridewell in Liverpool must halt what has become a vital community service | Telegraph, UK

Bradford fire: Two arrested after cannabis plants found

Up to 30 homes were evacuated and two people fled the blaze in Annison Street, Bradford on Sunday | BBC, UK

Pair caught with cocaine worth nearly £6m near Ecclefechan

Two drug couriers were caught bringing cocaine with a maximum street value of almost £6m into Scotland | BBC, UK

Nottinghamshire Police officer sold drug-growing equipment on eBay

A former police drugs expert made more than £10,000 by selling equipment commonly used for growing cannabis online, an investigation has found | BBC, UK


International news

Increase in pleasurable effects of alcohol over time can predict alcohol use disorder

A new study out of the University of Chicago Medicine following young adult drinkers for 10 years has found that individuals who reported the highest sensitivity to alcohol's pleasurable and rewarding effects at the start of the trial were more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder (AUD) over the course of the study | Medical Xpress, USA

NIDA: Teen vaping levels seem to have plateaued in 2020

Teen vaping levels remained high in 2020 but have not increased substantially since 2019, according to results from the annual Monitoring the Future survey, which is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) | Medical Xpress, USA

Risk of Substance Use Disorder and Its Associations With Comorbidities and Psychotropic Agents in Patients With Autism

 In this cohort study of 6599 individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 26 396 controls without ASD, a diagnosis of autism was associated with an increased risk of substance use disorder, and the risk was much higher in those who had behavioral comorbidities and those who did not receive psychotropic agents | JAMA Network, USA

Repeated ketamine infusions reduce PTSD symptom severity

Repeated intravenous (IV) ketamine infusions significantly reduce symptom severity in individuals with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the improvement is rapid and maintained for several weeks afterwards, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai | EurekAlert, USA

What Surging Fentanyl Use Among OAT Patients Says About the Pandemic

During the height of the COVID-19 lockdown in Ontario, Canada, the proportion of mandatory, routine drug screens imposed on opioid use disorder (OUD) patients that returned positive results for fentanyl more than doubled | Filter Magazine, USA

[Limited number of free articles per week] Substance-abuse centers are shutting and relying on virtual programming, just as more and more people turn to drugs and alcohol | NYTimes, USA

Addiction recovery support groups find out they're allowed to operate

Groups say in-person meetings save lives and their permission should've been communicated 3 weeks earlier | CBC News, Canada

More young men in Western Canada died than expected last year — and not just because of COVID-19

Something has been killing young men in Western Canada — something that’s not COVID-19. At least, not directly | Inside Halton, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

Protected: An Interview with Peter Krykant

Last month Anyone’s Child Campaign Manager, Jane Slater, caught up with who can only be described as the drug policy activist of 2020, Peter Krykant. Peter has taken on the political hot potato of the year and established the UK’s first Overdose Prevention Centre, or Drug Consumption Room, in Glasgow | Anyone's Child, UK

A message from Addiction’s new Editor‐in‐Chief, Professor John Marsden

On 31 December 2020, Robert West stepped down as Editor‐in‐Chief of Addiction. I was honoured to be asked by the Society for the Study of Addiction (SSA) to be the next Editor‐in‐Chief and delighted to accept | Addiction, UK

Miniumum unit pricing: new research on individual factors affecting people's alcohol use

In this blog, we consider the findings of an important new piece of research from the University of Glasgow looking at the effects of Minimum Unit Pricing in Scotland on people’s behaviour | Alcohol Change UK blog, UK

Eight ways to quit smoking in 2021 – what the science says

Lots of people are greeting the new year with plans to quit smoking. The good news is, there is more evidence than ever on the best ways to boost your chances of success. Below we cover the different methods that science suggests are worth a shot | Conversation, UK

The need to say it nicer: The language we choose when we talk about substance use matters

When Hunter Biden, son of President-elect Joe Biden, was recently interviewed by Amy Robach at ABC News, Robach brought up Hunter’s substance use issues, noting that he had been “in and out of rehab seven, eight times.” | Conversation, USA

Mothers on the Frontlines: The Addict’s Mom

Today’s post comes from contributing editor Michael Brownrigg. Michael recently received his PhD in US history from Northwestern University, where he studied the relationship between emotion, white masculinity, and capitalism to explain the emergence of an antinarcotic consensus in America at the turn of the twentieth century | Points blog, USA