Daily news - 8th January 2021

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UK news

Operational guidance: vaccination of frontline health and social care workers

Further to the letter of 30 December 20201 this update provides additional operational guidance on the immediate requirement to vaccinate frontline health and social care workers, including those working in independent, voluntary and non-standard healthcare settings, such as hospices, and community-based mental health or addiction services | NHS, UK

Pandemic Delivery Service now active across England

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) have confirmed that the Pandemic Delivery Service will now cover Clinically Extremely Vulnerable patients anywhere in England from 5th January. These new arrangements replace those already in place for patients in Tier 4 areas previously announced over the last few weeks | PSNC, UK

Stepping up: the response of stop smoking services in England to the COVID 19 pandemic (PDF)

The proportion of local authorities commissioning a specialist stop smoking service has risen year-on-year from 65% in 2018 and 69% in 2019 to 77% in 2020 | ASH and CRUK, UK

The impact of celebrity influence and national media coverage on users of an alcohol reduction app: a natural experiment

[Open access] Smartphone apps are increasingly used for health-related behaviour change and people discover apps through different sources. However, it is unclear whether users differ by mode of app discovery. Drink Less is an alcohol reduction app that received national media coverage in the UK caused by celebrity influence (a male TV and radio national broadcaster, aged 51). Our aim was to compare users who discovered the app before and after this coverage | BMC Public Health, USA

Health behaviour change during the UK COVID‐19 lockdown: Findings from the first wave of the C‐19 health behaviour and well‐being daily tracker study

[Open access] After a baseline survey (April 2020), participants completed 3 months of daily ecological momentary assessments (EMA). Dietary, physical activity, alcohol, smoking, vaping and substance use behaviours collected retrospectively for the pre‐COVID‐19 period were compared with daily EMA surveys over the first 30 days during early lockdown | BJHP, USA

Alcohol sales fall in 2020 as pubs and restaurants faced closures

Increase in home drinking only partly makes up for drop in sales | Independent, UK

Why Scotland has the power to do more on drug deaths - Peter Krykant

Scotland suffered 1,264 drugs’ deaths – this is from 2019 | Scotsman, UK

Brexit: Cannabis medicine's halt 'devastates' epileptic girl's family

The mother of a nine-year-old girl with a severe form of epilepsy is "devastated" after it emerged her supply of cannabis medicine from the Netherlands will stop due to Brexit | BBC, UK

DMT and Ayahuasca Student Educational Slides

Rising interest in ayahuasca ceremonies, and the proliferation of ayahuasca retreats, demonstrates the demand for this ancient medicine. Now, as psychedelic research enters a renaissance, the need to understand these substances is growing | Drug Science, UK

In conversation with Bristol Drugs Project's Sorcha Ryan - podcast

In this latest podcast, we invited Sorcha Ryan, club and festival harm reduction lead at the Bristol Drugs Project, to talk about what inspired her pioneering harm reduction work, the problems in drug policy practices and debates, and the opportunity for reflection and taking stock offered by this pandemic. We both agreed that more honest and open conversations among stakeholders that include drug users’ voices are one way forward… | BDP, UK

Professor Robert West - audio

John Marsden talks to Robert West about his time as Editor-in-Chief of Addiction | SSA, UK

New centre designed to change lives blighted by alcohol to open

The Middlesbrough Alcohol Centre of Excellence will be based on Ayresome Green Lane and become a flagship health and wellbeing facility for the town | Northern Echo, UK

M6 motorway drug courier jailed for almost six years

A drug courier who was stopped by police at a motorway service station has been jailed for almost six years | BBC, UK


International news

Essays on prevention

See four essays about prevention from Drug and Alcohol Findings. These explain the background and evidence around interventions intended to prevent or delay the initiation of substance use or progression to more frequent, regular or harmful use | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Democrats Take the Senate: What Now for Cannabis?

Today both Democrat candidates in the Georgian Senate runoff won their battles against their Republican counterparts, meaning that for the first time since 2006, the Democrats have control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate – a monumental feat, but what does this mean for cannabis? | Volteface, UK

Tánaiste warns selling takeaway pints with lids is 'not on'

While the sale of takeaway alcohol is not illegal, the Tánaiste has said the practice of selling pints with a lid is 'not on' | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Assessment of Prescription Opioid Medical Use and Misuse Among Parents and Their Adolescent Offspring in the US

In this nationally representative cross-sectional study of 15 200 parent-adolescent dyads from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, controlling for other factors, parental medical prescription opioid use within the past year was associated with adolescent medical prescription opioid use and misuse, whereas parental misuse was not | JAMA Network, USA

Alcohol use disorder in those recovering from substance use

People who stop using illicit substances might turn to alcohol as a kind of “addiction hopping.” Although alcohol consumption is linked to an increased risk of relapse to the initial substance use disorder (SUD), there isn’t much research about the rate, correlates, and consequences of alcohol use among adults who have successfully recovered from SUDs | BASIS, USA

Chemicals in e-cigarettes disrupt the gut barrier and trigger inflammation

Touted by makers as a "healthy" alternative to traditional nicotine cigarettes, new research indicates the chemicals found in e-cigarettes disrupt the gut barrier and trigger inflammation in the body, potentially leading to a variety of health concerns | News Medical, USA

CDC and NIDA Will Finally Study Potential of Safe Consumption Sites

For the first time ever, Congress has weighed in on the issue of safe consumption sites (SCS). A bill tied to the stimulus package signed into law on December 27 included a direction to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to release a report on the potential public health impact of SCS | Filter Magazine, USA

Nova Scotia launches drug alert system as overdose prevention tool

The new Drug Harms Alert launched in November and notifications are sent through Nova Scotia Health's Twitter account and emailed to community partners like the Ally Centre of Cape Breton | The Chronicle Herald, Canada



Blogs, comment and opinion

How to prescribe medical cannabis in the UK - In My Professional Opinion - video

In this seminar, Professor Barnes provides a walkthrough of how to prescribe medical cannabis under the current UK regulations and the future of prescribing in the UK. 2020 was a turbulent year in which all resemblance of 'normality' was morphed into the 'new normal'. This has also impacted the way in which prescriptions are made in the UK. Understanding the current landscape is therefore more important than ever | Drug Science, UK

Reflections on attending the SSA PhD Symposium 2020

At the start of November 2020, I attended the Society for the Study of Addictions (SSA) annual PhD symposium. With many of the conferences I was due to attend this year cancelled due to COVID-19, I was really excited to be able to attend this symposium and hear about other students’ research | SSA, UK

You can't start a fire without a spark

Have your drinking rules changed in 2020? Read DrinkCoaches Dry January blog series on an alcohol workers honest and inspiring journey to cut down on his drinking during the first month of a new year | DrinkCoach, UK

Fail to prepare and prepare to fail

What are units of #Alcohol  anyway, and could you be drinking more than you realise? Read DrinkCoaches Dry January blog series on an alcohol workers honest and inspiring journey to cut down on his drinking during the first month of a new year | DrinkCoach, UK