Daily news - 21st January 2021

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UK news

More than £250 million for drug deaths emergency

An additional £50 million will be allocated every year for the next five years to improve and increase services for people affected by drug addiction | Scottish Government, UK

Extra funds to tackle 'national disgrace' of Scots drug deaths

The Scottish government has pledged an extra £250m over the next Holyrood term to tackle the "national disgrace" of drug-related deaths | BBC, UK

SDF deliver briefing to MSPs before Ministerial statement on Scottish drugs policy

The SDF Drug Related Deaths briefing focuses on the current public health crisis of drug-related deaths and describes the current situation and the steps that can be taken to begin to reverse the tragic and appalling loss of life | SDF, UK

Drugs activist Peter Krykant won't be charged over overdose prevention van

The Crown Office has told Peter Krykant he will not face court action after he refused to accept a caution relating to the running of his drugs van in Glasgow | Daily Record, UK

Ministers spurned drug tsar's guidance of £900m funding to tackle misuse

Exclusive: leaked emails show government dismissed funding plea before £80m announcement | Guardian, UK

Experts say it may be OK if you didn't make it through Dry January

If you’re a Dry January dropout, but you’re drinking within acceptable limits, calling it quits before the month is up isn't the end of the world | Today, UK

No shortage of medical cannabis in the UK, says head of life sciences group

The UK’s supply of medical cannabis has not, in large part, been harmed by Brexit, according to the head of the country’s largest independent cannabis company | Cannavist, UK

Senedd alcohol row: PM 'expects above and beyond' on Covid

Boris Johnson expects everybody to go "above and beyond" in following Covid rules, his spokeswoman has said after Conservative Welsh politicians were seen drinking during a pub alcohol ban | BBC, UK

Tynwald approves new cannabis cultivation and exportation laws

The production and exportation of cannabis products from the Isle of Man is to be legalised after politicians approved a change in the law | BBC, UK


International news

COVID-19 and people who use drugs; Seizing opportunity in times of chaos

[Open access] In many contexts, people who use drugs are a vulnerable population, prone to poor access to health services compounded by criminalization, and stigmatisation in health-care settings | IJDP, UK

Hash landing: New Zealand police ditch annual helicopter hunt for cannabis dens

Decades-old tradition is grounded as priority shifts to tackling other drugs, such as meth | Guardian, UK

Provision for delivery and funding of Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme announced

Legislation underpinning the Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme was enacted in June 2019 | Journal, Ireland

Reaching Turkey’s health policy goals could avert thousands of deaths says research from WHO/Europe

Approximately 20 000 deaths could have been averted in Turkey in 2017 if the country had reached its current goals of reducing tobacco and salt consumption by 30%, and physical inactivity by 10%, according to WHO/Europe experts in an article published in the Lancet | WHO, Denmark

Call for submission of good practices on response to TB, HIV and viral Hepatitis during the COVID-19 pandemic

In order to document and disseminate successful examples in response to the three diseases during the pandemic, WHO/Europe is issuing a call to Member States, partners and community organizations across the European Region to submit their good practices | WHO, Denmark

Methamphetamine overdose deaths rise sharply nationwide

Methamphetamine overdose deaths surged in an eight-year period in the United States, according to a study published today in JAMA Psychiatry | Medical Xpress, USA

FDA Marks Historic Public Health Milestone with Finalization of Two Key Rules for Companies Seeking to Market New Tobacco Products

Foundational Rules Provide Additional Information on the Minimum Requirements for Premarket Tobacco Product Applications and Substantial Equivalence Reports Reviewed by the Agency | FDA, USA

USPSTF affirms evidence-based methods for smoking cessation

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) concludes that there is substantial net benefit for behavioral and pharmacological therapies for smoking cessation, alone or combined | Medical Xpress, USA

Assessment of Racial Differences in Pharmacotherapy Efficacy for Smoking Cessation

In this secondary analysis of US participants in the EAGLES randomized clinical trial, Black smokers were less likely than White smokers to quit. All treatments had greater efficacy than placebo for White smokers, but only varenicline had greater efficacy than placebo for Black smokers; baseline, postbaseline, and safety characteristics did not explain the race difference in abstinence | JAMA Network, USA

American Institute for Cancer Research: New Dietary Guidelines Ignore Critical Evidence on Alcohol and Cancer

The American Institute for Cancer Research criticizes a glaring gap in the new dietary guidelines which have ignored critical evidence on alcohol and cancer | Movendi, USA

Coalition Demands Extra $15 Billion in Harm Reduction Funding From Biden Admin

Acoalition of over 60 harm reduction organizations is calling for the Biden administration to increase federal funding to harm reduction services by $15 billion over the next four years | Filter Magazine, USA

Health alert issued over dangerous drug mix as overdoses spike in northern B.C.

Opioids contaminated with 'benzos' make it harder to reverse overdoses with naloxone | CBC News, Canada

Lack of addiction help, family pressures weigh on London Muslims: Researcher

“Many of the services across the board don’t truly understand the context of Muslim people’s lives and I think it’s important to draw attention to that,” said Siham Elkassem, a King’s University College social work graduate who led the research project looking at substance use and misuse among Muslims | London Free Press, Canada

Bad habits increase among students during pandemic, U of Sask. study finds

A newly released study suggests university students are eating worse, are less active and are drinking more alcohol during the COVID-19 pandemic than they were before | CBC News, Canada

Indian government’s budget dilemma – curb the sale of cigarettes or let the over $12 billion tobacco industry provide the much needed cash

The over $12 billion Indian tobacco industry has a new problem at its doorstep, as the government is set to enforce strict regulations around the consumption of tobacco, mainly cigarettes | Business Insider, India

Australia needs to expand smoke-free areas

The Australian Council on Smoking and Health is calling on all Australian governments to increase the number of smoke-free areas | Acosh, Australia

ACE (Access, Care and Empowerment)

ACE (Access, Care and Empowerment) is a mobile app for people who inject drugs to help reduce harm to themselves and others | Government of Western Australia, Australia

Police slash annual cannabis operation, blind siding frontline staff and officials

Police have quietly shelved their annual cannabis eradication operation in a major change that has blind sided frontline staff and the police minister | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Collective Voice responds to £80 million funding for drug treatment

Following the disappointments of last year’s Spending Review, today’s announcement of £80 million funding for drug treatment is to be welcomed. Year-on-year rises in drug related deaths since 2012 surely constitute a crisis and the stresses of Covid-19 have only exacerbated challenges to our treatment and recovery system | Collective Voice, UK

Today has been a good day for people who need treatment for drug and alcohol use in England and Scotland

The unhealthy politicisation of drug policy between Westminster and Holyrood seems for today at least, to be delivering a very welcome injection of cash even if the underlying sentiment is ‘mine is bigger/better than yours’! | Phoenix Futures blog, UK

‘You Never Know Who Is Struggling’ – Catherine’s Story

It’s nearly five years now… five years in which so much in my life has happened. Milestones that my dad should have seen. My graduation from university, my first ‘adult’ job, my moving away from home, meeting my boyfriend and buying a house. All the milestones that my dad should have been a part of, but he wasn’t. Something that will continue to be the case throughout my life | SFAD, UK

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm relaunches with new Chair

We’ve been supporting the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Alcohol Harm since its inception in 2006. The group provides a forum for Parliamentarians to discuss issues related to alcohol harm, learn about the latest evidence, and make recommendations to policy-makers | Alcohol Concern blog, UK

Drug decriminalization without mandatory treatment is a flawed fix

Oregon is embarking on a bold new direction in drug policy by decriminalizing low-level possession of illicit drugs and focusing instead on expanding drug treatment. It’s an enlightened approach, recognizing that addiction is a public health problem that won’t be solved by putting users in jail — where drug use is rampant and adequate treatment services are rare | The Hill opinion, USA

Microdosing Psychedelics: The Curse of Studies Doomed to Being Uninformative

Researchers should not commit to addressing exciting questions that they don’t have the resources to answer | James C Coyne, USA

Australia’s approach to drug use and drug users is broken

Australia must stop criminalising addiction and shift its drug policy focus to harm reduction and providing support to drug users, Vernon White and John Ryan write | Asia & the Pacific Policy Society, Australia