Daily news - 25th January 2021

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UK news

English and Scottish get drunk most often, 25-nation survey finds

Average of more than 33 times last year is more than twice the rate of several other nationalities | Guardian, UK [See also top of International section ]

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, UK

Brief interventions to prevent excessive alcohol use in adolescents at low-risk presenting to Emergency Departments: Three-arm, randomised trial of effectiveness and cost-effectiveness

[Open access] Alcohol consumption and related harm increase rapidly from the age of 12 years. We evaluated whether alcohol screening and brief intervention is effective and cost-effective in delaying hazardous or harmful drinking amongst low-risk or abstaining adolescents attending Emergency Departments (EDs) | IJDP, UK

Multimedia: Volteface Launch Cancard Documentary

In Volteface’s first documentary, Director Paul North takes a trip to Brighton to catch up with Carly Barton, who was the first patient to legally receive medical cannabis in the UK, to discuss the new Cancard scheme | Volteface, UK

Isle of Man set to become world-leading exporter of medicinal cannabis

The Isle of Man Government has passed new regulations to create a comprehensive framework to issue licenses for the production, distribution and export of cannabis products from the Island | Pharmafield, UK

Recycling worker wins unfair dismissal case after being sacked for failing a drugs test while taking cannabis for his bad back

Carl Pamment used the class B drug to tackle severe pain and help him sleep. It helped him return to work after being off sick and did not affect his performance, the employment tribunal heard | Mail Online, UK

The System is Internally Broken: Scotland's shocking drug deaths show a rethink is needed

With Scottish drug deaths rising year on year, Alastair Lockhart talks to activist Peter Krykant about how policy fails drug users | The Meridian, UK

Scots ex-heroin addict on rehab saving her life after 20 years of hopeless addiction

University graduate Viki Campbell tried to get off drugs for more than 20 years and welcomes the £250m boost to tackle the deaths crisis | Daily Record, UK

New study suggests link between problem gambling and suicidality in young adults in Great Britain

Results from a survey of young adults between the ages of 16-24 suggests that both men and women are at increased risk of suicidality if they engage in problem gambling | City University of London, UK

Public Houses: Coronavirus

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect of the tiered covid-19 public health restrictions on the ability to trade of (a) the 60 pubs in Reading East and (b) other pubs throughout the country | They work for you, UK

Spirits: Excise Duties

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a small distillers duty relief to help small spirits producers grow their businesses | They work for you, UK

Scotch whisky chiefs in call for tax cut to ease £7.5m a week hit from "punitive" US tariffs

The Scottish Whisky Association says a cut in the "significant tax burden" on Scotch whisky, which currently sees £3 in every £4 spent on the average-priced bottle of Scotch Whisky go directly to HM Treasury in taxes, would actually drive government revenues | Herald, UK

Wetherspoon moves to buy up smaller pubs on the cheap amid Covid crisis

Chain targets London pubs as ex-Greene King boss leads separate buying spree | Guardian, UK

SUAB Webinar: Drug consumption rooms, with Peter Higgs and Peter Krykant

Wed, 27 January 2021, 10:00 – 11:30 GMT. A conversation about drug-consumption rooms in Australia and Glasgow | SUAB, UK

Camborne man, 80, grew cannabis 'to alleviate pain'

Philip Bevington, of Camborne, admitted two counts of cultivating cannabis at Truro Crown Court. He told police they were for medicinal purposes to alleviate pain from kidney failure, after being caught by officers twice in two months | BBC, UK

Tory Senedd leader Paul Davies quits over alcohol row

The Conservative leader in the Welsh Parliament Paul Davies has quit after being seen drinking with other politicians in the Senedd, days into a pub alcohol ban | BBC, UK

Janice Nix: The drugs kingpin who joined the Probation Service

Janice Nix used to be a notorious London drug dealer. Known as Mamma J, she drove flash cars and had money to burn | BBC, UK

UK wine drinkers face higher prices as Brexit hangover kicks in

[Limited number of free articles per week] Cost of a single bottle likely to rise about £1.50 because of additional paperwork, say merchants | FT, UK

Cocaine in banana shipment 'worth £76m' found in Southampton

Nearly a tonne of cocaine has been seized in a shipment of bananas at Southampton port | BBC, UK

Drink and drug drivers caught in Cumbria festive crackdown

More than 100 motorists were found to be impaired by drink or drugs during a month-long crackdown in Cumbria | BBC, UK

Exclusive: Notorious Albanian gangster smuggles mobile phone into British prison cell to post birthday wishes to family

[Limited number of free articles per week] He was convicted and jailed for 27 years after three counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs but Valjet Pepaj is staying connected | Telegraph, UK



International news

Women Regret Drunkenness More Than Men, Study Finds

The first results of the Global Drug Survey 2020 are in, offering fresh insights into pan-continental drug-taking and drinking trends that existed before coronavirus stopped people from meeting at pubs, clubs, festivals and in loud smoky kitchens | VICE, UK

Substances detected in used syringes of injecting drug users across 7 cities in Europe in 2017 and 2018: The European Syringe Collection and Analysis Project Enterprise (ESCAPE)

[Open access] Gathering of robust analytical information on the actual composition of substances injected might provide better information about the drugs that are being used. Therefore, this study aimed to analyse the residual content of discarded syringes collected across 7 European cities, collectively called the European Syringe Collection and Analysis Project Enterprise (ESCAPE) | IJDP, UK

‘Dangerous data’: drinking after dependence. An Effectiveness Bank hot topic

First cracked in 1960s London, the orthodoxy that abstinence is the only feasible treatment goal for ‘alcoholics’ seemed shattered in 1973 by evidence that even physically dependent patients could learn to drink in moderation. Controversy was fierce, reaching the US Congress, TV networks and the courts. Explore the fascinating history and contested research behind an issue facing every dependent drinker starting treatment | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

All Good Points - Back for 2021!! - video

Huge moves in America could have opened to door for widespread legalisation | Volteface, UK

Netherlands to supply medical cannabis until July despite Brexit ban

Mother of son with severe epilepsy says ‘fight is not over’ as Brexit bans EU states fulfilling UK prescriptions | Guardian, UK

The homeless drug addict who became a history professor

Jesse Thistle spent more than a decade on the streets and in jail. But despite this he has managed to become an expert on the culture of his Indigenous Canadian ancestors - with the help of his mother, from whom he was separated as a young child | BBC, UK

Smoking causes half of Indigenous Australian deaths over 45, study shows

Researchers call for more spending and shift in health messaging after discovering figures were underestimated by more than 50% | Guardian, UK

Tse Chi Lop: Alleged Asian drug lord arrested in Amsterdam

Tse Chi Lop - a Chinese-born Canadian national - is said to be the head of The Company, which dominates a $70bn illegal drugs market across Asia | BBC, UK

Irish police seize cannabis 'worth more than €1.1m'

Two people have been arrested after cannabis with an estimated street value of more than €1.1m (£996,296) was seized in the Republic of Ireland | BBC, UK

Mandatory drug testing for gardaí to begin this year

The system is expected to come into effect in the third quarter of the year | Journal, Ireland

EU and China hold the first dialogue on drugs and drugs control policies

During today’s videoconference, EU and Chinese representatives exchanged information on the drug situation and policies in the EU and in China, including the impact of the COVID pandemic in the area of drugs. Participants also discussed alternatives to coercive sanctions, alternative development, and new psychoactive substances, as well as exchanging experience and best practice in the field of drug rehabilitation and treatment within a public health approach | European Commission, Belgium

Covid-19 and the impact on harm reduction in Europe: Launch of the special harm reduction journal edition (PDF)

Briefing paper from the day-long webinar of major sessions in lieu of the 5th European Harm Reduction Conference | ECHR, The Netherlands

SanPa: Where did we leave off? Where are we now?

In Italy, the documentary film on the San Patrignano community has started a wide debate on drugs. Please read the passionate article of Susanna Ronconi (Forum Droghe) on the culture of silence and lies that contributed to the torture and abuse of people who use drugs! | Drug Reporter, Hungary

ICER Publishes Final Evidence Report and Policy Recommendations for Supervised Injection Facilities

he Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) today released a Final Evidence Report and Report-at-a-Glance assessing the comparative clinical effectiveness and value of supervised injection facilities (SIFs), as a means to reduce harm among people who inject drugs | ICER, USA

The Sobering Truth: Incentivizing Alcohol Death and Disability

Harmful alcohol consumption leads to one death every 10 seconds globally, resulting in 3 million deaths per year. It is a leading risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) including cancers, cardiovascular diseases and liver diseases, and imposes an economic and social burden by straining health systems, harming people, and exerting an unnecessary cost on societies | Vital Strategies, USA

The silent epidemic: drug overdose deaths surge in California pre-pandemic

Research provided by California Health Policy Strategies (CHPS) shows that the rate of increases of overdose deaths in California far surpasses the national rate of increase as of May 2020. Experts say this trend has increased as the pandemic has continued | State of Reform, USA

Ever Considered Narcan Training? Now Is the Time to Act

With opioid overdose deaths on the rise amid the pandemic, there’s never been a better time to learn how to save a life | Healthline, USA

Consenting for treatment in advance to reduce leaving the hospital against medical advice among patients with addiction

Patients with substance use disorders (SUDs) being treated for serious medical conditions are more likely to leave the hospital against medical advice (AMA) than those without addiction | Medical Xpress, USA

Anxiety is linked with smoking–but how is still hazy

In these stressful pandemic times, health experts have more reason to circle back to the link between anxiety and smoking: Does anxiety cause people to smoke? Or does smoking cause anxiety? | Medical Xpress, USA

Legal pot has made Canadian justice a little fairer, with “heavily racialized” arrests for possession mostly ending. But vows on amnesty, illicit sales and Indigenous inclusion are works in progress | NYTimes, USA

CCSA and Health Canada Invest $1.8 Million in Cannabis Research Projects

It has been more than two years since Canada became the first G20 country to legalize recreational cannabis and cannabis products. The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) is investing $1.8 million dollars in research on non-therapeutic cannabis and the impacts of its legalization on public health and safety throughout the country | CCSA, Canada

Four-month delay in prescribing safe drug supply costing lives, says B.C. advocate

On Saturday, it will have been four months since provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued a public health order allowing registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses to prescribe pharmaceutical alternatives to street drugs | Global News, Canada

Drug deals, dirty money and links to Beijing: Australian police bring down Asia’s ‘Mr Big’

One of the world’s most wanted alleged drug barons – a billionaire dubbed Asia’s El Chapo – is set to finally face justice in Australia after federal police carried out a covert plot to arrest him after he was deported from Taiwan | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Addiction services need more investment

Dr Adrian James and Prof Julia Sinclair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists say the government’s current plans will do little to reduce record numbers of drug deaths | Guardian letters, UK

Government Announces £80m Boost to Drug Treatment Services, but is this Enough?

The government has announced an additional £80 million funding for drug treatment services in England, in an attempt to tackle drug related crime. While it is good news that these vital services will receive a much needed cashboost, this ‘package’ is like attempting to heal a broken leg with a plaster | Volteface, UK

The children of alcoholics are too often the forgotten victims

[Limited number of free articles per week] I grew up with a father who frequently drank himself into a stupor, but he was never violent – others aren't as fortunate | Telegraph, UK

Pubs are part of Britain’s fabric. Why are they not being properly helped?

Lockdown has been devastating for locals. Many will never reopen or they’ll be snapped up by the big chains | Guardian opinion, UK

Opinion: From Aid Worker and Researcher to Criminal: A Cannabis Social Club Inside story

Belgium, June 2019: I am convicted along with nineteen other pioneers, based on the 1921 drug law. As a doctor in medical science, researcher, nurse and former humanitarian aid worker, I am all of a sudden demoted to an ordinary criminal, convicted to fifteen months in prison for my volunteering in an Antwerp Cannabis Social Club | Volteface, UK

How a cannabis farm cured my fear of nature

A factory with more than 800 plants has been discovered in a building beside the Bank of England – and the news had an unexpected effect on me | Guardian, UK

80 Years of the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy

On January 22, 1941, six men gathered in a pharmacognosy laboratory at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and founded the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy | Points blog, USA

Time for drug policy rethink

The deaths of nine people last week from the overdose of a deadly "new" drug -- a combination of heroin, ketamine, methamphetamine and sleep medication -- is a shock | Bangkok Post, Thailand

Will Australia legalise ecstasy and magic mushrooms to treat mental illness? Here’s why it’s still too soon

While the public focus remains on COVID vaccines, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) continues to evaluate a range of proposals around the provision of medical treatments in Australia | Conversation, Australia

COVID-19 lockdowns increase meth exposure risks

Families unwittingly living in houses used as methamphetamine labs could be exposed to significantly higher levels of the drug ice during Covid-19 lockdowns, as financial pressures brought on by the pandemic prevent relocation and limit resources available for environmental health agencies tackling the problem | Flinders University, Australia