Daily news - 26th January 2021

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UK news

PACTS Drink Driving – Taking stock, moving forward Report [2.0]

The study includes 30 in-depth interviews with drink drivers, showing the complex mental health and alcohol problems that some of them suffer. As a result, current arrangements are not enough to help them or to deter them from drink driving again | PACTS, UK

Alcohol-Specific Mortality in People With Epilepsy: Cohort Studies in Two Independent Population-Based Datasets

[Open access] The risk of dying by alcohol-specific causes in people with epilepsy has seldom been reported from population-based studies. We aimed to estimate the relative risk of alcohol-specific mortality in people with epilepsy, and the extent to which problematic alcohol use was previously identified in the patients' medical records | Frontiers in Neurology, UK

A million more are hitting the bottle: Huge swathe of drinkers have increased their alcohol intake to dangerous levels during Covid-19 pandemic, poll shows

Before lockdown last March, an estimated 3.4 per cent of adults were downing more than 50 units of alcohol a week, the equivalent of around 1,500,000 people. By December, this had risen to 5.7 per cent, or more than 2,520,000 people, according to analysis of a YouGov poll for Public Health England | Mail Online, UK [See also the YouGov alcohol tracker ]

Low-alcohol brands accused of 'freeloading' on gin industry's success

[Limited number of free articles per week] 'There is no such thing as a low-alcohol gin, and the line must not be crossed when it comes to describing what is, and is not, gin' | Telegraph, UK

How do you act drunk on screen?

Danish film Another Round features performances of drunkenness so convincing that it's tempting to believe the actors were tipsy themselves. Nicholas Barber finds out | BBC, UK

Judge issues warning over new psychoactive substances as he jails user for double murder

[Limited number of free articles per week] Daniel Appleton was told he would have to spend a minimum of 26 and a half years in prison before being considered for parole | Telegraph, UK


International news

GDS2020 key findings

Data from over 110,000 people from > 25 countries were used in the preparation of this report. 66% were male, 52% were aged under 25 years with 22% of the sample aged 35 years or older. 87% of the sample was white. 38% had at least an undergraduate degree as their highest level of educational attainment. 54% reported going clubbing 4 or more times per year | Global Drug Survey, UK

Australians getting drunk an average of 31 times a year and more buying drugs on darknet

Global Drug Survey finds 15% of global respondents buying drugs on darknet | Guardian, UK

'Middle-aged curious' inspired by TV shows fuel jump in dark web first-time drug purchases

[Limited number of free articles per week] Older people are wanting to try 'softer' drugs that have lost their stigma in recent years, according to academics | Telegraph, UK

Overdoselifesavers.org: a mixed-method evaluation of a public information website on experiences of overdose and using take-home naloxone to save lives [Australia]

In the 10-week evaluation period, Overdoselifesavers.org had 1769 unique visitors. Responses to the survey praised the website as a means of challenging stereotypes and supporting take-home naloxone uptake. Twenty-two organisations had linked to the website and 324 social media referrals were recorded | DEPP, UK

HSE handed out almost 50,000 crack pipes over five years

Pipes distributed to reduce risk of hepatitis C as number of users in Ireland rises | Irish Times, Ireland

‘Cocaine crisis’ as more are turning to drugs to deal with job losses and mental health issues, experts say

Ireland is facing a ‘cocaine crisis’ after the Covid-19 pandemic as health researchers and criminologists predict more people are turning to drugs to cope with unemployment and mental health issues | Independent, Ireland

Metonitazene Begins Proliferation as Newest Synthetic Opioid Among Latest Cycle of Non-Fentanyl Related Drugs (PDF)

The objective of this announcement is to notify public health and safety, law enforcement, first responders, clinicians, medical examiners and coroners, forensic and clinical laboratory personnel, and all other related communities about new information surrounding the emergent synthetic opioid metonitazene | NPS Discovery, USA

COVID-19 has more people seeking help for addiction and mental health. But treatment centers struggle with outbreaks

In July, Erica Rodriguez, 20, checked herself into the Renfrew Center, a residential center for eating-disorder treatment in the Philadelphia area. Rodriguez, who has been struggling with disordered eating since she was 12, had relapsed in quarantine | Medical Xpress, USA

Drink and drug risk is lower among optimistic pupils with 'happy' memories, says study

Teenagers with happy childhood memories are likely to drink less, take fewer drugs and enjoy learning, according to research published in the peer-reviewed journal Addiction Research & Theory | Medical Xpress, USA

STASH, Vol. 16(13) - Are e-cigarettes a gateway to tobacco cigarettes for adolescents?

E-cigarettes have gained popularity, in part for their perceived role in helping smokers transition away from smoking cigarettes, which are likely more harmful | BASIS, USA

Psychedelic Therapy Schools Are Popping Up Like Mushrooms

For hundreds or thousands of dollars, you can get certified to administer mind-altering—and some say, mind-healing—drugs | Bloomberg, USA

DPA Elects Former NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett & Criminal Justice Reform Advocate Kemba Smith to its Board of Directors

Today, the Drug Policy Alliance announced the appointment of former New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett and criminal justice reform advocate and author Kemba Smith to its board of directors, where they will both serve three-year terms | DPA, USA

I Switched From Vaping Back to Smoking, Thanks to India’s Government

Iremember fumbling with the lighter so much that a friend had to light my first smoke for me. I was in my early 20s and was throwing a party. Alcohol flowed and classic rock flooded through tinny speakers into my tiny one-bedroom apartment in Bangalore, India | Filter Magazine, USA

Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply | Eckville Echo, Canada

Copycat pot edibles that look like candy are poisoning kids, doctors say

Websites 'flagrantly' selling edibles that violate federal rules, lawyer says | CBC News, Canada

Aussie GPs need to better screen for harmful alcohol use

Most of the Australian population does not see the need for major changes in regard to alcohol use, and support for policies which reduce alcohol-related harms that are based on the strongest evidence is declining... | Medical Xpress, Australia

Screening and brief interventions for harmful alcohol use — where to now?

Over the past 20 years, there has been considerable research into the value of alcohol screening, brief intervention and referral for treatment (SBIRT) in primary health care as a public health measure to reduce alcohol consumption and related harms | MJA, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

It’s a Sin is a warning to Covid policymakers not to repeat the mistakes of the HIV epidemic

Channel 4’s new series about the lives of gay men during the HIV/Aids crisis of the 1980s offers clear lessons that should inform our approach to the current pandemic | Independent voices, UK

John Marks, heroin prescribing and HAT

This episode explores the controversial area of prescribing heroin to people with heroin problems, a practice with a long history and usually today termed Heroin Assisted Treatment or HAT. The episode draws on a recent research project exploring the controversial work of Dr John Marks in the late 1980s and early 1990s | Toby Seddon, UK

‘Seeing the signs of my alcohol abuse was a huge wake-up call – now exercise is my addiction’

[Limited number of free articles per week] Until a few years ago, I’d drunk every day since I was a teenager. By the time I was 40, I was drinking up to three bottles of wine at home every night. I was actually quite fit and would go to the gym and run marathons. So, because I looked healthy and worked long hours running a successful business, I felt like I deserved my drinking | Telegraph, UK

Icelandic Government Proposes Drug Decriminalisation

The Icelandic government has proposed the decriminalisation of drugs for personal use by adults, and this week launched a consultation exercise to gauge public opinion on the matter | Grapevine, Iceland

SHAD Interview: “Reframing Bummer Trips: Scientific and Cultural Explanations to Adverse Reactions to Psychedelic Drug Use” with Erika Dyck

Chris was a PhD student at the University of Saskatchewan, and I was his supervisor when we began thinking about this topic. We were both interested in the history of psychedelic drugs, me from the perspective of medical history, and Chris more so from the perspective of cultural history | Points blog, USA

International Family Drug Support Day - 24th February

International FDS day first started in 2016 to draw attention to the importance of families affected by alcohol and/or drugs, including the benefits of supporting families. When families are given education, awareness and tips on coping and keeping safe, the outcome for everyone is improved | IFDSD, Australia