Daily news - 27th January 2021

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UK news

UK government Drug Recovery Champion annual report

The first annual report from the UK Recovery Champion outlines the work he has undertaken since his appointment and sets out his future work programme | Home Office, UK

Advice on consumer CBD (cannabidiol) products

Letter from Kit Malthouse MP to Professor Owen Bowden-Jones, Chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) | ACMD, UK

Alfie Dingley: Six-month reprieve for EU cannabis medicine import

The mother of a boy with severe epilepsy has welcomed news that medical cannabis imports from the Netherlands can continue for a while longer | BBC, UK

Housing and health: Working together to respond to rough sleeping during Covid-19

This report presents the findings of new research into the health needs of people sleeping rough in England and their vulnerability to Covid-19, and the approach taken to address the health and housing needs of this group during the pandemic | St Mungos, UK

The turn from tobacco: why more people are starting to smoke cannabis with herbal blends

The coronavirus pandemic has seen an increase in recreational cannabis use perhaps due to lockdown boredom, anxiety, loneliness or lack of stimulation. This increase in use of the substance has inspired people to become more creative with what they smoke it with | Volteface, UK

Midlife drinking diaries: Why the boom in home boozing could be a problem

[Limited number of free articles per week] Lockdown has turned us into a nation of at-home drinkers – which could be doing more damage than the big nights out of old | Telegraph, UK

Ketamine to treat depression and addiction at UK’s first medical psychedelic psychotherapy clinic

The class B drug is to be used by Awakn Life Sciences when its centre opens in Bristol in March, explains its chief medical officer Dr Ben Sessa | i news, UK

Department for Transport considers random roadside breath tests

[Limited number of free articles per week] Section 6 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 would need to be amended to require anyone driving a motor vehicle to use a breathalyser | Telegraph, UK

Amazon halts alcohol sales in Northern Ireland and prepares to de-list more products due to new Brexit customs rules

The online retailer is concerned that excise duty - a tax - will now have to be paid twice on all shipments of alcohol which are sent from the British mainland across the Irish Sea | ITV, UK

Covid: Will the UK's pubs stay shut until May?

To many, the reopening of pubs will be one of the most keenly awaited dates in the diary when Covid restrictions are eventually loosened | BBC, UK

Cannabis in 2021: Investment in the UK, the New Leaf of Opportunities

Thu, 28 January 2021, 18:30 – 20:00 GMT. An event to discuss the economic benefits of investment in the medical cannabis and CBD space | Volteface, UK

Delivering Medication Assisted Treatment for Addictions via Telehealth

Tue, March 2, 2021, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM GMT. This seminar provides an opportunity to learn about practices delivering telehealth mediated MAT, including legal and pharmacy aspects | DigitAS project team, University of St Andrews, School of Medicine, UK

The Cop Who Busted the Beatles Now Wants to Legalise All Drugs

Norman “Nobby” Pilcher was one of the UK's first drug warriors. These days, he's anything but | VICE, UK

County lines gangsters face longer jail terms under tough new sentencing rules

[Limited number of free articles per week] The move, which follows Boris Johnson’s pledge to 'roll up' county lines gangs, will see longer jail terms for those who exploit children | Telegraph, UK

Gurinderjit Rai trial: 'Drugs supplier was murdered by gang'

A drugs supplier was shot dead over a large debt and the theft of cocaine and cannabis, a court has heard | BBC, UK

More dogs 'extremely poorly' after eating cannabis waste dumped in Exeter

Pet owners are being warned to stay vigilant after more dogs have become 'extremely poorly' from cannabis waste dumped in Exeter | ITV, UK


International news

Debts, Threats, Distress and Hope: Towards Understanding Drug-Related Intimidation in Dublin’s North East Inner City (PDF)

While trends in drug use have changed, the basic dynamic of drugs and associated crime persists. While there was a steady decrease in drug-related crime with a reduction in controlled drug offences between 2008 and 2013, drug-related crime has been on the increase again in the recent past with a 44.6% increase in controlled drug offences between 2013 and 2020 (15,325 to 22,166) | Ana Lifey Drug Project, Ireland

Communities want gardaí on street to tackle worsening drug-intimidation

People want to see gardaí on the street engaging with locals as part of an overall approach to tackling the worsening problem of drug-related intimidation, according to new research | Irish Examiner, Ireland

HRB National Drugs Library survey 2021

We want the services of the HRB National Drugs Library to meet your needs. We would appreciate if you would take a few minutes to complete our anonymous questionnaire | HRB, Ireland

Bursaries for students from European Neighbourhood Policy countries for the 2021 European Drugs Winter and Summer Schools

Professionals, academics or experts from European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) countries (1) will have an opportunity to participate in the European Drugs Winter and Summer Schools this year, thanks to 10 bursaries being offered through the EU4Monitoring Drugs (EU4MD) project | EMCDDA, Portugal

Alcohol and the coronavirus pandemic: individual, societal and policy perspectives

Alcohol fuels the coronavirus pandemic in different ways, the alcohol industry exploits the current public health crisis and many governments around the world have largely failed to protect their people by using evidence-based alcohol policy solutions as part of the response to COVID-19 | Svensk Förening för Allmänmedicin et al, Sweden et al

Medicinal cannabis improves outcomes in Parkinson's patients

With medicinal cannabis now legalized in many parts of the world, there is growing interest in its use to alleviate symptoms of many illnesses including Parkinson's disease (PD) | News Medical, Germany

Deaths Of Despair: How The Pandemic May Be Fueling Lethal Drug Overdoses

Karen Butcher's son Matthew struggled for years with an addiction to opioids. She's convinced the pandemic made it worse | npr, USA

Addiction researchers recount how they made recovery meetings available remotely during pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has created new perils and challenges for people experiencing substance use disorders and addictive behaviors. Social distancing and isolation can trigger loneliness, anxiety and depression. These circumstances have put some “recreational users” at risk for developing addictions and caused some in recovery from addictions to relapse | University of Kansas, USA

First-of-its-Kind truth® Campaign Follows Young Vapers Quit E-Cigarettes Live on Social Media

truth partners with TikTok influencers and provides resources to help young people quit vaping as new research shows more than half of young adult e-cigarette users want to quit vaping in 2021 | Cision PR Newswire, USA

Prisons taking tobacco orders ahead of legal smoking

Officials at some Mississippi prisons say they are being inundated with orders for tobacco products as the state prepares to once again allow inmates to smoke | AP, USA

Cannabis use both helps and hurts entrepreneurial creativity

When entrepreneurs dream up ideas for new businesses, cannabis use might help, and hinder, their creativity, according to a new study in the Journal of Business Venturing by Washington State University researchers | EurekAlert, USA

LSD may offer viable treatment for certain mental disorders

Researchers from McGill University have discovered, for the first time, one of the possible mechanisms that contributes to the ability of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) to increase social interaction | Medical Xpress, USA

What Harm Reductionists Want From Biden’s “Drug Czar”

On January 20, the Biden administration announced Regina LaBelle as acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. LaBelle, who previously served as the ONDCP’s chief of staff during the Obama administration, appears to be more aligned with harm reduction than a typical candidate for the role | Filter Magazine, USA

New York’s Two Marijuana Legalization Paths: Will Lawmakers Get It Right?

After two years of false starts, could 2021 be the year that New York finally legalizes marijuana? All the stars seem to be aligned: Governor Cuomo and leaders in the legislature have endorsed legalization, voters elected a historically progressive state legislature, and neighboring New Jersey voted for legalization last November | Filter Magazine, USA

Trying to beat a coke habit with cannabis? Not so fast!

Taking cannabidiol, a chemical in the cannabis sativa plant, isn't an effective way to reduce your dependence on cocaine, researchers at the CHUM Research Centre find | EurekAlert, Canada

Sleeping pill use among seniors 'very high' in Atlantic Canada, study finds

Sleeping pill use on P.E.I. more than double Saskatchewan rate | CBC News, Canada

Overdose Prevention Programs Bill Introduced In New Mexico

Representative Deborah Armstrong (D-17) last week introduced House Bill 123, which authorizes overdose prevention programs (OPP) as critical public health tools to help prevent overdose deaths | Candid Chronicle, Mexico

Long-term study reveals harm in regular cannabis use

Regular cannabis use has harmful effects regardless of the age a person starts using, a University of Queensland-led study has found. The study examined people who began regular cannabis use in high school or in their early 20s, and compared both with non-users | University of Queensland, Australia


New factsheet | NDARC, Australia

Inside the deadly cocaine business moving drugs from Peru to Australia

Armed backpackers are joining a dangerous hike that’s the first step in a bloody mission to get millions of dollars of drugs to places like Australia | News.com.au, Australia

MOH Draft Vaping Regulations Could Stub Out Smokefree 2025 Success

The Ministry of Health is today drawing backlash from the local New Zealand vaping industry following its release of proposed regulations for the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act | SCOOP, New Zealand



Blogs, comment and opinion

Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: what are the effects on brain activity?

An open-label trial of psilocybin successfully treated patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD), with effects lasting up to 6 months (Carhart-Harris et al, 2018) | Mental Elf blog, UK

Our Drink Driving System Is Not Working

The UK’s system to prevent drink driving is no longer fit for purpose | Russell Webster, UK

And Now for Some Bad News About Marijuana: Addiction and Health Risks

Two new research studies report evidence of toxic chemicals in marijuana smokers and withdrawal symptoms in most people using cannabis for pain relief | Cannabis Explorations, USA