Daily news - 29th January 2021

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UK news

Statistics on Drug Misuse, England 2020

This report presents newly published information on hospital admissions attributable to drug-related mental health and behavioural disorders and on hospital admissions attributable to poisoning by illicit drugs | NHS Digital, UK

Decline in hospital admissions for drug-related mental and behavioural disorders

Hospital admissions for drug-related mental and behavioural disorders in England dropped by 5% in a year, new figures published by NHS Digital show | NHS Digital, UK

Super-skunk cannabis sees record 100,000 NHS admissions for mental health treatment

[Limited number of free articles per week] Val Curran, professor of psychopharmacology at UCL in London, said the past year of the Covid-19 pandemic had seen the use of nightclub drugs like ecstasy decline, but cannabis and ketamine increase, both of which were more addictive | Telegraph, UK

Substance misuse treatment for young people: statistics 2019 to 2020

Alcohol and drug treatment data for under-18s from PHE’s National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) | PHE, UK

Substance misuse treatment in secure settings: 2019 to 2020

Statistics for alcohol and drug misuse treatment in prisons and other secure settings from PHE’s National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) | PHE, UK

2019-2020 Drug Trends Report

This report covers drug trends, explores the drivers behind drug related deaths and gives insight into the impact of the global pandemic and lockdown restrictions | CREW, UK

Scottish Health Survey – Telephone Survey 2020

Scotland’s Chief Statistician released the results of the Scottish Health Survey – Telephone Survey, providing information on the health, and factors relating to health, of adults aged 16 and over in Scotland in August and September 2020.  Questions on general health, cardiovascular conditions, caring, mental health and wellbeing, social capital and loneliness, alcohol, smoking, diet, obesity, food insecurity, physical activity, and dental health were included in the survey | Scottish Government, UK

Alcohol-related harm and drinking behaviour

This indicator explores whether alcohol-related harm and drinking behaviour has changed over time | Nuffield Trust, UK

Don’t be daunted! Computational modelling techniques can help us understand alcohol consumption and harm

Is something all three of us have heard when describing our research using computational modelling. We completely understand this point of view. It may or may not be a coincidence, but only a few years ago we all studied psychology. We adopted and relied on methods in our research which only compared groups based on their mean scores | SSA, UK

Drugs: a new sentencing landscape

Work with Offenders looks at the factors behind new Sentencing Council guidelines for drug offences | Work with Offenders, UK

How ecstasy and psilocybin are shaking up psychiatry

Regulators will soon grapple with how to safely administer powerful psychedelics for treating depression and post-traumatic stress disorder | Nature, UK

Your brain on LSD: a guide through the most mind-blowing psychedelics research

In an extract of his acclaimed book Drugs without the hot air, David Nutt explains recent scientific discoveries – and how substances like LSD have influenced creative breakthroughs | Science Focus, UK

UK supermarkets to tell delivery drivers not to hand alcohol to drunk people

Exclusive: plan drawn up with global drinks firms also warns against giving orders to children | Guardian, UK

Jump in online and shop sales helps Diageo offset Covid impact

Guinness owner pays half-year dividend despite 10% fall in global pre-tax profits and 5% dip in sales | Guardian

Isle of Man convicted drug smuggler has jail term slashed

Defence advocate Paul Rodgers told the court Dooley had since “done everything you could imagine” to “turn his life around” and it was "the most impressive change in circumstances" he had seen in his career | BBC, UK

Woman jailed for Grimsby 'lethal cocktail' drugs death

Emma Brennan, 32, had an adverse reaction to the Class A drugs mixture - known as a "snowball" - given to her by Amanda Walton at a house in Grimsby | BBC, UK

Couple jailed for trafficking teens to sell drugs

A drug dealer and his care worker girlfriend have been jailed for trafficking teenagers to sell drugs for a county lines operation | BBC, UK


International news

Additions to the Effectiveness Bank 28 January 2021

Is incrementally reducing the alcohol content of standard beer products more effective than introducing low-to-no alcohol products? Could ‘court-ordered sobriety’ break the link between alcohol and crime? Are injecting-related bacterial infections avoidable, and if so, where does the responsibility for preventing them lie? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Cannabis use by young people can be linked to decline in IQ

The results of the study have revealed that there was a declination of approximately 2 IQ points over time in those who use cannabis frequently compared to those who didn’t use cannabis | Irish Examiner, Ireland

EU presidency: Portugal focuses on Europe’s recovery and chairs activities in the field of drugs

This month, Portugal took over the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU with the motto ‘Time to deliver: a fair, green and digital recovery’. Over the next six months, Portugal will lead work at all levels of the Council, building co-operation, agreement and solidarity between EU Member States | EMCDDA, Portugal

Counties with more cannabis dispensaries show reduced opioid deaths

First time county-level association between opioid deaths and dispensary prevalence found | EurekAlert, USA

According to anonymous sources, some clinical guidelines will be repealed. Specifically, the President will not support the last-minute Opioid treatment plan created by the Trump administration | Addiction Center, USA

Post-overdose outreach programs in Massachusetts expanding

Boston Medical Center has released a study that shows post overdose outreach programs in Massachusetts have expanded across the state, as 44 percent of municipalities reported having such programs available—a majority established since 2015—to reduce risks for those who survive an overdose | Medical Xpress, USA

Adults with cognitive disabilities more than twice as likely to use e-cigarettes

George Mason University study is the first to assess the use of e-cigarettes among working-age adults by type of disability | EurekAlert, USA

Ohio Students Launch Harm Reduction and “Bad Batch” Alerts App

Astudent-led nonprofit in Columbus, Ohio, has created a smartphone app that helps community members report “bad batches” of drugs and shares information on harm reduction resources in the area | Filter Magazine, USA

The NBA’s Slam Dunk Cannabis Shift

With each passing year, cannabis is embraced by more and more Americans. The same is happening in American professional sports. Both the National Hockey League and National Football League recently amended their cannabis policies to say players testing positive for cannabis will not be suspended | Forbes, USA

Cannabis Retail During COVID-19 [Policy Brief]

This policy brief provides an overview of cannabis regulatory changes made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic between March and August 2020 and presents preliminary data on changes to cannabis sales and patterns of use. It provides a starting point for analyzing the relationship between the regulation of sales and patterns of use | CCSA, Canada

Maintaining a Public Health Approach to Alcohol Policy During COVID-19 [Policy Brief]

This policy brief identifies ways to address higher-risk alcohol use during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include limiting sales through reduced access to alcohol, lower numbers of alcohol sales outlets in a given geographical area, and minimum pricing. Policy changes that increased alcohol use in some areas are also highlighted | CCSA, Canada

Drug Warning: HEROIN may contain fentanyl and acetylfentanyl, which are dangerous opioids (PDF)

Fentanyl and acetylfentanyl have been found in heroin in central Sydney during January 2021. These drugs were also found in regional NSW and Sydney during November and December 2020 | NSW Government, Australia

Endeavour Group joins global program to shape online alcohol guidelines

Woolworths’ Endeavour Group has partnered with the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking to help establish global guidelines for the sale of alcohol online | Inside Retail, Australia

New global alliance formed to promote the responsible sale and delivery of alcohol online (PDF)

Groundbreaking partnership between leading beer, wine, and spirits producers, online retailers, and e-commerce and delivery platforms to establish robust global standards for the online sale and delivery of alcohol beverages | IARD, Australia et al


Blogs, comment and opinion

With lockdown drinking on the rise, now is the time for the government to act on alcohol harm

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Tony Rao has been tracking data on drinking patterns in lockdown. In this blog, he argues why now is the perfect moment for the government to introduce an alcohol strategy, with harm reduction at its core | AHA UK blog, UK

Three weeks alcohol-free - what's happening in your body?

At three weeks alcohol-free you're likely to have seen some brilliant benefits - but what's going on under the surface? | Alcohol Change UK blog, UK

Weed withdrawal: More than half of people using medical cannabis for pain experience withdrawal symptoms

In stark contrast to the overblown fears portrayed during decades past, these days, most people think cannabis is relatively harmless. While weed is indeed less dangerous than some other drugs, it is not without risks | Conversation, USA

Danger & Delusion | Is Tobacco Control Out of Control? | RegWatch

Joining us today on RegWatch is one such warrior, Harry Shapiro. For over 40 years he’s fought to eradicate the harm caused by ineffective and intolerant drug policy and for the past half-decade, he’s been a leading voice for tobacco harm reduction | Regulator Watch, Canada

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

Five Strategic Approaches to Achieving the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Goal

The new NZ Government is to be congratulated for working on an Action Plan towards achieving the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 Goal. To inform this process, we briefly set out five potential strategies for achieving this important health and equity goal and discuss their implementation | University of Otago, New Zealand