Daily news - 21st July 2021


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UK news

People with lived experience will make Black report ‘a meaningful strategy’

‘Is this one of the most important documents we’ve seen in a long time – or a rehash of old ideas?’ This was the opening question to an online conversation hosted by the College of Lived Experience Recovery Organisations (CLERO) – the first of several events to gather feedback from LEROs on the Carol Black report | DDN, UK

What treatment and services are effective for people who are homeless and use drugs? A systematic ‘review of reviews’

[Open access] People who experience homelessness and those vulnerably housed experience disproportionately high rates of drug use and associated harms, yet barriers to services and support are common. We undertook a systematic ‘review of reviews’ to investigate the effects of interventions for this population on substance use, housing, and related outcomes, as well as on treatment engagement, retention and successful completion | PLOS One, UK

Associations between smoke-free vehicle legislation and childhood admissions to hospital for asthma in Scotland: an interrupted time-series analysis of whole-population data

[Open access] In Scotland, childhood admissions to hospital for asthma fell from March, 2006, after legislation was introduced to prohibit smoking in public places. In December, 2016, new Scottish legislation banned smoking in vehicles containing a child. We aimed to determine whether the introduction of this new legislation produced additional benefits | Lancet, UK

From heart damage to seizures: The dangers of mixing different drugs

Stories in the news about people dying from a ‘cocktail of drugs’ make it look like something that takes place on the fringes. However, Fiona Measham, director of drug checking charity The Loop, says ‘polydrug use’ is actually quite common | Metro, UK

Cocaine in the UK: The DJ and friends helping addicts kick their 'beasts'

When Lee Butler was a cocaine addict, he would start on a Friday night, keep going into Saturday and Sunday, and still be awake on Monday or Tuesday, still snorting, still drinking, still "paranoid and weird and wired" | BBC, UK

Seaside poor health overlooked, warns Whitty

A national strategy is needed to tackle poor health and lower life expectancy in seaside towns, a report from England's chief medical officer says | BBC, UK

Homelessness: MPs urge for more cash for rapid-housing scheme

The Housing First programme puts eligible people straight into long-term housing, without making them first seek help in temporary accommodation | BBC, UK

Rolling 12-month sales down 27%, but June provides cause for optimism as sales near 2019 levels

Britain’s managed pub, restaurant and bar groups saw sales drop just 1% in June from the same month in 2019, the new edition of the Coffer CGA Business Tracker reveals | CGA, UK

Volunteer for Us

After an extraordinary time when FASD Hub Scotland have been able to provide all of its services on line, we are now excited to be moving to a time when we can establish a network of volunteers across Scotland to help us connect with families through face-to-face meet ups, events and activities | Adoption UK, UK

 

International news

New York reaches opioid settlement - audio

New York has agreed a $1.1bn opioid deal with US drug companies | BBC, UK

Australian Olympic showjumper suspended after testing positive for cocaine

Controversy has hit Australia’s Olympic team on the first day of Tokyo 2020 action, with showjumper Jamie Kermond provisionally suspended by Equestrian Australia after returning a positive A-sample for cocaine | Guardian, UK

Woman fined after getting drone to drop off cigarettes at hotel quarantine room

An Australian traveller staying in a quarantine hotel has been fined after a drone was spotted delivering a packet of cigarettes to her balcony | Metro, UK

National Drug Treatment Reporting System 2014 – 2020 drug treatment data (PDF)

The latest figures from the Health Research Board (HRB) show continued growth in the number of cases seeking treatment for problem cocaine use, including crack cocaine use, despite an overall drop in the numbers entering drug treatment. In 2020, a total of 9,702 cases were treated for problem drug use, a 9% decrease from 10,664 in 2019 | HRB, Ireland

Minister Feighan says HRB Drug Treatment Data for 2020 highlights importance of health-led response to drug and alcohol use

The Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan TD, has welcomed the publication by the Health Research Board of treatment data for problem drug use (excluding alcohol) | DoH, Ireland

Number of women reporting problem use of crack cocaine rose by almost 80pc from 2018

There has been a three-fold increase in the number of cases treated for problem cocaine use since 2014, a new report reveals | Independent, Ireland

HSE to directly pay cost of prescriptions for eligible patients treated under Ministerial Licence

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD is pleased to announce that the refund system for eligible patients who obtain their prescribed cannabis-based products from the Netherlands will be replaced by a direct payment system | Department of Health, Ireland

One corner in Ballymun, four hours, 42 drug deals: A crack epidemic

For several weeks, RTÉ Investigates monitored several locations in Ballymun where drugs are openly sold on the streets | RTe, Ireland

Alcohol Action Ireland annual review 2020 (PDF)

2020 has been a year like no other in the lifetime of Alcohol Action Ireland. The Covid-19 pandemic has dominated every aspect of the work of the organisation including the executive working completely remotely since March and all events moving online. However, despite this AAI has continued to meet and exceed all its targets for the year | Alcohol Action Ireland, Ireland

Unity in diversity: A systematic review on the GHB using population

[Open access] We systematically reviewed literature on different GHB using populations, comparing demographic characteristics, GHB use patterns, psychosocial aspects and psychiatric comorbidity | IJDP, The Netherlands

New York Reaches A $1.1 Billion Opioid Deal With The Nation's Big Drug Wholesalers

New York's attorney general has reached a $1.1 billion settlement with three of the nation's largest drug distributors linked to their alleged role in the prescription opioid epidemic | NPR, USA

The $8 Billion Question: Which Towns Will Cash In on Marijuana?

[Limited number of free articles per week] After legalization, municipalities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are deciding whether to permit cannabis businesses to open | NYTimes, USA

The Pernicious Myth of Fentanyl-Laced Cannabis

Arecent Washington Post piece on the ever-worsening increase in drug poisoning deaths has reanimated angst over the supposed issue of fentanyl-contaminated cannabis | Filter Magazine, USA

Epidemiologist and former Olympic triathlete Joanna Zeiger is breaking barriers in cannabis research for pain and recovery treatment. She knows firsthand its potential for relief | John Hopkins University, USA

DRI scientists awarded NIH grant to study the formation of dangerous compounds by e-cigarettes

Scientists with the Desert Research Institute (DRI) Organic Analytical Laboratory in Reno, Nev., led by Andrey Khlystov, Ph.D., have been awarded a $1.5M grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the formation of dangerous compounds by electronic cigarettes | News Medical, USA

U.S. to allow temporary rise in impurities in anti-smoking drug

The U.S. drug regulator said on Friday it will temporarily allow manufacturers to distribute the anti-smoking drug varenicline with elevated levels of an impurity that may cause cancer, to maintain availability after Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) halted distribution of its Chantix branded varenicline | Reuters, USA

Researchers launch study into COVID-19 vaccine uptake and efficacy in vulnerable urban populations

British Columbia is in the midst of two public health emergencies. While the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues across the province and country, fatal drug poisonings have been on the rise | University of British Colombia, Canada

Correlation between supervised consumption sites and decrease in fentanyl-related deaths found by U of A researchers

When visits to these services decreased due to COVID-19 restrictions in March 2020, fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Alberta increased drastically | The Gateway, Canada

Advocate calls for drug testing site after 'unknown substance' leads to overdose deaths

Nova Scotia Health released an advisory last week that a life-threatening substance is circulating | CBC News, Canada

The language of stigma: understanding how language can influence our perception

The words we use matter. Research has proven that terms like ‘substance abuser’ encourage bias and negative attitudes so understanding how language can influence our perceptions is an important step in reducing the stigma of substance use disorder | Toronto Star, Canada

Declines in methamphetamine supply and demand in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic (PDF)

This study uses data from the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia program to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the methamphetamine market in Australia. Since the pandemic began, the availability and quality of methamphetamine have decreased, prices have increased (from $17.50–$50 per point to $50–$250 per point) and consumption has declined | Australian Institute of Criminology, Australia

Mental health services in Australia

Mental health services in Australia (MHSA) provides a picture of the national response of the health and welfare service system to the mental health care needs of Australians. MHSA is updated progressively throughout each year as data becomes available | AIHW, Australia

 

Blogs, comment and opinion

Protecting women and girls from tobacco and alcohol promotion

Gender transformative measures could curb the industries’ expansion into low and middle income countries, contain the burden of chronic disease, and promote gender equity, argue Emma Feeny and colleagues | BMJ, UK

From building successful organisations to nurturing flourishing systems

Increasingly I’ve been thinking about the question ‘What constitutes a flourishing system?’ in addition to the more traditional, although sometimes no more straightforward. ‘How can I deliver the mission of my organisation?’ | NPC Labs, UK

‘I was shocked’: alcohol-free drinks create conundrum for young Muslims

Non-alcoholic drinks aimed at adult palates are booming, but they are not necessarily an option for those who never drank in the first place | Guardian, UK

[Limited number of free articles per week] It is imperative that we do not cement a reality where a small group of the affluent can benefit from the powerful healing offered by some drugs, while other drugs & their users, continue to be demonized ... | NYTimes opinion, USA

2020 Saw a Scary Increase in U.S. Drug Overdoses. We Must Take National Action to Help Communities at Risk

The rate of drug overdoses in the U.S. accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, worsening an existing public health crisis, and the numbers are staggering | TIME opinion, USA

The new prohibitionists

Advocacy groups and their political allies want to ban flavored e-cigarettes. There are better options | The Great Vape Debate, USA

Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia: An Appreciation

For the unfamiliar, Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia is a documentary series that follows a young chemist, the titular Hamilton Morris, as he travels the world investigating the eccentric and esoteric cultures of intoxication surrounding the production and consumption of psychoactive substances—both common and uncommon | Points blog, USA