Daily news - 1st March 2021

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UK news

Keeping drug-users connected with lifeline services

Up to £2.75 million will help people at risk from drug-related harm stay connected to life-saving services during the pandemic and beyond | Scottish Government, UK

New evidence that opioid agonists such as methadone and buprenorphine could substantially reduce drug related deaths if more widely used in the community and prison, and for longer, has been published in Lancet Psychiatry | NIHR, UK

Proposed changes to how smoking-attributable risk is calculated

PHE conducted an online consultation from 23 September 2020 to 2 November 2020 proposing changes to the relative risks used in the calculation of indicators related to smoking attributable disease. The outcomes document is now published | PHE, UK

Creating positive life opportunities: Why invest in residential services and pathways (PDF)

Residential Services for drug and alcohol treatment offer people who require multiple services a single service that responds to their needs in one comprehensive and coordinated treatment pathway. This report assesses their importance | Phoenix Futures, UK

Police boss wants cannabis trial for prisoners

A police and crime commissioner wants prisoners to be given cannabis behind bars in a bid to tackle addiction and curb violence | BBC, UK

Secret report shows Scotland's drug deaths for all of 2020 even worse than previous worst-in-world years

Scottish Government slammed for allowing "another wasted year" before announcing £250 million emergency response | Daily Record, UK

Calls to helpline for children of alcoholics double in Covid lockdown

[Limited number of free articles per week] The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa), the only dedicated helpline of its kind in the UK, has reported record call numbers over the past 12 months as a result of the Covid pandemic | Telegraph, UK

Wales bans smoking at hospitals, schools and playgrounds

Anyone breaking the law could face £100 penalty in drive to discourage people from smoking | Guardian, UK

Government considers pubs plan that would see alcohol duty frozen

[Limited number of free articles per week] Treasury officials have been in talks with hospitality industry to continue business rates relief and VAT cut for sector beyond June 21 | Telegraph, UK

Drugs: Organised Crime

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many children in each police force area have a county lines flag as at 22 February 2021 | They work for you, UK

Drug Dealing Telecommunications Restriction Orders

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of Drug Dealing Telecommunications Restriction Orders | They work for you, UK

Colburn: Five teenagers hospitalised after taking LSD

Police said the small pieces of black paper with a red flash design were circulating in Colburn, near Catterick | BBC, UK

Festivals selling out after map to end England's lockdown announced

Wary organisers call for government cancellation insurance as ticket sales soar | Guardian, UK

Back of the net: Beckham-backed cannabis company scores soaring market debut

UK-based Cellular Goods, a cannabis company backed by David Beckham, has seen its stock price soar on its first day trading on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) | City AM, UK

Cannabis-based antibiotics could be offered on the NHS in five years, says expert

Cannabis-based antibiotics will likely be prescribed on the NHS in five years and could save “hundreds of thousands” of lives globally, a leading neurologist has said, after a study found cannabidiol (CBD) to be effective at killing antibiotic-resistant superbugs | Indy, UK

Connecting Scotland award digitally empowers SDF volunteers

Five SDF volunteers have been awarded laptops and internet access equipment from Connecting Scotland to assist with their volunteering duties | SDF, UK

Alcohol Alert – February 2021

Round-up of last months news on all things alcohol | IAS, UK

Psychiatry in dialogue with society distinguished lecture: Can neuroscience influence national policy on the addictions and should it do so?

Thu 11 Mar 2021 from 6:00pm to 7:00pm. This free public engagement webinar by Professor Anne Lingford-Hughes will inform attendees about the neuroscience of addiction and its relevance to social policy | RSM, UK

Covid: White powder found on Liverpool party hotel reception desk

Police raiding a hotel party during lockdown found a receptionist under the influence of alcohol, and white powder on the front desk, a council licensing report has revealed | BBC, UK


International news

Form of vaping could be banned for millions under new WHO guidelines

The WHO has urged countries all over the world to prohibit the sale of open vapes which allow the user ‘to control device features and liquid ingredients’ | Metro, UK

QMJC January 2021 - It's an emotional roller coaster… But sometimes it's fucking awesome”: Meaning and motivation of work for peers in overdose response environments in British Columbia

This paper explored the roles, positive experiences, and challenges for a group of “experiential workers” commonly known as “peers” (workers with past or present experience of drug use) carrying out harm reduction work in two organisations in British Columbia, Canada | SSA, UK

Drugs worth more than €1m seized at Dublin Port

During a routine operation, Irish Revenue officers seized 55kg of herbal cannabis and 2kg of cannabis infused "jelly sweets", with an estimated combined value of €1.2m (£1.4m) | BBC, UK

Virginia lawmakers vote to legalize marijuana in 2024

Virginia lawmakers have given final approval to a bill that will legalize marijuana for adult recreational use | Independent, UK

The NT’s ‘cocaine and sex’ imbroglio: the scandal taking crocodiles off the front page

MLA Mark Turner has been expelled from caucus and a Labor staffer has lost his job, but questions remain unanswered | Guardian, UK

DrugNet Europe - February

Monthly news round-up | EMCDDA, Portugal

Age at Initiation of Cigarette Use in a Nationally Representative Sample of US Youth, 2013-2017

his cohort study examined nationally representative data for 15 776 youth never users and, among them, 11 022 youth who were nonsusceptible to cigarette use, and found that among youth who were nonsusceptible to cigarette use, by age 18 years, 46.2% became susceptible to cigarette use | JAMA Network, USA

Menthols lured 10 million Americans to smoking since 1980, study shows

Menthol cigarettes helped lure about 10 million extra Americans into smoking over 38 years, with often deadly results, according to a new study | Medical Xpress, USA

Financial incentives for hospitals boost rapid changes to opioid use disorder treatment

Offering financial incentives to hospitals shows strong potential to drive swift system and practice changes to intervene in the opioid epidemic, Penn Medicine research finds | EurekAlert, USA

The societal burden of the opioid crisis estimated at $1 trillion in 2017

Understanding the magnitude of the opioid crisis in terms of both the overall economic impact and the distribution of this impact across different sectors is important for decision-makers in implementing interventions and policies | Recovery Research Institute, USA

Are Mexican Cartels Trying to Make Their Own Cocaine?

This is only the second time coca fields have ever been discovered in Mexico | VICE, USA

Report 12 of the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program

The twelfth report covers around 56 per cent of the population, which equates to about 13.2 million people. Fifty-six wastewater treatment plants across Australia participated in the August 2020 collection, which monitored the consumption of 13 substances. In October 2020, when only capital city sites were sampled, there were 21 sites covering approximately 48 per cent of the population | ACIC, Australia

Trends in cocaine and methamphetamine use, markets and harms in Australia

Novel analyses of various national data sources to understand current trends in cocaine and methamphetamine use, markets and harms.Australia has generally recorded high prevalence of cocaine and methamphetamine use relative to many other countries. Significant shifts in these markets in Australia in recent years have impacted use and harms | NDARC, Australia

Increase in smoking ice drives up number seeking treatment

Researchers say an increase in Australians smoking methamphetamine is driving up treatment episode rates across the country | SMH, Australia

The Bulletin - February 2021

After an 18-month absence, I am very pleased that Australia’s only specialty publication for the frontline NSP workforce is back, thanks to the support of Minister Hunt and the Australian Government Department of Health. Each month, Penington Institute will publish articles that celebrate the achievements of NSP workers around Australia and strive to enhance knowledge and capacity about matters relevant to people affected by drug use | Penington Institute, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Drug reforms must consider the wider issues

Decriminalisation is a welcome change of approach, but it must be accompanied by a strategy to tackle the broader challenges faced by addicts, writes Prof Harry Sumnall, while resident judge Roger Elsey says the victims of drug users must also be protected | Guardian letters, UK

Drugs in the time of COVID

Since the beginning of the first national coronavirus lockdown, Release has operated a public, online survey designed to monitor how people are buying their drugs. The purpose of this survey, which is open to anyone residing in the UK over the age of 18, is to determine the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic, and corresponding restrictions, have had on buying illegal substances | Russell Webster, UK

My boyfriend spends all his time selling weed. Should I leave?

Your relationship sounds unworkable and toxic, says Mariella Frostrup. Find someone you can confide in or get professional help | Guardian, UK

Biden Should Choose Science over Politics and Embrace Tobacco Harm Reduction

Will the new Biden administration choose science over politics? The commandment to “believe science” has become a rallying cry, one echoed by Joe Biden during his presidential campaign when he promised to “choose science over fiction.” | CEI blog USA

Editorial: Colorado should restrict the potency of marijuana concentrates, keep them away from teens

These concentrates must be regulated and kept out of Colorado schools | Denver Post, USA

Changing tastes and long lockdown the perfect storm for cocaine use

The unique impacts of COVID-19 in our state, and changes in the business model of drugs are some of the reasons why Victoria has overtaken NSW to become the state with the highest proportion of self-reported cocaine use in Australia, as The Age revealed last week | SMH opinion, Australia

Woolworths must abandon plans for Dan Murphy’s near dry Aboriginal communities

Woolworths’ refusal to listen left us with no choice but to call for action from Reconciliation Australia | New Daily, Australia