Daily news - 4th March 2021

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UK news

Health information, messaging and warnings on alcohol packaging: A focus group study with young adult drinkers in Scotland (PDF)

The current study explored how alcohol packaging could be used more effectively to communicate health information and messaging by researching young adult drinkers’ recall, use and perceptions of current alcohol labelling, as well as their responses to front-of-pack HW labels differing in size, form, and content | University of Stirling, UK

Drug-related and drug-misuse deaths 2009-2019

Number of drug-related and drug-misuse deaths in Northern Ireland | Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency and Department of Finance (Northern Ireland), UK

Boris Johnson plans advertising campaign to turn middle class off weekend cocaine

[Free one month trial available] Boris Johnson is planning a public information campaign to crack down on middle-class drug use by making snorting cocaine as socially unacceptable as drink-driving, The Times has learnt | The Times, UK

Peer support workers and hepatitis testing and treatment: The SSA talks to Julian Surey

There is a long history of peer support work in addiction treatment services. Last month Julian Surey and colleagues published a qualitative study that focused on peer support workers delivering hepatitis C interventions. The SSA caught up with Julian Surey to find out more | SSA, UK

PhD Symposium Session 5.1: Smoking and Gambling

Session 5.1 of the PhD Symposium focused on smoking and gambling and included three presentations. First up was Harry Tattan-Birch from University College London. He presented on how perceptions of e-cigarettes changed following the US outbreak of vaping-associated lung injury | SSA, UK

Exchange Supplies new reduced fill Vit C sachets

Acting on the findings of the ‘Care and Prevent’ study of injecting related harm by Dr Magdalena Harris, LSHTM,  we have now reduced the fill of our Vit C sachets to 100mg to limit inadvertent overuse and vein damage among PWID | Exchange Supplies, UK

Alcohol sales during lockdown provides Treasury with £800 million tax windfall 

[Limited number of free articles per week] Sales of alcohol in supermarkets and off-licences helped to fill the Government coffers during the national coronavirus lockdown | Telegraph, UK

Internet: Sales

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to remove and prevent the selling of (a) illegal and (b) dangerous products on (i) online marketplaces and (ii) online community forums | They work for you, UK

Revealed: Drug Gangs Are Stealing Children From Loving Families – Even In Lockdown

“County lines” operators are using jaw-dropping tactics to snare vulnerable children across the UK | Huffington Post, UK

SUAB Webinar: Substance use among older adults, with Dr Sarah Wadd

Tue, 23 March 2021, 13:00 – 14:00 GMT. What works in reducing alcohol harm in older adults? Lessons from Drink Wise, Age Well | SUAB, UK

Understanding Steroid Use - Dr Christian Jessen

Wed, 31 March 2021, 18:00 – 19:00 BST. TV Doctor Christian Jessen will be hosting this Drug Science live event on anabolic steroids, stigma, body dysmorphia, and harm reduction | Drug Science, UK

Twenty arrests in drug-trafficking raids across England

Twenty men have been arrested as part of a large investigation into human trafficking, drug dealing and money laundering across England | BBC, UK


International news

A Deadly Synthetic Street Drug Called ‘Benzo Dope’ Is on the Rise

The emerging drug contains two highly-potent highs, fentanyl and etizolam, and has been linked to a string of drug deaths in Canada | VICE, UK

Correlates of patterns of cannabis use, abuse and dependence: evidence from two national surveys in Ireland

Knowledge of factors relating to patterns of cannabis use is important for informing drug policy. This study determined factors associated with recent and current cannabis use. In addition, we explored factors related to having a cannabis use disorder (CUD)—defined using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders—among current users | European Journal of Public Health, UK

Tim Allen reflects on time in prison on drug trafficking charges: ‘I learned to shut up’

Allen was sentenced to two years and four months in federal prison aged 23 | Independent, UK

Smuggler's ordeal ends after a cross-border chase with an underwater vehicle and 185lb of marijuana

Canadian man sentenced to six years in US prison for ‘alarming’ smuggling scheme after being found in the Detroit River | Guardian, UK

Progressive alcohol policy - gaining ground but how to win the war/ - podcast

In this episode, Eunan McKinney discusses with Dr Matthew Lesch (University of York), Lauri Beekman (NORDan) and Dr Peter Rice (SHAAP), what were the major learnings from the advocacy experience in Ireland to advance progressive public health alcohol policy, and what interdependent strategies - coalition building; health messaging and political tactics - could be adopted, more widely, to ensure a transition from policy adoption to effective implementation | The Alcohol File, Ireland

Most French people in favour of legalising cannabis, parliamentary survey finds

A majority of French people are in favour of legalising cannabis for recreational use, according to a recent parliamentary survey. Although France has Europe's highest number of cannabis smokers, it also has some of the harshest drug laws | RFI, France

Retail Alcohol and Tobacco Sales During COVID-19

National weighted alcohol and tobacco sales increased in all demographic and geographic categories comparing 2019 versus 2020 (April to June), except among households with an annual income less than $20 000 for alcohol sales | AIM, USA

Opioid overdose reduced in patients taking buprenorphine

Study indicates the drug is effective in opioid users who also take benzodiazepines for anxiety, other conditions | Washington University School of Medicine, USA

Vaping marijuana associated with more symptoms of lung damage than vaping or smoking nicotine

Adolescents who vape cannabis are at greater risk for respiratory symptoms indicative of lung injury than teens who smoke cigarettes or marijuana, or vape nicotine, a new University of Michigan study suggests | University of Michigan, USA

Parkinson's Foundation Releases Results of First-Ever Medical Cannabis and Parkinson's Disease Survey

The survey asked specific questions about cannabis use ― from symptom management to motivation for use and side effects ― and questions for those who do not use cannabis and why. Twenty-five percent of survey respondents used cannabis within the previous six months and less than 13 percent of consumers reported negative side effects from cannabis use | Biospace, USA

Drug Overdose Deaths Surge Among Black Americans During Pandemic

When Latoya Jenkins talks about her mom, she likes to focus on happy memories like the games she used to play with her kids | npr, USA

What It's Like To Treat Opioid Addiction in Appalachia

Psychiatrist Sally Satel on her eye-opening year at a clinic in Ironton, Ohio | Reason, USA

Delaware is training its Medicaid providers to prescribe medication for opioid abuse

Delaware is one of 15 states getting a grant from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to help state Medicaid agencies deal with the opioid crisis | DPM, USA

Marijuana Legalization Could Curb West Virginia’s Overdose Crisis, Governor Says

If West Virginia lawmakers send a bill to legalize marijuana to his desk, he will sign it, Gov. Jim Justice (R) said on Tuesday | Filter Magazine, USA

As People Who Use Drugs, We Urge Biden to End the Buprenorphine X-Waiver

In late January, the Biden Administration walked back one of the biggest steps toward opening access to medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) in recent history | Filter Magazine, USA

Want To Take A Psychedelic Trip Without Drugs? There’s Now An App For That

Just in case you hadn’t noticed, psychedelics are all the rage these days. Jurisdictions across the United States are seemingly in a race to decriminalize or legalize psilocybin mushrooms and other entheogenic plants and fungi, while hardly a month goes by without news of another company developing psychedelic compounds as medications or consumer products in order to profit from the coming friendlier regulatory environment | Forbes, USA

Illinois smokers now prioritized for the coronavirus vaccine

The Illinois Department of Health has made smoking among the high-risk health conditions eligible to receive shots | Chicago Sun Times, USA

How Canadian Drug Users Helped Save an Injectable Opioid Agonist Program

Amid a historic fatal overdose crisis, the Canadian province of Alberta wanted to end an opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment program that met the needs of patients for whom oral opioid agonist treatment (oOAT), like methadone or buprenorphine, had proven unsuccessful | Filter Magazine, USA

Doctors Call For Safer Cocaine Supply

While a Canadian province mulls adding the drug to its safe supply, experts say full legalization is a better approach | VICE, Canada

Supply and demand

Move pharmacy to the forefront of medicinal cannabis supply as obstacles continue to block patient access, MPs argue | AJP, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Budget 2021: our response

In the Budget announced on 3 March 2021, the Chancellor chose to freeze duty on all alcohol, missing a key opportunity to address a worsening crisis| Alcohol Change UK blog, UK

One year on since we became With You

How our new brand helped us in a pandemic we didn’t know was coming | We Are With You, UK

Drug Testing and Synthetic Cannabis in Prisons

Late on Saturday night, the 27th of February, I was asked to speak on the Stephen Nolan show on BBC Radio 5 about cannabis in prisons. The reason I was being interviewed was that I had supported the North Wales Police Commissioner Arfon Jones who had suggested giving prisoners cannabis to reduce other drug use and violence | Drug Science, UK

Colombian state debates plans to regulate cocaine

Interview with Lorenzo Uribe, lead drafter on the cocaine regulation Bill before the Colombian Senate | Transform, UK

How to use opioid settlement money to save the most lives

It's not easy to spend large amounts of settlement funds effectively, and, if the tobacco settlement is an indication, the risk of failing is high | USA Today opinion, USA

NSW Drink and Drug Driving Laws and Penalties Part 2: Drug Driving and the Combined Drink and Drug Driving

The Berejiklian government launched the NSW Road Safety Plan 2021 in early 2018. It aims to reduce the road fatality rate in this state to 30 percent below the levels seen in 2008 through to 2010 | Sydney Criminal Lawyers blog, Australia