Daily news -8th March 2021

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UK news

£3 million pilot to reduce reoffending by young adults

Young adults supervised by the probation service will receive specialist drug and mental health support at a new £3 million centre to reduce reoffending | Ministry of Justice, National Probation Service, and The Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC MP, UK

Family of teenager who died call for more drug checking at festivals

Exclusive: Anya Buckley’s aunt calls for facilities so festivalgoers can test drugs for contamination | Guardian, UK

Sesh Safety - audio

Adam explores a 'life-changing' Facebook group for people who use drugs. Comedian and podcaster Jacob Hawley guests | BBC, UK

The Alcohol 'Problem' Podcast - Ep 5: Youth drinking in decline with Dr Melissa Oldham

In this episode we talk to Dr Melissa Oldham about why alcohol consumption appears to have fallen amongst children and young people over recent decades. Evidence shows that overall falls in UK consumption have been driven entirely by young people abstaining more frequently from alcohol, and when they do drink drinking less, and less often | Buzzsprout, UK

All Good Points - Will Cannabis be Bigger than Chewing Gum? - video

Cancard in action! / Celebrity watch - Jay Z and Seth Rogen / Wrigley to take cannabis company public / Should prisons trial free cannabis? / Morocco set to legalise medical cannabis / Keir Starmer on decriminalising cannabis | Volteface, UK

Pulse 10: Housing ex-offenders and people in recovery from addiction

For years, we’ve been helping prison leavers to resettle in the community through partnership arrangements with ‘supported housing’ providers. More recently, we’ve developed two further models of accommodation... | Forward Trust, UK

Street Drugs Discussions: Police, Politics & Prohibition

Fri, 9 April 2021, 12:00 – 14:00 BST. A deep dive on prohibition drug policies ,with a particularly focus on the role of policing in drug policy reform | Drug Science, UK

Call for participants: Parental substance misuse and resilience in young people (SPRing Study)

Researchers at Newcastle University are conducting a qualitative study exploring parental substance misuse and resilience. They are recruiting: (1) young people, aged 14-25, whose parents misuse substances and; (2) practitioners who provide support for young people and families affected by substance misuse. Utilising remote interviews, this study is open to those across England. Contact Cassey Muir for more information | Newcastle University, UK

Pubs deluged with beer garden bookings

England's pubs have been deluged by people eager to book space from when beer gardens reopen on 12 April, industry group UK Hospitality has said | BBC, UK

Covid-19: Wolverhampton pub landlord in a bubble with a regular

A pub regular who was invited to "bubble" with the landlord of his local says he owes him a "debt of gratitude" | BBC, UK

Swindon railway station a 'gateway' for drug trafficking

British Transport Police says good public transport links to the capital means criminals are sending children to ferry drugs via the town | BBC, UK

Sixteen men charged after police drug raids across England

More than 300 officers raided 18 properties in Reading and a further seven addresses across Blackburn, Sunderland, Birmingham and London on Wednesday | BBC, UK

Carlisle gang jailed for plot to smuggle drugs into HMP Northumberland

The operation was run by an inmate who planned to supply drugs with the help of people on the "outside" | BBC, UK

Man arrested over £3.8m drugs seizure in Clydebank and Glasgow

Police Scotland said officers stopped a vehicle travelling north on the M74 on Friday evening and recovered a "large quantity" of cocaine | BBC, UK


International news

International Approaches to Drug Law Reform

This paper reviews the international evidence on approaches to drug law reform, focussing on case studies from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Portugal and The Netherlands. It seeks to support the ongoing development of innovative approaches to reducing drug harms, by identifying the impact of interventions abroad and situating them within their legal context | Scottish Government, UK

GDS 2020: Psychedelics Key Findings report (PDF)

Which psychedelics are people most commonly using to self treat emotional distress psychiatry conditions | GDS, UK

Competing principles and priorities at the junction between care and coercion

Key studies and thorny issues at the junction between care and coercion, treatment and control. How far should collaboration with criminal justice go? What information should be shared with criminal justice and child protection? And why is drinking so prominent among prisoners, but not in prison services? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

‘Dangerous data’ part 6: Evidence accumulates and expert opinion converges

The heat dies down as it becomes clearer that both controlled drinking and abstinence have their place among the gaols for alcohol treatment patients, and evidence emerges about what types of patients do best with either objective | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Dependence on e‐cigarettes and cigarettes in a cross‐sectional study of US adults

[Open access] Cigarette smoking often results in nicotine dependence. With use of electronic cigarettes as an alternative source of nicotine, it is important to assess dependence associated with e‐cigarette use. This study assesses dependence among current and former adult e‐cigarette users on cigarettes and e‐cigarettes, compared with dependence on cigarettes | Addiction, UK

Narcos and necromancy: Turf wars and black magic in Colombia

[Limited number of free articles per week] The drug gangs that are waging war in the Latin American country rely on a surprising ritual to protect them from harm: a witch's incantation | Telegraph, UK

Snorkeller finds $1.5m of cocaine floating off the coast of Florida

Bundle contained 25 bricks of cocaine weighing 68 pounds, authorities say | Independent, UK

Long-term methadone users feel 'stigma, fear, and shame'

People on long-term methadone programmes are concealing their attendance at clinics because of stigma, fear, and shame | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Assessment of Annual Cost of Substance Use Disorder in US Hospitals

In this economic evaluation of 124 573 175 hospital emergency department encounters and 33 648 910 hospital inpatient encounters, the annual medical cost associated with substance use disorder in US emergency departments and inpatient settings exceeded $13 billion in 2017 | JAMA Network, 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

Office-Based Addiction Treatment Retention and Mortality Among People Experiencing Homelessness

 In this cohort study of 1467 homeless or unstably housed adults with opioid use disorder, retention in the office-based addiction treatment program was 45.2% at 1 month, 21.7% at 6 months, and 11.3% at 12 months. Past-month office-based addiction treatment attendance was associated with a 66% reduction in mortality risk | JAMA Network, USA

Research reveals major drivers of increased nicotine and tobacco use during COVID-19 lockdown

Pandemic-related anxiety, boredom, and irregular routines were cited as major drivers of increased nicotine and tobacco use during the initial COVID-19 "lockdown," according to research just released by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health | News Medical, USA

ADA, others urge FDA to ban menthol cigarettes, other nontobacco-flavored tobacco products

The ADA, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and dozens of likeminded stakeholders are urging the Food and Drug Administration to prohibit menthol cigarettes and other nontobacco-flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and cigars | ADA, USA

How Has Addiction Damaged The Finance Industry?

There are numerous sources out today that have reported, substance abuse problems in the financial services sector have seen a huge decline since the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s. According to these reports, from the likes of the Business Insider and other publications, the financial sector has seen itself travel through several phases where different types of drugs were considered popular | News Medical, USA

A state policy option to expanding access to methadone: Utilize Federally Qualified Health Centers

Opioid agonist medications, such as methadone, are an effective treatment option for opioid use disorder. However, they are underutilized as only 20% of individuals with opioid use disorder receive any treatment and only a third of these treated individuals receive opioid use disorder medication | Recovery Research Review, USA

Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates Says WHO Recommended Ban on Vaping Will Only Create More Smokers

World Health organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) meeting, delayed last year, could be the venue to push a global vape ban in November | CISION PR Newsire, USA

The Movement to Decriminalize Psilocybin, Explained

The latest frontier in state and local drug reform has been the loosening of legal restrictions on psilocybin—the psychoactive compound in “magic mushrooms.” | The Appeal, USA

The Race to Patent Psychedelics Is Just Getting Started

Psychedelics now appear in patent applications for Philip Morris e-cigarettes, periodontal disease, hair loss, weight loss, and food allergies | VICE, USA

Colombian cocaine exports intact despite pandemic claims DEA

During a year in which countries around the world placed citizens under strict lock downs and international commerce ground to a halt with heightened trade controls, criminal organizations were quick to adjust to coronavirus restrictions | The City Paper, Colombia

Alcohol and cannabis use during the pandemic: Canadian Perspectives Survey Series 6

The pandemic has been a source of significant stress and concern for many Canadians because of the social and economic upheavals it has caused. The public health crisis caused by the pandemic has had an impact on almost all aspects of social life | Statistics Canada, Canada

Give us a shout: Pubs, brewers ask government to freeze alcohol taxes to help Aussies

Pubs and brewers are urging the Morrison government to follow Britain’s lead and freeze the twice-yearly tax increase on booze to help the struggling industry recover from the coronavirus pandemic | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

Tobacco tax revenue plunges as Kiwis kick the habit

On Thursday, Treasury released the Crown accounts for the seven months to January 31, 2021. The accounts show revenue from customs and excise duty fell almost $700 million compared to the same period the previous year | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand

Ardern not revealing cannabis stance may have been 'decisive factor' in referendum result

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s decision not to reveal her position on the cannabis debate during election campaigning could have been a “decisive factor” in last year’s referendum, academics believe | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

It’s time to invest in Third Sector services

In it’s response to the global pandemic, the Third Sector has proven categorically that it is the place for any government to invest if it wants to make radical changes to health and social care delivery | Paul Townsley, UK

It’s not just a bad hangover – this is how alcohol affects the environment

Alcohol is a thirsty product: one 500ml bottle of beer uses 148 litres of water – and a single 125ml glass of wine, 110 litres | Independent opinion, UK

Helen Clark on stimulant regulation

The debate on drugs can often be heated and polarising; yet, on one point at least, there is a growing consensus: the ‘war on drugs’ has failed. Global prohibition has not only failed to deter increasing use, it has resulted in more risky behaviours, more dangerous products and more devastating health harms | Transform, UK

Gratitude and Recovery, Revisited

This is not my first post on gratitude, I posted this one back in 2019 and more recently this one in 2020 writing about what I call my “Eeyore Brain.” This is a subject I am deeply reflective on because I have struggled with it over my life.  As this 2016 article from Forbes notes, our brains are not wired for happiness, our brains are wired for survival. I hear that | Recovery Review blog, USA

Opinion: To End The Drug War, Help Coca Farmers Find A Way Out

Colombia — When Lida grew coca, the harvest was bountiful and frequent. Every three months the whole family — even her young children — threaded themselves through the branches to collect leaves | npr opinion, USA

Why It’s Time to Abandon Drug Courts

Drug overdoses dramatically rose during the pandemic to make 2020 our deadliest year so far | The Crime Report, USA

Cannabis education should aim to normalize — not prevent — safe and legal use

Many of us grew up in a society that prohibited the use of cannabis. When cannabis was legalized in 2018, it was a major shift for most Canadians. How successful have we been in changing the mindset from it being an illegal and stigmatized drug to one that is legal and socially acceptable? | Conversation, Canada

A rare and significant win for prisoners — new limits around drug tests and strip searches

Australian prisoners are regularly subjected to drug and alcohol testing and strip searches | Conversation, Australia