Daily news - 11th March 2021

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UK news

Police Scotland officers administer Naloxone for first time in pilot project

Police Scotland officers have administered Naloxone for the first time, within two hours of receiving training in the use of the spray to reverse an opioid-related drug overdose | Police Scotland, UK

Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021: rehabilitation factsheet

"Rather than continuing to send [offenders] back and forth to prison - doing the same thing but expecting a different result - we instead want to empower the sentencing system to use more effective community sentencing to get them off drugs and into the jobs that we know can lead them to a better life." | Home Office , UK

Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021: road traffic offences factsheet

Increasing the maximum penalty available for the specific driving offences of causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs from 14 years to life imprisonment will mean that these offences have the same maximum penalty as manslaughter | Home Office, UK

Daily e-cigarette use shows 'clear benefit' in helping smokers to quit

A new study published Tuesday 10 March, No Smoking Day, from King’s College London highlights the ‘clear benefit’ of using e-cigarettes daily in order to quit smoking, and supports their effectiveness when compared to other methods of quitting, including nicotine replacement therapy or medication | Kings College London, UK

Sober Spring signup

Sign up for an amazing three months alcohol-free, starting 20 March 2021 | Alcohol Change UK, UK

Drug use is no stranger to the Western Isles, but few people know about Naloxone

Drug abuse continues to affect many families in the Outer Hebrides, although is not often talked or heard about | Stornoway Gazette, UK

People experiencing homelessness to be prioritised for COVID vaccine

The prioritisation comes as people who are or have recently experienced homelessness are confirmed to be classed as at increased risk. This is because they are more likely to have an underlying health condition which puts them at high risk from both transmission and the harms of coronavirus | Welsh Government, UK

Smokers could pay £16,000 more in life assurance premiums

On this year's No Smoking Day, Royal London states that mon-smokers could be eligible for lower rate premiums if they have not smoked tobacco, or used any nicotine replacement products including e-cigarettes, for 12 months | Cover Magazine, UK

Today BDP celebrates its 35th birthday!

It was 35 years ago today that BDP first opened its doors to the people of Bristol. BDP was set up by a group of people with lived experience of a drug problem and impassioned probation officers. They identified the absence of support for people who used drugs in Bristol and designed and created a service to fill that gap | BDP, UK

Views of employers and service managers in Scotland needed for short online survey on work-based qualifications’

Scottish Drugs Forum are seeking the views of employers and service managers via a brief survey to support the development of our SQA approved Learning Centre | SDF, UK

First magic mushrooms factory found in 20 years raided by police

Police have raided the first magic mushroom factory believed to have been discovered in the UK for over 20 years | Metro, UK

Larne: Man held over £510k cannabis find at harbour

A man has been arrested after police seized suspected cannabis worth £510,000 at Larne Harbour in County Antrim | BBC, UK



International news

Featured Review: Stopping smoking is linked to improved mental health

Evidence published in the Cochrane Library today will reassure people who want to stop smoking that quitting for at least 6 weeks may improve their mental wellbeing, by reducing anxiety, depression, and stress. People’s social relationships are unlikely to suffer if they stop smoking | Cochrane, UK

Mexico marijuana: Lower house passes recreational cannabis bill

It will now go to the Senate for a final vote, which President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's party is confident will pass | BBC, UK

Drug control policies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia The economic, health and social impact (PDF)

This Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report aims to capture the attention of policy-makers in four study countries in the EECA region; Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia to make the case for the cost effectiveness and health gains achieved when the criminalisation of drug use is reduced, harm reduction is scaled up and stigma and discrimination towards PWID and other vulnerable populations is reduced | EIU, UK

Women and Substance Use: Reading List

A selection of papers and resources relating to women and substance use | ISSUP, UK

In Loving Memory of Jude Byrne

INPUD is devastated to hear of the passing of Jude Byrne last Friday, especially with the knowledge that she was denied palliative pain treatment following her diagnosis | INPUD, UK

Trends in Health Behaviours, Health Outcomes and Contextual Factors between 1998-2018: findings from the Irish Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study (PDF)

There is good news with regard to substance misuse, with significant decreases in the rates of smoking, alcohol and cannabis use compared with previous figures in 1998 | HBSC, Ireland

Blindboy and Vera Twomey row in behind CBD store owner after Gardaí seize €20,000 of product 

Podcaster and comedian Blindboy Boatclub and medicinal cannabis campaigner Vera Twomey have rowed in behind a beleaguered CBD store owner after Gardaí seized over €20,000 of his stock | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Researchers analyse the effects of cocaine on people with mental disorders

Alejandro Fuertes-Saiz, ... of the University of Valencia, along with his thesis directors, Gonzalo Haro and Ana Benito, have just published in journal Brain Sciences the final results of three year-long research where they have studied the effects of cocaine on patients diagnosed with schizophrenia or antisocial personality disorder | Medical Express, USA

Sharp reductions in costs of producing cannabis, fentanyl likely to spur widespread changes in use, dependence

The legalization of cannabis and the arrival of nonmedical fentanyl are fundamentally changing drug markets in North America. A large part of these changes relates to the ability to produce large quantities of the drugs at low costs, which has slashed wholesale prices for both drugs and retail prices for cannabis | Medical Xpress, USA

Study finds lower dose of ketamine equally effective in reducing pain

A recent Loyola Medicine study found that reducing the standard dose of IV-administered ketamine in half is as effective as the larger, standard dose in reducing pain in adults | EurekAlert, USA

Psychedelic science holds promise for mainstream medicine

Psychedelic healing may sound like a fad from the Woodstock era, but it's a field of study that's gaining traction in the medical community as an effective treatment option for a growing number of mental health conditions | Medical Xpress, USA

Women Are Leading Canada’s Safe Supply Movement

Everyone deserves access to health care. It should be unconditional. If you have diabetes and still enjoy the occasional unhealthy snack, a doctor will still prescribe you insulin—and yet equivalent humane treatment is often withheld from people who use drugs | Filter Magazine, USA

The Developing Brain with Dr. Ruben Baler

Mar 22, 2021 05:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada). Why is it more dangerous for youth to experiment with drugs? Is vaping addictive? Is marijuana really harmful? Please join us for a youth-led Q&A with Dr. Ruben Baler, Scientist on the Neurobiology of Drug Abuse & Addiction at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), to discuss the developing brain and the importance of adolescent substance use prevention | Mentor Foundation (USA) | USA

Methamphetamines and cardiac damage: skating on thin ICE

Monday 29th March at 1pm (Australia). FREE webinar for health workers.This webinar will provide attendees with information about the cardiac-specific (potentially fatal) complications of methamphetamines, and a simple approach to diagnosis and treatment | Department of Health, Australia

Temporary rules for medicinal cannabis extended until September

The government has extended the temporary medicinal cannabis regulations to help with a continued supply of products | RNZ, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Time to talk about smoking and mental health in a pandemic: No Smoking Day 2021

Everyone knows smoking is very bad for physical health. But what about its impact on mental health? Many smokers believe that smoking helps to relieve stress, anxiety and low mood, when in fact the opposite is true. Today, for the first time, the national No Smoking Day campaign will focus on the significant benefits of quitting for mental health and wellbeing | PHE blog, UK

This is what drug dealers and users really did during lockdown

Think dealers don’t care about their customers or Covid disrupted supply of illegal drugs? A new survey has challenged those assumptions | Independent voices, UK

Growing cannabis at home: how COVID-19 has fuelled a boom around the world

Back in the days when “skunk” was mainly associated with Pepé Le Pew and hydroponics was a way of improving cucumbers, most of the UK’s cannabis supply was imported from places such as Morocco and Lebanon. This changed in the past two or three decades in the UK and many other countries as organised criminal gangs set up growing operations closer to home | Conversation, UK

Cocaine Bear: the must-see and must-avoid movie of 2022

Elizabeth Banks’s new film, about the aftermath of a narcotics drop in a Georgia national park, may be less hilarious than it first sounds | Guardian, UK

A chat with an Ex-prosecutor : Realities of Drug control in Nigeria - audio

Conversations on criminal justice response to drug control in Nigeria, its impact and the way forward | YouthRISE, Nigeria

Opioid script changes mean well, but have left some people in chronic pain

Chronic pain affects about 3.4 million Australians. Internationally, almost one-third of people with chronic non-cancer pain take opioids to manage their condition | Conversation, Australia