Daily news - 15th March 2021

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UK news

First ketamine-assisted psychotherapy Bristol clinic opens

The Bristol clinic says it may offer improvements to treatment-resistant patients suffering with addiction and mental health conditions. Awakn Clinic will charge people £6,000 for a course of low-dose treatments alongside talking therapy | BBC, UK

‘The ketamine blew my mind’: can psychedelics cure addiction and depression?

This week sees the opening of the first UK high-street clinic offering psychedelic-assisted therapy. Could popping psilocybin be the future of mental healthcare? | Guardian, UK

Psychedelic therapy could 'reset' depressed brain

A powerful hallucinogenic drug known for its part in shamanic rituals is being trialled as a potential cure for depression for the first time. Participants will be given the drug DMT, followed by talking therapy | BBC, UK

Drugs: Rehabilitation

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the period available to local authorities to apply for the additional drug treatment crime and harm reduction activity grants announced on 20 January 2021 | They work for you, UK

Covid in Scotland: Hospitality leaders urge levels rethink

Hospitality leaders have urged the Scottish government to change its Covid lockdown levels to stop businesses failing. An industry group has submitted its own version of the system to ministers | BBC, UK

People from poor UK areas more likely to be high-risk online gamblers - study

Campaigners renew call for affordability checks, which they say would not curb most gamblers’ freedoms | Guardian, UK

Medical Council on Alcohol 2021 Student Competitions NOW Open

Covid-19 - It's enough to drive you to drink. Your essay should consider both the effect of Covid on alcohol consumption and alcohol-related health harm and whether alcohol use increases Covid risk. Also discuss how we should best address problem drinking during and after this pandemic | MCA, UK

DARC Research Webinar Series 2021: March

Wed, 17 March 2021, 13:00 – 14:00 GMT. James Morris: Why harmful drinkers reject change: coping and cognition in maintaining heavy drinking | PSS Faculty, UK

Alcohol Occasionals - Alcohol-related violence and deprivation

Tue, 30 March 2021, 12:30 – 14:00 BST. Carly Lightowlers and Lucy Bryant discuss the findings of two complementary studies on alcohol-related violence and inequalities | SHAAP, UK


International news

‘Dangerous data’ part 7: Controlled drinking versus abstinence: who decides?

The history of the controlled drinking controversy makes us face not just what decision is made about treatment goals, but who makes that decision and how; where the power lies | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Japanese sword and revolvers found as police arrest ‘Madrid’s biggest cocaine gang’

‘Violent’ organisation used code name system for members and apartments storing drugs | Independent, UK

Spanish police seize narco-submarine in Malaga raid

Police in Spain have seized a homemade submarine capable of transporting up to two tonnes of drugs | BBC, UK

Colorado's legal cannabis farms emit more carbon than its coal mines

Legal cannabis production in Colorado emits more greenhouse gases than the state’s coal mining industry, researchers analysing the sector’s energy use have found | New Scientist, UK

Republican governor says ‘if you legalise marijuana you’re gonna kill your kids’

Drug Enforcement Administration data says no reported overdoses from the drug | Independent UK

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott claims election reform bill passed by House could result in Democrats 'using cocaine to buy votes' through ballot harvesting

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott fears Democrats could use 'cocaine to buy votes' if an election overhaul bill passed along party lines in the U.S. House were to become law | Mail Online, USA

Netflix's drug-taking Indian drama will pollute minds of youth, warns India

[Limited number of free articles per week] India's government has threatened Netflix with legal action over a new series that it says will "pollute the minds of young children" with scenes of minors taking cocaine | Telegraph, UK

Ministerial meeting of the misuse of substances work sector: communique (PDF)

Frank Feighan TD, Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, has welcomed British Irish Council (BIC) ministerial agreement to cooperate on policy initiatives to reduce the harms of drug and alcohol use | British Irish Council, Ireland

40% of current cannabis users score positive for disorder

The study, conducted by health experts in University College Cork (UCC) and the Health Research Board (HRB), suggests that the findings should be considered in the debate about the liberalisation of cannabis laws | Irish Examiner, Ireland

VIDEO: Why CBD cannabis health shops are blossoming all over France

A recent decision by the European Court of Justice which prevents France from classifying cannabis-derived products (CBD) as narcotics has led to dozens of CBD wellness shops springing up all over France | The Local, France

A Media Frenzy Accidentally Made This Drug More Popular Over Lockdown

Lots of young people only sought out 3-MMC after alarmist local media reports. We asked the drug's inventor and experts why? | VICE, Netherlands

European Web Survey on Drugs: patterns of use

A new round of the European Web Survey on Drugs will be launched on 18 March 2021 | EMCDDA, Portugal

European Commission proposes to control two harmful new psychoactive substances

Today, the European Commission has proposed to control two harmful new psychoactive substances (NPS) across the European Union | EMCDDA, Portugal

Risk assessment report on a new psychoactive substance: methyl 2-{[1-(4-fluorobutyl)-1H-indole-3-carbonyl]amino}-3,3-dime- thylbutanoate (4F-MDMB-BICA) in accordance with Article 5c of Regulation (EC) No 1920/2006 (as amended)

This risk assessment report presents the summary findings and the conclusion of the risk assessment carried out by the Scientific Committee of the EMCDDA on 4F-MDMB-BICA. The report is intended for policymakers and decision-makers in the institutions of the EU | EMCDDA, Portugal

Risk Assessment Report on a new psychoactive substance: methyl 3,3-dimethyl-2-{[1-(pent-4-en-1-yl)-1H-indazole-3-car- bonyl]amino}butanoate (MDMB-4en-PINACA) in accordance with Article 5c of Regulation (EC) No 1920/2006 (as amended)

This risk assessment report presents the summary findings and the conclusion of the risk assessment carried out by the Scientific Committee of the EMCDDA on MDMB-4en- PINACA. The report is intended for policymakers and decision-makers in the institutions of the EU | EMCDDA, Portugal

Clinical trial shows alcohol use disorder recovery can start without sobriety

Harm reduction treatment helped people experiencing homelessness and alcohol use disorder reduce their drinking and improve their health-even if they didn't quit drinking alcohol | EurekAlert, USA

‘No justification:’ Senate bill will end syringe services in WV, experts say

While Republicans say it won’t, health leaders in West Virginia say a bill passed by the state Senate last week means the end of syringe exchanges in the state, which has two of the worst HIV outbreaks in the country | Charleston Gazette Mail, USA

Underage drinking has ‘basically halved’ in the past two decades

The number of Australian teenagers who are drinking alcohol has plummeted in the past two decades. New research from Curtin University reveals drinking among 12 to 17-year-olds has “basically halved since the early 2000s” | 3AW, Australia

Support needed for young people engaging with Sydney nightlife as lockout laws and COVID-19 restrictions lift

Experts are calling for harm reduction support for young people engaging in Sydney nightlife as lockout laws and COVID-19 restrictions lift | NDARC, Australia

Cannabis: Green Party pushing for cross-party decriminalisation bill that would skip members' ballot

Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick is looking to get other parties onboard a cross-party bill to decriminalise cannabis, allowing it to skip the members' ballot and head straight to Parliament | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

The Other Pandemic

This new way of living has meant being forced to stay at home, being physically isolated from our loved ones, having to rethink daily routines and activities to fit the walls of this new world | Transform, UK

Recovery-focused interventions: too messy to study?

These last few weeks I’ve seen several people writing on the subject of substance use disorder treatment calling for us ‘to stick with the evidence’ of what works. Research evidence should, quite rightly, inform policy and practice | Recovery Review blog, UK

Lawyers Call For Drug Law Reform: An Interview With ALA’s Greg Barns

“The war on drugs has failed” is a common catchphrase these days. Ever-increasing numbers within the community are coming to realise that the great edifice of heavily enforced drug prohibition is more destructive on a societal and individual level than the substances it was supposed to eradicate | Sydney Criminal Lawyers blog, Australia

Vale Jude Byrne

Last week we were greatly saddened to learn that Jude Byrne, a leader in the AOD sector, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family | NDARC, Australia