Daily news - 16th March 2021

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UK news

New Minister For Drugs Policy reveals plans for Implementation Group

For the first time, Minister for Drugs Policy, Angela Constance, has publicly confirmed her plan to convene an implementation group “in which I and other Scottish Government ministers will work alongside chief officer or director representatives from health and social care partnerships, integration authorities and other organisations, such as the royal colleges, to ensure that we align our strategies and to support better delivery.” | SDF, UK

Lives put at risk by drug rehab funding rule

The lives of vulnerable people with addictions to drugs and alcohol are being put at risk because they are forced to choose between attending potentially life-saving residential rehab and keeping their homes, it has emerged | The Ferret, UK

Young Scots addict dies of drug overdose after fear of losing home made him quit rehab

The man, who has not been named, died of a drug overdose just three days after he quit a rehab course as the housing association threatened to make him homeless | Daily Record, UK

Suicide by homeless patients in England and Wales: national clinical survey

This study used data from the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health to examine demographic and clinical characteristics of homeless people who died by suicide and were in recent contact with mental health services | BJPsych Open, UK

Evaluating the impact of minimum unit pricing (MUP) on off‐trade alcohol sales in Scotland: a controlled interrupted time series study

On 1 May 2018, Scotland became the first country in the world to introduce minimum unit pricing (MUP), a strength‐based floor price below which alcohol cannot be sold, across all alcoholic beverages | Addiction, UK

Essex Police use drug dealers' phone contacts used to help addicts

A police force is using data found on drug dealers' phones to identify and support potential addicts | BBC, UK

Life-saving team funded by Police and Crime Commissioner set to hit the streets

A new peer led service aimed at saving the lives of some of Cleveland’s most vulnerable individuals is taking to the streets following support from the Police and Crime Commissioner | PCC for Cleveland, UK

‘How ketamine helped me kick my alcohol addiction’

[Limited number of free articles per week] A new clinic believes that using psychedelic substances to aid psychotherapy can give hope to patients looking to change their lives | Telegraph, UK

Unheard Voices - Choose to challenge

The #UnheardVoices: Choose To Challenge panel is the second event within the previously established #UnheardVoices campaign. Read all about the event and watch via Facebook | FAVOR, UK

PhD Symposium 2020

All session summaries, including many of the presentations from the day now online. We also have interviews with some of the organisers and a podcast about the symposium, by SSA funded PhD Students | SSA, UK

With You in Bournemouth drug and alcohol support worker wins a Dorset High Sheriff Award

Bournemouth drug and alcohol support worker Ben Kaye was presented with a Dorset High Sheriff award by the High Sheriff of Dorset, Mr George Streatfeild on Monday 15 March | We Are With You, UK

Harry Baker murder: Calls for Wales drugs policy review

The last moments of Harry Baker's short life were captured on CCTV cameras - tired and terrified - desperately fleeing his baying pursuers, knives glinting in their hands | BBC, UK

Liverpool boy arrested over cannabis 'made to look like sweets'

A boy has been arrested after packets of cannabis were seized during a house raid which had been "made to look like sweets and drinks", police have said | BBC, 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


International news

We’ll press on with cheap alcohol ban without Northern Ireland, says Frank Feighan

[Free one month trial available] The government is to consider going ahead without Northern Ireland in banning cheap alcohol sales after Robin Swann, the Northern Ireland health minister, deferred minimum unit pricing until after the next Stormont assembly elections in May next year | The Times, UK

Jamaica’s ‘drug lord’ - video

The hunt for the Jamaican drug lord, Christopher “Dudus” Coke, in May 2010 which left dozens of civilians dead. Jodi-Ann Quarrie describes the events and their impact on Jamaica | BBC, UK

Prevalence of social media addiction across 32 nations: Meta-analysis with subgroup analysis of classification schemes and cultural values

In the cyber era, people interact with others not only face-to-face but also through social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Social media addiction has emerged as a problem of global concern, with researchers all over the world conducting studies to evaluate how pervasive the problem is | Addictive Behaviours, Hong Kong

How can new technologies help reduce the harm of drug use?

Online platforms prove to be effective in helping people in Russia who use drugs | EurekAlert, USA

Critical appraisal of the European Union Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) Preliminary Opinion on electronic cigarettes

In preparation for the 2021 revision of the European Union Tobacco Products Directive, the Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) has posted its Preliminary Opinion on Electronic Cigarettes | NIH, USA

How is e-cigarette use impacting sleep health?

Smoking traditional cigarettes causes poor sleep, which itself is associated with health consequences such as obesity, cardiac disease, and diabetes | BASIS, USA

Quitting smoking may improve mental well-being

Each year, smoking cigarettes claims the lives of more than 480,000 people in the United States and more than 8 million people around the world. And, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness, impoverishment, and death worldwide | MNT, USA

High-strength nicotine e-cigarettes can help adults with schizophrenia quit smoking

A new study in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, finds that the use of high-strength nicotine e-cigarettes can help adults with schizophrenia spectrum disorders quit smoking | News Medical, USA

Covid-19’s big public health lesson: Ask people to be careful, not perfect

Harm reduction works. Covid-19 has proved it | Vox, USA

As Fatal Meth Overamps Surge, Promising Medication Combo on the Horizon

Promising results from the third stage of a clinical trial testing a medication combination to treat methamphetamine use disorder (MUD) are arriving at a critical time | Filter Magazine, USA

Biden reverses course in U.S. Supreme Court drug sentencing case

President Joe Biden’s administration on Monday told the U.S. Supreme Court that it thinks low-level crack cocaine offenders should be among the beneficiaries of a federal law that reduced certain prison sentences, reversing the position taken under his predecessor Donald Trump | Reuters, USA

Analysis: A sobering strategy for pandemic times - Japan brewers bank on alcohol-free beer boom

His social life severely curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, Tadasu Masuda found himself embracing the opportunity to take what in Japan are known as “liver rest days” and try out a range of alcohol-free beer brands | Reuters, USA

Fentanyl-laced cocaine found in North Sydney

Over the past week, a number of clients brought to the centre's attention a large number of cocaine samples that they checked with the test strips indicating a positive result for fentanyl — an extremely strong opioid, which is highly addictive and potentially fatal when mixed with other substances | Guardian, Canada

‘Only option we had’: Why Simon’s parents sent him to the Scientologists for rehab

When Margaret and John Millington’s son Simon was in the grips of an opioid addiction, his parents wanted to send him to a rehabilitation program. The only one available was called Narconon | Age, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Trainspotting is a good film but the reality of Edinburgh's heroin problem was very different – Tom Wood

Trainspotting follows a group of cheeky working class lads as they ricochet around Edinburgh, one step ahead of the law. Set in the 1980s, after the first wave of heroin struck north Edinburgh in the mid-70s, a fine script and cast makes for a great watch | Edinburgh News, UK