Daily news - 19th March 2021

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UK news

Alcohol dependence prevalence in England

Estimates of the number of alcohol dependent adults in each local authority in England. Updated with alcohol dependence estimates for the period 2018 to 2019 | PHE, UK

Action demanded to tackle Scotland's drugs deaths crisis

Minister for Drugs Policy, Angela Constance, confirmed allocation of four new funding streams totalling £18 million from £250 million already announced by Nicola Sturgeon to help tackle the drugs deaths emergency over the next five years | Herald, UK

Exploring men’s alcohol consumption in the context of becoming a father: A scoping review

Read the event report for Dr Elena Dimova's webinar: "Exploring men’s alcohol consumption in the context of becoming a father: A scoping review" | SHAAP, UK

Delivering brief interventions for alcohol use in custody suites: Dr Ruth McGovern talks to the SSA

In the custody suite they would ask ‘has your alcohol use in some way impacted on your involvement with an offence?’. But they would also ask about some of the other risks that from increased risk or high-risk drinking | SSA, UK

Mental health: 'My son begged to be sectioned before his death'

Jack Brennan, from west Belfast, was just 23 when he died of a suspected drugs overdose. His mother says he was a thoughtful and loving brother and son. She is urging the Northern Ireland Executive to create a service that treats mental health issues alongside drug and alcohol addiction | BBC, UK

William Algar: Trumpeter stabbed to death 'over drugs dispute'

A talented trumpeter was hacked to death and his body left to rot at his home after he fell out with a drug dealer, a court has heard | BBC, UK


International news

No reason to stub out the tobacco stocks just yet

[Free one month trial available] Within 30 years there may not be any cigarette smokers left but that doesn’t mean you should avoid tobacco stocks. Quite the opposite in fact, Citigroup analysts argue | The Times, UK

Purdue Pharma unveils $10bn opioid settlement plan to exit from bankruptcy

Purdue Pharma is proposing a $10bn plan to emerge from bankruptcy that calls for it to be transformed into a company funnelling profits into the fight against the opioid crisis | Guardian, UK

Hot Press Readers Invited To Take Part In Irish Drug Trends Survey

HSE Drugs.ie, the Health Research Board and the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) are inviting adults in Ireland who use drugs to complete a new survey that will help shape the future of drug policies and interventions | Hot Press, Ireland

European Web Survey on Drugs: patterns of use

Web-based surveys are a useful tool for collecting information on patterns of drug use across Europe. They are quick and cheap to set up and can reach large numbers of people who use drugs directly. This means that they can paint a detailed, realistic and timely picture of drug use and drug markets in Europe and are a useful complement to traditional data-collection methods | EMCDDA, Portugal

Alcohol-Related Deaths in Poland During a Period of Weakening Alcohol Control Measures

In Poland since 2001, a number of policy measures designed to reduce alcohol consumption were weakened. After stable alcohol consumption since the 1980s, between 2002 and 2017 the annual consumption of alcohol increased from 6.9 L to almost 10 L of pure alcohol per capita. We examined changes in mortality wholly attributable to alcohol consumption in Poland between 2002 and 2017 | JAMA Network, USA

Drug overdose deaths generally higher in urban counties

From 1999 to 2019, the age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths increased in urban and rural counties, with rates generally higher in urban counties | Medical Xpress, USA

Addiction treatment centers using electronic health records less and may hinder care

Despite their existence for decades, electronic health records—digitized patient information and medical histories available instantly and securely to authorized users—are not commonly used by many addiction and substance use disorder treatment facilities in the United States | Medical Xpress, USA

Medical cannabis can reduce essential tremor: turns on overlooked cells in central nervous system

Medical cannabis is a subject of much debate. There is still a lot we do not know about cannabis, but researchers from the Department of Neuroscience at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences have made a new discovery that may prove vital to future research into and treatment with medical cannabis | EurekAlert, USA

New discovery may prove vital to future research on medical cannabis

Medical cannabis is a subject of much debate. There is still a lot we do not know about cannabis, but researchers from the Department of Neuroscience at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences have made a new discovery that may prove vital to future research into and treatment with medical cannabis | Medical Xpress, USA

Illinois youth opioid use linked with other substance misuse, mental health issues

Opioid use has dramatically increased in the 21st century, especially among young adults. A new study from the University of Illinois provides insights on usage patterns among Illinois high school students to help inform prevention and treatment strategies | EurekAlert, USA

Drug Decriminalization Bill Unveiled in Rhode Island

Six Rhode Island senators introduced legislation last week that would end criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of drugs and instead impose a $100 civil fine, the latest state-level effort to stop imprisoning people for simple drug possession offenses | Filter Magazine, USA

Canada’s Proposed Nicotine Cap for Vapes Earns Sharp Criticism

Canada looked set to embrace tobacco harm reduction, similar to the United Kingdom. At least until July 2019, when a research paper by a group of high-profile public health scholars in the United States, the UK and Canada appeared in the BMJ, a medical journal published by the trade union of the British Medical Association | Filter Magazine, USA

Inequitable Marijuana Criminalization, COVID-19, and Socioeconomic Disparities: The Case for Community Reinvestment in New York

The Case for Community Reinvestment in New York, shows deep racial disparities and economic impacts in marijuana arrests across the state of New York | Start Smart NY, USA

An App Designed to Curb Drug Overdose Deaths Has Saved 15 Lives

One advocate says the $900,000 cost to build it would be better spent on safe supply | The Tyee, Canada

Construction association project aims to help workers struggling with drug addiction

In an attempt to get a handle on the overdose crisis, the ­Vancouver Island Construction Association has joined forces with Island Health and the province to launch the Tailgate Toolkit project | Times Colonist, Canada



Blogs, comment and opinion

Online programme provides round the clock addiction recovery support for NHS APA members

NHS Addictions Provider Alliance members have commissioned a technology initiative to boost levels of support for its service users, making interventions more engaging, powerful, and accessible than ever before | NHS APA blog, UK

Killing Escobar review – the hard men behind plot to kill drug lord

Mercenaries Peter McAleese and David Tomkins tell the story and backstory behind their contract on the Colombian kingpin | Guardian, UK

The coronavirus pandemic provides an opportunity to address homelessness

As emergency shelters and encampments emerge in cities across North America, the public has been confronted with a more visible homeless population as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, this has led to several crusades aimed to — once again — hide this population from view | The Conversation, Canada