Daily news - 23rd March 2021

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UK news

Scotland's first medical cannabis clinic approved

Sapphire Medical Clinic, located in Stirling, is the first medical cannabis clinic authorised by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) to provide safe access to medical cannabis for patients in Scotland | BBC, UK

Problem Drug Use Bill

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to declare problem drug use a public health emergency; to require the Secretary of State to review the effects of welfare sanctions on people who use drugs; to make the Department for Health and Social Care the lead department for drugs policy;... | UK Parliament, UK

‘Dangerous data’ part 8: Controlled drinking: What do the authorities say?

Official guidance on controlled drinking as a treatment goal from Britain’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, how the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse saw the issue, and the textbooks which have drawn together the research and practice strands | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Fewer than quarter of Scots want restrictions on sale of e-cigarettes and vaping products

Research for the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) found only 24% of people agreed that access to such products, or information about them, should be restricted. With almost half those questioned were opposed to this – with 24% saying they “strongly disagreed” and a further 24% who said they “tended to disagree” | Scotsman, UK

Podcast: Does stopping smoking improve mental health? - podcast

Alongside its many reviews of interventions to help people quit smoking, the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group published a new review in March 2021 which looks at the effects of quitting smoking on mental health. Co-author, Dr Amanda Farley from the University of Birmingham in the UK tells us about the importance of the review and its findings in this podcast | Cochrane Library, UK

Alcohol for individuals, James Morris: Moderation - video

Controlled drinking is a viable option for some, according to James Morris, a post-doctoral researcher at London South Bank University and the host of a podcast which explored the middle road taken by BBC presenter Adrian Chiles | Phil Cain, UK


International news

Why America Is the Only Place in the World Where People Use PCP

America's forgotten drug is woven into the day-to-day fabric of poor inner cities dotted across the country. But it's never gone global like crack or LSD, while some US cities have remained impervious | VICE, UK

Drugnet Ireland

Latest policy news including the impact of Covid-19 on drug use in Ireland | DrugNet Ireland, Ireland

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

Join NIDA for NDAFW and help share facts about drugs, alcohol, and addiction in your community. Sign up for emails from NDAFW for the latest news, planning tips, and free resources to support your NDAFW activities and other efforts | NIDA, USA

Study Shows How Much Vapes Can Help Smokers With Schizophrenia

A ground breaking study from Italy with adults who have schizophrenia spectrum disorders found that using JUUL vapes helped some 40 percent of participants to stop smoking traditional cigarettes by the end of 12 weeks | Filter Magazine, USA

Survey of smokers and vapers in the U.S. during COVID

Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital aimed to understand the changes in cigarette and e-cigarette use behaviors among adults in the United States. They found that a third of cigarette smokers and a quarter of vape or e-cigarette users increased their use during the pandemic, mainly due to stress | News Medical, USA

Fourth generation of e-cigarettes is not harmless

A University of California, Riverside, study analyzing fourth-generation electronic cigarette, or EC, pod atomizer design features has found the pod atomizers are similar to those of previous generations and contain elements that may adversely affect health and accumulate in the environment | UCR, USA

Menthol Cigarettes Kill Many Black People. A Ban May Finally Be Near

The banning of menthol cigarettes, the mint-flavored products that have been aggressively marketed to Black Americans, has long been an elusive goal for public health regulators | NYTimes, USA

Heritable traits that appear in teen years raise risk for adult cannabis use

Study finds that a small portion of the risk for repeated cannabis use into adulthood can be attributed to the genetic effects of neuroticism, risk tolerance and depression that can appear during adolescence | Science Daily, USA

Initial evaluation of a peer recovery coach program in a large hospital system

Recovery coaches are typically individuals with “lived experience” of substance use disorder (SUD) recovery who have specialized training to help peers navigate the challenges of early recovery | Recovery Research Institute, USA

How well does online CBT stack up with CBT delivered in-person?

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted ongoing barriers to alcohol use disorder treatment engagement, leading to widespread adoption of internet-delivered treatments and digital recovery support services | Recovery Research Institute, USA

Caring for people who inject drugs when they are admitted to hospital

The number of people who inject drugs in Canada increased from 130 000 in 2011 to 171 900 in 2016. Reported hospital admissions for patients with injection-associated infective endocarditis in Ontario increased 5-fold from 34 in 1997 to 176 in 2014 | CMAJ, Canada

Medicinal cannabis blacklisted by Australian pain specialists

Doctors are being told not to use medicinal cannabis to treat patients with chronic pain, warning there is no solid evidence it is effective, as Australia’s medical regulator approves its 100,000th cannabinoid script | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

The federal government is funding research into using psychedelics to treat mental illness. So, do they work?

The federal government has announced it will pour millions of dollars into clinical trials using psychedelics like magic mushrooms and MDMA to see if they can help treat debilitating mental illnesses | abc.net.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Making addiction treatment better tomorrow than it was today: why research and delivery collaborations are essential for progress

It happens everywhere, in business, in health and in research. “If only they spent less money on this thing” usually something done in an office far way “and more money on this other thing” usually something done by the person speaking | DRNS blog, UK

‘These people are broken’: Why the UK’s war on drugs has failed

There was a time when drug use in the UK was not considered a matter for the police and judges, but for the doctor. Then it adopted the US’s punitive approach to addiction | Al Jazeera, UK

The Trip Report 22/03

Through the work of organisations such as WEDINOS, The Loop, and SaferParty, we know a little more about the drugs in circulation. The report provided below is a summary of their findings over the last week | Cameron Scally, UK

Should pregnancy 'be incentive enough' to quit smoking?

I have seen many people on twitter express the view that thinking about their baby should make pregnant women automatically quit smoking. Indeed many women when they decide to try for a baby or find out they are pregnant do quit smoking. However, it does seem illogical - and shocking - to many that this is not always the case | Fuse Open Science blog, UK

Cannabis and chronic pain: does the case for medicinal use stack up?

As a pain specialist, I often have patients asking me whether they should try medicinal cannabis. There’s a common perception it can be an effective way to manage chronic pain | Guardian opinion, UK

Op-ed: Illinois settlement with McKinsey for role in ‘turbocharging’ opioid crisis is insufficient

Illinois stands to receive $19.8 million, its piece of a $573 million payout meant to “right the wrong” for Illinois families who lost loved ones to opioid addiction. But there are significant problems with this settlement | Chicago Tribune opinion, USA

The Instruments of Darkness Tell Us Truths: A History of Heather Edney & The Santa Cruz Needle Exchange

There is a simple principle in the field of harm reduction that drug users are the experts on using drugs. But what exactly does that mean? Strong governmental and institutional pressures to uphold systemic standards and anti-drug laws frequently foster mistrust between drug users and social service providers | Points blog, USA

Medicinal cannabis to manage chronic pain? We don’t have evidence it works

As a pain specialist, I often have patients asking me whether they should try medicinal cannabis. There’s a common perception it can be an effective way to manage chronic pain | Conversation, New Zealand