Daily news - 24th March 2021

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UK news

The cost of smoking to the social care system

This report sets out the impact of smoking-related illness on social care need and the resulting costs in England, building on previous reports published by ASH in 2014, 2017 and 2019. Press Release | ASH, UK

Statistics on Women's Smoking Status at Time of Delivery: England - Quarter 3, 2020-21

This report presents statistics on mother’s smoking status at time of delivery, at Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), Region and national levels. This release includes provisional data for quarter 3 of 2020-21 | NHS Digital, UK

Alcohol treatment in the criminal justice system: Why is the record so poor?

The catalogue of negative evaluations of attempts to treat problem drinking among sentenced offenders in Britain is also reflected internationally. Much of row 5 of the Alcohol Treatment Matrix effectively sought answers to the core question, ‘Why is the record so poor?’ | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

LGBT+ children eligible for free school meals more likely to have drug problems, survey suggests

Nine per cent of this group said they were experiencing or had experienced alcohol or drug dependency in a survey commissioned by Just like Us, a charity which supports LGBT+ young people | Independent, UK

Nearly 200,000 Britons are using £20 'cannabis cards' that are available without a prescription and allow them to avoid arrest if they are using the drug to treat medical conditions, organisers say

Around three and a half million people with health conditions are eligible for the Cancard under the private scheme, which was introduced in November last year | Mail Online, UK

Introducing our National Lived Experience Group (NLEG)

We are delighted to announce that from 2021 the National Service User Committee will now be called the National Lived Experience Group (NLEG) | Change Grow Live, UK

Drugs and Development Policies: a discussion with the Global Commission on Drug Policy

Monday 29 March 2021 1:00pm to 2:30pm. In the last decade, the negative consequences of the international drug control regime based on repression and coercion have increasingly become visible barriers to sustainable development. Despite important reforms and paradigm changes in certain countries and regions, drug policies still pose serious challenges to the international development objectives | LSE, UK

Lessons Learned from REC-PATH Programme of Work

Thu, March 25, 2021, 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM GMT. A 3-hour online summit to celebrate and explore the latest findings of the REC-PATH Research Team | University of Derby, UK

Women in Psychedelic Science - Part 3

Wed, 24 March 2021, 16:00 – 18:00 GMT. Part 3 of the Drug Science symposium to showcase the inspiring work of women in psychedelics | Drug Science, UK

Five arrests in operation against SE Antrim UDA

The operation, led by the Paramilitary Crime Task Force, involved more than 80 officers and six warrants | BBC, UK

YouTube drug-taking, sweary rap ad banned in UK

An advert for a single by rapper Bamby H2O which featured illegal drug use was "irresponsible" and must not appear again, the Advertising Standards Authority has said | BBC, UK


International news

Bobby Brown Jr died of accidental drug overdose, says coroner

Bobby Brown Jr, the son of singer Bobby Brown, died from the combined effects of alcohol, cocaine and the opioid fentanyl, according to an autopsy report released on Monday (22 March) | Independent, UK

Drug gangs 'take over' up to 20 houses in Ballymun

Drug gangs have “taken over” up to 20 houses in a north Dublin suburb, according to new research | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Sharp rise in purity of cocaine street deals

The first official data on drug purity in years shows that the average cocaine content of street deals now stands at almost 47%, compared to 35% a few years ago | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Binge drinking in adolescence is linked to changes in the cerebellum in young adulthood

Binge drinking in adolescence is associated with changes in the volume of the cerebellum in young adulthood, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital shows | UEF, Finland

Oregon Legislature Approves $20 Million in Immediate Funding for Health & Harm Reduction Services Outlined in Measure 110

In a dramatic recognition of the urgency of providing treatment, health and harm reduction services in conjunction with the all-drug decriminalization provisions outlined in Measure 110 that went into effect February 1, the Oregon Joint Ways & Means Committee voted Friday to provide $20 million in up-front funding | DPA, USA

Initiating methadone in jail: Is it cost effective?

Medications for opioid use disorder (e.g., methadone, Suboxone) may be particularly useful in jails and prisons because of their ability to reduce overdose risk after release. However, few studies have looked at the cost-effectiveness of such services, meaning that the benefits and use of services are worth the financial resources needed to provide them | Recovery Research Institute, USA

Implementing financial incentives and penalties to clinics based on patient retention benchmarks demonstrates little benefit to substance use disorder patients in Maine

Many patients with substance use disorder do not remain in treatment for the recommended duration, prompting efforts to implement systems-level interventions to incentive or penalize clinics on the basis of reaching patient retention and engagement benchmarks. This study evaluated the impact of one such state-wide incentive-based contracting intervention in the state of Maine on patient retention and engagement | Recovery Research Institute, USA

Read “The Young Injectables,” a Harm Reduction Comic Book

Acouple of months ago, I was cleaning off a table in what used to be the drop-in center—before the pandemic—at the syringe service program where I work. I still don’t know who left it there, so I never got the chance to thank them, but on the end behind some canned goods and a pile of naloxone that was technically expired but still good was a stapled, black-and-white printout called The Young Injectables | Filter Magazine, USA

Free street drug testing site opens in Victoria storefront

Strip tests for fentanyl and benzodiazepines can yield results in minutes | CBC News, Canada

Overdose prevention app coming to Alberta to support those struggling with addiction

Starting this summer, the province will begin testing a new app in Calgary, designed to help prevent overdose deaths for those using opioids at home | CTV News, Canada

China to strengthen supervision on e-cigarettes, new tobacco products; share of e-vapor company hit

Chinese regulations on tobacco management are to be revised in order to strengthen supervision and administration of e-cigarettes and other new tobacco products. Shares of e-cigarette and e-vapor companies hit after the official statement was released on Monday | Global Times, China

Australia gathers data about testing drugs at music festivals

According to a new research study carried out by researchers at Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Australia, pill-testing services at Western Australian (WA) music festivals do not increase the likelihood of festival-goers taking drugs | DATAC, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

What does Demi Lovato have in common with others affected by drug use?

Look beyond the celebrity and the singer’s traumatic childhood is very similar to many of the people I support | We Are With You, UK

Scottish parliamentarians highlight the need to tackle hepatitis C at drug deaths debate

Last week, the Scottish Parliament held a debate on deaths and harms related to drug use. The Holyrood debate was led by Minister for Drugs Policy Angela Constance, who emphasised the importance of hearing from people with lived experience when tackling drug-related harms | Hepatitis C Trust blog, UK

Learning from the most challenging year of my working life

I constantly ask myself what I have learnt from the COVID crisis. This blog outlines my reflections as a CEO on how I have helped Humankind manage the ‘unprecedented’ context brought about by a global pandemic | Paul Townsley, UK

David Jones: Vaping – a quick win for Brexit

The Department of Health and Social Care is currently reviewing the regulations that imposed the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive into UK law and is, we are told, producing a new Tobacco Control Plan this summer | Conservative Home, UK

Bold Steps Needed to Correct Course in US Drug Policies

The accelerating trajectory of the overdose crisis is an indictment of the legal and policy interventions deployed to address it. Indeed, at the same time as the U.S. has pursued some of the most draconian drug policies in the world, it has experienced one of the worst drug crises in its history | Harvard Law, USA

To Address Youth E-Cigarette Use, We Must Rely on Data

In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and then-Surgeon General Jerome Adams declared a so-called youth vaping epidemic. Lawmakers across the country, from city council members, to state leaders, to Congress, have been attempting to reduce youth use of e-cigarettes and vaping products ever since | Inside Sources, USA

Opinion: 'Safe supply' hasn’t failed in British Columbia, because it doesn’t really exist

Despite announcements from the government and opposition from critics that it is not a sufficient measure to combat the opioids crisis, “safe supply” drug policy hasn’t actually been implemented in British Columbia | Vancouver is Awesome, Canada

Drug and Alcohol Connections newsletter

A joint publication of the collaborative network of alcohol and other drug research centres with their latest research and policy news | NDARC et al, Australia

We're being left behind on drug laws

The new Biden-Harris Administration in the United States has made racial equality a top priority, and within that the delivery of criminal justice reform. Their Office of National Drug Control Policy has now made an unprecedented statement about its new priorities, which, at its heart, represents the end of the failed repressive approach to drugs in favour of a health-based approach | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand