Daily news - 25th March 2021

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UK news

“Hot” and “Cold” Cognition in Users of Club Drugs/Novel Psychoactive Substances

Novel psychoactive substances (NPS) are popular “club/party” drugs that first attracted attention in the UK in 2009 and remained legal until the 2016 Psychoactive Substances Act criminalized their distribution. Unlike “traditional” illicit drugs, very little is known about the influence of their analogs on neuropsychological functioning | Frontiers in Psychiatry, UK

Drug‐related deaths associated with vaping product use in the United Kingdom

[Open access] We retrospectively identified any deaths associated with the use of vaping products reported to the UK National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths (NPSAD). This contains voluntarily reported information from UK Coroners on over 42,000 deaths related to psychoactive drugs, other than nicotine or caffeine, which occurred between 1997 and 2020 | Addiction, UK

Potential effects of minimum unit pricing at local authority level on alcohol-attributed harms in North West and North East England: a modelling study

Alcoholic drinks have different strengths. One unit contains 10ml (two teaspoons) of pure ethanol. A minimum unit price of 50p per unit of alcohol was implemented in Scotland in May 2018. It is now illegal to sell a typical beer of 2 units for <£1. A 9-unit bottle of wine must cost at least £4.50. English local authorities want to know the impact of a minimum unit price for alcohol at local authority level | NIHR, UK

Former minister urges PM to allow sick children to access free medical cannabis

Conservative Sir Mike Penning called on Boris Johnson ‘as a father’ to step in and help families in need | Evening Standard, UK

Several children rushed to hospital after eating sweets laced with cannabis

Several schoolchildren have fallen ‘very ill’ or have been hospitalised after eating gummy sweets laced with cannabis, the Met Police has warned | Metro, UK

Somerset council scraps rules restricting use of alcohol and legal highs in town centres

Legislation designed to curb the use of alcohol and legal highs in several Somerset town centres has been scrapped | Somerset Live, UK

New Young People’s Drug & Alcohol Service for North Yorkshire

The service, commissioned by North Yorkshire County Council and delivered by national charity Humankind, is aimed at reaching young people aged 18 and under (and 19 – 24 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) who need support around drugs and alcohol | Humankind, UK

Careers in Drug Science

Wed, 28 April 2021, 17:00 – 19:00 BST. Careers in Drug Science provides a unique insight into career opportunities in cannabis, psychedelics, and addiction treatment | Drug Science, UK

Tomas Suvalskas jailed for 'al fresco drug dealing' in Belfast

Judge Neil Rafferty QC said Suvalskas was "effectively caught red-handed" by police officers. He said they had observed "three examples of al fresco street dealing." | BBC, UK

Murdoch Brown stabbing: Drug gang member given life sentence

A member of a drugs gang has been given a life sentence for murdering a father of two | BBC, UK


International news

The Dangerous use of Inhalants among Teens: a Case Report

The recreational use of inhalants among teenagers and other vulnerable individuals is a growing cause of concern for clinicians. Products, such as computer dusters and spray cleaners containing highly toxic compounds, such as difluoroethane, are being used to obtain immediate euphorizing effects with significant health risks | Science Direct, UK

French navy seizes 6 tons of cocaine off African coast

The French military says it seized 6 tons of cocaine with an estimated value of up to 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) from a cargo ship traveling off the west coast of Africa | Mail Online, UK

New York lawmakers reach deal to legalize recreational marijuana after Cuomo dubs it his 'top priority' under tax plans expected to bring in more than $350M annually

New York state lawmakers have reached an agreement to legalize recreational marijuana for adults after Governor Andrew Cuomo labeled it his 'top priority' this year as part of a plan to increase tax revenue | Mail Online, UK

White House defends firing five staffers over cannabis use

Jen Psaki said checks had revealed ‘security issues’ for some of those employees who lost jobs | Independent, UK

The US has been silent on Honduras's drug problem, but that might be about to change

Analysis: The Biden administration is expected to take a cooler approach to President Hernández than Donald Trump did | Guardian, UK

What Do EU Politicians Really Think About e-cigarettes and Other New Nicotine Products?

How much politicians know about e-cigarettes and other novel tobacco products has a major effect on their perceptions of safety and risk, new research suggests | Business Wire, Spain

Morocco to legalise cannabis for medical and industrial use

In order to take advantage of a growing legal market and to improve farmers’ incomes, the Moroccan government wants to legalise cannabis for medical and industrial use as well as regulate its production | The Africa Report, France

Family ties protect against opioid misuse among U.S. young adults

As opioid use disorders and overdoses continue to skyrocket in the United States, a study by researchers from Syracuse University and Pennsylvania State University shows that unmarried young adults who do not have children are mostly likely to misuse opioids | Medical Xpress, USA

Democrats urge FDA to clear market of all flavored e-cigarettes

Dozens of Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to the head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the agency to take all flavored e-cigarettes off the market | The Hill, USA

Map of Marijuana legality by state

Marijuana laws are changing at a rapid pace across all 50 states, making things a bit confusing at times. In order to keep up with the ever-changing laws, DISA has provided this interactive map for information on legalization, medical use, recreational use, and anything in between | DISA, USA

New Jersey Police Protest Long-Awaited Marijuana Reforms

On a Jersey Shore boardwalk on March 20, the Ocean County Police Chiefs Association stood together in front of a truck, nearly blocking lettering on the side that read: “Don’t Let Trenton Handcuff Your Police.” | Filter Magazine, USA

Universities launch opioid litigation archive to ‘ensure history doesn’t repeat itself’

After two decades in which opioid overdoses claimed more than 400,000 lives in the U.S., two universities have launched an online archive to store documents generated by the many lawsuits filed against drug companies for their role in creating the unprecedented societal crisis | STAT News, USA

Vermont’s Dilemmas in Bid to Ban Both Flavored Vapes and Menthol Cigarettes

At a digital meeting of Vermont’s Senate Health and Welfare Committee, Tina Zuk, the government relations director at American Heart Association in the state, seemed to have the kind of brief technical problem typical of the COVID era | Filter Magazine, USA

'Critical risk to public safety': Latest overdose death count shows worst February on record for B.C.

The province's coroner released the data Wednesday, revealing 155 people died in February from suspected drug toxicity. That averages to 5.5 lives lost each day and marks the second month in a row with an average number of daily deaths above five, the coroner says | CTV News, Canada

Victorian Drug Trends 2020: Key Findings from the Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) Interviews

The Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) is a national illicit drug monitoring system intended to identify emerging trends of local and national concern in illicit drug markets, and forms part of Drug Trends | NDARC, Australia

25 years on, drug consumption room in Canberra recommended by feasibility study

25 years after a similar trial was opposed by the Howard government, a feasibility study has recommended a small drug consumption room with an initial focus on injectable drugs, servicing around 1000 Canberrans | The Riot Act, Australia

Angry parents say injecting room is ‘not fair on our kids’

Parents call for safe injecting centre to be moved away from Richmond west primary school | The Age, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

How does alcohol marketing impact recovery?

Alcohol marketing has been proven to have a significant influence on drinking habits in the UK. The World Health Organization has concluded that bans and restrictions on alcohol marketing are some of the best and most affordable policies to reduce alcohol-related harm | AHA blog, UK

Drugs policy: fifty years of failure

I represent a former coalfield constituency. All too often I have seen people turn to drugs due to circumstances borne out of deprivation and despair | Grahame Morris MP, UK

Psychedelic drugs: how the brains of informed users are different

There is a new generation of drug users out there who possess highly detailed pharmacological and technical knowledge about the drugs they take. “Psychonauts” (meaning “navigator of the soul”) are enthusiastic and deliberate experimenters of hallucinogens, including psychedelic drugs, both synthetic and natural, for self-exploration, spiritual attainment or inducing an altered state of consciousness | Conversation, UK

Too much social media can be harmful, but it’s not addictive like drugs

If you spend hours of the day on your phone checking social media, you’re not unusual. The average internet user spends two hours a day on various social media sites. But does your habit of checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok every few hours make you a social media “addict”? | Conversation, UK

We tested claims that limiting alcohol advertising in South Africa would violate rights

The lockdown restrictions introduced in South Africa to curb the initial spread of COVID-19 in March 2020 were the tightest in the world. They included a ban on alcohol sales. This, the government said, was to reduce the pressure on hospitals caused by drinking-related trauma, and to discourage social gatherings | Conversation, UK

Cannabis legalisation in Mexico:an explainer

Next month Mexico is set to become only the third country to legalise cannabis for adult non-medical use. How did it get there, and what challenges remain? We spoke to our colleagues at MUCD to find out | Transform blog, UK

We need answers to the drugs debate, but we shouldn’t look to charismatic outliers to find them

What a new book, written by a neuroscientist and heroin user, gets wrong about drug decriminalisation | New Statesman, UK

The Marijuana Experiment

It is difficult—and perhaps impossible—to judge whether or not marijuana use is good or bad | Points blog, USA