Daily news - 22nd November 2021

Weekly subscribe button

UK news

Why are Sturgeon and Ross visiting a drugs project?

The visit was arranged after the pair had an exchange about Scotland's drug death rate at First Minister's Questions at Holyrood | BBC, UK

Douglas Ross: Scottish Tories won’t oppose drug consumption rooms pilot

The Scottish Conservative leader indicated the UK Government should not block proposals for a pilot scheme | STV, UK

Wales’ launches first national action plan to support and treat alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD)

A first of its kind national framework for prevention, diagnosis, treatment and support for alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD) has today been published by the Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle | Wales.gov, UK

Calls for support for UK midwives struggling with substance abuse

Royal College of Midwives says its members should receive same support as doctors | Guardian, UK

Minimum Unit Price for Alcohol

To ask the First Minister what consideration the Scottish Government has given to increasing the minimum unit price for alcohol | They work for you, UK

Smoking Reduction

To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to emphasise the harmful effects of tobacco as part of its aim to reduce smoking and protect public health | They work for you, UK

Class A drugs including MDMA, LSD and magic mushrooms being openly sold on TikTok

A simple search of the platform revealed 15 accounts on TikTok – the majority claiming to be based in the UK – selling liquid LSD, lean, DMT, magic mushrooms, cannabis, cannabis edibles, Xanax, prescription anti-depressants and LSD tabs | i news, UK

Tory MP Crispin Blunt launches Westminster pressure group for cannabis despite growing lobbying concerns

A senior Tory MP has launched a Westminster pressure group for medicinal cannabis despite growing concerns over parliamentary lobbying | Mail Online, UK

'It's absolutely rife': Drug linked to hundreds of deaths is being sold to Manchester's homeless for just 50p a pill

Pregabalin, normally used to treat nerve damage, epilepsy and anxiety, is being widely used among the city centre's rough sleepers and drug addicts because Spice and heroin are 'not as strong as they used to be' | Manchester Evening News, UK

Brighton records highest number of meth addiction referrals

Data obtained by the BBC's Politics South East found that 38 people in the city were referred for treatment in 2019/20, up from 26 in 2016/17 and the most recorded anywhere in England | Brighton and Hove Argus, UK

Public Health Research

Open access journal. Public Health Research (PHR) publishes research on the benefits, costs, acceptability and wider impacts of non-NHS interventions intended to improve the health of the public and reduce inequalities in health | NIHR, UK

ASH Webinar on raising the age of sale for tobacco to 21 - video

ASH hosted a webinar to explore the implications of raising the age of sale for tobacco from 18 to 21. The purpose of this webinar is to inform key stakeholders in public health and tobacco control about the evidence and to address questions regarding enforcement | ASH, UK

What is Behavioural Couples’ Therapy? The SSA talks to Grace Heaphy

Behavioural couples’ therapy is one of two interventions (along with contingency management) highlighted as having ‘particularly strong evidence’ for effectiveness among people being treated for substance use problems. And yet, along with contingency management, it has not become a mainstay of treatment services. The SSA’s Rob Calder talked to Dr Grace Heaphy about what it is, how it works and how it’s been delivered during lock-down | SSA, UK

A quarter of charities lost at least 40 per cent of their income last year, researchers find

The paper, from David Clifford and John Mohan of the Third Sector Research Centre at the University of Birmingham and Alasdair Rutherford of the University of Stirling, is based on data from 50,000 charities that have filed returns with the Charity Commission for financial years ending after March 2020 | Third Sector, UK

County lines: Man who used children in drugs operation jailed

Leicestershire Police said Abdul Uwimana Rahman, 22, was involved in county lines drugs activity, where drugs are moved from bigger cities to smaller towns | BBC, UK

Deemster jails Douglas cocaine dealer 'to send a message'

A Douglas woman who sold cocaine to her friends has been jailed for three years and seven months to "send a message" that drug dealing will not be tolerated, a deemster has said | BBC, UK


International news

Scientists are using AI to predict which drugs will come to market

[DrugWise's Harry Shapiro quoted] There are 8.9 million different chemical designs that could be synthesised to make new legal highs – the lead researcher on a University of British Columbia project explains what this means for the future of clandestine chemistry | DAZED, UK

‘It’s devastating’: how fentanyl is unfolding as one of America’s greatest tragedies

More than 100,000 people died from overdoses in a single year – driven primarily by one drug | Guardian, UK

Germany could legalise cannabis in new revenue boosting drug policy move

The move could boost Germany’s economy by €3 billion a year by 2025, research shows | Independent, UK

Skunky smell from cannabis comes from newly discovered class of volatile sulfur compounds similar to substances that cause the odor in garlic, new study finds

A team at Tustin, California-based cannabis research firm Abstrax have isolated an entirely new family of compounds naturally present in marujuanna | Mail Online, UK

Vaping advertisers and importers hit with $170,000 in fines by TGA

Australian drug regulator cracks down on trade under new laws banning nicotine vaping without doctor’s prescription | Guardian, UK

Police charge Amazon India executives in drug smuggling case

Senior executives at Amazon's business in India have been charged after two men allegedly used the website as part of a marijuana smuggling operation | BBC, UK

Video: Presentation on the campaign for a Supervised Injecting Facility in Dublin, Ireland

Watch this video presentation, recorded by Eugene McCann, about policy mobilities and the campaign for a Supervised Injecting Facility in Dublin, Ireland | Ana Liffey, Ireland

UNODC Synthetic Drug Strategy 2021-2025

Synthetic drug manufacture can occur anywhere depending on human creativity and the availability of a few strategic chemicals. The dynamic nature of synthetic drug markets necessitates nimble and adaptable solutions. The UNODC Synthetic Drug Strategy presents a framework for action to address this global problem | UNODC, USA

SAMHSA Extends the Methadone Take-Home Flexibility for One Year While Working Toward a Permanent Solution

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is extending the methadone take-home flexibilities for one year, effective upon the eventual expiration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency | SAMHSA, USA

E-cigarette use may be detrimental to bone health in adults

A novel study published in the American Journal of Medicine Open found that electronic cigarette use was associated with a higher risk of fragility fractures in American adults, from young to old | EurekAlert, USA

Study: Ridesharing may help reduce alcohol-impaired crashes

More rideshare trips mean fewer alcohol-involved accidents, according to a new study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. The finding adds to a growing body of work suggesting that ridesharing may take the place of drunk driving | Medical Xpress, USA

In Hard Times, Afghan Farmers Are Turning to Opium for Security

[Free registration required] The war’s intense conclusion and a drought combined to wipe out the famous Afghan pomegranate harvest in Kandahar Province, during a devastating national economic crisis | NYTimes, USA

Veterans Have Become Unlikely Lobbyists in Push to Legalize Psychedelic Drugs

Lawmakers find it hard to “just say no” to combat veterans seeking support for drug decriminalization efforts gaining traction around the country | NYTimes, USA

Philly’s Addiction-Treatment Smoking Ban Ends, Leaving Bitter Taste

The horribly misguided smoking and vaping ban in Philadelphia’s city-funded drug treatment programs, including outdoor spaces, has finally been lifted | Filter Magazine, USA

Canadian soldier sentenced to jail in first-of-its-kind cannabis cupcake case

A Canadian soldier will spend up to 30 days in jail for drugging her comrades with cannabis-laced cupcakes during a live-fire training exercise in 2018 | CTV News, Canada

New study reveals how athletes use cannabis

If you frequent online communities for active adults and athletes, you may have seen people discuss using cannabis or CBD products as part of their exercise routine. Now, we have some research that explores why and how people like it | Pondering Pot, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Alcohol Awareness Week: A spotlight on our problematic relationship with alcohol

The 15th – 21st November is Alcohol Awareness Week (AAW) in the UK, and this year’s theme is Relationships. 20 people die every day in the UK as a result of their drinking, and the harms and costs that this burdens our society with are hugely underappreciated in the UK | Volteface, UK

‘Am I an alcoholic?’: the blurred line between a daily drink and a drinking problem

There is help available for those worried about their alcohol use, but detox isn’t the end of the story | Guardian, UK

Heterogeneous State Cannabis Policies: Potential Implications for Patients and Health Care Professionals

As of November 2021, cannabis has become legalized for medical purposes in 36 states and the District of Columbia. Eighteen states also authorize nonmedical use of cannabis by adults. The rapid expansion of access to cannabis has coincided with increased use across a number of demographic groups | JAMA Network, USA

Indica and sativa labels are largely meaningless when it comes to cannabis complexities

Indica and sativa are commonly used to describe cannabis strains, but what’s the difference between these two labels? | Conversation, Canada