Daily news - 24th November 2021

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UK news

Drug-related hospital statistics

This release by Public Health Scotland presents information on hospital activity relating to illicit drug use in Scotland in the period from 1996/97 to 2020/21. The topics covered are: the number of hospital stays, the number and characteristics of patients, substances used and geographical variations | Public Health Scotland, UK

Welsh rugby: Call to end 'cosy relationship' with beer

Pitch invaders versus both New Zealand and South Africa; a boy given £20 after having beer spilled on him in the Fiji match; a young fan vomited over while watching Australia. This season's four Wales rugby autumn internationals have made headlines for the wrong reasons as much as they have for the games themselves | BBC, UK

First cannabis licence granted for medicinal products

The first licence for the cultivation of cannabis-based medicinal products has been issued in Guernsey | BBC, UK

Transfer and adaptation of a drug recovery model from San Patrignano, Italy to River Garden, Scotland: a qualitative study

[Open access] Independence from Drugs and Alcohol Scotland (IFDAS) was founded to develop a new model for Scotland, based on social enterprise. Drawing on the San Patrignano programme theory, this prospective study investigates IFDAS stakeholders’ perspectives on which mechanisms should be transferred, and which require adaptation of the delivery mode, for the Scottish context | DEPP, UK

National Specialist Family Service

The proposed new service will be staffed 24/7 and offer specialist support for new parents and their young children, who are mostly babies or toddlers | Phoenix Futures, UK

Our shop windows are telling the stories of recovery in East London

During the first term back, our students have been creating works of art and written pieces around the topic of “community”. The students’ artwork, poems, and written pieces are now on display in the windows of our shops, support centres, and social enterprises all over East London | SCT, UK

Webinar: Lived experience and the substance misuse treatment system

Mon, 13 December 2021, 15:30 – 17:00 GMT. A panel of experts from across the treatment and recovery world will discuss how we can support lived experience to flourish in the system | Collective Voice, UK

Surge in drug seizures at Scottish prisons

There has been an 18-fold increase in stoppages of so-called street Valium in the space of a year, while seizures of psychoactive substances have nearly doubled | BBC, UK

Police Scotland seize record levels of 'street valium' and heroin

More than five million ‘street valium’ tablets and record levels of heroin were seized by police in Scotland last year, according to new figures | Herald, UK

Ashford stabbing: Teen jailed for life for drugs row murder

A teenager has been jailed for life after murdering a man in a row over fake banknotes being used in a drug deal | BBC, UK


International news

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day takes place on 1 December each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day | National Aids trust, UK

Uber makes its first step into the cannabis market

Uber is making its first foray into the marijuana market, as Uber Eats users in Ontario, Canada will soon be able to order cannabis products on the app | BBC, UK

Juul to pay $14.5 million to settle Arizona vaping lawsuit

E-cigarette giant Juul Labs will pay Arizona $14.5 million and vowed not to market to young people in the state to settle a consumer fraud lawsuit | Mail Online, UK

ISSUP International Conference 2021 (Virtual)

8th, 9th & 10th December. This three-day event will focus on deepening the understanding of what is meant by “evidence-based” and will consider how the research on what constitutes an evidence-based approach can be transferred to the domain of practical application | ISSUP, UK

Report finds 'parental addiction' is main reason for most children going into care

Some of the country's most vulnerable children who find the subject of their care before the courts face delays in therapeutic, disability, and mental health services, often exacerbating problems that begin in homes where they have suffered abuse or neglect | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Spotlight on… Performance- and image-enhancing drugs

[Briefing updated 23rd November 2021] Performance- and image-enhancing drugs (PIEDs) are substances used to improve or change a person’s physical appearance, and/or increase their strength and sporting prowess | EMCDDA, Portugal

To Get High or to Get Out? Examining the Link between Addictive Behaviors and Escapism

[Open access] Using an extensive data set, our aim was to investigate whether escapism has a consistent association with different types of addictive behaviors. In this study, we examined (1) the extent to which escapism is related to alcohol consumption, smoking, drug use, and gambling and (2) whether escapism moderates the relation between problem drinking and life satisfaction | Substance Use and Misuse, Finland

CHECK – new magazine about (IL)LEGAL HIGHS

CHECK is a magazine for people who use drugs, experts and advocates working in the EECA region, and those who want to learn more about the drug policy and harm reduction in the region. The first issue is dedicated to exploring the topic of new psychoactive substances, existing responses to the emergence of these substances and thoughts of peers from the EECA region | EHRA, Lithuania

Tobacco taxes reducing consumption rates, says WHO

Taxes and advertising restrictions may have contributed to a decline in the number of people using tobacco of 20 million over five years, but more investment is needed to persuade users to quit, says the WHO | Medical Xpress, USA

Vaping Is Risky. Why Is the F.D.A. Authorizing E-Cigarettes?

The agency has taken a controversial stand on vaping as a way to quit tobacco. This is what the research shows | NYTimes, USA

Elizabeth Warren, CBS, North Carolina Ramp Up Focus on Synthetic Nicotine

Synthetic nicotine has been on the radar of state-level and federal lawmakers in the past, but never with the mainstream traction it’s received in the past few weeks. Despite decreasing youth vaping rates, it has quickly morphed into the next target for policymakers | Filter Magazine, USA

How Key Early Ideas Helped Shape Today’s Harm Reduction Movement

At the Oakland Convention Center in 1996, the first national conference of the Harm Reduction Coalition opened with an enthusiastic call to action by Allan Clear, the group’s new executive director | Filter Magazine, USA

Cops Are Needlessly Scaring People With Fentanyl-Laced Weed Stories

A Connecticut health alert warned about a "lab confirmed" case of weed laced with fentanyl, but there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical | VICE, USA

Tribal community members’ views of substance use disorder relapse

On this particular American Indian reservation, how do diverse community stakeholders view substance use disorder relapse? | BASIS, USA

Study finds psychedelic microdosing improves mental health

An international study led by UBC Okanagan researchers suggests repeated use of small doses of psychedelics such as psilocybin or LSD can be a valuable tool for those struggling with anxiety and depression | Medical Xpress, Canada

Changes to medicinal cannabis prescribing pathways

The changes will improve patient access and reduce the administrative burden on prescribers, according to the TGA | RACGP, Australia

Drug checking to be permanent after law passes third reading

Drug-checking services have been given the all-clear to keep testing the safety of illicit substances at festivals and other locations over summer | RNZ, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Ignoring evidence, looking tough, and the need for harm reduction in UK drug policy

Evidence of high numbers of drug-related deaths in Scotland have contributed to calls for the urgent need to offer more harm reduction-based approaches | IPR blog, UK

Exploring the barriers to engaging with Alcohol Change UK’s behaviour change campaigns

We’re pleased to announce the start of a new research project examining the barriers to particular groups taking part in the Dry January experience, and how these barriers can be overcome | Alcohol Change UK blog, UK

What if an ex-offender doesn’t want to drive a lorry?

Asi Panditharatna is tired of low expectations for former prisoners, drug addicts and the unemployed. He asks Jess Staufenberg why only certain people are thought of as ‘labour’ | FE Week, UK

I have ADHD and was scared of psychedelics. Then I found myself eating magic truffles ...

The safe, repetitive domesticity of lockdown made me face my demons and seek therapy, while also making me hungry for sensation and risk. So I set off for a retreat in Amsterdam | Guardian opinion, UK

The Prescription for Saving Lives

This month, the United States will surpass a once-unimaginable milestone: more than 100,000 people have died of an overdose in the past year, the most ever recorded. In the midst of this crisis, harm reduction programs are preventing even more overdose deaths by making available the easy-to-use antidote naloxone to people who use drugs | Open Society Foundations, USA

The Tragedy of George Schlichten; Or Reconsidering Cannabis Conspiracies

There are a lot of conspiracy theories in the story of cannabis. The long, confusing, complex, and politically charged history of the plant in the United States... | Points blog, USA