Daily news - 15th October 2021

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UK news

University of Stirling experts explore framing of alcohol harm

Experts at the University of Stirling are leading a new research project aiming to create a better informed, more balanced and compassionate national conversation around alcohol harm | University of Stirling, UK

Lung cancer patient who had declined conventional cancer treatment: could the self-administration of ‘CBD oil’ be contributing to the observed tumour regression?

This case appears to demonstrate a possible benefit of ‘CBD oil’ intake that may have resulted in the observed tumour regression. The use of cannabinoids as a potential cancer treatment justifies further research | BMJ, UK [See also Expert reaction in blogs section below].

Effects of brief substance use interventions delivered in general medical settings: a systematic review and meta-analysis

[Open access] When delivered in general medical settings, alcohol-targeted brief interventions may produce small beneficial reductions in drinking (equivalent to a reduction in 1 drinking day per month). There is limited evidence regarding the effects of drug-targeted brief interventions on drug use | Addiction, UK

Schools asked to support survey on Smoking Drinking and Drug Use among young people in England

NHS Digital is calling on selected secondary schools across England to take part in a statistical survey that will measure the use of alcohol, nicotine and drugs in young people. Please lend your support to the research by encouraging schools in your area to participate. Schools can find out more by vising the Ipsos MORI website or by contacting Jamie Roberts on 080 8101 2066 or via email SDDsurvey@ipsos.com | NHS Digital, UK

Charities question ’inaccessible’ NHS services

The head of an addiction support organisation has said the people they work with are still struggling to access NHS services, claiming that the “covid card” is being used as an excuse for “complete inaccessibility”. | Health and Care.Scot, UK

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome: Health Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much the Government has spent on public health messaging for foetal alcohol spectrum disorder in each of the last five years | They work for you, UK

The increase in alcohol-related deaths: how can we respond? - video

This joint webinar between Addiction Professionals and DDN looks at the statistics behind the worrying increase in alcohol-related deaths and will consider the causes, and what we can do to prevent further increases | Addiction Professionals, UK

Episode 6 - Positive Communication With Loved One Who Uses Substances

In this episode, we are joined with George Charlton from George Charlton Training & Consultancy Services. We’re here to talk about positive communication, a module in the programme CRAFT. CRAFT is Community Reinforcement and Family Training and is an evidence-based programme for practitioners to use with family members and carers affected by someone else’s substance use | SFAD, UK

Implementing MAT - Living experience perspectives webinar - video

This webinar gave the first insight into SDF research on the current living experience of people in medication assisted treatment (MAT) in a range of health board areas - Ayrshire and Arran, Grampian, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Lothian and Tayside and in HMP Perth | SDF, UK

NI drug and alcohol group issue warning to young people on impact of 'harmful' caffeinated alcoholic drinks

One partygoer admitted the drinks "taste great and the flavours are lovely but I always feel very anxious the next day | Belfast Live, UK

How does the alcohol industry present cardiovascular health information?

Thu, 21 October 2021, 14:00 – 15:00 BST. Mark Petticrew will present his findings on how alcohol industry-funded websites frame alcohol and cardiovascular disease risk | IAS, UK

Alcohol and the Environment - Sustainability Series - Seminar 2

Wed, 3 November 2021, 14:00 – 15:30 GMT. The second seminar in our sustainability series will explore the impact the production, packaging and distribution of alcohol has on both the local and global environment | IAS, UK

The Arms Race Fuelling the West Midlands' Gang Wars

"A tidal wave of violence is a very real possibility," said the region's former Police and Crime Commissioner | VICE, UK

Blackwood: Handcuffed man died from drugs, report finds

A man who died after being handcuffed by police on a high street collapsed after taking drugs, a police watchdog has said | BBC, UK


International news

Ahead of major global meeting on tackling smoking, experts set to challenge WHO position on safer nicotine

Today the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR), a Knowledge·Acton·Change (K·A·C) project, launches a new series of Briefing Papers ahead of the publication of its latest report, Fighting The Last War: The WHO and International Tobacco Control on 27 October | GSTHR, UK

The UK and tobacco: successful elements of a harm reduction strategy and the chance to influence the international response to smoking

Globally 1.1 billion people continue to smoke, 80 per cent of whom live in low and middle income countries. There are 8 million smoking-related deaths worldwide each year. While millions are spent on tobacco control efforts, the number of smokers is the same as it was twenty years ago. Prevalence rates have declined in some countries, but populations have increased | GSTHR, UK

The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Conference of the Parties (COP): an explainer

From 8 to 13 November 2021, government delegations from around the world will meet virtually to discuss tobacco and nicotine policy at the Ninth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). This GSTHR Briefing will explore what the FCTC is, what COP meetings are and how they operate | GSTHR, UK

‘Sophisticated’: ancient faeces shows humans enjoyed beer and blue cheese 2,700 years ago

Austrian Alps salt miners had a ‘balanced diet’, with an analysis of bronze and iron age excrement finding the earliest evidence of cheese ripening in Europe | Guardian, UK

British football coach ‘tortured’ in brutal Dubai prison after 25-year sentence for CBD oil

CBD oil – which is not psychoactive – is legal in Britain but not in UAE | Independent, UK

MDMA being sold in Melbourne found to contain ‘Dr Death’ drug

Victorian health authorities warn the dangerous stimulant PMMA has been found disguised in MDMA as yellow crystals | Guardian, UK

7,000km, 11 men, one boat - how cocaine reaches Europe

Though the vessel was travelling a familiar route across the Atlantic from South America to Europe, its 11-man crew never intended to reach port with its two-and-a-half tonnes of precious cargo. The shipments were instead set to be dispatched by zip-line to smaller boats, which would have travelled to meet the larger vessel on the open sea, away from prying eyes | RTe, Ireland

Film Screening of 'Peel' and Director interview

Thu, 21 October 2021, 16:00 – 17:00 IST. Film screening of 'Peel' a short film from Annika Cassidy exploring the impact of parental problem alcohol use within children's lives | Alcohol Action Ireland, Ireland

IPA7 Reitox Academy on report writing

The IPA7 team, working together with the Reitox Austrian national focal point, is organising a training course on writing drug-related reports to support the partners in developing and/or strengthening the existing National Drug Observatories (NDO) and assisting national experts on core health and security indicators. | EMCDDA, Portugal

Provisional County-Level Drug Overdose Death Counts

The provisional data presented on the dashboard below include reported 12 month-ending provisional counts of death due to drug overdose by the decedent’s county of residence and the month in which death occurred | CDC, USA

CDC Reports Record High 12-Month Drug Overdose Death Toll

A record high 96,779 drug overdose deaths occurred between March 2020 and March 2021, representing a 29.6% rise, new statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics found | Healthday, USA

Study could pave way for creating safer opioids

Researchers may have uncovered new answers on how to create safer opioids. Design a new opioid to bypass the part of brain that feels pleasure, but retain the analgesic properties, which make opioids one of the most effective pain relievers | Medical Xpress, USA

Addiction Clinicians Can Help with the Vaccination Effort by Nora D. Volkow

For their own distinct set of reasons, some people with substance use disorders may also resist becoming vaccinated, despite evidence showing that SUDs put them at higher risk of contracting and experiencing worse outcomes from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Previous experiences of being shamed or discriminated against in healthcare settings may make some people with SUDs wary of a voluntary clinic visit | ASAM, USA

FDA’s First-Ever Vaping Product Authorization Brings Mixed Feelings

On October 12, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the first-ever vaping product to legally be sold in the United States | Filter Magazine, USA

African Americans bear the brunt of negative health outcomes of menthol cigarettes

African Americans represent 12% of the U.S. population, but carried 41% of all menthol-smoking-related premature deaths in the United States between 1980 and 2018, according to a new study researchers believe is the first to quantify the impact menthol cigarettes have had in Black communities across the country | Medical Xpress, USA

Snapchat is Launching New Tools to Crack Down on Illicit Drug Sales on Its Platform

Snapchat is rolling out new tools and educational resources to prevent younger users from buying counterfeit pills and illicit drugs via the platform. The company said on Thursday that the goal of the new tools is to keep its users safe from “the devastating impacts of the fentanyl crisis.” | Tech Crunch, USA

New inhalation overdose prevention site announced for Victoria

A new inhalation overdose prevention service in Victoria is set to open in November on a temporary basis to help address the ongoing drug toxicity crisis | CBC News, Canada

'Dr Death' drug found in Melbourne MDMA

Para-Methoxymethamphetamine, also known as PMMA or 'Dr Death', is a stimulant with mild hallucinogenic properties and has been found disguised in MDMA as crushed yellow crystals | Canberra Times, Australia

Family and Friend Support Program

A set of free online programs and access to trusted and reliable information to assist, families, friends and health professionals supporting loved ones or themselves | FFSP, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Expert reaction to case report of woman with lung cancer who used cannabidiol oil

A case report published in BMJ Case Reports follows a patient who declined conventional treatment and took ‘CBD oil’ as an alternative self-treatment for her lung cancer | Science Media Centre, UK

Changing Lives and Saving Lives: The impact of treatment services and recovery communities

In the September edition of the academic journal Drug and Alcohol Review, Roscoe and colleagues (2021) have published a paper which examines the reductions in UK Government funding to specialist addiction services. The paper is fascinating as it shows a clear relationship between the levels of funding for treatment between 2013 and 2019 (a 27% reduction) and reducing numbers starting (11%) and completing (21%) treatment | Recovery Pathways, UK

Higher alcohol taxes could save thousands of lives lost due to cancer in WHO European Region

Alcohol use accounts for about one in 25 cancers in the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region. To reduce the health burden of alcohol, various policy options have been proposed. Among others, increasing taxes on alcoholic beverages seem to be a promising tool to reduce alcohol consumption and its adverse health outcomes, including cancers | IAS blog, UK

PA Cannabis Legalization Will Have Dire Consequences

Last week, Republican state Sen. Mike Regan changed his mind on marijuana legalization and joined Democratic state Rep. Amen Brown to announce a new bill to commercialize pot in Pennsylvania. Regan would do well to listen to his former colleagues in law enforcement who see through the marijuana industry’s false promises | Real Clear Politics, USA

SHAD Interview— “Theorizing Alcoholic Drinks in Ancient India: The Complex Case of Maireya” with James McHugh

An alcoholic drink called maireya is prominent in ancient texts from South Asia and features prominently in Buddhist law on alcohol. The article considers what we can say about the chronology, the nature, and the cultural significance of maireya | Points blog, USA

3 years after legalization, we have shockingly little information about how it changed cannabis use and health harms

Unfortunately, the slow roll-out of Canada’s cannabis retail market combined with the glacial speed of academic research means everything you and the government will be hearing about the health effects of legalization is based on outdated and often irrelevant data | Conversation, Canada

Sydney’s social set ought to heed magistrate’s cocaine warning

Of all the potions, designer brands and products the beautiful, 36-year-old businesswoman and beautician Kristin Fisher is paid to promote on her highly curated social media feeds, it is her latest role as the face of privileged Sydney’s rampant illicit cocaine culture that has left an indelible stain | SMH opinion, Australia