Daily news - 21st October 2021

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UK news

Boris Johnson to consider calls to legalise magic mushroom drug psilocybin

Tory MP Crispin Blunt urged the PM to review the law to allow more research into the drug's therapeutic qualities. Mr Blunt said it had "exciting potential" for the treatment of mental health conditions such as depression, trauma and addiction | BBC, UK

Drugs: Black Review

Question asked by Lord Moylan : To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of Dame Carol Black’s Review of drugs part two: prevention, treatment and recovery, published on 8 July | UK Parliament Hansard, UK

London ‘dragging its feet’ with drug reform as Sadiq Khan urged to deliver on election promise

London is “dragging its feet” when it comes to tackling drug deaths, according to experts who have called on Sadiq Khan to move forward with plans to re-examine drug policy | Evening Standard, UK

Keir Starmer would not roll out Scotland's new class A drugs policy to rest of UK

Keir Starmer has said he will not copy the Lord Advocate’s radical policy of offering class A drug users a warning if he becomes Prime Minister. The Labour leader also said he is against changing the 50-year-old drugs laws - a key ask for health campaigners | Daily Record, UK

Student training launched to reduce drug-related harm

Drug, alcohol and mental health charity With You and drug checking and harm reduction organisation The Loop have partnered to create an innovative drug safety and harm reduction training module for students | With You, UK

Here's What We Know About Reports of Women Being 'Spiked With Needles' in UK Clubs

As police forces investigate reports of women being victims of "spiking injections" and the Home Secretary requests an urgent update, what is actually going on? | VICE, UK

CIC Research Group Looking To Overcome The ‘Scandalous’ Impasse On UK Medical Cannabis Prescribing

With the third anniversary approaching of the rescheduling of cannabis as a medicine for some patients in the UK, she explains why the battle to persuade health bosses to make it more readily available on the NHS still hasn’t been won, and the difference the CIC’s Research group plans to make | Business Cann, UK

19-year-old died after taking drug named after Netflix Marvel series

A teenager died after taking triple strength ecstasy pills called the 'Punisher' which were named after a popular Netflix programme, an inquest heard | Get Surrey, UK

Addiction Awareness Week

More than 64 per cent of adults know someone who is ‘struggling with an addiction’, according to a YouGov poll commissioned by The Forward Trust to mark Addiction Awareness Week. Half of the 2,137 respondents, however, said that they still lacked understanding of the condition | DDN, UK

Davinia Taylor: Bryony Gordon's Mad World - podcast

In the 90s there was rarely a week where Davinia Taylor wasn't on the television or in the newspapers, as an actor, presenter and well-known member of the so-called "Primrose Hill set". But behind the seemingly glamorous partying was a person in the grips of addiction | Bryony Gordon, UK

Nile Rodgers Bryony Gordon's Mad World - podcast

Listen as Nile tells Bryony how he grew up surrounded by the illness, describes the euphoria of his first gig playing sober, and shares how Keith Richards was the unlikely inspiration for his sobriety | Bryony Gordon, UK

Addiction Audio: mental imagery and cocaine craving with John Marsden

Rob Calder talks to Professor John Marsden about cocaine cravings from the recent paper: Acute impact of self‐guided mental imagery on craving in cocaine use disorder: a mixed‐methods analysis of a randomized controlled trial | SSA, UK

Beliefs towards contingency management: Carol-Ann Getty talks to the SSA

Dr Carol-Ann Getty talks about her recent publication on the attitudes of people who use drugs towards contingency management. Dr Getty was an SSA funded PhD student and now part funded by the SSA under their transitional grant and part funded by the addictions department at King’s College London | SSA, UK

Scottish Parliament Meeting: Cross Party Group on Drugs and Alcohol

26th October at 5.30pm. Agenda includes: The re-establishment  the Cross-Party Group on Drugs and Alcohol and an update on implementation of the Medication Assisted Treatment Standards (MAT).If you wish to attend please email michaelg@sdf.org.uk. A zoom link for the meeting will be sent out nearer the date | SDF, UK

The Simplicity of Systems Change: An introduction for health leaders

Thu, 18 November 2021, 12:00 – 13:30 GMT. Join us for the first in a series of conversations about transforming health systems, hosted by the School of System Change community | School of System Change, UK

Brewdog's solid gold beer can ad misleading, ASA says

The Scottish brewer offered shoppers the chance to find a gold can hidden in cases sold from its online store | BBC, UK

Nearly 1,500 arrests in county lines drug dealing crackdown

Nearly 1,500 people have been arrested in England and Wales in a week-long operation against so-called county lines drug dealing networks | BBC, UK

Robert Duquemin: Man murdered after drug deal gone wrong

A man has been found guilty of murdering a father-of-five he violently attacked after a drug deal gone wrong | BBC, UK


International news

Fighting the Last War: The WHO and International Tobacco Control

Join the online launch of the latest Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR) report - from 11.00 to 16.00 BST on Wednesday 27 October 2021, live streamed at events.gsthr.org | GSTHR, UK

FSAI Calls for Vigilance to Dangers of Jelly Sweets Containing Cannabis in Run up to Halloween

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) is today urging the public, especially parents and guardians to be extremely vigilant to the dangers of inadvertent consumption, particularly by children, of cannabis edibles, products such as jelly sweets containing the psychoactive cannabis component known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) | FSAI, Ireland

Harm Reduction Key Principles in Homeless Services

The Key Principles aim to contribute to improving and transforming the services that shape access to and the quality of care that people experiencing homelessness who use drugs or alcohol receive. Further, they aim to support these services to respond to conditions that negatively influence marginalised and underserved communities’ social and health outcomes | CEHRN, The Netherlands

Non-medical use of medicines: health and social responses

This miniguide on non-medical use of medicines provides an overview of the most important aspects to consider when planning or delivering health and social responses to problems related to the non-medical use of medicines, and reviews the availability and effectiveness of the responses. It also considers implications for policy and practice | EMCDDA, Portugal

Switzerland to legalise recreational and medical cannabis usage

The production, cultivation, trade and consumption of cannabis will no longer be banned in Switzerland after a commission investigating the drug said the laws should be changed, Swiss news outlet Blick reported on Tuesday | The Local, Switzerland

After Cannabis, Maltese People Want To Legalise Mushrooms Next

Beyond cannabis, there’s one natural drug that people in Malta want to see legalised and regulated: mushrooms | Lovin Malta, Malta

Overdose deaths involving cocaine or meth have tripled in shadow of opioid crisis

Even as the opioid epidemic dominated national attention over the past decade, the rate of overdose deaths involving cocaine, methamphetamine and other stimulants tripled, a new study on veterans suggests | Medical Xpress, USA

Lessons about treating opioid use disorder in remote areas

The most sparsely populated regions of the American West often are unable to provide local treatment for opioid use disorder. Long driving distances can be a barrier for people who need treatment, so the issue has ramifications for the health and wellness of many residents across the most rural areas of the country | Medical Xpress, USA

Evaluation of Prosecutorial Policy Reforms Eliminating Criminal Penalties for Drug Possession and Sex Work in Baltimore, Maryland (PDF)

This report presents findings from an evaluation of criminal legal policy reforms impacting vulnerable populations in Baltimore City. At the request of State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s Office, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined the potential impacts of the decision to cease prosecutions of drug and paraphernalia possession and of prostitution | Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA

Amid a Labor Shortage, Companies Are Eliminating Drug Tests. It’s a Trend That Could Create More Equitable Workplaces

Agrowing number of companies are eliminating workplace drug testing to attract and retain workers amid a global labor shortage, a new development that experts say has potential to help create greater racial equity in the workplace | TIME, USA


Blogs, comment and opinion

Is it time to help alcohol retailers make more money by selling less alcohol?

As we emerge from COVID-19, effective action for preventing alcohol harms can be part of a new policy mix that helps businesses recover while not further compromising our health. It is challenging at the best of times to persuade governments to take action on the mostly hidden epidemic of alcohol-caused harm – an epidemic of equal or greater scale to COVID-19 in many developed countries | IAS blog, UK

If Cannabis Is Legalized, Should All Drugs Be?

[Free subscription may be required] Medical marijuana is now legal in more than half of the country. The cities of Denver, Seattle, Washington and Oakland, Calif., have also decriminalized psilocybin (the psychedelic element in “magic mushrooms”). Oregon went one step further, decriminalizing all drugs in small quantities, including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. Attitudes toward drugs have changed considerably over the years. But the question of whether all drugs should be legalized continues to be contentious. How much have attitudes toward illegal drugs changed? And why? | NYTimes opinion, USA