Daily news - 25th October 2021

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UK news

Senior UK police officer backs pioneering synthetic heroin clinics

Chief constable Richard Lewis says ‘fundamental change of approach’ needed to tackle drug deaths crisis | Guardian, UK

Drug Deaths Task Force - Recommendations

Since the Taskforce was formed in 2019, a number of recommendations were made to a range of stakeholders, from Government to the First Minister and the Lord Advocate. These recommendations relate to a wide range of topics that the Taskforce believe would have a positive impact on tackling the drug problem faced in Scotland and ultimately save lives | Scottish Drug Deaths Taskforce, UK

Safer Drug Consumption Facilites - Evidence Paper

This paper highlights the evidence in support of Safer Drug Consumption Facilities | Scottish Government, UK

Treat drug addiction as a chronic condition, says head of government review

[Limited number of free articles per week] Prof Dame Carol Black tells The Telegraph’s Mad World podcast that that approach would create a ‘much more stable society’ | Telegraph, UK

Watch on Demand: Session 2 of the NHS APA Virtual Conference 2021 - video

In this session Danny Hames, NHS APA Chair interviews Sohan Sahota, Managing Director & Co-founder of BAC-IN CIC a grassroots, peer drug and alcohol recovery support service that supports people from black, south Asian and minoritised communities | NHS APA, UK

'LSD is the purest, cleanest drug of all'

[Limited number of free articles per week] Amanda Feilding, 78, is on a mission to explore the new frontier of pharmaceutical research: the health benefits of psychedelic substances | Telegraph, UK

Fears over availability of ‘date rape’ drugs online

Calls for restrictions around the substances to be tightened with five-year jail term or unlimited fines | Guardian, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) businesses in the hospitality sector to help tackle the spiking of drinks within nightclubs and hospitality venues | They work for you, UK

Forth Valley Police sorry for 'victim blaming' drinking advice

The Forth Valley division wrote on Facebook that "alcohol can make us more vulnerable" and gave advice on staying safe while drinking | BBC, UK

Lyme Regis ‘yard of ale’ contest cancelled over binge drinking fears

A traditional yard of ale drinking contest in a seaside town has been cancelled by the RNLI amid fears it could encourage binge drinking | Dorset Echo, UK

Is internet addiction a growing problem?

Cam Adair finally realised that his addiction to video games was out of control when it made him consider ending his life | BBC, UK


International news

Luxembourg first in Europe to legalise growing and using cannabis

Relaxation is part of government rethink designed to keep users away from illegal market | Guardian, UK

Countdown to ecstasy: how music is being used in healing psychedelic trips

Jon Hopkins timed his upcoming album to the length of a ketamine high, while apps are using AI music to tailor drug experiences. Welcome to a techno-chemical new frontier | Guardian, UK

Between Prohibition and Regulation: Narrative Analysis of Cannabis Policy Debate in Africa (PDF)

In Africa, there exist hegemonic narratives that emphasize prohibition, progressive narratives that support legal markets, and celebratory narratives that laud the economic benefits of legal markets but overlook potential negative impacts on smallscale farmers | GDPO, UK

Colombian drug lord Otoniel to be extradited to US

Colombia has announced that the country's most wanted drug trafficker will be extradited to the US after he was captured in a raid | BBC, UK

Long-term impact of Covid-19 on drug and alcohol addiction unclear, report warns

Merchants Quay Ireland has warned it could take years before the impact of the pandemic on drug and alcohol use is fully known, with some people coming forward for help while others fell into addiction | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Alcohol is one of the biggest risk factors for breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer type in the WHO European Region, with 1579 women diagnosed every day. Alcohol consumption is one of the major modifiable risk factors for the disease, causing 7 of every 100 new breast cancer cases in the Region. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, WHO encourages everyone to understand that the risk of breast cancer can be significantly reduced by simply reducing alcohol consumption | WHO, Denmark

Polydrug use: health and social responses

The term ‘polydrug use’ is used to describe the use of more than one drug or type of drug by an individual either at the same time or sequentially. It encompasses the use of both illicit drugs and legal substances, such as alcohol and medicines, and most people who use drugs will on occasion use more than one substance | EMCDDA, Portugal

EMCDDA webinar: Cannabis control approaches across Europe

27 October,12.00–13.30 Lisbon time (13.00–14.30 CET). The second in our cannabis webinar series will focus on the debate around cannabis control approaches across Europe. It will aim to clarify concepts such as depenalisation, decriminalisation and legalisation | EMCDDA, Portugal

“Cannabis labels often wrong and misleading”

The well-known Indica and Sativa labels that are used on cannabis products and form the basis for the information provided to users of medicinal cannabis are usually wrong and misleading. That is what researchers from Wageningen University & Research and the Canadian Dalhousie University conclude after analyzing hundreds of cannabis samples | Wageningen University, The Netherlands

No Smoking Allowed: An Early Look Inside Malta’s Planned Cannabis Associations 

Lovin Malta recently met up with Reforms Minister Owen Bonnici to delve into the specifics of the bill which he presented to Parliament this month | Lovin Malta, Malta

Study highlights major role of polysubstance use in drug overdose risk

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 in veterans suggests | News Medical, USA

Women may be more vulnerable to drug addiction and addiction-like behaviors than men

The results of several new studies focusing on sex differences in pain and addiction indicate females could be more susceptible to drug addiction and addiction-like behaviors than males | News Medical, USA

Scientists develop quick test for marijuana use

In an early study, scientists found that their rapid test was able to reliably detect THC in people's saliva in under 5 minutes | Medical Xpress, USA

Rx Drug Take Back Days Are Unhelpful at Best, Harmful at Worst

The Drug Enforcement Administration really, really wants you to give them your leftover prescription drugs | Filter Magazine, USA

Hikma donates 50,000 doses of injectable naloxone to help expand non-profit access to lifesaving treatment for reversing opioid overdoses

Donation will help ease shortage of injectable naloxone faced by US harm-reduction programs | PR Newswire, USA

Are There Risks to Vaping Cannabis? - video

This video outlines the different mental and physical risks that are associated with vaping cannabis | CCSA, Canada

Here's why police say a Vancouver city councillor wasn't charged for handing out heroin

Earlier this year, a Vancouver city councillor openly handed out hard drugs, but she was never charged by police | CTV News, Canada

Philippines to review thousands more 'drug war' killings

The Philippines will look into thousands of killings in President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, its justice minister said on Wednesday, after a review of a sample of cases indicated foul play in dozens of deadly police operations | Yahoo, Phillipines

Hong Kong bans sale of e-cigarettes and other heated tobacco products but personal use still allowed

Lawmakers passed a long-delayed bill on Thursday banning the import and sale of electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products in Hong Kong, delivering a major victory for health activists and educators who have blamed the devices for encouraging smoking among young people | SCMP, China

'Just as easy as before COVID’: Cocaine’s rising popularity during the pandemic

Repeated lockdowns and pandemic restrictions failed to dampen drug use this year, with a rising number of young Australians using cocaine despite the closure of nightlife and an increase in the party drug’s price tag | The Age, Australia

‘QR codes for drug dealers’: Calls to improve COVID-19 response

[free registration maybe required] Drug and alcohol experts are calling for a harm minimisation approach to users at risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19, warning that stigma is putting a vulnerable population at risk | SMH, Australia

Festival drug-checking services get a boost

The Government is financially supporting drug-checking services to help keep young people safe at this summer’s large festivals and events, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “This is not about condoning drug use, but about keeping people safe,” Andrew Little said | Beehive.govt.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Invest or pay the consequences

Despite a robust evidence base and the best efforts of many skilled and passionate people, the drug and alcohol treatment and recovery system in England and Wales isn’t working as well as it should | Local Government First, UK

Addiction isn’t shameful – so why aren’t more universities offering students the support they need to recover?

I’ve noticed a reluctance from universities to acknowledge the issue, as though students experiencing addiction are themselves the problem | Independent voices, UK

How many people have to die or be injured before we revise the drink driving limit?

The number of serious injuries caused by drink driving has increased for the first time in 10 years. These life-changing accidents should not be ignored | Independent voices, UK

As a chief constable, I’ve seen enough: it’s time to end the ‘war on drugs’

I know addicts can commit odious acts. But treating drug use as a criminal justice problem causes thousands of needless deaths | Guardian CIF, UK

What does it take, Sir Keir?

For months, Sir Keir Starmer has been evasive on the question. Now, stung into action by a crowd-pleasing podium aside from Boris Johnson, he has stepped off the fence. There is, he told journalists this week, 'not a case' for change, and he 'won't be reforming the drug law'. | Transform Blog, UK

Scottish Labour frontbencher accuses Keir Starmer of ‘tacitly endorsing’ drug deaths

Paul Sweeney tells POLITICO the Labour leader should ‘bother to engage with’ how drug treatment works amid debate over Scotland’s approach | Politico, UK

Keir Starmer’s cowardly stance on drugs flies in the face of the evidence

Politicians have a knack of acknowledging the desolation caused by the ‘War on Drugs’ only after they’ve left power | i news opinion, UK

Gratitude Friday 10/22/21 – The Labor of Recovery Service

I have decided to post this on both blogs I write on, my own and Recovery Review it is a personal reflection on recovery service and related tribulations and what keeps me going. This week was my recovery anniversary | Recovery Review blog, USA

1964: The Year in Smoking—Race, Cigarettes, and Capitalism

The superb historian of medicine Keith Wailoo has just written Pushing Cool: Big Tobacco, Racial Marketing, and the Untold Story of the Menthol Cigarette | Points blog, USA

Forgotten how to party? Safety tips from a drug and alcohol expert

Cancelled dance parties, festivals and other events have shaped how Australians use alcohol and other drugs during the pandemic | Conversation, Australia


And finally...

‘I was terrified’: the vet sterilizing Pablo Escobar’s cocaine hippos

The progeny of animals brought illegally to Colombia and kept in the drug lord’s private zoo must now be put on birth control | Guardian, UK