Weekly news - 25th June 2021


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In date order, Monday to Friday:

Misuse of Drugs Act Debate - video

The debate in the House of Commons on the Misuse of Drugs Act, from Thursday 17 June | BBC Parliament, UK

Drug-related Deaths - video

The debate in the Scottish Parliament on drug-related deaths, from Thursday 17 June | BBC Parliament, UK

Rise in violence and sexual exploitation against children and young people ‘linked to County Lines’

New research into the criminal exploitation of children has revealed an increase in self-harm and suicide attempts among children and young people admitted into hospital with clear links to County Lines in the illegal drugs trade | University of Nottingham, UK

Alcohol burden on ambulance service in Scotland three times higher than previous

86,780 ambulance callouts were identified as alcohol-related in 2019, using a new method based on the notes taken by paramedics at the scene. This figure, an average of more than 230 call-outs every day, is more than three times higher than previously reported [See article below] | University of Glasgow, UK

CBD and controlled cannabinoids: results from a ring trial

The Government Chemist team have published a report summarising the findings of a ring trial to assess laboratories’ performance in measuring CBD and controlled cannabinoids | Government Chemist, UK

Army's 'chronic' alcohol problem laid bare with 8,000 needing help in last six years

The shocking figures reveal some of the brave members of the Army, RAF and Navy have developed serious drink-related illness like paranoia, cirrhosis and chronic alcoholic brain syndrome | Mirror, UK

50 years after drugs were made illegal, some MPs think it's time to end the ban

The number of people taking drugs has only risen since they were criminalised, says Easington MP Grahame Morris | Chronicle, UK

Smoking: Campaigners want ban in pub gardens in Wales

Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) Wales wants a current law to be extended to include outdoor hospitality | BBC, UK

Childhood trauma can make people like morphine more

University of Exeter scientists compared the effects of morphine on 52 healthy people – 27 with a history of childhood abuse and neglect, and 25 who reported no such experiences in childhood. [See also article below] | University of Exeter, UK

Council approves EU Drugs Action Plan 2021–2025

The Council of the EU (Foreign Affairs) approved on 21 June the EU Drugs Action Plan for 2021–2025. The new plan presents the concrete actions needed to achieve the priorities of the EU Drugs Strategy, adopted in December 2020 | EMCDDA, Portugal

Biden administration to back bill ending crack, powder cocaine sentence disparity: report

The Biden administration is reportedly set to endorse legislation on Tuesday that aims to eliminate the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses | The Hill, USA

Impact of Minimum Unit Pricing among people who are alcohol dependent and accessing treatment services: Interim report: Structured interview data

This study looks at the Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) for alcohol that came into effect in Scotland in 2018. This interim report presents a description of collected data and early findings from a study about the impact of MUP on people with alcohol dependence who access treatment services. This study is the first of four work packages that make up the wider Harmful Drinking Study, which is one of a set of studies looking at the impact of MUP in Scotland | Public Health Scotland, UK

Drinks labels with pictures and guidelines could improve public understanding of Government recommendations

Enhanced labels for alcoholic drinks include pictures to demonstrate their strength, plus an explicit statement of drinking guidelines. New research found that these labels could improve public awareness and understanding of the Government’s Low Risk Drinking Guidelines | NIHR, UK

Study finds link between heavy drinking and mental health problems in UK Police Service

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Liverpool has found that one third of UK police officers and staff met the criteria for heavy drinking, and this was more common in those with a mental health problem | University of Liverpool, UK

Familiar science, innovative harm reduction: Researchers develop spice detection device

A world-first device that is able to detect spice in saliva or street material in under five minutes has been developed by a team of researchers at the University of Bath. Initially developed in 2019 and now granted £1.3 million in funding by the university to expand the prototype, the device is expected to be rolled out for use within three years | Volteface, UK

NICE backs vaping to help people stop smoking in new guidance

New NICE draft guidance has said that healthcare professionals can recommend e-cigarettes, or vaping devices, as a means to help patients stop smoking | GP Online, UK

UK-wide e-cigarette trial to help homeless quit smoking

A trial led by UCL and LSBU researchers will investigate whether e-cigarettes could help people experiencing homelessness to quit smoking | UCL, UK

Perceived fear of losing children major barrier to women accessing addiction treatment

A new report from Trinity College has found that there is an urgent need for the expansion of gender-sensitive drug and alcohol treatment approaches that support the needs of women. A dominant theme in the report found that the perceived fear of losing children is a major barrier to women accessing treatment for drug and alcohol addiction | Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

UNODC World Drug Report 2021

Around 275 million people used drugs worldwide in the last year, while over 36 million people suffered from drug use disorders, according to the 2021 World Drug Report. The Report further noted that in the last 24 years cannabis potency had increased by as much as four times in parts of the world, even as the percentage of adolescents who perceived the drug as harmful fell by as much as 40 per cent, despite evidence that cannabis use is associated with a variety of health and other harms, especially among regular long-term users | UNODC, Austria