Daily news - 8th February 2021

Weekly subscribe button

UK news

Letter of recommendation to the ACMD

Dear Owen Bowden-Jones, I am writing on behalf of Drug Science in relation to the ACMD update report on medical cannabis last November. The Drug Science Medical Cannabis Working Group (MCWG) has now had time to discuss your report and I wanted to give you our feedback | Drug Science, UK

‘Dangerous data’ part 2: A gentlemanly start

Second weekly instalment of the series on controlled drinking as a treatment goal traces the start of the controversy to early 1960s London, where psychiatrist D.L. Davies opened the first telling crack in the abstinence-only consensus | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Londonderry: Fresh call for specialist addiction centre

The head of a Londonderry treatment centre has made renewed calls for an addiction centre of excellence to be set up in the north west | BBC, UK

SRA: New areas of practice and legalised cannabis present AML risks

Firms getting into new areas of work because of the financial impact of Covid, along with handling funds generated through the legal sale of cannabis abroad, are among emerging money laundering risks, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has warned | Legal Futures, UK

Why was 'failed' teenager Jacob not in school for two years?

Jacob was found dead in his bedroom in April 2019. The 16-year-old boy had been groomed and plunged into a world of drug trafficking by so-called "county lines" gangs | BBC, UK

Plans for Wales' first alcohol-free brewery gets £1.5m investment boost from Admiral founder

Henry Engelhardt has invested in Drop Bear Beer Co which has now raised £1.8m | Business Live, UK

Qualitative Methods Journal Club - Meeting 4 (hosted by GCU)

Tue, 23 Feb 2021, 14:00 GMT. We will be discussing the following paper: Thurnell-Read, T. 2011. ‘Common-sense’ research: Senses, emotions and embodiment in researching stag tourism in Eastern Europe. Methodological Innovations Online6(3), pp.39-49 | SSA, UK

Drugs: Organised Crime

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions her Department has had with (a) Police Scotland and (b) the British Transport Police on county lines | They work for you, UK

Our study of gambling and its harms shows it's time to intervene

Gambling has changed a lot in recent years. Mobile apps give people unlimited access to the global betting market at the touch of a button from anywhere in the world. As the number of gamblers has increased, so too have bookmakers’ profit margins and the amount of problem gambling. Yet we still can’t say for sure how gambling and financial troubles are linked | New Scientist, UK



International news

Meet Carl Hart: parent, Columbia professor – and heroin user

In a startling new book, Drug Use for Grown-Ups, the Ivy League professor argues that the dangers of recreational drug use have been wildly overstated | Guardian, UK

Rob Lowe recalls presence of cocaine on Eighties film sets: ‘You’d find out which department was selling the great Peruvian blow’

Rob Lowe has reflected on the presence of cocaine on film sets in the 1970s and 1980s, saying those days are “long gone” | Independent, UK

Mick Fleetwood says he can’t remember two years of his life after heavy cocaine use

Musician said his drug habit 'got out of hand way after the making of Rumours' | Independent, UK

CBD will go on sale in Australia, but first manufacturers will have to prove it works

While CBD has been approved for over-the-counter sale, there are regulatory hurdles to clear before it actually appears in pharmacies | Guardian, UK

North Inner City residents afraid to leave homes as violent drug gangs terrorise area

The area has seen a huge surge in violent crime in recent weeks, including two knife killings, and residents have warned that the State is on the brink of "losing control" of the area | Dublin Live, Ireland

Large seizures reflect booming drug trade, say gardaí

Criminal gangs are continuing to grow businesses despite Covid restrictions | Irish Times, Ireland

France's Macron aims to tackle tobacco and alcohol in 10-year cancer plan

French President Emmanuel Macron wants the generation that will turn 20 in 2030 to be the first tobacco-free one, and also promised on Thursday to do more to warn about the dangers of alcohol, as part of a 10-year strategy to fight cancer | Reuters, France

Nothing about us, without us (PDF)

Participation and involvement of drug users in health services and policy making | Correlation-European Harm Reduction Network, The Netherlands

Trends in Heroin Treatment Admissions in the United States by Race, Sex, and Age

This study’s results suggest important differences in heroin treatment admissions to state-regulated programs by race and age in the US. Between 2015 and 2017, heroin treatment admissions among White men and women were highest for ages 21 to 34 years, whereas admissions among Black men and women were highest for ages 45 to 54 years | JAMA Network Open, USA

Medical cannabis may reduce blood pressure in older adults, study shows

A new discovery by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and its affiliated Soroka University Medical Center shows that medical cannabis may reduce blood pressure in older adults | News Medical, USA

How much do romantic partners influence each other’s alcohol use?

You arrive home late and start to get ready for bed. But then you see that your partner is still awake, and about to pour a drink. Do you join in? Research suggests that the answer will often be ‘yes.’ | BASIS, USA

Diagnosing intake of two new psychoactive substances

NUS pharmaceutical scientists have developed a systematic approach to understand how the human body manages two new psychoactive substances (NPS) by predicting their biological half-lives and measuring their biological activities against cannabinoid receptors | Medical Xpress, USA

Psychedelic Mushroom Bills Filed In Florida And Connecticut As Movement Expands To Multiple States

Lawmakers in Connecticut and Florida have filed new bills to reform state laws on psilocybin mushrooms—the latest in a trend of psychedelics proposals to emerge in 2021 | Marijuana Moment, USA

Self-admitted psychedelic use and association with psychedelic culture harm perceptions of researchers’ scientific integrity

Psychedelic researchers who admit to using the substances themselves tend to be viewed as having less integrity compared to their abstinent counterparts, according to new research that surveyed 952 individuals from the United States | PsyPost, USA

Virginia Set To Be First Southern State To Legalize Marijuana

Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to sign legislation allowing the possession, manufacture and sale of the substance | Huffington Post, USA

Project will place OD antidote kits in every Indiana county

Indiana is partnering with the nonprofit Overdose Lifeline Inc. to expand access to the opioid overdose antidote naloxone through exterior dispensers available at all hours | WCPO, USA

Jamaica faces marijuana shortage as farmers struggle

Heavy rains followed by an extended drought, an increase in local consumption and a drop in the number of marijuana farmers have caused a shortage in the island’s famed but largely illegal market that experts say is the worst they’ve seen | AP, USA

Northern Territory Drug Trends 2020: Key Findings from the Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS) Interviews

In 2020, we have provided a suite of products with the most up-to-date findings from interviews conducted annually from 2003-2020 with a cross-sectional sentinel group of people who regularly use ecstasy and other stimulants recruited from Darwin, Northern Territory | NDARC, Australia

Local Drug Action Team Program Grants

Applications are now open to receive funding to become a Local Drug Action Team (LDAT). The LDAT Program, delivered by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, is part of the Australian Government’s investment of more than $450 million under the National Ice Action Strategy since 2016-17 | AOD Knowledge Centre, Australia

Driving reform gathers pace as Greens make move in South Australia

South Australia has become the latest state to explore cannabis driving law reform with Greens upper house MP Tammy Franks taking up the crusade in collaboration with lobby group Drive Change | Cannabiz, Australia

“Cannabis use hasn’t changed” following recreational legalisation in the ACT

A year has passed since the ACT became the first region in the country to allow the recreational use of cannabis, and the region has yet to fall into anarchy and despair. So what’s going on? | Pondering Pot, Australia

The scientists and shamans of psychedelic retreats - audio

There's a landmark project underway in Melbourne to find out whether psilocybin - the hallucinogenic compound in magic mushrooms - can be used to improve end-of-life experiences. But many Australians have already turned to the underground because they're convinced psychedelics improve their mental health. Geoff Thompson investigates whether it's worth all the risks | abc.net.au, Australia

The 'huge backlog' of people waiting for a public bed for drug and alcohol treatment in Victoria

Victorians with a drug or alcohol problem are struggling to access publicly-funded addiction treatment beds as waiting times blow out because of the COVID-19 pandemic | abc.net.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Wiping out stigma

Reducing the stigma associated with addiction – the word itself now tagged with a degree of stigma – is a priority in drugs policy. Stigmatising attitudes contribute to drug harms and deaths through delaying access to treatment, leaving treatment early and increased risk-taking behaviour | Recovery Review blog, UK

The More Things Change…

Our systems of care have never actually been designed to meet the needs of persons with substance use disorders. I am not disparaging those early pioneers or those that came after who have worked very hard to implement even small elements of what an effective care system should include | Recovery Review blog, UK

Seven things Dry January can teach you

The number one sign of a successful Dry January is that you’ve learned something about yourself that you can use in the future to take, or keep, control of your drinking | Alcohol Change UK blog, UK

Considering continuing Dry January in February? Here’s what I’ve learned about sobriety and alcohol moderation

Working out what type of drinker you are is a good place to start | I news, UK

Kyle Walters - Self-regulation and Substance Use - podcast

Self control is thought to be closely associated with the ability to abstain or regulate substance use and is just one aspect of self-regulation, or the ability to organize behavior toward a goal. Many have suggested that self-regulation is damaged in those with chronic patterns of harmful substance use | Society of Addiction Psychology, USA

Exploring Fentanyl Prevalence in New York City Heroin

For over half a century in New York City, heroin bags have been distinctly branded with unique markings, including with rubber stamps. From the seller’s viewpoint, stamps create brand loyalty and identify a superior product that yields more psychoactive effects | Points blog, USA

Drug abuse affects more people than Covid yet we bury the issue

We, in India, are debating one health crisis by bringing science and research to the foreground and, strangely, throwing science out of the window while debating another health-related disaster | Times of India blog, India

Buprenorphine: Helping Prison Inmates to Stay Away from Illegal Drugs

Last year, New South Wales Corrective Services injected about 900 prison inmates a month with a view to keeping them away from illegal drugs | Sydney Criminal Lawyers blog, Australia