Daily news - 5th March 2021

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UK news

PHE accused of toning down positive report on drug centres

Line saying overdose prevention centres have helped lower death rates was removed from briefing | Guardian, UK

People who inject drugs: HIV and viral hepatitis monitoring

Data tables and commentary for the unlinked anonymous monitoring surveys of infections and risk among people who inject drugs (PWID). ")") update | PHE, UK

‘They already operated like it was a crisis, because it always has been a crisis’: a qualitative exploration of the response of one homeless service in Scotland to the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated unprecedented changes in the way services are delivered to individuals experiencing homelessness and problem substance use. The aim of this novel qualitative study was to document how one service in Scotland, the Wellbeing Centre run by The Salvation Army, adapted in response | Harm Reduction Journal, UK

Characterising the patterns of and factors associated with increased alcohol consumption since COVID‐19 in a UK sample

To examine changes in drinking patterns and to assess factors associated with reported increases in frequency of drinking, units consumed and frequency of heavy episodic drinking (HED) during the UK lockdown | Drug and Alcohol Review, UK

Binge drinking: 1 in 7 people boozing more frequently in lockdown

Men and women on furlough are much more likely to drink excess alcohol more frequently, UCL study finds | i news, UK

A fifth of young adults forget contraception when they're too drunk, study says

A study says many young people take risks with their sexual health when they've been binge drinking. This can lead to unplanned pregnancies and other problems | Daily Record, UK

PhD Addicted to Research: goal setting and organisation

In this episode Chloe, Ayan and Merve talk about the different kinds of organisation and goal setting that are essential to completing your PhD. They outline some of the ways to organise the big things (like the overall PhD and thesis), the day to day tasks and short-term projects | SSA, UK

Psilocybin Treatment for Depression - Patient Perspective

Clinical trials are currently investigating psilocybin therapy, as a treatment for depression at research centres around the world. This webinar gives valuable insight into the benefits of psilocybin treatment, from the perspective of a patient who suffered from depression for most of his adult life | Drug Science , UK

After Brexit, all food and drink containing the cannabis chemical CBD must be authorised

Food Standards Agency gives companies until the end of the month to seek authorisation to sell products containing cannabidiol | i news, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Excise Duties

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many meetings he has had with representatives (a) of the alcohol industry and (b) from public health organisations to discuss alcohol duty in the last six months | They work for you, UK

Councillor wants all drugs legalised after Sheffield dad sentenced for cannabis business

A councillor has called for all drugs to be legalised in the UK after a Sheffield dad was sentenced for growing and selling cannabis | Berbyshire Times, UK

Jersey hospitality chief: Customers are blackmailing venues into breaking Covid rules

Owners of hospitality venues in Jersey have been threatened with bad online reviews by customers unless they agree to break the rules which means diners must stop drinking when their meal is finished | ITV, UK

Drugs in Bristol: Students, Covid and the Future of Harm Reduction

Thu, 18 March 2021, 19:30 – 21:00 GMT. The LCDPR returns to Bristol to discuss students, covid and the future of harm reduction | LCDPR, UK


International news

The Global Drug Survey 2021

Take part in GDS2021 and join 50,000 | GDS, UK

Women and Men Use Very Different Drugs to Self-Medicate

Research published today by The Global Drug Survey has shed light on the experiences of people taking psychedelics to aid their wellbeing and mental health | Vice, UK

Low-level alcohol consumption and cancer mortality

[Open access] The effect of light-to-moderate alcohol consumption on cancer risk remains controversial. We examined the association between low-level alcohol consumption and cancer mortality. A cohort study included 331,984 Korean adults free of cancer at baseline who underwent a comprehensive health checkup examination | Nature, UK

Office-Based Addiction Treatment Retention and Mortality Among People Experiencing Homelessness

 In this cohort study of 1467 homeless or unstably housed adults with opioid use disorder, retention in the office-based addiction treatment program was 45.2% at 1 month, 21.7% at 6 months, and 11.3% at 12 months. Past-month office-based addiction treatment attendance was associated with a 66% reduction in mortality risk | JAMA Network, USA

COVID-19 lockdown linked to uptick in tobacco use

Pandemic-related anxiety, boredom, and irregular routines were cited as major drivers of increased nicotine and tobacco use during the initial COVID-19 "lockdown," according to research just released by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health | Medical Xpress, USA

Mobile app helps young adults talk with friends about risky drug, alcohol use

A smartphone app called Harbor, currently under development by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, teaches young adults how to talk to a peer if they are concerned about that other person's drinking or drug use | Medical Xpress, USA

Should Your Cocktail Carry a Cancer Warning?

As pandemic disruptions lead many of us to drink more, experts underscore the link between alcohol and disease | NYTimes, USA

New Mexico the Latest State to Advance a Safe Consumption Site Bill

Exactly a week after the Rhode Island Senate passed a bill that would set in motion the state’s establishment of safe consumption spaces, a bipartisan majority of the New Mexico House of Representatives voted in favor of legislation to bring sanctioned overdose prevention programs (OPP), as they’re being called, to the southwestern state | Filter Magazine, USA

In Nigeria, a Young Generation Finds Its Way Past Myths About Drug Use

In the late 2000s, Nigeria witnessed a surge in various kinds of drug use. Tramadol, a pharmaceutical opioid, became increasingly popular | Filter Magazine, USA

Boredom, stress during pandemic behind rise in alcohol, cannabis use for some Canadians: survey

The ongoing health crisis has played a role in Canadians’ use of drugs and alcohol, with boredom and stress driving a boost in consumption for some adults during the pandemic, according to a new survey | Global News, Canada

High fees, no regulation and unscrupulous operators in Victorian private rehab sector

An investigation into Victoria’s unregulated private drug rehabilitation system has found vulnerable patients are being referred to operators accused of exploitative billing practices, treating people without appropriate expertise and employing misleading advertising | The Age, Australia

Doing more harm than good (PDF)

International examples of success, growing public support and the clear failure of current laws to stop drug use means the time is right now for drug law reform, said the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA), today launching a new policy report into Australian drug laws | ALA, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

The role of alcohol and mental health problems in drink-driving

Drink-driving, or driving while over the legal blood alcohol limit, is often viewed as unacceptable. Society usually thinks about drink-driving as driving while being very drunk, perhaps after a party or night out, thus people who drink and drive are seen as selfish, reckless and lawbreakers | AHA blog, UK

Is microdosing just placebo? Insights from the Beckley Foundation’s research programme

It’s increasingly clear that we’re in the midst of a Psychedelic Renaissance. The past decade has seen a gamut of incredible new research into psychedelic compounds, much of which has been initiated by Amanda Feidling and carried out in collaboration with the Beckley Foundation | Beckley Foundation blog, UK

Is Indonesia’s alcohol bill an appropriate public health measure?

The Indonesian House of Representatives plans to draft a bill that will criminalise the activities of producing, selling and buying, distributing, drinking and storing alcoholic beverages | Conversation, UK

Ending racist drug policies starts with being open about drug use

I am a drug user. So are most of the people I know, but most people keep their use private for fear of the stigma attached. That’s reasonable. There are real repercussions to coming out of any closet | MIC, USA