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Daily news - 19th April 2022

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UK news

Barriers to management of opioid withdrawal in hospitals in England: a document analysis of hospital policies on the management of substance dependence

[Open access] People who use illicit opioids are more likely to be admitted to hospital than people of the same age in the general population. Many admissions end in discharge against medical advice, which is associated with readmission and all-cause mortality. Opioid withdrawal contributes to premature discharge. We sought to understand the barriers to timely provision of opioid substitution therapy (OST), which helps to prevent opioid withdrawal, in acute hospitals in England | BMC Medicine, UK

Jump-starting the conversation about harm reduction: making sense of drug effect

[Open access] This paper describes the history of the development of taxonomies of psychoactive drug use, and discusses the conceptualization of three recent taxonomies: comparing their features, and considering their application in education, treatment, and harm reduction settings | Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, UK

Council chiefs welcome £300m to tackle drug addiction

Council leaders have welcomed a Government announcement of additional funding for local areas to tackle drug dependency as an ‘important step forward’. | Local Gov, UK

How £3.99 party drugs made their way into mainstream culture

We spoke to clubbers and experts for the real facts behind the use of poppers | Liverpool Echo, UK

Drugs, always drugs': how the rock 'n' roll dream almost killed me

[Limited number of free articles per month] As a rock journalist, the music industry gave my drugs habit the perfect cover – and things got terrifying | Telegraph, UK

Faith, families, and recovery

12 May 2022. Alcohol Change UK and Adfam are inviting you to take part in an online event discussing faith, family, and recovery | Adfam and Alcohol Change UK, UK

Take Drugs Seriously: Training Event. Waterlooville, Portsmouth

Wed, April 27, 2022, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM BST. Join us for our free training event for those wishing to develop their knowledge and campaigning skills around drug policy reform | J Slater, UK

Drug gang kept vulnerable Bedford couple captive, court told

Drug dealers intimidated vulnerable people and used their home to run a drugs county line, a court heard | BBC, UK


International news

Different phases of ATS use call for different interventions: a large qualitative study in Europe

[Open access] Amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) are globally widely used. The ATTUNE study investigated which factors shape individual phases of use, or ATS use patterns. In this article, we report on these phases into and out of ATS use, and propose a set of recommendations for prevention, harm reduction and treatment of the different phases of ATS use | Harm Reduction Journal, UK

Dublin: Arrest as €1.75m of cocaine found in Clondalkin

A man has been arrested after cocaine with an estimated street value of €1.75m (£1.45m) was seized in Dublin | BBC, UK

Catching the Kinahans: the officers risking their lives to jail Ireland’s most violent gang leaders

The Kinahan cartel is notorious worldwide for its brutal activities. In an exclusive report, the Observer finds out what it takes to monitor and convict organised criminals | Guardian, UK

Legal cannabis sales are starting in New Jersey within days

Starting 21 April, all adults in the state will be able to purchase cannabis at approved medical marijuana dispensaries | Independent, UK

Mac Miller: Drug dealer who sold deadly pills to rapper sentenced to nearly 11 years in prison

‘He would never knowingly take a pill with fentanyl, ever. He wanted to live and was excited about the future,’ Miller’s mother wrote in a emotional statement | Independent, UK

‘Total ban’: could this be the last generation of smokers?

Brookline, Massachusetts, banned the sale of tobacco products to anyone born after 2000, with a NZ law to be introduced this year. Could Australia be next? | Guardian, UK

Captagon: Jordan's undeclared war against Syria drug traffickers

A man in his 20s with cropped hair agitatedly paces the corridor of the drug rehabilitation unit as he grapples with the agonies of early withdrawal | BBC, UK

Consumers spending less on clothes and alcohol as inflation bites

EY’s Future Consumer Index – a quarterly survey of 18,000 people – found that well over a third of consumers (38pc) are spending less on clothes, 35pc are spending less on beauty and cosmetics and 30pc are spending less on alcohol | Independent, Ireland

E-cigs using synthetic nicotine come under FDA oversight

U.S. regulators will soon begin cracking down on vaping companies using a now-closed loophole, including a line of fruit-flavored e-cigarettes that have become teenagers' top choice | Medical Xpress, USA

Communication Between US Physicians and Patients Regarding Electronic Cigarette Use

In this cross-sectional survey of 2058 respondents, physicians who were asked about e-cigarettes by their patients, endorsed a harm-reduction perspective, or had ever smoked were more likely to recommend e-cigarettes to patients. In hypothetical clinical scenarios, physicians were more likely to recommend e-cigarettes for an older heavy smoker with prior unsuccessful quit attempts and use of pharmacotherapy for a younger light smoker with no prior cessation treatments | JAMA Network Open, USA

Management Researchers Prescribe Possible Remedy in Opioid Misuse

A decision-support framework developed by management science researchers from The University of Texas at Dallas could help clinicians objectively identify and estimate harms and benefits of opioid use for pain management | University of Texas, USA

1 in 5 medicare patients use medical marijuana: Survey

Medical marijuana is legal in 37 states, four territories and the District of Columbia, but it isn't covered by Medicare, the federal health insurance program for older Americans. Possession of marijuana remains illegal under federal law | Medical Xpress, USA

Recreational marijuana access reduces demand for prescription drugs

Legalization of recreational marijuana reduces demand for costly prescription drugs through state Medicaid programs, according to an analysis by a Cornell researcher and a collaborator | Medical Xpress, USA

Can changing the name 'marijuana' help address racial divide from America's drug war?

As legalization and decriminalization of pot spread, state and federal lawmakers have moved to strike the word "marijuana" from law. Here's what's behind the movement | USA Today, USA

In Ohio, Harm Reductionists Break Into the Nightlife Scene

As Ohio overdose deaths continue to climb steeply, harm reduction workers around the state are putting naloxone and fentanyl test strips (FTS) in critical drug consumption spaces: bars and nightclubs | Filter Magazine, USA

Very Low Nicotine Cigarettes Make US Debut in Chicago

On April 13, Chicago convenience stores began selling the first very low nicotine cigarettes to be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as modified risk tobacco products (MRTPs) | Filter Magazine, USA

Ben & Jerry’s Launches 4/20 Campaign, Calls Out Senate for Stalling on Marijuana Legalization

It’s not just traditional advocates and stakeholders who are fed up with Senate inaction on marijuana legalization. Even the ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s is calling out senators for failing to advance reform | Filter Magazine, USA

Maryland House Gives Initial Approval To Senate-Passed Bill To Fund Psychedelics Research And Access For Veterans

The Maryland House of Delegates on Friday gave initial approval to a Senate-passed bill that would create a state fund to provide “cost-free” access to psychedelics like psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine for military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury | Marijuana Moment, USA

Brazil Starts Consultation on E-Cigarettes

Brazil’s national drug agency, Anvisa, has opened a consultation on e-cigarettes, reports Portal Rondonia. The agency is seeking technical and scientific information to help it craft regulations for the product category | Tobacco Reporter, USA

Community Urinalysis and Self-Report Project: Cross-Canada Report on the Use of Drugs from the Unregulated Supply, 2019-2021 Data

This report presents substance use trends and describes whether expected substance use matched actual substance contents. Data were collected from harm reduction sites in seven regions across Canada that participated in the Community Urinalysis and Self-Report Project between 2019 and 2021 | CCSA, Canada

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia: early insights

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia: early insights presents key statistics about Australia’s publicly funded alcohol and other drug treatment services and their clients | AIHW, Australia

Fears regional Victorians are dying as shortage of detox beds sparks lengthy wait lists

Aaron Gilhooley was ready to turn his life around. Instead, he was told to keep waiting. Exposed to alcohol and drugs at a young age, he was drinking at 12 and had been incarcerated by the time he was 22 | abc.net.au, Australia

Drug checking in Australia: how far do we have to go?

This presentation focused on drug checking or pill testing services, which have existed for over 50 years and now operate in more than 20 countries. Despite this long history, little research assessing feasibility or impact has been published in peer-reviewed journals. As more countries trial drug checking services, the number of peer-reviewed evaluations have grown. This seminar detailed key evidence in the literature and remaining scientific and practical questions remaining with a particular focus on the Australian context | NDARC, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

With You responds to new Government funding to drug treatment services in most deprived areas

[Last week] the government announced that 50 local authorities in some of the most deprived areas in England will receive enhanced funding over the next 3 years to rebuild drug treatment services | With You, UK

Psychedelics could help treat depression – we need more research into their potential

The law urgently needs reviewing if people with severe depression are to stand a chance of receiving this potentially life-changing medication | Independent voices, UK

The Taliban’s drug ban spells bad news for the UK and Europe – here’s why

The Taliban’s latest ban is likely to have a number of significant political, economic, and social implications | Independent voices, UK

In the news: ‘Levelling up’ and substance use

The 2021 UK drug strategy incorporated references to the ‘levelling-up agenda’ – a government programme of work to reduce geographic, economic, social, and health inequalities. Read on for an overview of the proposed strategies for levelling-up Britain, and the implications for the addiction sector | SSA, UK

Treating depression with psychedelics: red flags and FAQ

There was a lot of hype in the last days around a new study on treating major depressive disorder via magic mushrooms. In the paper, the researchers make really bizarre claims, e.g. that psychedelics liberate the depressed brain—claims you would expect from a youtube ad on homeopathy, but not from a peer-reviewed scientific paper in Nature Medicine | Eiko Fried, The Netherlands

A Giant’s Passing: Tribute to Dr. Tom McGovern

The recovery movement has lost a beloved servant. Dr. Tom McGovern, a pioneer in the professionalization of addiction counseling, died March 21, 2022 at the age of 86 | William L White Papers, USA

Lawyers Are Developing Psychedelic Law Practices

Lawyers representing clients researching or investing in psychedelics don’t have the same concerns that they had when they first explored similar representations in cannabis. Questions about whether they are violating rules of professional conduct, putting their firm’s banking relationships in jeopardy, or courting suits from state bar regulators have largely been answered | Green Market Report, USA

From Roses and Indigo to Opium: The Enigma of Ghazipur

In this post, Dr Kawal Deep Kour shows the how the waning markets for rose attar and indigo positioned Ghazeepore, India, to take advantage of the emerging market for opium, and how attitudes towards production changed during the 19th century in response to the changing landscape of labor and colonialism | Points blog, USA

Angry vapers want electoral revenge

The media hype over the just-released report on vaping by the Australian National University’s National Centre for Epidemiology and Public Health (NCEPH), is yet more hysterical shroud waving by those in the public health establishment | Spectator, Australia