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Daily news - 22nd April 2022

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UK news

Drug Crime [Transcript of the Westminster Hall debate held on 20th April 2022]

I beg to move, That this House has considered the matter of tackling drug crime in local communities... | They work for you, UK

Smoking: Health Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in the context of the 2030 smoke-free target, what plans he has to improve smokers’ awareness of (a) e-cigarettes, (b) heat-not-burn products and (c) nicotine pouches | They Work for you, UK

For those at risk, isolation can be fatal

Evidence is clear that isolation from friends, family and support can place people who use drugs at higher risk of a fatal overdose.  Equally, initial case studies have suggested that the distribution of digital devices and building the skills and confidence to use them can have a transformative effect | Digital Lifelines, UK

Inside the Bristol clinic offering ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for mental health and addiction

The evidence from the £6,000 treatment plans is encouraging despite a lack of large-scale studies, but questions remain around disparities of access | Bristol Cable, UK

Two leading social justice charities complete merger

The charity Swanswell has completed its merger with Cranstoun, which will see the continued delivery of life-saving services and support for people to rebuild their lives. The merger process began in 2016 and was finalised at a trustees meeting held earlier this month | Cranstoun, UK

A service of remembrance

2pm on Monday 25th April 2022. We are holding a service of remembrance in memory of those lost in recent years to mental health and addiction issues | Basement Project, UK

SSA podcast: The naloxone special

For this special episode of Addictions Edited, Rob visits a London treatment service to talk to Martin McCusker from Lambeth Service User Council, Dr Martin Sefranek a substance misuse worker and researcher and Dr Rebecca McDonald, an addictions researcher specialising in improving access to medications who joins them on Zoom from Oslo | SSA, UK

Claire Bywalec - Project Twenty21 patient - video

Claire developed fibromyalgia after a riding accident as a child. After trying countless other medications, she discovered cannabis, which has subsequently completely transformed her life | Drug Science, UK

Photos of People Celebrating 4/20 in Hyde Park, London

I went down to the annual weed gathering armed with my wits and a multipack of crisps, in case I got the munchies | VICE, UK

Litter clear-up after Leeds pro-cannabis park gathering

A group of students have staged a mass clear-up after piles of rubbish were left behind by crowds smoking cannabis | BBC, UK

Fence bid to stop drug use outside Potteries Museum in Stoke-on-Trent

A 4.8m (15.7ft) tall fence could be installed under the main entrance to a museum, to stop anti-social behaviour | BBC, UK



International news

New Jersey gets lit! Crowds flock to Garden State dispensaries as they begin selling recreational weed sales - but cannabis tourists are warned that it's illegal to transport drug across state lines

On Thursday, one day after '420 day,' New Jersey became the 19th U.S state to legalize recreational marijuana sales. And hours later, hundreds flocked to existing medicinal dispensaries that are now allowed to sell the drug to anyone over the age of 21 | Mail Online, UK

Kentucky gov asks input, weighing action on medical cannabis

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says he'll form an advisory team as part of a broad review as he weighs whether to take executive action to legalize access to medical marijuana | Independent, UK

Ex-president of Honduras extradited to US on sweeping drug trafficking charges

Federal prosecutors allege Juan Orlando Hernandez participated in a vast conspiracy to traffick ‘hundreds of thousands of kilograms’ of cocaine into the US | Independent, UK

US bride and caterer arrested for allegedly drugging guests with cannabis

Police in Florida have arrested a bride and her caterer after finding they allegedly added cannabis to food that was later served to wedding guests | BBC, UK

Findings on smoking and heart attack spur call for better plan

Sharper focus on prevention and early diagnosis essential, says Irish Heart Foundation | Irish Times, Ireland

Aggression caused by crack cocaine forces Limerick pharmacists to quit needle exchange programme 

Drugs and Alcohol Forum responds after councillor highlights fall in the number of pharmacies offering needle exchange | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Prisons and drugs: health and social responses

[Updated] This miniguide provides an overview of what to consider when planning or delivering health and social responses to drug-related problems in prisons, and reviews the available interventions and their effectiveness. It also considers implications for policy and practice | EMCDDA, Portugal

FACT SHEET: White House Releases 2022 National Drug Control Strategy that Outlines Comprehensive Path Forward to Address Addiction and the Overdose Epidemic

[On April 21st], President Biden sent his Administration’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy to Congress at a time when drug overdoses have taken a heartbreaking toll, claiming 106,854 lives in the most recent 12-month period. The Strategy delivers on the call to action in President Biden’s Unity Agenda through a whole-of-government approach to beat the overdose epidemic | White House, USA

Harm Reduction for All Drugs and All People? The Government Isn’t Sure

Harm reduction, once a term of relative obscurity, is now splashed all over the headlines. In March, harm reduction advocates witnessed a historic and hopeful moment as President Biden publicly endorsed the approach as part of his “Unity Agenda” and efforts to address the overdose crisisYet just a month prior, we saw a firestorm of conservative-fueled opposition to the practice | Filter Magazine, USA

It may be increasingly legal but doesn't mean cannabis is safe

Arecent CBS News/YouGov survey found that two-thirds of Americans want recreational marijuana use to be legal. Nearly 70 percent of states allow the medical use of cannabis products and a growing number have legalized recreational use | Medical Express, USA

Expanded screening tool could improve substance use disorder diagnosis and treatment

Researchers from the Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine have expanded a screening tool that could lead to more accurate and timely diagnoses—and therefore treatment—of substance use disorder | Medical Express, USA

Study casts doubt on impact of menthol-flavored tobacco ban

A ban on the sale of menthol-flavored cigarettes that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is on track to implement may have unintended consequences, according to a study by researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center published April 21 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute | Medical Xpress, USA

How marijuana taxes could fund mental health care for millions

Research by GPH's Jonathan Purtle says that earmarking state taxes on recreational sales is an underused strategy for financing mobile psychiatric crisis units, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and more | Medical Xpress, USA

Somerville will open a supervised consumption site where people who use drugs can use safely

The city of Somerville partnered with Fenway Health in March to prepare for the opening of a supervised consumption site where people who use drugs can consume drugs in a safe environment under medical supervision to prevent overdoses | Tufts Daily, USA

Pill Testing Australia fixed site trial to go ahead in Canberra CBD

A static pill testing venue in the city is expected to open in the coming weeks, despite the organisation being forced to pull their services from Groovin' The Moo music festival days before the event | Canberra Times, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Are ‘Pseudodelics’ The Future For Mental Health?

Psychedelics, substances that produce non-ordinary states of consciousness, are currently being heralded as the therapeutic saviours for our long-standing mental health crisis, with preliminary studies showing promising results for psilocybin, MDMA and Ketamine-assisted therapy for depression, PTSD and addiction | Volteface, UK

Let’s change the ‘doctor knows best’ mindset when dealing with mental health - Christine Muir

I love my job. As Communications Officer at the Scottish Recovery Network I get to collaborate with amazing initiatives supporting the mental health recovery of people across the country | Scotsman opinion, UK

Honduras Shows How Drug Policy is Also Climate Policy

Late last month, I got word via WhatsApp that six old friends were in the custody of Mexican immigration authorities. All are indigenous Tawahka from eastern Honduras’ remote Moskitia region | Talking Drugs, UK

Shedding light on Europe’s drugs problem

The tragic effects of illegal drug use may be less visible than in the past, but they are still with us, warns EMCDDA Director Alexis Goosdeel | Parliament Magazine, Belgium

New National Drug Control Strategy Takes Some Positive Steps But Can Go Much Further

In the wake of a March report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that drug overdose deaths climbed to a record 106,000 for the 12 months ending November 2021 (last November the agency reported 100,000 overdose deaths for the 12 months ending April 2021), the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy published a National Drug Control Strategy | CATO Institute blog, USA

The vaping conundrum

One patient’s journey exemplifies the difficult path GPs chart when helping people quit, writes Dr Hester Wilson | RACGP opinion, Australia