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Daily news - 25th April 2022

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UK news

Written evidence: Drugs

37 submissions from organisations and individuals responding to the Government enquiry into the effectiveness of the UK drug framework in today’s society | Home Affairs Committee, UK

Trends in Mortality From Novel Psychoactive Substances as “Legal Highs”: Gender Differences in Manner of Death and Implications for Risk Differences for Women

[Open access] This study aimed to examine drug-related deaths in the UK in which novel psychoactive substances (NPS) are an implicated substance, and to focus on female deaths in comparison with male deaths. While male overdoses dominate epidemiological statistics, there is an increase in female drug-related deaths and a narrowing of the gap between gender mortality rates which is to date unexplained | Frontiers in Psychiatry, UK

Services must improve to tackle drug deaths warn campaigners in Glasgow

Drug recovery services must improve in Scotland if the drug death rates are to be reduced, campaigners have said | Glasgow Evening Times, UK

Leah Heyes: Mother to continue campaign to change drug laws

A mother whose daughter died after taking MDMA has vowed to continue her campaign to make it a specific offence to supply a child with drugs | BBC, UK

Police drug-testing pilot disproportionately targets Black people

South Yorkshire Police was given £32,000 for the scheme, but is now facing questions over racism | Open Democracy, UK

More than 5,000 medical cannabis licences given by States of Guernsey

More than 5,000 licences for medicinal cannabis have been handed out by the States of Guernsey in 18 months, new figures have revealed | BBC, UK

Could psychedelics be used to treat mental health disorders?

[Limited number of free articles per month] Studies show that some hallucinogenic drugs can be used to treat depression, anxiety, and addiction – and stop spiralling negative thoughts | Telegraph, UK

Cochrane review of electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation and supporting materials - feedback required

We are a group of researchers who are looking into whether electronic cigarettes help people to stop smoking, and whether they have any unwanted effects when used in this way. Please help us to evaluate this approach by letting us know if you are aware of this review and of our supporting materials and by providing any feedback you may have | Oxford University, UK

Benzo Research Project

We are collecting stories from young people who have had experiences with non-prescription benzodiazepine use - either by taking them or being around those who are using them. If you are a young person between the ages of 18-25 years old (or were at the time of your experience with benzos) - we would love to hear your story | Drugs and Me, UK

Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy

Tue, April 26, 2022, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM BST. Lauren Macdonald and Jo Neill will be discussing various aspects of psychedelic-assisted therapy | UCL Society for the Application of Psychedelics, UK

How and why is British drinking culture changing?

Tue, 10 May 2022, 09:30 – 12:30 BST. The ESRC-funded SPARC Collaboration set out to develop new understanding about contemporary British drinking culture and analyse how changes in alcohol use relate to wider policy, cultural and structural shifts. This event is an opportunity to hear the researchers talk about their findings | MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, UK

Heroin addict mother convicted of fatally neglecting young asthma-suffering son

Laura Heath ‘prioritised her addiction to heroin and crack’ over that of seven-year-old Hakeem Hussain’s welfare | Independent, UK


International news

Whisky and visas could be part of a UK-India trade deal

No other nation drinks as much whisky as India - which should have Scotland's world-famous industry celebrating. But each bottle of Scotch sold in India comes with a hefty price tag attached, thanks to tariffs of 150% on imported liquor. So currently the majority of whisky drunk in India is made within its borders. Scotch whisky accounts for just 2% of the market | BBC, UK

ETHRA European Nicotine Users Survey 2020 - video

Ten key facts from the European Nicotine Users Survey, conducted at the end of 2020 by ETHRA. More than 37,000 people responded to topics included smoking and the desire to quit, use of safer nicotine products and barriers to switching caused by European and national regulations. The survey was conducted on a voluntary basis, without funding | GFN, UK

How the Irish Kinahan family became one of world's most wanted gangs

[Limited number of free articles per month] The net has been tightening on the family claimed to be behind more than 20 years of murder, drug smuggling and terror | Telegraph, UK

‘Today is absolutely historic’: legal marijuana sales roll out in New Jersey

Voters first approved of legalizing cannabis in the state in 2020 and on 21 April, it became one of the first on the US east coast to start recreational sales | Guardian, UK

Superyacht seized with cocaine worth £160m to be sold at auction

The MY Kahu was intercepted 80 miles south of Plymouth last year, and goes on sale Wednesday | Guardian, UK

How do you detect drink spiking and what can be done about it? [Australia]

With clubs and pubs reopening to capacity crowds once more, experts fear cases of drink spiking may be on the rise | Guardian, UK

Recovering drug addicts behind hit podcast offer help to others

Two recovering drug addicts who launched a hit podcast series are working to help others crippled by drug, alcohol and gambling problems | Independent, Ireland

Schools and drugs: health and social responses

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

Internal Medicine Physicians Say White House Strategy Would Improve Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

The 2022 National Drug Control Strategy released by the White House yesterday would expand substance use prevention and early intervention strategies and enable physicians to more effectively provide treatment to patients with substance use disorder (SUD). SUD is a treatable chronic medical condition, like diabetes and hypertension, but access to care for this disorder is limited | ACP, USA

Overdoses, not COVID-19, drive spike in LA homeless deaths

Nearly 2,000 homeless people died in Los Angeles County during the first year of the pandemic, an increase of 56% from the previous year, driven mainly by drug overdoses, authorities said | Medical Xpress, USA

Opioid-sparing effect of cannabinoids for analgesia: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis of preclinical and clinical studies

Cannabinoid co-administration may enable reduced opioid doses for analgesia. This updated systematic review on the opioid-sparing effects of cannabinoids considered preclinical and clinical studies where the outcome was analgesia or opioid dose requirements | Nature, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

The regulatory challenge of synthetic cannabinoids

Earlier this month there was widespread coverage of the tragic death of Damilola Olakanmi, following consumption of what was bought as a 'cannabis gummie', but what police reports indicate was actually infused with a synthetic cannabinoid | Transform, UK

On the Road: The complex path to travelling as a medical cannabis patient

I became a medical cannabis patient for my attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) during lockdown. During the pandemic, I was separated from my family in Ireland and unable to travel. So, I hadn’t realised how difficult this would be until restrictions lifted. Ireland and the UK share a common travel corridor designed to make life easier but it stops short of helping medical cannabis patients | Volteface, UK

The Guardian view on stop and search: this can’t go on

An official warning that black and other ethnic minority people need ‘safeguarding’ from biased police shows how urgently change is needed | Guardian editorial, UK

Risk-Based Legislation Offers Better Alternatives to Tobacco Products

President Biden on March 15 signed into law a massive $1.5 trillion spending bill containing a range of spending priorities. Tucked away in this bill is a small provision that allows the Food and Drug Administration to expand what is considered a “tobacco product” to include synthetic nicotine. This change specifically allows the FDA — under the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act — to regulate all lab-made nicotine products | Inside Sources opinion, USA