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Daily news - 29th April 2022

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Have a good bank holiday weekend. See you again on Tuesday 3rd May


UK news

A complete ban on all smoking would not improve healthy life expectancy for 40 years

New research says ending smoking tomorrow would not be enough to hit Government’s 2035 UK healthy life expectancy target | City University London, UK

Labour adverts attack Lib Dems for wanting to decriminalise drugs

Labour is buying targeted online adverts attacking the Lib Dems for wanting to decriminalise drugs, The Independent has learned | Independent, UK

Experts and charities give ‘overwhelming’ support to Tory drug recovery policy

Some 124 respondents described themselves as “fully supportive” of the proposals, while a further 26 said they were “partially supportive”. A number of influential drug policy campaigners, including Peter Krykant, have publicly voiced concerns regarding “harm reduction” measures | Courier, UK

UK government fund invests in cannabis oil company and London microbrewery

Taxpayer-backed British Business Bank’s Future Fund, set up to provide loans in pandemic, announces 75 new investments | Guardian, UK

Doncaster clinical trial highlights potential for more effective substance misuse treatment

Service users at Aspire have seen their recovery and on-going abstinence prospects boosted thanks to a pioneering trial with anti-depression therapy | Aspire, UK

Children as young as eight ‘pretending to be drug lords in school playground’

Policing boss calls for ‘generational shift’ to teach youngsters about dangers of illegal subtances at younger age and more emphasis on risks of gateway drugs such as cannabis | Independent, UK

SDF Webinar – Workforce Challenges for Drug and Alcohol Services in 2022

TODAY. Friday 29 April 2022, 1.00pm – 2.15pm. This webinar will explore the themes from the recent Scottish Government mixed methods study evaluating issues concerning the drugs and alcohol workforce in Scotland | SDF, UK

Statistics on participation and problem gambling for the year to March 2022

In the year to March 2022, overall participation in any gambling activity (in the last four weeks) significantly increased to 43% (an increase of 3 percentage points on year to March 2021) but does remain lower than the pre-pandemic participation rate (47% in Year to March 2020) | Gambling Commission, UK

Impact of the “when the fun stops, stop” gambling message on online gambling behaviour: a randomised, online experimental study

Safer gambling messages are a common freedom-preserving method of protecting individuals from gambling-related harm. Yet, there is little independent and rigorous evidence assessing the effectiveness of safer gambling messages. In our study, we aimed to test the effect of the historically most commonly-used UK safer gambling message on concurrent gambling behaviour of people who gamble in the UK | Lancet, UK

Hakeem Hussain: Mum jailed over son's asthma attack death

A post-mortem examination confirmed Hakeem died of uncontrolled asthma, and toxicology evidence proved he had inhaled tobacco smoke in the hours before his death | BBC, UK

Nitrous oxide: Man arrested for inhaling laughing gas at car wheel

A motorist who was caught by police inhaling laughing gas continued to do so as he was being questioned, Surrey Police have said | BBC, UK


International news

US FDA moves to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars

Effort to ‘help prevent children from becoming the next generation of smokers’ likely to face stiff opposition from big tobacco | Guardian, UK

Blood of the cocaine war with Wade Davis - podcast

Anthropological Ethnobotanist – Wade Davis educates Dave about the true culture of a country known for its drug cartels and cocaine trafficking – Colombia | Drug Science, UK

British Virgin Islands: Premier Andrew Fahie arrested in US drug sting

The leader of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) has been arrested for alleged drug smuggling and money laundering in the US | BBC, UK

Rethink Ireland €600,000 Rural Recovery Fund Awardees

Rethink Ireland has announced the six Awardees of the Rural Recovery Fund with support from Google.org and the Government of Ireland via the Dormant Accounts Fund. The six recipients of the €600,000 Fund are Peter McVerry Trust, Ana Liffey Drug Project, Camphill Initiatives for Social Ecology, Kantoher Development Group, Grow Remote and Ludgate Operations | Irish Tech News, Ireland

The Wall of Shame – Why crack consumption rooms are needed in Paris

In the last 3 decades marginalized people who use crack in Paris have been chased from one public park to the other by the police. Recently the police even built a wall to block the users from the rest of society. This new documentary explores the history of crack in Paris, and amplifies the voices of experts and residents who call for a better solution: safe crack consumption rooms | Drug Reporter, Hungary

More than a million smokers likely to quit after US bans menthol cigarettes

A new study projects that a U.S. ban on menthol cigarettes, proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will lead more than 1.3 million smokers to quit. Among them, Black smokers will see the greatest impact | Medical Xpress, USA

Sentiments and emotions in social media associated with substance abuse come to light

Substantial differences exist between the texts of the posts from Twitter users who self-report nonmedical prescription drug use (NMPDU) and those who do not, and between males and females who report NMPDU, according to a recent study from Emory University | Medical Xpress, USA

Structural and community changes during COVID-19 and their effects on overdose precursors among rural people who use drugs: a mixed-methods analysis

[Open access] The COVID-19 pandemic, and mitigation strategies aimed at curbing infection, disrupted communities and lives of people who use drugs. These disruptions altered individual drug use and mental health outcomes, which could increase risk for overdose. We recommend addressing structural and community factors, including developing multi-level interventions, to combat overdose | Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, USA

The DRAM, Vol. 18(5) - Pre-drinking might save money, but it can come at a cost

This week, The DRAM reviews a study by Mariana G. R. Santos and colleagues that compared the pre-drinking practices and associated harms among university students in Brazil and the UK | BASIS, USA

Biden Embraces Some Harm Reduction Policies — But Doubles Down on Drug War

The war on drugs will not end under President Joe Biden, at least for now, but change is afoot. The overdose crisis has forced federal policy makers to embrace harm reduction policies, roughly 40 years after activist collectives and underground clinics began distributing clean syringes and other safety supplies to drug users, strategies proven to prevent overdose deaths and the spread of disease | Truth Out, USA

Vapes and Methadone: An All-Round Harm Reduction Story

Danielle Russell is a third-year PhD student at Arizona State University, and a co-investigator on a current study examining access to methadone during COVID-19 | Filter Magazine, USA



Blogs, comment and opinion

DOUGLAS ROSS: Why a legal right to recovery is the way forward on drug deaths

Scotland is in the grip of a drug deaths crisis. No matter how much we all wish this wasn’t true, the grim reality cannot be ignored | Press and Journal, UK

Cannabis patients aren’t addicts: it’s time to let that fear go

If you cast your eyes back to articles published recently on the Volteface website, you’ll find one entitled ‘We need to talk about cannabis dependency’. The author is completely right of course – we do need to talk about it. Cannabis dependency and the potential to abuse cannabis is a very real problem for some and, perhaps of equal importance, it’s a problem which stands firmly at the forefront of arguments against improving access to medical cannabis or indeed, changing cannabis legalisation and regulation as a whole | Volteface, UK

Four nations, 15 years: alcohol policy in Scotland

The Alcohol Health Alliance UK was launched 15 years ago. Across the four nations, there have been great policy successes and pitfalls over that time. In this blog series, we look back on the progress that has been made to help reduce alcohol harm across the UK and reflect upon what needs to happen next. In this edition, Alison Douglas, Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, examines how alcohol policy has changed in Scotland during the lifetime of the AHA | AHA UK, UK

Integrating MAT, Abstinence-Based Approaches to Recovery 

An interesting discussion with a passionate advocate for MAT expansion and the most prominent advocate for the “new paradigm“ | Recovery Review blog, USA