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Daily news - 1st August 2022

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Analysis: Drug misuse and suicidal behaviour more common on the anniversary of a parent’s death

Writing in The Conversation, Professor Scott Montgomery (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health) shares his new research finding that young people who lost a parent are most likely to be admitted to hospital for drug use or self-harm around the anniversary of their death | UCL, UK

Welsh Government Unveils Smoke-free Wales Roadmap

Welsh Government has launched an ambitious new tobacco control strategy for Wales, which seeks to secure a smoke-free society, less than 5% of the adult population smoking, by 2030.  The strategy lays out firm actions and polices with the aim of finally ending the tobacco epidemic in Wales | ASH Wales, UK

Vaping among teens: A growing trend?

E-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular among teenagers who are not former or current smokers. Young people who use e-cigarettes, or ‘vape’, often use small disposable devices that can contain the maximum permitted nicotine concentration. This article looks at research on the possible adverse health effects of vaping for young people and how the government has said it wants to prevent non-smokers and the young from using e-cigarettes | House of Lords library, UK

Here’s How to Make Music Festivals Safer for Everyone

We went to Secret Garden Party to explore the innovative ways they are tackling drug use, mental health and sexual assault | VICE, UK

FFS explains: Scottish drug deaths and how they compare with UK and Europe

The National Records of Scotland (NRS) has published its latest statistics on drug deaths, which show 1,330 people died of drug misuse in 2021. This is a reduction of one percent on the 1,339 who died in 2020 and the second highest figure on record | The Ferret, UK

ScotRail alcohol ban to remain for the 'foreseeable future'

The ban on passengers drinking alcohol on ScotRail trains will remain in place for the "foreseeable future", the rail operator has said | BBC, UK

English craft cider producers demand the same protection as champagne

Supermarket brands of the tipple, made with added water and sugar, are ‘giving cider a bad name’ | Guardian, UK

Alcohol Alert - July 2022 - podcast

IAS study projects thousands of deaths from pandemic drinking; Global Burden of Disease study; Health Disparities paper delayed; and Commons debates alcohol tax reform | IAS, UK

Recent trends in benzodiazepine use: harms, challenges and best practice

Thu, 18 August 2022, 15:00 – 16:30 BST. Webinar exploring recent trends in benzodiazepine use, associated harms and service responses | Collective Voice, UK

Take the Lead

We’re challenging you to team up with your pup and walk a marathon in a month this August. Join hundreds of others also taking on this paw-some challenge and raising money to end homelessness | St Mungo's, UK

Half a tonne of cocaine found hidden among bananas at Essex port

Drugs with street value of £40m found at Thames port on boat en route from Colombia to Netherlands | Guardian, UK


International news

Head of ‘colossal’ UK-Dubai money-laundering gang jailed for nine years

Abdulla Alfalasi smuggled £100m in dirty cash out of UK, with couriers carrying up to £500,000 per suitcase | Guardian, UK

Opium cultivation and environmental justice in Myanmar

Across the world, the state of environmental stress is unprecedented. As scholarship and activism on ‘environmental justice’ point out, poorer and marginalised communities face particular exposure to environmental harms | IDPC, UK

Stranger Things actor Jamie Campbell Bower praised for addiction post

Stranger Things star Jamie Campbell Bower has been praised for speaking publicly about his struggles with addiction | BBC, UK

WHO publishes new guidelines on HIV, hepatitis and STIs for key populations

The guidelines outline a public health response to HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) for 5 key populations (men who have sex with men, trans and gender diverse people, sex workers, people who inject drugs and people in prisons and other closed settings) | WHO, Switzerland

Drugnet Europe - July 2022

Latest monthly news round-up of international drug policy news | EMCDDA, Portugal

Smoking is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events, disease severity, and mortality among patients hospitalized for SARS-CoV-2 infections

The clinical sequalae of SARS-CoV-2 infection are in part dependent upon age and pre-existing health conditions. Although the use of tobacco products decreases cardiorespiratory fitness while increasing susceptibility to microbial infections, limited information is available on how smoking affects COVID-19 severity. Therefore, we examined whether smokers hospitalized for COVID-19 are at a greater risk for developing severe complications than non-smokers | PLOS One, USA

Saving lives by testing illicit drugs for secret, often-deadly ingredients

In a toxicology lab at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, a team of Brown University researchers has been testing samples labeled "biohazard" to discover the precise nature of their toxicity. The bags contain drug residue from discarded drug paraphernalia collected from harm reduction organizations in local communities | Medical Xpress, USA

U.S. Drug Policy Disconnect: Starting Harm Reduction at Home, Deep Into ‘Drug War’ Abroad

U.S. President Joe Biden’s national drug strategy, which includes a focus on harm reduction to respond to an overdose crisis at home, is at odds with the country’s ongoing “Drug War” in Latin America, which has perennially failed to curb drug supplies, at a huge cost in human lives | WOLA, USA

How many people in recovery are lesbian, gay, or bisexual and do their pathways to recovery differ?

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals experience disproportionately high rates of alcohol and other drug use problems compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Research is needed also on LGB individuals’ recovery experiences to highlight and inform their specific treatment and recovery support needs. In this study, the researchers compared LGB and heterosexual adults on pathways to recovery and indicators of well-being | Recovery Answers, USA

Public stigma of opioid addiction: Is opioid use disorder really a medical illness?

Public stigma of opioid addiction can affect opioid use disorder service availability and access, as well as the mental health and well-being of persons with an opioid use disorder. To further understand opportunities to enhance support for an empirically-supported, public health approach to opioid use disorder, this study reports on the public’s attitudes toward opioid addiction in a statewide survey of adults in Pennsylvania | Recovery Answers, USA

The 'World's Biggest Cannabis Scam' Is Totally Unravelling

Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world are said to have invested in JuicyFields, a firm that pledged to connect online investors with cannabis farms. But now there are suspicions that it was a Ponzi scheme | VICE, USA

Lives Lost to Opioid Toxicity among Ontarians Who Worked in the Construction Industry

This new report, Lives lost to opioid toxicity among Ontarians who worked in the construction industry, from the ODPRN, the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario/Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (OCC/OFPS) and Public Health Ontario (PHO), provides information on the disproportionate impact of opioid toxicity deaths among people working in the construction industry in Ontario | ODPRN, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

Experimenting with drugs

There are lots of people in Scotland who know what they’re doing. The Scottish government need to give them money and get out of the way | Scotland Can, UK

Five things you need to know about new tech and county lines

In our first article we considered the historical relationship between mobile phone technology and the rapid spread of county lines. We found that the exploitation of young people in county lines in a range of roles was enabled by an explosion in mobile phone ownership, from 46% of the UK population in 1999 to 73% in 2000 | CREST Advisory, UK

Britain has a drinking problem – and the alcohol industry can’t afford to let us kick it

The fact that we’re not exactly unwilling participants overshadows the huge influence the sector wields | Guardian opinion, UK

Brazilian Government’s Selective Blindness to Cannabis Evidence

The Bolsonaro administration’s hatred and contempt for science are not new, nor is its authoritarian stance against cannabis and other banned substances. One year ago, a special commission of Brazil’s lower house of Congress approved a bill that seeks to regulate the cultivation of medical cannabis and industrial hemp. The bill had been shelved for six years, and it was promptly shelved again after being voted without following to the Senate | Talking Drugs, UK

Taking certain opioids while on commonly prescribed antidepressants may increase the risk of overdose

Taking oxycodone at the same time as certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a commonly prescribed class of antidepressant, can increase the risk of opioid overdose, according to a study my colleagues and I published | Conversation, USA