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Daily news - 5th August 2022

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UK news

Alcohol-specific deaths

This statistical report details information on the number of deaths that were registered in Scotland in 2021 which are classified as alcohol-specific. It also includes breakdowns by sex, age, cause of death and deprivation | National Records of Scotland, UK

Slight increase in Alcohol-specific Deaths

1,245 people died from conditions caused by alcohol in Scotland in 2021, according to latest figures published by National Records of Scotland. The number of deaths is 5% (55) higher than 2020 and is the highest number of deaths since 2008. More detailed analysis shows the rate of mortality from alcohol-specific causes was 22.3 deaths per 100,000 people in 2021. Whilst this is higher than the 21.5 deaths per 100,000 in 2020, it is not a statistically significant increase, and remains below the peak rate of deaths from alcohol in 2006 | National Records of Scotland, UK

Alcohol deaths at highest level since 2008

The number of people in Scotland whose death was caused by alcohol has risen again and remains at the highest level since 2008 | BBC, UK

The deadly consequences of Britain’s lockdown drinking - podcast

What will the cost be of our lockdown drinking habits? A University of Sheffield study has estimated England could have up to 25,000 excess deaths over the next 20 years | Guardian, UK

Record drug-related deaths ‘public health emergency’, says support services regional director - video

We spoke to Lee Wilson from Humankind, which runs drug and alcohol support services, and began by asking him why society does not pay more attention to substance abuse | Channel 4 News, UK

Scotland's drugs problem - audio

Scotland has the worst figures for drug-related deaths anywhere in Europe. According to National Records for Scotland, 1330 drug-users died in 2021 - a slight improvement, but a death rate per capita which is still 4.8 times higher than England's | BBC, UK

Northants Police to trial life-saving spray for drug overdose victims

Officers in Northampton and Kettering will be trained how to use Nixoid nasal spray | Northants Live, UK


International news

Pain-relief shortage in poorer countries ‘due to stigma of US opioids crisis’

Palliative doctors call for relaxation of laws to redress huge unmet need for drugs among majority of world’s population | Guardian, UK

Brittney Griner: US basketball star jailed for nine years on drug charges

The double Olympic winner has admitted possessing cannabis oil, but told the court she had made an "honest mistake" | BBC, UK

Tobacco giant’s cash for vapes scheme paused after backlash from Australian health experts

Proposed program that would see Philip Morris pay pharmacists $275 when they order VEEV vapes labelled ‘nothing short of appalling’ | Guardian, UK

New European survey sheds light on how Irish people are using drugs

Among the survey sample of people who have used drugs in the last year, cannabis was the most commonly used drug, followed in order by cocaine, ecstasy, and ketamine. In the last year, 36% of respondents had used one drug, 20% used two different drugs, and 44% used three or more. Among 18–24-year-old respondents, 55% of males and 50% of females had used three or more drugs in the past year | HRB, Ireland

Survey highlights 'current popularity of ketamine' with drug 'the substance of choice' at festivals

Ketamine is fast becoming one of Ireland's most-used drugs with almost 25% of Irish drug users reporting its use and more than one third of 18–24-year-old males reporting using it last year, according to new research | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Youngsters who vape five times more likely to start smoking

The results of a project undertaken by the Health Research Board (HRB) show that users of e-cigarettes — the formal term for vaping products — are between three and five times “more likely to start smoking tobacco cigarettes compared to those who never used e-cigarettes" | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Almost 90 percent of people with opioid use disorder not receiving life-saving medication, new study finds

Researchers sound alarm on treatment gap and suggest ways to remove treatment barriers as opioid overdoses soar to historic levels | EurekAlert, USA

Therapeutic use of ketamine may be safe, study suggests

Commonly used in medicine as an anesthetic, ketamine is also increasingly prescribed to relieve depressive symptoms. This very fast-acting psychotropic drug is particularly indicated for the treatment of patients resistant to conventional antidepressants | News medical, USA

Are reduced-nicotine cigarettes coming?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced a plan to reduce nicotine in cigarettes, and addiction experts say such a plan could have a substantial impact on public health in the United States. Tobacco smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease—at last count, there are 480,000 deaths a year related to smoking in this country | Medical Xpress, USA

Trends in the availability and type of drugs sold on the internet via cryptomarkets, June 2021 – May 2022

From 1st June 2021 to 31st May 2022, 27 cryptomarkets were monitored weekly, of which 11 closed before the end of the reporting period. We began monitoring 14 new cryptomarkets during this period | NDARC, Australia

Criminal justice contact and health amongst people who inject drugs in Greater Brisbane, Queensland: Findings from the Illicit Drug Reporting System

This bulletin looks at self-reported contact with the criminal justice system among a sample of people who inject drugs in Greater Brisbane, Queensland, and the associations between past-year criminal justice contact, prison history, and self-reported physical and mental health, measures of psychological distress and indicators of socioeconomic disadvantage (receipt of a government pension or benefit, and unstable housing) that are also social determinants of health | NDARC, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Another new high for drug deaths in England and Wales – here’s what needs to change

Drug-related deaths in England and Wales have been rising year on year for the past decade. The latest data shows another distressing increase. Drug-related deaths rose more than 6% to a new record of 4,859 deaths in 2021 | Conversation, UK

The Stigmatisation of Hemp – a History

Chowing down on a succulent fried chicken or a tasty burger was something Ethan Brown of Maryland in the US loved, but sorely missed when he turned vegan. Yet, he could not ignore the discourse that was going on around meat production and its harm to the environment, human health and animal slaughter | Volteface, UK

Finnish Drug Consumption Rooms Gain Popular and Political Support

According to the latest EMCDDA Drug Report, there were 258 drug-induced deaths in Finland in 2020, one of the highest rates in Europe considering the population size is about 5 and half million | Talking Drugs, UK

Thailand breaks away from Southeast Asia’s brutally punitive drug policies

In a region that stands out for having some of the most brutally punitive drug policies in the world, it was astonishing to witness Thailand become the first country in Asia to legalise cannabis | IDPC blog, UK

Not your grandma's weed: Why potency limits must be part of any push to legalize cannabis

Cannabis products are far more potent today than what baby boomers and Gen X may have used. The drug's reputation as 'harmless' needs to confront the harmful realities of its increased potency | USA Today opinion, USA

The US government’s call for deep nicotine reduction in cigarettes could save millions of lives – an expert who studies tobacco addiction explains

The cigarette is the only legal consumer product that – when used as intended – causes the premature death of half of long-term users | Conversation, USA

Brittney Griner’s sentence is in line with Russia’s strict drug penalties – but how long she serves will be decided outside the courtroom

The sentencing of WNBA star Brittney Griner to nine years behind bars and a fine of 1 million rubles – between US$10,000 and $20,000 depending on the exchange rate – should come as no surprise to those familiar with Russian law | Conversation, USA