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Daily news - 4th February 2022

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UK news

Seizures of drugs in England and Wales, financial year ending 2021

Police forces and Border Force made a total of 223,106 drug seizures in England and Wales in year ending March 2021, a 21% increase compared with the previous year (183,646); this is the third consecutive annual increase in seizures, reversing a downward trend since year ending March 2012 | Home Office, UK

The impact of changes in COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on alcohol consumption and drinking occasion characteristics in Scotland and England in 2020: an interrupted time-series analysis (PDF)

[Open access] Early evidence suggests that COVID-19 lockdown restrictionsaffect alcohol consumption. However, existing studies lack data on how drinking prac-tices changed as restrictions disrupted peoples work, family life and socializing routines.We examined changes in consumption and drinking occasion characteristics during threeperiods of changing restrictions in Scotland/England | Addiction, UK

2 in 5 drinkers in the North East admit they feel at risk of cancer

2 in 5 drinkers in the North East admit they feel at risk of cancer as a result of their drinking. But nearly half who saw a hard hitting alcohol cancer awareness campaign took steps towards cutting down | Gateshead Council, UK

Drug crime involving children highest proportion on record

Youngsters across England and Wales have been cautioned or convicted over drugs nearly 48,000 times since records began in 2013-14, figures show | Evening Stabdard, UK

Children With Drug Problems Aren’t Criminals – They’re Victims

Drugs – including alcohol – play a sinister role in child sexual exploitation, and if we want to bring drug death numbers down, then targeted interventions during childhood are absolutely crucial | Volteface, UK

Scottish charity 'befriends' alcoholics to help them stay sober

An Edinburgh charity has started a new service to befriend people suffering from alcohol-related illness while they are in hospital | BBC, UK

Medicinal cannabis saved my life, so why can’t people get it on the NHS?

[Limited number of free articles per week] Lucy Stafford, who has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, says the drug is the only thing that relieves her symptoms, but it costs £1,400 a month | Telegraph, UK

In conversation with... Dan Lewer on mortality trends in opioid users in England - podcast

Dan Lewer discusses recent mortality trends in people who use illicit opioids in England, and whether these have any association with ageing of this patient population | Lancet, UK

Annual Report and Accounts

Each year we publish our Annual Report and Accounts which reviews our performance against our strategic objectives and mission as set out in our strategic plans | Alcohol Change UK, UK

Wales to close bars for second half of Six Nations games and introduce lower-alcohol beer

[Limited number of free articles per week] The measures have been introduced to limit alcohol-fuelled fan disorder at the Principality Stadium | Telegraph, UK

AcoRN Webinar: The Politics of Alcohol

Thu, 10 February 2022, 13:00 – 14:30 GMT. This webinar will focus on the alcohol policymaking process from a number of perspectives, examining industry, media and public health influences on this contentious process | AcoRN, UK

Colchester: Police shred cannabis plants on busy high street

A "significant" amount of cannabis has been shredded on a busy high street after it was discovered by police | BBC, UK


International news

Tele-harm reduction: a new approach in the US shows promise for people with HIV who inject drugs

A pilot programme incorporated tele-health access to antiretroviral therapy, HIV providers and flexible medication delivery and storage options into an existing syringe services programme in Miami, Florida. Twenty-five of the 35 people with HIV who enrolled in the  “tele-harm reduction” programme achieved viral suppression within six months | NAM Aidsmap, UK

Eurobarometer survey: European citizens concerned about impact of drugs

This week, the European Commission published the results of the latest Eurobarometer survey on the impact of drugs on communities in the EU. Between 30 June and 10 July 2021, 25 713 people were surveyed (Europeans aged 15 and over) across 27 EU countries | EMCDDA, Portugal

Why are alcohol- and drug-related deaths rising in the US and not elsewhere?

In the United States, mortality is rising, with more deaths than ever attributable to alcohol and drug poisoning and to suicide, in conjunction with increasing rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Yet many other wealthy nations have seen rates of these so-called "deaths of despair" decreasing | Medical Xpress, USA

Long-term cannabis use damages lungs, but in a different way than tobacco

Study co-author Professor Bob Hancox says until recently, it was assumed that cannabis would have similar effects to tobacco, but this does not seem to be the case | Medical Xpress, USA

Does it work if you work out? Exercise-based interventions promote exercise but not drinking changes among individuals with alcohol use disorder

The majority of individuals with alcohol use disorder do not seek treatment. Efforts to engage non-treatment seeking individuals in care – including screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) – have produced mixed results. Given the high need for alternative approaches, these researchers developed and tested exercise interventions aimed to increase physical activity and reduce drinking among non-treatment seeking individuals with alcohol use disorder | Recovery Research Institute, USA

Evidence from analytic models that account for the propensity to attend 12-step mutual-help groups confirms past study findings showing benefit

 In this study, the research team used a sophisticated set of statistical analyses to approximate a balanced comparison between higher and lower levels of 12-step involvement on substance use during a 12-month period among individuals who attended inpatient treatment | Recovery Research Institute, USA

DEA Wants to Add Five Drugs to the Highly Criminalized Schedule I List

It’s dispiriting that in 2022, with decriminalization efforts taking off nationwide, adding more drugs to the Controlled Substances Act is still on the federal agenda. But the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has proposed placing five new psychedelic compounds in the key federal drug law’s most restrictive category, Schedule I | Filter Magazine, USA

St. Albert RCMP test DARE replacement

The St. Albert RCMP have been teaching students about drug abuse and conflict resolution through the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program since the 1990s, said Ronald Harvey teacher Jill Schellenberg, who is part of the new Botvin pilot | St Albert Today, Canada



Blogs, comment and opinion

Young People In Drug & Alcohol Treatment 2022

Annual statistics show that COVID has quickened the continuing fall of young people in drug and alcohol treatment | Russell Webster, UK

Soap operas can deliver effective health education to young people – new research

In an episode of Eastenders, we see characters Lauren Branning and Phil Mitchell struggling with alcohol misuse. There are trials and tribulations for both and obstacles to overcome. Through family and community support, as well as assistance from health organisations and alcohol support groups, we see them gradually getting better and coming out the other end stronger | Conversation, UK

“The disposable foot soldiers of crime” – Media, County Lines and Moral Panics

‘We are cutting the head off the snake and taking down the kingpins behind these deadly supply lines…Drug abuse and addiction ruins communities, devastates lives and tears families apart.’ | Talking Drugs, UK

County lines dealing in pandemic behind cocaine seizures trebling in a year

[Limited number of free articles per week] Police confiscate 11 tons of drugs in 12 months. Plus, Tony Saggers on why proactive policing of drugs will protect lives in the long term | Telegraph, UK

Low- and very low-dose buprenorphine induction: new(ish) uses for an old(ish) medication?

Low-dose buprenorphine initiation is increasingly necessary and is the most accurate and appropriate term to describe the overlapping initiation of buprenorphine with full agonist opioids | Addiction editorial, UK

The spectrum of user involvement approaches

Many charities are trying to involve those with lived experience of the issues they work on in decisions that they make. Whether this is developing an organisation wide strategy, designing a new service, undertaking peer-led research or leading a campaign—as a sector, we are more aware than ever that this is not only the right thing to do, but can make our activity more relevant and more impactful | Think NPC blog, UK

A Silent Epidemic: Treatment-Resistant Depression

Patients are desperate for options. But they’re facing a medical community that is prone to making a couple of missteps: first, giving up on difficult-to-treat depression as a lost cause, and, second, keeping old-fashioned barriers up between pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy | Psychology Today blog, UK

Fish on acid? Microdosing zebrafish with LSD shows its potential benefits for humans

Believed to increase productivity, spark creativity or improve open-mindedness, the microdosing of psychedelic drugs is gaining popularity with both academic researchers and those interested in experimenting | Conversation, USA