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Daily news - 9th February 2022

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UK news

Shooting Up: infections and other injecting-related harms among people who inject drugs in the UK, 2020 An update December 2021

This report describes the extent of infections and injecting-related harms among people who inject drugs (PWID) in the United Kingdom.

Some key messages: 1) Data indicate people who inject drugs have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, with access to services severely limited. 2) Hepatitis C continues to be the most common infection among PWID in the UK. 3) Hepatitis B remains uncommon but vaccine uptake needs to be sustained, particularly in younger age groups and recent initiates to injecting where the uptake of vaccination is particularly low. 4) HIV infections and outbreaks continue to occur among PWID, although, HIV prevalence in this group remains comparatively low. 5) Cases of bacterial infections among PWID dropped in 2020, although this is thought to be due to limited hospital activity as a result of the pandemic. 6) The recent increase in the sharing and re-use of injecting equipment observed among PWID participating in bio-behavioural surveys is of concern. 7) Changes in psychoactive drug preferences could lead to riskier injecting practices, particularly the continued high levels of in injection of crack cocaine in England and Wales, and increase in injection of powdered cocaine in Scotland.  8) Rates of both fatal and non-fatal overdose are at an all-time high. This is in the context of improved availability of naloxone and increased self-reported carriage of take-home naloxone among PWID. | UKHSA, UK

What progress has been made this Harm Awareness Month?

Editor-in-Chief Lucy Dunn speaks again to Peter Krykant, ardant drug policy reform campaigner, following this year's Harm Awareness Month, about the changes that have been made surrounding drug support since last year | The Glasgow Guardian, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Excise Duties

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the proposed alcohol duty system announced in the Budget on 2 November 2021 on the trend of increased liver deaths in the UK | They work for you, UK

Alcoholism: Photography key to man's escape from addiction - video

A man from North Yorkshire has described how photography has helped him recover from alcohol addiction | BBC, UK

Dorchester's phone box alcohol support postcards cut down

A pop-up art project set up in a pair of disused phone boxes to offer support to people affected by alcohol addiction has been found torn down | BBC, UK

EPISODE #149 Project Twenty21 Update with Anne Katrin Schlag and Mags Houston from Drug Science - video

This week we’re excited to welcome Mags Houston and Dr. Anne Katrin Schlag from Drug Science - independent science led drugs charity based in London | Cannabis Conversation, UK

Armed Buckingham Palace intruder who entered grounds with kitchen knife and cocaine is spared jail

Cameron Kalani, 44, admitted trespassing and possession of a knife and cocaine | Independent, UK

Labour councillor to face US extradition over alleged drug offence

Daniel Barwell, who was elected in Doncaster in May 2021, was detained by the Metropolitan Police on Wednesday | BBC, UK

Rangi Chase: Former Man of Steel gets reduced drug ban after attending UK Anti-Doping course

The 35-year-old has now served the ban, which was triggered by traces of benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, in a test last September | BBC, UK

Peterborough: Class A drugs haul worth £933k seized by police

Officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) found the Class A drugs after stopping a car in Boongate on Monday | BBC, UK

Isle of Man: Man caught growing cannabis plants at home fined £1,300

A man who grew cannabis in what police described as an "unsophisticated set-up" at his home has been fined £1,300 | BBC, UK


International news

‘Everyone’s using’: Mozambique scrambles to stem a rising tide of drug addiction

[Limited number of free articles per week] The country, a key transit point on international trafficking routes, used to have low rates of drug abuse – until now | Telegraph, UK

GOP outraged at $30m Biden plan to fund ‘crack pipe distribution’ in effort to reduce drug harm

Conservative legislators are outraged by recent reports that a Biden administration drug harm reduction programme may put some of its funds towards safer smoking kits | Independent, UK

‘Cheese is like heroin’: New York mayor raises eyebrows with drug comparison

Eric Adams admits to lapses in his veganism as he launches campaign to get New Yorkers to eat a more plant-based diet | Guardian, UK

Dutch prosecutor says torture chamber discovery shows cocaine users ‘consequences of their habits’

A refashioned dentist chair with arm and leg straps was in one of the containers discovered by police | Independent, UK

Harnessing our health data. If we don't measure it, we can't manage it

Wed, 23 February 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 GMT. Up-to-date data is key to both understanding the harm from alcohol and in advocating for progressive alcohol controls measures | Alcohol Action Ireland, Ireland

C-EHRN Podcast Series #3: How to support broader decriminalisation processes?

Following the 5th European Harm Reduction Conference opening session Drug Policy, Decriminalisation: The next global step for Europe?, we recorded the 2nd episode of C-EHRN Podcast Series. Our guests discussed why there are still too few countries taking the bold step of decriminalisation even though it is proven that it works? | C-EHRN, The Netherlands

U.S. Justice Dept. might allow safe injection sites to curb opioid deaths

There are indications the U.S. Justice Department may be open to the idea of allowing safe injection sites, a year after it won a court battle against them | Medical Xpress, USA

Study finds rising racial disparities in opioid and stimulant deaths

Between 2009 and 2019, overdose deaths in the United States involving opioids and stimulant drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, surged compared to deaths from stimulants alone. Fatalities linked specifically to cocaine combined with opioids rose by nearly 450 percent, an alarming trend fueled by the growing contamination of non-opioid drugs with fentanyl, an extremely potent synthetic opioid | News Medical, USA

Cannabis-related emergency department visits by youth increased five-fold in Ontario between 2003 and 2017

Cannabis-related emergency department visits and subsequent hospitalizations for adolescents and young adults in Ontario have increased nearly five-fold from 2003 to 2017, according to a new study led by the CHEO Research Institute | EurekAlert, USA

Study finds admissions for alcoholic hepatitis rose 50 percent in early months of the pandemic

In new research published in Liver International, researchers at Henry Ford Health System have found that people hospitalized for alcoholic hepatitis—a life threatening liver disease fueled by alcohol use—increased a staggering 50 percent in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic | Medical Xpress, USA

Almost all kids have tobacco on their hands, even in non-smoking homes

Young children touch everything - carpets, tabletops, toys, clothes, etc. - and then touch their mouths and faces. This makes them especially vulnerable to thirdhand smoke, the chemical residue from tobacco smoke left behind in dust and on surfaces after someone smokes or vapes | EurekAlert, USA

Harm-reduction policies for drug addicts gain traction under Biden administration

Endorsements of safe-consumption sites, distribution of crack-smoking kits raise GOP eyebrows | washington Times, USA

The Mexican Government’s Lawsuit Against US Gunmakers Over Drug-War Deaths

On January 31, officials representing 13 US states and dozens of counties, advocates and others submitted official statements in support of an historic lawsuit brought by Mexico’s government against US gun manufacturers | Filter Magazine, USA

Proposed Drug-Decrim Ballot Initiative All Set in Washington State

Washington State activists have filed a proposed ballot initiative that would remove criminal penalties for simple drug possession and direct nearly $150 million annually to expand substance use disorder treatment, with a focus on outreach and long-term recovery support | Filter Magazine, USA

Examining the cost and impact of dosing fees among clients in opioid agonist treatment: Results from a cross-sectional survey of Australian treatment clients

[Open access] Negative consequences of treatment costs to clients, particularly dosing fees, are evident. These costs impact treatment access and retention that may negatively impact clients' physical health, mental health and social wellbeing | Addiction, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Check Your Drugs (and yourself): the impact of drug checking services on consumer behaviours

Drug checking services provide a breakdown of the chemical composition of drug samples that people bring to laboratories. Depending on need, such services have been offered in festivals, through the mail or in covert locations. What they all share is a lasting impact on personal decisions about how they use drugs | Talking Drugs, UK