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Daily news - 4th January 2022

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UK news

Press release: Children whose parents smoke are four times as likely to take up smoking themselves

A new film from the government Better Health Smoke Free campaign has been released to discuss how adult smoker can influence younger people | DHSC, UK

Teenagers four times more likely to smoke if parents do, say experts

Smokers urged to make quitting a new year’s resolution by considering impact on younger generation | Guardian, UK

Dry January

Dry January is your chance for a break. A reset. 31 days to try something new. Relax with a bath rather than a bottle. Throw off the sluggishness and reclaim your mornings | Alcohol Change UK, UK

Keep going to pubs during dry January, UK hospitality bosses urge

Leading figures say industry will struggle if people stay away, with pubs ‘about so much more than having a drink’ | Guardian, UK

Exclusive: Sadiq Khan to begin decriminalising drugs in London

[Limited number of free articles per week] Mayor plans to end prosecution of young people caught with cannabis and launch counselling scheme for people found with Class B narcotics | Telegraph, UK

Less than half of people who vowed to cut back on drinking stuck to plan – poll

Drinkaware says a survey found 46% of drinkers who vowed to cut back on alcohol after restrictions lifted stuck to their plans | Evening Standard, UK

New research shows £500m wasted each year in England on dependency-forming medicines

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence released new research on the 19th October which estimates that around half a billion pounds of taxpayers’ money is wasted each year in England on medicines that can cause dependency, including antidepressants, painkillers and sleeping pills | All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence, UK

Response to NICE regarding the draft Safe Prescribing and Withdrawal Guideline

APPG Chair Danny Kruger MP, and co-chair Lord Crisp have written to Dr Paul Chrisp, Director of the Centre for Guidelines in response to the draft Safe Prescribing and Withdrawal Guideline. They express concerns that the withdrawal management sections of the draft guideline do not currently provide the basic information about tapering to enable patients to withdraw safely | All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence, UK

Smoking rates highlight Bristol's health inequalities

Christina Gray, the city's director of public health, said declining smoking rates had exposed "big inequalities" between rich and poor | BBC, UK

Ketamine therapy swiftly reduces depression and suicidal thoughts

Ketamine therapy has a swift short-term effect on reducing symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts, according to a review of all the available evidence | University of Exeter, UK

Alcoholic Drinks and Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people were admitted to emergency departments where substance misuse of (a) drugs and (b) alcohol was a contributing factor for their reason for attendance in the last year | They work for you, UK

'I was a heroin addict - but ended up guarding Buckingham Palace'

Paul Boggie admits he had given up on life after years as a heroin addict. But after turning his life around, he joined the Army and found himself standing guard at Buckingham Palace | BBC, UK

Met Police face backlash over ‘PR stunt’ after drugs swabbing clubgoers to ‘support women’s safety’

One woman was arrested on the night taskforce officers were filmed conducting drugs tests on people entering two venues in Shoreditch | i news, UK

Isle of Wight man produces cannabis Cancard in court

A Newport man accused of possessing cannabis is having his case reviewed after he produced a type of card which proves medical dispensation to use the class B drug — the first such case heard on the Isle of Wight | Isle of Wight County Press, UK

Mum furious with Asda after 13-year-old handed cigarettes in delivery

A mother from Gloucester who cancelled her grocery delivery - including two packs of cigarettes - says she cannot believe it arrived and was taken in by her 13-year-old daughter | ITV, UK

Free face coverings and visors to charities scheme

The provision of free face coverings and visors for charities under the NAVCA umbrella between 1 July 2021 and 1 August 2021 | DHSC, UK

Most hangover ‘cures’ have little evidence behind them, study finds

Of substances tested, strongest effects were seen for clove extract, though sample size was small | Guardian, UK


International news

Republic of Ireland's plan for alcohol minimum pricing comes into effect

A decision by the Republic of Ireland's government to introduce minimum unit pricing on alcohol has come into effect | BBC, UK

‘We’re making harm reduction cool’: overdose reversal Narcan becomes a rave essential

As recreational drugs like cocaine are increasingly cut with fentanyl, a movement has sprung up to prevent deaths in nightclubs | Guardian, UK

Volteface Spotlight: Women in Medical Cannabis Week

We are dedicating the first week of January 2022 to spotlighting the work of women in the medical cannabis sector. Everyday this week we will be releasing articles featuring interviews with some fantastic women working in the sector, who all hold unique personal and professional experience, knowledge and skill sets which has led them to their current role | Volteface, UK

Ketamine for the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders: comprehensive systematic review

Systematic reviews and meta-analyses provide support for robust, rapid and transient antidepressant and anti-suicidal effects of ketamine. Evidence for other indications is less robust, but suggests similarly positive and short-lived effects. The conclusions should be interpreted with caution because of the high risk of bias of included studies. Optimal dosing, modes of administration and the most effective forms of adjunctive psychotherapeutic support should be examined further | BJPsych Open, UK

Alcohol Review’s 2021

The year ended with the discovery that the US suffered a mystery 26% increase in alcohol-induced deaths last year, according to provisional CDC figures. This is higher than the UK’s 19% and five times the rise in Germany | Phil Cain, UK

Afghan agents pour 3,000 litres of alcohol into Kabul canal amid crackdown

Liquor destroyed after barrels seized and three arrested in capital as Taliban government increases raids over alcohol and drugs | Guardian, UK

Minimum unit pricing for alcohol to come into effect from Tuesday

The Government decision to introduce minimum unit pricing on alcohol this week has been welcomed by Alcohol Action Ireland. The new law will largely affect alcohol sold in off licences, shops and supermarkets | RTe, Ireland

HSE considers ban on sale of tobacco in State

Making tobacco firms pay for related health costs being explored in bid to end smoking | Irish Times, Ireland

Growing expectation of Irish citizens’ assembly on drug use this year

Campaigners are increasingly confident that a citizens’ assembly on drug use could take place this year in Ireland | Irish Examiner, Ireland

'They showed me I mattered': Women explain how inner city project helped transform their lives

The Saol service works to help women in Dublin recovering from addiction | Journal, Ireland

Garda figures show shift toward cannabis decriminalisation as prosecutions halved in 2021

The number of people either charged or summonsed for simple possession of cannabis up to the middle of December 2021 has dramatically fallen away compared to the previous year, largely due to offenders receiving a caution instead of a court appearance | Independent, Ireland

Association of e-Cigarette Use With Discontinuation of Cigarette Smoking Among Adult Smokers Who Were Initially Never Planning to Quit

 In this US nationally representative cohort study of 1600 adult daily cigarette smokers who did not initially use e-cigarettes and had no plans to ever quit smoking, subsequent daily e-cigarette use was significantly associated with an 8-fold greater odds of cigarette discontinuation compared with no e-cigarette use | JAMA Network Open, USA

Flavored vapes still in stores despite ban

Kid-friendly flavored e-cigarettes are still widely available online and in stores, despite a federal judge's ruling that should have pulled the products off store shelves by early September, a new report (PDF) shows | Medical Xpress, USA

Teens and young adults increasingly using alcohol and cannabis together, exacerbating negative consequences

The paper, in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, is evidence that young people are increasingly using both substances | Medical Xpress, USA

Expert Panel Consensus on Management of Advanced Cancer–Related Pain in Individuals With Opioid Use Disorder

In this qualitative study, experts deemed it appropriate to continue medication for opioid use disorder (buprenorphine-naloxone or methadone) and to dose methadone outside the context of a methadone clinic 3 times per day. The appropriateness of adding full agonist opioids to either buprenorphine-naloxone or methadone depended on prognosis | JAMA Network Open, USA

New York City will install 10 vending machines that dispense Naloxone and clean needles to help fight the opioid crisis

New York City health officials are launching a pilot program for public health vending machines (PHVM) to help drug users who are "disproportionately burdened" by overdoses | Business Insider, USA

Synthetic Alcohol Promises to Make Drinking Safer. But Experts Are Wary

Our ancestors started drinking booze millions of years ago, and we never stopped. Alcohol is embedded in nearly every culture in the world as a social lubricant, marker of taste and cornerstone of celebrations | TIME, USA

How Decriminalization Impacts Racial Disparities in Cannabis Arrests

Cannabis decriminalization has modestly reduced the disproportionate possession arrests of Black adults compared to white, according to new research | Filter Magazine, USA

Only a Fraction of Medicare Recipients With Opioid Use Disorder Are Receiving Medication

Each year, hundreds of thousands of Medicare recipients with opioid use disorder (OUD) are eligible for safe, effective medication but don’t receive it—with patients of color having significantly less access than white patients | Filter Magazine, USA

The BASIS Year-In-Review: 2021

As we approach the end of 2021, we look back with gratitude on all that we’ve been able to accomplish with The BASIS, not just during this past year but for all 26 years since we first launched this resource | BASIS, USA

New Zealand aims for zero smokers in a generation. Could the plan work elsewhere?

Nearly all countries agree: Smoking is bad, and getting people to kick the habit is a worthy public health goal. But no country has ever attempted what New Zealand is about to try: An outright ban on all cigarette sales | Medical Xpress, USA


Blogs, comment and opinion

I was a heroin addict and had given up on myself. Then suddenly, briefly, I felt a desire to live

At my lowest point, I sought self-annihilation. I was saved at the last moment by two of the few people I had not pushed away | Guardian, UK

Helping the helpers: it’s time to support those who hold Britain’s communities together

The inspirational figures fighting for vulnerable people can pay a heavy price, the Guardian’s video team has learned | Guardian opinion, UK

If you think drug addiction is ‘self-inflicted’, you’re part of the problem

It is inevitable that we will carry on investing record amounts of money in drug treatment until we get to grips with the root causes that propel people towards needing treatment in the first place | Independent voices, UK

How to make Dry January a success

Dry January, the campaign led by Alcohol Change UK that challenges people to get through January without alcohol, is now in its tenth year. In that time it has grown from 4,000 people signing up in 2013 to over 130,000 last year – although it’s likely that a far greater number take part without formally registering | Conversation, UK

Top ten of 2021 #10 – You’re all going to hate the word ‘recovery’

One of the problems with an aspirational and non-prescriptive definition of recovery is that it is hard to measure. The definitions most commonly featured in the literature share some elements including wellbeing or health, abstinence and citizenship | Recovery Review blog, UK

The Trip Report 31/12

Through the work of organisations such as WEDINOS, The Loop, and SaferParty, we know a little more about the drugs in circulation. The report provided below is a summary of their findings over the last week | Cameron Scally, UK

How do testkits work?

Analytical chemistry” can be a bit of an intimidating term, and is probably a poor choice as the first two words in this article, but it doesn’t need to be. All it really means is using chemistry to understand the substance you’re looking at. To do some punk analytical chemistry, all you need is a few bottles of testing reagent | Drugs and Me blog, UK

Police chief: safe standing leads to more cocaine

'If people stand up they'll take cocaine!' is certainly an, er, original take for the new year. Famously, British dealers refuse to sell to people who sit down to watch football | Spectator, UK

Can’t quit, won’t quit: confessions of a die-hard smoker

He started in his 30s, has asthma, and can go more than a week without a cigarette – so why does this writer still not think it’s time to stop? | Guardian, UK

Creating a Broad & Inclusive Recovery Plank

America is facing a huge surge from the impact of increased substance misuse, in part due to COVID-19, but we have been moving in this direction for a long time. Some of the people who are overusing substances right now will end up with severe substance use disorders | Recovery Review blog, UK

Magic mushroom companies are on the Nasdaq now. That’s a recipe for a bad trip

Wall Street and Peter Thiel are all investing in psychedelics. But Oxycotin showed the harm profit-hungry corporations can cause with ‘wonder drugs’ | Guardian, UK

The agony of opioid withdrawal

I’ve been an addiction professional for 27 years, so I’ve learned a lot about the effects of opioids and the experience of opioid withdrawal from doctors, counselors, clients, recovering people with a history of opioid addiction, and other experts | Recovery Review blog, USA

In the ‘90s the U.S. Government Paid TV Networks to Weave “Anti-Drug” Messaging Into Their Plot Lines. Here Are the Worst Examples

In the late 1990s, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), which was established by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, made a deal with multiple TV networks to include anti-drug messaging in show plots | The Column, USA

How Australia’s biggest wine-growing region came to pioneer alcohol control

The vast wine-growing region now known as the South Australian Riverland produces more than a quarter of Australia’s wine grapes and developed a reputation for producing large volumes of cheap cask wine – an image it is now attempting to dislodge | Conversation, Australia



And finally...

You Have No Idea How Hard It Is to Get a Hamster Drunk

The heaviest drinkers in the animal kingdom are punier than you might expect. Elephants, for example, are massive, but they are relative lightweights—they lack a gene for alcohol metabolism. Humans actually rank pretty highly, thanks to our ancestors’ propensity for picking fermented fruit off the ground. But to find the real champs, you have to think smaller | The Atlantic, USA