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Daily news - 5th January 2022

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UK news

Drug Harms Assessment and Response Team (DHART) - Quarterly summary for professionals: December 2021

Latest evidence on the availability of and the harms associated with drugs, including key clinical messages | OHID, UK

Statement re reports of cannabis decriminalisation in media

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “This limited trial, which is still in development and has yet to be approved by City Hall, would involve three of London’s 32 boroughs and would only apply to 18-24 year olds found in possession of a small amount of cannabis.  It would not apply to any other drug..." | Mayor of London, UK

Psilocybin, in 10mg or 25mg doses, has no short- or long-term detrimental effects in healthy people

Psilocybin can be safely administered at doses of either 10mg or 25mg to up to six participants simultaneously | King's College London, UK

UK Medical Cannabis registry: an analysis of clinical outcomes of medicinal cannabis therapy for chronic pain conditions

[Open access] An association was identified between patients with chronic pain prescribed CBMPs and improvements in pain-specific and general HRQoL outcomes | Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, USA

‘We need to respect the process of healing’: a GP on the overlooked art of recovery

As I embark on a third year of general practice under Covid, I am more conscious than ever that recovery is different for every illness and every patient | Guardian, UK

Can Dry January help the environment?

While those giving the booze the boot for a few weeks may want to improve their health, wellbeing or bank balance, or be driven by simple curiousity, they will also be changing a behaviour that - like many others - impacts the climate | Independent, UK

Drug Checking - From Guerrilla to Government Agent: the Full Spectrum of Drug Checking Services - call for papers

The aim of this special issue is to capitalise on the momentum generated by the growing scientific and political interest in drug checking, in order to present the latest insights and models of drug checking services throughout the world to a diverse academic, policy and professional audience. Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with the journal’s submission guidelines and submitted by January 31st 2022 | Emerald Publishing, UK

Met Police accused of ‘pantomime’ by swabbing clubbers’ hands for drugs

Criminologists and drug experts say such schemes do little to prevent crime and say results can often be inaccurate – as you could easily pick up traces from touching a door handle | Metro, UK

Met police defends controversial drug swabbing after backlash

Voluntary scheme saw 15 people searched and led to one arrest | Independent, UK


International news

Dozens of shops call on vapers to write to TDs over flavour ban

Dozens of vaping shops are urging customers to write to their local TDs to stop a proposed ban on flavoured vapes | Xtra, Ireland

Substance-Induced Psychoses: An Updated Literature Review

Our findings support the theory that psychosis due to substance abuse is commonly observed in clinical practice. The propensity to develop psychosis seems to be a function of the severity of use and addiction. Of note, from a phenomenological point of view, it is possible to identify some elements that may help clinicians involved in differential diagnoses between primary and substance-induced psychoses | Frontiers In Psychiatry, Italy

Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999–2020

Deaths from drug overdose continue to contribute to overall mortality and the lowering of life expectancy in the United States. This report uses the most recent data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) to update statistics on deaths from drug overdose in the United States, showing rates by demographic group and by specific types of drugs involved (such as opioids or stimulants), with a focus on changes from 2019 to 2020 | CDC, USA

Year in Review 2021 [NPS early warning system]

This report provides cumulative and updated statistics about the emergence and landscape of novel psychoactive drugs (NPS) in the United States based on data developed by NPS Discovery at CFRSE - an open-access drug early warning system | CFSRE, USA

How the world looks differently at people with mental illness and addiction

Research reveals stigma against people with substance use disorder and major depressive disorder | Nevada Today, USA

Prescription drug misuse later in life greatly increases risk for substance use disorder

Nearly half of people in a large U.S. study reported misusing prescription drugs between ages 18-50, which made them more likely to develop substance use disorder symptoms as adults––especially those whose misuse peaked later in life | University of Michigan, USA

Opioid use disorder treatment access increases in areas with large Medicaid population

Researchers report that in communities where Medicaid is a more common source of insurance, providers of buprenorphine, an effective treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD), are much less likely to discriminate between Medicaid and privately insured prospective patients, but patients with either type of coverage still face many barriers to obtaining an initial appointment for treatment | Medical Xpress, USA

Planning vs. doing: Intended and actual use of alcohol-related protective behavioral strategies among college students

Many of us associate New Year’s Eve with heavy drinking and its consequences. On New Year’s or any other night, some people engage in protective behavioral strategies (PBS) to limit alcohol use and/or reduce negative consequences | BASIS, USA

In Hamilton, Ontario, a Safe Supply Program Inches Forward

Asmall safe supply program in Hamilton, Ontario, is expanding. It has no funding, a capacity limited to a few dozen participants and it can’t offer pharmaceutical heroin. Yet it’s the only authorized safe supply program in the city, underscoring both the momentum behind medical providers facilitating safe supply in Canada and the glaring inadequacy of medicalized models to ultimately meet drug users’ needs | Filter Magazine, USA

Benzodiazepines 'a major problem' in illicit drug supply

Harm-reduction advocates say only thing predictable about drug supply is unpredictability | CBC News, Canada

Medical Cannabis Use Among Older Adults in Canada: Self-Reported Data on Types and Amount Used, and Perceived Effects

Among older adults, medical cannabis is used more often by women, with CBD-containing cannabis oils being the most commonly used. Users reported improved pain, sleep, and mood symptoms at follow-up after cannabis use. This study describes the patterns of use of medical cannabis by older adults and highlights the need for research to determine appropriate indications, precise doses of active ingredients, and short- and long-term outcomes among older adults | Drugs and Aging, Canada

Call for anti-vaping school campaign to stem rise in teens vaping

The Government is not doing enough to stem the number of teenagers vaping, despite growing evidence it can be harmful, school principals and health advocates say | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Random drug swabbing by Met officers isn’t going to keep people safe

As evidenced with stop and search, drug swabbing will be based on officers’ perceptions of who has drugs, suggesting those from Black and Asian communities are far more likely to be swabbed than their white peers | Independent voices, UK

Health first: why Dry January can be a step in the right direction

In this blog, Dr Tony Rao sets out some of the ways in which Dry January can have a positive impact on your health | Alcohol Change UK blog, UK

Soapbox: Why ingredient labelling on alcohol is vital

Richard Horwell of Brand Relations says full and compulsory ingredient labelling on alcoholic drinks is essential for the longevity and transparency of the sector | Harpers, UK

Easy wins: cutting down on alcohol – ‘your heart, liver, stomach and brain will thank you’

Drinking in Australia is often an all-or-nothing affair. Here’s how I manage my booze intake without going to extremes | Guardian, UK

Activists Who Are Risking All to End the War on Drugs

Travis Lupick previously wrote the story of drug user health advocacy in Vancouver. His second book shines a light on Americans | The Tyee, Canada