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Daily news - 17th January 2022

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UK news

Millions in UK drinking harmful levels of alcohol at home, experts warn

Switch to drinking at home rather than in pubs during Covid pandemic partly to blame | Guardian, UK

Addiction to painkillers has soared during the pandemic as GPs hand out longer prescriptions, experts warn

[DrugWise Director, Harry Shapiro quoted] The UK Addiction Treatment (UKAT) group, which runs treatment centres, said that the number of people it treats annually for prescription opioid addiction has risen by almost half since 2018 | Mail Online, UK

Study into link between mental health and substance abuse issues on young people’s mortality

Young people with a history of mental health and drink and drug issues are more likely to die than those with a mental illness or who use substances alone | Swansea University, UK [Full paper below]

Incidence, Mortality and Survival in Young People with Co-Occurring Mental Disorders and Substance Use: A Retrospective Linked Routine Data Study in Wales

[Open access] Mental disorder (MD) and substance use (SUD) are associated with poorer than average health and greater mortality. We analysed routine primary care (WLGP) and inpatient admission (PEDW) data to estimate incidence of co-occurring (CC) MD and SUD, and to estimate all-cause mortality and survival with CC, in children and young people in Wales, UK | Clinical Epidemiology, UK

Smoking costs society £17bn – £5bn more than previously estimated

New economic analysis of national data for ASH finds the cost of smoking to society is significantly higher than previous estimates have shown. Commissioned by charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) the new figures show the cost of smoking to society totals £17.04bn for England each year. This compares to £12.5bn under the previous estimate | ASH, UK

ASH Ready Reckoner 2022

The ASH Ready Reckoner is an easy-to-use cost calculator, allowing you to see the costs of smoking to society at national, regional, local authority and ward levels | ASH, UK

Drugs Strategy Debate - video

Debate in Holyrood on the Scottish government's national mission on drugs strategy, from Thursday 13 January | BBC, UK

Response to consultation on Right to Addiction Recovery (Scotland) Bill

Overall, while we agree with much of the analysis of the problem made by the Bill, we do not feel the introduction of a right is the best way to address this problem | SHAAP, UK

Prisons: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many random drug tests in prisons in England and Wales returned positive results in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021 | They work for you, UK

New Clause 1 - Members of local authorities: disqualification relating to drink and drug driving offences

A person is disqualified for being elected or being a member of a local authority in England if the person is subject to— (a) a conviction for driving or being in charge with alcohol concentration above prescribed limit contrary to section 5 of the Road Traffic Act 1988; ... | They work for you, UK

‘From prosecco Tuesdays to thank-you tipples, No 10 has a serious drink problem’

The party scandal engulfing Boris Johnson has exposed the culture of drinking in Whitehall, where alcohol is part of daily routine | Guardian, UK

New landing pages on the SSA website

The SSA’s new treatment pages are designed to help everyone access both basic and in-depth information on key topics in addiction. Rob Calder introduces what the web team have been working on | SSA, UK

Norfolk's rivers at risk from cocktail of cocaine, caffeine painkillers and other pollutants

The dire warning comes as MPs from the Environmental Audit Committee publish a report on the water quality of the country's rivers, which claims that "not a single river in England has received a clean bill of health for chemical contamination" | ITV, UK

Cannabis and British Modern Slavery: How to protect children from the harms

Thu, 3 February 2022, 09:30 – 10:20 GMT. We will hear first of all From Katya Kowalski Head of Operations at Volteface around drugs on social media. Dr Grace Robinson, a leading expert witness and child exploitation researcher, will talk about county lines as a business model. We will then hear from With You’s Shropshire service manager and safeguarding lead, Sonya Jones on how county lines affect’s young people within our services | With You, UK

Cocaine worth £7.5m found in Colombian banana shipment

Border Force officers found 103kg (227lb) of the Class A drug on 6 January while searching a vessel that had arrived at the Port of Southampton | BBC, UK


International news

Minister for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy announces €850,000 for HSE-led initiative to reduce the health-related harms from cocaine and ‘crack’ cocaine

Frank Feighan TD, Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing, and the National Drugs Strategy, announced €850,000 in recurring funding for a HSE-led initiative to reduce the health-related harms associated with the use of cocaine and ‘crack’ cocaine. The new funding is provided in the Revised Estimates for Public Services 2022 | Gov.ie, Ireland

Opioids in Ireland: Are we heading towards a US-style crisis?

There was a suggestion at a Medical Council working group that Ireland could experience an opioid addiction crisis as has occurred in the US. Catherine Reilly reports on the group’s discussions and concerns, which includes the lack of private prescribing data | Medical Independent, Ireland

E-cigarette users who test positive for COVID-19 are more likely to experience COVID-19 symptoms

People who use electronic cigarettes and test positive for COVID-19 have a higher frequency of experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, compared to people who don't vape, according to new research from Mayo Clinic | EurekAlert, USA

'Nothing has changed': Frustration builds as cannabis reform stalls

“I know there are paths forward for the industry, but I’m becoming more and more cynical of Congress’ ability or desire to do anything,” a Michigan cannabis operator said | NBC News, USA

There is life after addiction. Most people recover

The U.S. faces an unprecedented surge of drug deaths, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting another grim milestone this week. In a single 12-month period, fatal overdoses claimed 101,623 lives | NPR, USA

How People Living in Canada Consume and Acquire Cannabis: Assessing Progress in Minimizing Harms and Establishing a Safe Supply Chain (Report at a Glance)

This report summarizes data on how cannabis usage patterns and attitudes have changed since legalization, and how people are currently using cannabis in Canada. These patterns and attitudes include usage rates, preferred methods of consumption, and attitudes and behaviours around the use of alcohol and cannabis together. There have also been changes in the way people acquire cannabis. This report includes information on beliefs around cannabis use and can inform cannabis use prevention initiatives and education messaging | CCSA, Canada

Mental Health and Substance Use During COVID-19: Spotlight on Youth [infographic]

According to recent surveys1 conducted by Leger on behalf of the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) and the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), young people ages 16 to 24 years living in Canada are more likely to report mental health and substance use concerns and greater difficulty managing pandemic stress than the general population | CCSA, Canada

Health unit seeks council support for drug consumption and treatment site

A drug consumption and treatment services site could open in Windsor by year’s end if city council approves | Windsor Star, Canada

B.C. paramedics, dispatchers responded to record-setting 35,525 overdose calls in 2021

Paramedics and medical dispatchers in B.C. responded to a record-setting 35,525 overdose calls last year. It’s an increase of 31 per cent from 2020, said BC Emergency Health Services in a Wednesday news release | Global News, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

11 top tips for cutting back on alcohol

If you’re one of the many people who want to cut back on drinking this January, but aren’t sure where to start, you’re not alone. Here are 11 simple tips below to help you start cutting down today | Cancer Research UK, UK

[Free registration maybe required] In 2010, a little more than a year after graduating from medical school, I was admitted to a psychiatric ward at Bellevue Hospital after a drinking and Adderall binge | NYTimes, USA

When it comes to legal cannabis, Canada’s doing it right

If U.S. policymakers want to better prioritize public health while legalizing cannabis, they should look to Canada's model for ideas, according to a new research report funded by Stanford University | Stanford Medicine blog, USA