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Daily news - 18th July 2022

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UK news

New Problem-Solving Courts to combat drug and alcohol-fuelled crime

Ground-breaking new courts will direct drug and alcohol abusers to tackle their addiction head-on or face tough consequences | Ministry of Justice and The Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, UK

Recreational drug users could have passports and driving licences confiscated under new plans in government crackdown

Home Secretary Priti Patel says the move shows the government is "cracking down on drug use" which is "a scourge across society" | Sky News, UK

Tom Pursglove MP

Tom Pursglove was appointed Minister of State jointly at the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice on 7 July 2022. He holds the drugs and alcohol brief | Gov.uk, UK

Chinese vaping giant flouting UK advertising rules on selling to children

Observer investigation finds Chinese-owned brand Elf Bar is fuelling the boom in e-cigarettes among young people as social media influencers on TikTok promote its goods in an apparent breach of advertising rules | Guardian, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Labelling

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish a consultation on requiring businesses to provide calorie labelling on alcohol products | They work for you, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Rehabilitation

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the policy paper entitled The Government’s Alcohol Strategy, published on 23 March 2012, CM 8336, whether his Department plans to publish a new strategy to help tackle (a) the number of deaths and (b) the cost to society due to harmful alcohol consumption| They work for you, UK

Smoking: North West

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of (a) smoking and (b) health disparities in each area of the North West | They work for you, UK

Back from the brink: The Liverpool house where lives are being saved every day

At Damien John Kelly House, men are fighting back from the darkness of addiction to find themselves again | Liverpool Echo, UK

New home for Merseyside drug treatment centre

Dee House will be a residential detox centre run by Kaleidoscope, a charity drug clinic that provides help and support to people with alcohol abuse, drug abuse and drug addiction | Liverpool Echo, UK


International news

Population-level risks of alcohol consumption by amount, geography, age, sex, and year: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2020

The health risks associated with moderate alcohol consumption continue to be debated. Small amounts of alcohol might lower the risk of some health outcomes but increase the risk of others, suggesting that the overall risk depends, in part, on background disease rates, which vary by region, age, sex, and year | Lancet, UK

1 million fentanyl pills seized in record drug bust in California

‘Staggering number of teens and young adults are unaware that they are ingesting fentanyl in these fake pills and are being poisoned’ | Independent, UK

Brittany Griner’s lawyer says WNBA star had US doctor’s note for cannabis use

A lawyer for WNBA star Brittney Griner at her drug possession trial in Russia on Friday gave the court a US doctor’s letter recommending she use medical cannabis to treat pain | Guardian, UK

‘Narco of narcos’: drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero arrested in Mexico

Co-founder of Guadalajara cartel was one of FBI’s most-wanted fugitives after being freed from prison in 2013 | Guardian, UK

Calls grow for booze delivery services to be BANNED after a rise in alcoholism during the pandemic

Experts are calling for same-day booze delivery services to be banned as alcohol support groups are flooded with people seeking help on the heels of the Covid pandemic | Mail Online, UK

The Relationship Between Psychedelic Use, Mystical Experiences, and Pro-Environmental Behaviors

[Open access] Expanding on the work of Forstmann and Sagioglou, this study investigated the differences in personality and pro-environmental behavior (PEB) as a function of psychedelic-occasioned mystical experiences. A sample of 240 participants with prior psychedelic experience completed an online survey. Data were collected on participants’ psychedelic-occasioned mystical states, personality, and self-reported PEB | Journal of Humanistic Psychology | UK and Australia

Irish Heart Foundation backs calls for banning of flavoured e-cigarettes

The Irish Heart Foundation has endorsed measures that would ban flavoured e-cigarettes and marketing techniques aimed at encouraging young people to take up vaping | Independent, Ireland

RTE Prime Time viewers hear some public transport services are 'drug corridors'

Some public transport services have become "drug corridors", the boss of the National Bus and Rail Union has said | Dublin Live, Ireland

Study shows vaping cannabinoid acetate leads to formation of deadly gas

A new study by Portland State University's Robert Strongin doctoral student Kaelas Munger provides insight into the potential risks of vaping cannabinoid acetates. They found that the toxic gas known as ketene is released when cannabinoid acetates are heated under vaping conditions | Medical Xpress, USA

The number of Americans injecting drugs skyrockets to nearly 3.7 million people in 2018, study finds

The opioid epidemic has led to a meteoric rise in injection drug use over the past decade, according to a study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which experts say may also have contributed to an increase in overdoses and infectious diseases | Medical Xpress, USA

Momentum Builds to Broaden Access to Methadone and Buprenorphine

Momentum is building for legislation to broaden access to buprenorphine and methadone, the lifesaving medications for opioid use disorder. Its impact would be felt particularly in rural areas with few providers. COVID-19 adaptations previously began to dismantle the X-waiver that has severely restricted buprenorphine prescribing, and to the lower the barriers to take-home methadone doses | Filter Magazine, USA

FDA Begins Enforcement Over Synthetic Nicotine Vapes

On July 13, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it had sent two warning letters to manufacturers marketing synthetic nicotine products without authorization, and more than 100 warning letters to retailers that had sold synthetic nicotine products to minors | Filter Magazine, USA

B.C.'s overdose crisis: 2022 sees highest number of deaths ever recorded in May, latest data shows

This year saw the highest number of suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths ever recorded in the month of May, the province's latest overdose data shows. A report from the B.C. Coroners Service, released Thursday, revealed 195 people died of suspected overdoses in May. That averages about 6.3 deaths per day | CTV News, Canada

Helping Young People Who Use Opioids Video Series

The three-part plain language educational video series covers common questions about working with youth who experience harms from opioids. Addiction counsellors, mental health therapists, social workers and non-OAT practitioners will find great interest in this video series | CCSA, Canada

Australia’s attitudes and perceptions towards drugs by region, 2019

This report presents new analysis from the 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) that focuses on the attitudes and perceptions of people across Australia on various drug-related issues | AIHW, Australia

Calls for pill testing to tackle synthetic drug use - audio

There has been an increase in people using illegal psychoactive substances, which has renewed calls for pill testing or the decriminalisation of small amounts of illicit drugs | abc.net.au, Australia

Northern Territory lifts alcohol ban - video

The Northern Territory has lifted laws banning the sale of alcohol in more than 400 remote communities for the first time in 15 years | Sky News, Australia

The factors influencing mental health diversion in the NSW Local Courts

This webinar presented results from three studies examining factors magistrates consider when diverting people from court into treatment | NDARC, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Schizophrenia and cannabis use: new evidence measures risk of relapse

Cannabis is the most commonly used drug worldwide (World Drug Report, 2021). Individuals with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD) seem particularly vulnerable to using cannabis problematically. An estimated 43% of individuals with SSD are diagnosed with cannabis use disorder (CUD), compared to less than 7% in the general population. This group often has poorer life outcomes, more severe psychopathology, lower levels of overall functioning, and are less likely to adhere to treatment, compared to people with SSD who do not use cannabis | Mental Elf, UK

Should we have lower drinking guidelines for younger people?

A new study, published in The Lancet, as part of the Global Burden of Disease project, suggests that health risks associated with alcohol consumption are highest for younger age groups. The authors recommend as a result that we should introduce differential low-risk drinking guidelines, with lower guidelines for younger age groups. This is a strong claim, but does the evidence in the new study back it up? | IAS blog, UK

Can alcohol consumption increase your risk of dementia?

Alcohol consumption can impact our health in different ways; including how our brain functions in both the short and long term. In this blog, Dr Tony Rao, Visiting Clinical Research Fellow, at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, examines the latest evidence of the link between alcohol consumption and dementia | AHA UK blog, UK

‘Alcohol is a hand grenade’: how reality TV went from boozy Big Brother to nosecco Love Island

The Big Brother house guests drank liquor by the crateful. But Love Island’s tortuous trysts are fuelled by fruit juice and nosecco. Why did reality TV go on the wagon? Ex-contestants reveal all | Guardian, UK

Overdose Prevention Centers: An Essential Strategy to Address the Overdose Crisis

In 2021, more than 107 000 people died from a drug overdose in the US, a 15% increase from 2020. Deaths involving cocaine increased 23%, and deaths involving methamphetamines or other stimulants increased 34%. Death rates are increasing the most rapidly among people experiencing homelessness and among American Indian or Native American, Black, and Latinx individual | JAMA Network open commentary, USA

Taking the magic out of magic mushrooms

[Possible paywall] Mr. Fernandez was tripping on a very large dose of psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms. He took the drug as part of a clinical trial | NYTimes opinion, USA