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Daily news - 20th July 2022

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UK news

Swift, Certain, Tough: new consequences for drug possession

Today, I am pleased to announce the publication of a white paper, ‘Swift, Certain, Tough: new consequences for drug possession’ and accompanying public consultation, which has been laid before the House | They work for you, UK

Home Office plan to punish cannabis and MDMA users is ‘de facto decriminalisation’, say drug policy experts

Campaigners have congratulated the Home Office for taking the ‘road to substantive reform’ but said punishment proposals for repeat offenders is ‘hugely disproportionate’ | I news, UK

Differential impact of minimum unit pricing on alcohol consumption between Scottish men and women: controlled interrupted time series analysis

The objective of this study was to assess the immediate impact of the introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP) in Scotland on alcohol consumption and whether the impact differed by sex, level of alcohol consumption, age, social grade and level of residential deprivation of respondents | BMJ Open, UK

Alcohol Packaging As a Promotional Tool: A Focus Group Study With Young Adult Drinkers in Scotland

Little research has been conducted on consumer perceptions of alcohol packaging as a marketing tool. The aim of this study was to explore how young adults view and engage with alcohol packaging | JSAD, UK

The Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001: A case study in poor legislative drafting

The Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (MDRs) create exemptions to the offences of possession, production, supply, and administration of controlled drugs (CDs), which are necessary to allow healthcare professionals to treat patients without rendering themselves liable to prosecution for various offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 | Drug Science, UK

UK will not ban video games loot boxes despite problem gambling findings

‘Foxes are guarding hen house,’ says expert after ministers seek tougher industry-led protections instead | Guardian, UK

Forward Leeds: Watchdog praises Leeds drug and alcohol care service

A service helping people experiencing difficulties with drugs and alcohol has been given an "outstanding" rating by a watchdog | BBC, UK

Operation Julie: famed LSD drug bust becomes a musical

Welsh theatre company retells story of 1970s scientists and hippies in work billed as Breaking Bad meets The Good Life | Guardian, UK



International news

'A drugs pandemic has exploded in Belfast' community worker tells UTV

Iain Cameron, Extern Harm Reduction Service Manager, says "what we are seeing now is poly-drug use, it's the combination of drugs like heroin, benzodiazepine and alcohol and that adds up in someone’s systems and increases the risk of overdose." | ITV, UK

What do we really know about the Russian roots of America’s biggest cannabis company?

Curaleaf could be worth $75bn by 2030. But its US-born chair, Boris Jordan, faces questions over his two decades in Russia | Guardian, UK

Australia’s first fixed pill-testing clinic opens in Canberra

Alex Ross-King died of a drug overdose before a festival. Her mum says giving young people access to information can prevent deaths | Guardian, UK

Cannabis getting stronger with synthetic versions added leading to psychosis, report warns

Herbal cannabis on the Irish market is getting stronger and stronger, with synthetic versions of the drug also being added without users’ knowledge, in come cases resulting in psychosis, a report has warned | Independent, Ireland

Methanol in South Africa teen deaths often fatal

Methanol was found in the blood of the 21 teenagers who died last month in a bar in South Africa's city of East London, according to a health official. Methanol—often called wood alcohol—is a toxic chemical and if ingested even small amounts of it can be fatal | Medical Xpress, USA

Overdose death rates increased significantly for Black, American Indian/Alaska Native people in 2020

Recent increases in deaths largely driven by illicitly manufactured fentanyl | CDC, USA

Marijuana use is much more common in states that have legalized recreational cannabis use

A study at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and The City University of New York has found that the rates of cannabis use and daily cannabis use have increased across the U.S., and that current cannabis use and daily use are substantially higher among individuals residing in states that have legalized recreational cannabis use, relative to those where cannabis use remains illegal | Medical Xpress, USA

Scientists reveal genetic architecture underlying alcohol, cigarette abuse

Have you ever wondered why one person can smoke cigarettes for a year and easily quit, while another person will become addicted for life? Why can't some people help themselves from abusing alcohol and others can take it or leave it? | Medical Xpress, USA

New approach to opioid addiction includes access to medications and eradicating social stigma

Opioid use disorder is a complex and complicated problem in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were a record-breaking 100,306 overdose deaths during the 12-month period ending in April 2021, driven by fentanyl. That's a 28.5%t jump from the year-earlier period | Medical Xpress, USA

Colorado Company To Research Cannabis As A Treatment For Parkinson’s Disease

Colorado-based Day Three Labs announced this week that the world’s first government-sponsored cannabis technology incubator will fund the company’s research into using cannabis as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease | Forbes, USA

Thousands of Free Naloxone Doses Hitting Music Events This Summer

Music events feel like one of the last safe, unifying cultural gatherings in a country ravaged by divisions and stresses, including the pressures of a multi-year pandemic. Most of these events were canceled in 2020 and 2021, but this year packed clubs, arenas and festival grounds are back in full force, and folks are heading out—searching for that connection they have so missed, through the music they love | Filter Magazine, USA

Patient safety issues halt trial for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy during Health Canada review

Report on 2nd active clinical trial has yet to be finalized, but inspectors have identified 'deficiences' | CBC News, Canada

Opioid agonist treatment and risk of death or rehospitalization following injection drug use–associated bacterial and fungal infections: A cohort study in New South Wales, Australia

Injecting-related bacterial and fungal infections are associated with significant morbidity and mortality among people who inject drugs (PWID), and they are increasing in incidence. Following hospitalization with an injecting-related infection, use of opioid agonist treatment (OAT; methadone or buprenorphine) may be associated with reduced risk of death or rehospitalization with an injecting-related infection | PLOS One, Australia

Michael Pollan changed his own mind with psychedelics. Now he’s changing others

It was winter of 2019 and Tim Baker, who had just been for a surf, was taking an ordinary car trip home. Listening to the radio as he drove through the Gold Coast, he tuned in to an interview that would ultimately lead him on an extraordinary life-altering, death-altering trip | SMH, Australia




Blogs, comment and opinion

Our response to the Home Office White Paper

[on Monday], the Home Office published ‘Swift, Certain, Tough’ a White Paper that contains many of the criminal justice measures outlined in the 10-year Drug Strategy, From Harm to Hope (2021). These include the diversion of people who are arrested to treatment or drug awareness courses, an increase in drug testing on arrest, and escalating sanctions for those found to be in possession of drugs. The consultation on these measures runs until October 10, 2022 | Change Grow Live, UK

Drinkers like us? The availability of relatable drinking reduction narratives for people with alcohol use disorders

Narratives around alcohol are important in determining how people decide who or what qualifies as problematic alcohol use. Narratives draw on common representations that are subject to influences including historical and normative influences. We argue that there are two dominant narratives that relate to how alcohol use disorder (AUD) is identified and addressed | Addiction Research and Theory, UK

Minimum unit pricing can prevent a new generation developing a problematic relationship with alcohol

Introduced to address the overwhelming level of harm from alcohol in Scotland, minimum unit pricing (MUP) was expected to reduce deaths, hospital admissions and crime from alcohol. While it will take 20 years to see the full effect of this ground-breaking policy, we are starting to see some encouraging results | 1919 Magazine blog, UK

Are adverse childhood experiences linked to early drug use?

The long-term effects of childhood trauma have been subject to increased scrutiny by policymakers, practitioners and researchers as a growing body of evidence has drawn the links with mental health issues and other problems later on in people’s lives | Child of our Time blog, UK

Are ‘Pseudodelics’ The Future For Mental Health?

Psychedelics, substances that produce non-ordinary states of consciousness, are currently being heralded as the therapeutic saviours for our long-standing mental health crisis, with preliminary studies showing promising results for psilocybin, MDMA and Ketamine-assisted therapy for depression, PTSD and addiction | Volteface, UK