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Daily news - 27th July 2022

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UK news

Festival drugs: Warning over 'imposter' substances threat

Drug testing charity the Loop said it found Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pills with double the normal amount of MDMA at this year's Secret Garden Party | BBC, UK

Detailed insight into drug-related deaths in Scotland seeks to inform collective response

In-depth analysis into drug-related deaths that were experienced in Scotland in 2017 and 2018 has been published by Public Health Scotland (PHS) today [Item below], providing insight into the lives of those who died and highlighting potential areas for future interventions | Public Health Scotland, UK

National drug related death database (Scotland)

The NDRDD includes 1,209 deaths which occurred in 2018, of which 1,154 were classed as non-intentional (in 2017, 899 of 956 deaths were non-intentional) | Public Health Scotland, UK

Major milestone reached in hepatitis C treatment

A partnership between Change Grow Live, Humankind, NHS England and the Hepatitis C Trust has led to people receiving treatment for hepatitis C directly from a substance use treatment service for the first time in England | Humankind, UK

Press release: Drive to get offenders drug-free and cut crime

New prison wings designed to get offenders clean will receive funding thanks to the government’s 10-year strategy to tackle drug-fuelled crime |
Ministry of Justice, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, and The Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, UK

Scotland would oppose punitive drugs penalties, says Constance

Scotland would oppose the UK government’s proposed new measures for drugs possession, such as passport confiscation, says its drugs minister Angela Constance | DDN, UK

Provider views sought: Residential rehabilitation services

We are currently looking into a national commissioning and procurement approach for residential rehabilitation services (alcohol and drugs). We’re keen to hear from current/potential providers as part of our initial engagement. This work is being delivered on behalf of the Scottish Government as part of a national improvement project. We want to gather information from current providers of residential rehabilitation services and also from those who may be interested in providing services in the future | Scotland Excel, UK

Guidance for local delivery partners – please nominate SRO for Combating Drugs Partnership by 1 August

Guidance setting out how local delivery partners should form multi-agency Combating Drugs Partnerships to help reduce drug-related harm in their local areas was published in June. Local areas have been asked to nominate a senior responsible owner (SRO) by 1 August who will lead the partnership in building a shared understanding of the local system landscape and challenges, oversee development of a shared local plan addressing the three key priorities set out in the drugs strategy and unblock any issues that may arise. Local areas have been encouraged to nominate an SRO even where that may be a provisional arrangement. The SRO may understandably change over time. The partnerships set out in the guidance apply to England only, but policing and criminal justice partners in Wales should refer to the outcomes in chapter 2 of the guidance that apply to them when developing their priorities | Joint Combating Drugs Unit, UK

Electronic Cigarettes: Health Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to The Khan review: making smoking obsolete, published on 9 June 2022, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of implementing the recommendation to include the (a) risks of and (b) age restrictions for vaping in the school health education curriculum | They work for you, UK

Inside the UK’s first unsanctioned drug consumption room

The SSA’s Natalie Davies talks to Dr Gillian Shorter about an evaluation of a mobile overdose prevention site in Glasgow in 2020, referred to in the media as the ‘drug consumption van’. Read about its harm reduction outcomes, how volunteers responded to overdose events, and the surprising prevalence of cocaine use | SSA, UK

Jersey banning branding on cigarette packaging

Packaging on cigarettes will be standardised in local shops in Jersey to try to reduce the number of smokers | BBC, UK


International news

World Hepatitis Day - 28th July

World Hepatitis Day (WHD) takes places every year on 28 July bringing the world together under a single theme to raise awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis and to influence real change. In 2022 the theme is ‘I Can’t Wait’. On World Hepatitis Day, 28 July, we call on people from across the world to take action and raise awareness of hepatitis because Hepatitis Can’t Wait | World Hepatitis Alliance, UK and Switzerland

Brittney Griner ‘treated injuries with medical cannabis’, defence tells Russian court

As proceedings continued against the 31-year-old, held by the Russian authorities since February, her lawyers said the cannabis oil found in her luggage had been for medical use, and not recreational | Independent, UK

New Zealand moves ahead with world-first tobacco laws in bid to create smoke-free generation

Proposed laws, that include a rising purchasing age for cigarettes, have drawn praise and concern over their untested nature | Guardian, UK

Infographic: benzodiazepines notifications to the Early Warning System and seizures

This infographic coming from the publication New psychoactive substances: 25 years of early warning and response in Europe — an update from the EU Early Warning System presents some key statistics on notifications of the benzodiazepines to the EWS and benzodiazepines seizures (trends in the number and quantities seized), in the EU-27 | EMCDDA, Portugal

Changes in Buprenorphine and Methadone Supplies in the US During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This cross-sectional study used quarterly state data on methadone and buprenorphine supplies and found that the per capita supply of methadone declined significantly in the second quarter of 2020 and had not returned to 2019 levels as of June 2021. The per capita supply of buprenorphine increased during the same period | JAMA Network Open, USA

Smoking is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events, disease severity, and mortality among patients hospitalized for SARS-CoV-2 infections

[Open access] People who reported smoking or vaping prior to their hospitalization for COVID-19 were more likely than their counterparts who did not smoke or vape to experience severe complications, including death, from the SARS-CoV-2 infection | PLOS One, USA

Fentanyl From the Government? A Vancouver Experiment Aims to Stop Overdoses

[Free registratoin may be required] A city on the forefront of harm reduction has taken the concept to a new level in an effort to address the growing toxicity of street drugs | NYTimes, USA

Recommended Scope for NPS Testing in the United States

The objective of this report is to provide updated guidance in developing an appropriate analytical scope of testing for novel psychoactive substances (NPS) in the United States based on current trends and intelligence | CFSRE and NPS Discovery, USA

‘Alcohol bystanders'' burden revealed

La Trobe University researchers have done a deep dive into the costs of alcohol use in Australia to those impacted alcohol use, rather than the drinkers themselves, revealing an estimated cost of close to $20 billion in 2016 | La Trobe University, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Club Quarantine: Rave Culture, Party Drugs and the Pandemic

“The police… are absolutely geared up now to implement fines of £10,000 for those individuals that are facilitating these illegal parties and raves.” | Volteface, UK

Reviewing the Government’s New ‘Tough’ Consequences for Drug Possession

The Home Office has set out its plans to reduce the current levels of recreational drug use across the UK in its new White Paper Swift, Certain, Tough: new consequences for drug possession. The paper follows on from the Government’s most recent drug strategy; it was promised at the time to address the objective of ‘demand reduction’- reducing use - which the drug strategy mostly overlooked in its focus on service provision | Transform blog, UK