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Daily news - 1st June 2022

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Enjoy the long Bank Holiday. See you again on Monday June 6th.


UK news

Warning over spike in Cumbria drugs deaths

A recovering addict has urged drug users to seek help, following a spike in fatal overdoses in Cumbria. Twelve deaths in the past month have been linked to the misuse of controlled or illegal pharmaceutical-type drugs | BBC, UK

Alcohol-related liver disease mortality and missed opportunities in secondary care: A United Kingdom retrospective observational study

[Open access] Alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD) is a preventable cause of mortality. Historical epidemiological studies on ARLD often lack a detailed linked assessment of health-related contacts prior to death which limits understanding of opportunities for intervention. We aimed to analyse retrospective population-based data of all adult residents of Nottinghamshire dying from ARLD to determine the factors associated with delayed diagnosis of ARLD and the potential missed opportunities for interventions | Drug and Alcohol Review, UK

Tobacco firms lobbied politicians in Scotland in ‘breach of WHO treaty’

[Free one month subscription] Scottish politicians, including ministers, have been routinely lobbied by the world’s biggest cigarette firms in breach of a treaty to protect public health policy from interference by the tobacco industry, it has been claimed. MSPs were courted on 30 occasions in the past four years by Imperial Brands, Japan Tobacco International, Philip Morris and British American Tobacco, who used their access largely to promote the benefits of vaping | The Times, UK

Essex boxer 'thankful' to escape life of drug dealing

With the help of his mother and police, Manny was able to leave the gang and has since won two Eastern region titles and qualified for the national finals | BBC, UK

Surrey drug gang disguised themselves as barbers and electricians

Dean Criscuolo, 35, Christopher Brooks, 31, Kerran Boylan, 32, and Ben Dalton, 33, were identified as key members of a gang operating out of Surrey | ITV, UK



International news

Tobacco is bad for our health and the health of our planet – message for World No Tobacco Day

ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) is calling for more action to end tobacco harm this World No Tobacco Day (31st May), as statistics bring to light the massive impact of tobacco on the environment | ASH, UK

Even high doses of CBD don’t impact driving, study finds

Scientists caution that study only looked at CBD in isolation | Independent, UK

Coffee drinkers may be at lower risk of early death, study suggests

Even people who take sugar seem at lower risk, say experts, but results may be due to coffee drinkers being more affluent | Guardian, UK

Canada to decriminalize some drugs in British Columbia for three years

Policy aims to stem record number of overdose deaths by easing a fear of arrest by those who need help | Guardian, UK

The role of the public in changing norms: smoke-free beaches in Spain

In Spain, a powerful campaign is paving the way to ban cigarette smoking on beaches. The motivations are not just for health, but also for the environment. Long after a cigarette has been extinguished, it continues to cause damage in the form of non-biodegradable cigarette butts – millions of kilograms of which are discarded every year | WHO, Denmark

EU ban on microplastics stubs out cigarette butt pollution

Since May 2018, the EU has been trying to tackle the top 10 types of litter found on Europe’s beaches – the second most common being cigarette butts. As part of the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, it introduced a major directive aiming to phase out unnecessary single-use plastics. This directive takes aim at tobacco via the environmental damage caused by cigarette butts, 4.5 trillion of which are thrown away each year worldwide | WHO, Denmark

Annual meeting of the Legal and policy correspondents’ network for non-EU partners

[On 31/05] the EMCDDA held the second annual meeting of its Legal and policy correspondents’ network for non-EU partners, following an inaugural meeting in October 2021. The EMCDDA’s regular EU Legal and policy correspondents’ network was established in 2000 to exchange information on drug laws and policies | EMCDDA, Portugal

Mexico totally bans sales of e-cigarettes

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador signed a decree Tuesday outlawing the sale of e-cigarettes, continuing the government’s anti-vaping policy | AP News, USA

Estimating the public health impact had tobacco-free nicotine pouches been introduced into the US in 2000

For smokers not intending to quit, switching to a reduced-risk nicotine product should be healthier than continuing smoking. We estimate the health impact, over the period 2000–2050, had the nicotine pouch ZYN hypothetically been introduced into the US in 2000. ZYN’s toxicant profile and method of use is like that for Swedish snus, a product with known health effects much less than smoking | BMC Public Health, USA

Concern about drug addiction has declined in U.S., even in areas where fatal overdoses have risen the most

The share of Americans who see drug addiction as a “major problem” in their community has declined in recent years, even as drug overdose deaths in the United States have risen sharply. Public concern about addiction is down even in the parts of the U.S. where drug overdose death rates have increased the most | Pew Research Centre, USA

A new data-driven model could provide a powerful policy planning tool to combat the nation's opioid crisis

A data-driven simulation model designed to help policymakers to better understand and address the nation's rampant opioid crisis has been developed by a team of scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) | Medical Xpress, USA

1 billion meth pills seized as Asia sees record drug increase

More than one billion methamphetamine pills were seized in East and Southeast Asia last year, a record figure that the United Nations says highlights a "staggering" increase in the regional synthetic drug trade | CNN, USA

Will New York’s Adult-Use Cannabis Licensing Repair Drug-War Harms?

New York State legalized adult-use cannabis through the legislature in early 2021, and is slowly moving forward with implementation. Currently, advocates and officials don’t expect that dispensaries will actually open for many months, if not longer. When we get there, how equitable will the state’s new adult-use market be? | Filter Magazine, USA

Cannabis Research Has Rocketed in Recent Years, Despite Prohibition

The volume of studies on marijuana has “grown steeply” over the past couple decades as more US states and countries around the world have moved to end prohibition, a new research analysis concludes | Filter Magazine, USA

Small-scale possession of illicit drugs will be decriminalized in B.C. starting next year: federal government

Adults in British Columbia will be allowed to possess small amounts of some illicit drugs starting next year, the federal government announced Tuesday — a move that marks a dramatic shift in Canada's drug policy | CBC News, Canada

BC Interior residents can now opt in to receive text alerts about toxic drugs

A new health alert system has been launched across Interior Health in response to the ongoing toxic drug emergency | Kamloops Now, Canada



Blogs, comment and opinion

World Health Organisation World No Tobacco Day – 31 May 2022

Professor Sanjay Agrawal, clinical lead for the NHS tobacco dependency programme talks about the benefits of removing the toxins from our bodies by quitting smoking and the toxic impact smoking has on our communities and the environment | NHS blog, UK

The real impact of research collaboration on blood borne viruses

In this blog post, Professor Sharon Hutchinson and Dr Andrew McAuley from Public Health Scotland reflect on the collaborative approach to preventing blood borne viruses among people who inject drugs in Scotland, which has gained international recognition through a Real Impact Award | Public Health Scotland blog, UK

The Trip Report 31/05

Through the work of organisations such as WEDINOS, The Loop, and SaferParty, we know a little more about the drugs in circulation. The report provided below is a summary of their findings over the last week | Cameron Scally, UK

Does lowering my alcohol intake reduce my risk of cancer?

Alcohol consumption is linked to seven types of cancer, including breast cancer in women and bowel cancer. In this post, Nicole Musuwo, Senior Research Interpretation Officer, and Olivia Rogers, Health Information Officer at World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) look at the scientific evidence on alcohol and cancer, how alcohol increases the risk of cancer and ways in which you can reduce consumption | AHA UK blog, UK

Supporting meaningful recovery from drug and alcohol addiction: HMP Pentonville's approach

Jenny Warren has just completed a short stint at Crest, as part of the acclaimed leadership development programme, Unlocked, in which graduates train and work as prison officers while studying for a Master’s degree. Jenny is based at HMP Pentonville, in north London. It’s a vast Category B prison, which was built 180 years ago and can hold around 1,000 men. Here she gives an insight into her work on a wing of the jail which is designed to help inmates who have been dependent on drugs or alcohol | Crest Advisory blog, UK

What the British Fight for Gay Marriage can Teach Drug Policy Reform

David Cameron advocated for both drug policy reform and gay marriage, but in his six years as Prime Minister he only legislated for one of those causes. Why? | Talking Drugs, UK

Sentences to ponder

To what extent does this tendency influence discussions around addiction and drug policy — elevating counterintuitive and novel ideas? | Recovery Review blog, USA

The emerging therapeutic value of 5-MeO-DMT: a brief overview of naturalistic research and rising concerns related to future patient accessibility

In my previous post, in this series centered around “Pharmaceutical inequalities”, I wrote about my experience working at an ibogaine clinic in Mexico. I shared that the seven-day program I developed there integrated individual counseling, group therapy, psychoeducation modules, relapse prevention education, art therapy practices, self-compassion journaling exercises, goal planning for after-care , and a 5-MeO-DMT therapy session; and that a future post would address the emerging use of 5-MeO-DMT as a mental health tool | Points blog, USA