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Daily news - 8th June 2022

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UK news

Brexit helping cause harmful increase in fake ecstasy, study warns

Covid and crackdowns also blamed as researchers find half of pills sold as MDMA at festivals in England contained none of the drug | Guardian, UK

Plan to raise smoking age to 21 to be unveiled amid UK government splits

Delayed review, which also suggests new taxes on tobacco firms, reportedly faced pushback from ministers | Guardian, UK

Children sold vape pens as powerful as 50 cigarettes

[Possible paywall] Children are routinely being sold cheap disposable vaping pens online that contain as much nicotine as up to 50 cigarettes, experts have said | The Times, UK

School exclusions for drugs and alcohol across the south among highest in the country

Schools across the south are excluding and suspending more pupils because of drugs and alcohol than most other parts of the country. It means some primary schools are now teaching children about the dangers of substances including cocaine and cannabis | ITV, UK

National naloxone programme Scotland - Quarterly monitoring bulletin

During 2021/22 Quarter 3 (1 October 2021 to 31 December 2021): 9,006 Take-Home Naloxone (THN) kits were issued. 6,656 THN kits were issued by services based in the community. 521 kits were issued by prisons in Scotland. 1,465 kits were dispensed by community pharmacies and 339 THN kits were provided by the Scottish Ambulance Service | Public Health Scotland, UK

Smoking: Reviews

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much the Government spent on the Independent review of Smokefree 2030 policies | They work for you, UK

10 Downing Street: Alcoholic Drinks

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether any alcohol consumed at Downing Street gatherings, for which fixed penalty notices were issued due to breaches of covid-19 regulations, was purchased from the public purse | They work for you, UK

Alcohol Alert podcast - May edition

Welcome to the Alcohol Alert, the Institute of Alcohol Studies newsletter, covering the latest updates on UK alcohol policy matters | IAS, UK

Brenda Edwards says son Jamal's death was due to cardiac arrhythmia

Brenda Edwards has said her son Jamal died from cardiac arrhythmia after he took recreational drugs | BBC, UK

Operation Venetic: Manchester drugs supplier sentenced to 15 years

Darren Midgley, 43, of Sudell Street, Collyhurst, Manchester, admitted conspiring to supply cocaine and was jailed at Manchester Crown Court. Midgley used an encrypted EncroChat phone to arrange his drug deals until the platform was taken down in 2020 | NCA, UK

Hucknall cannabis grow with nearly 100 plants found by police

A large cannabis grow worth tens of thousands of pounds has been uncovered during a house search, police said | BBC, UK



International news

Alcohol and other drug use among children and young people in Ireland: prevalence, risk and protective factors, consequences, responses, and policies

Findings from the latest HRB report reveal that adolescents are starting to drink alcohol at a later age – but one-in-three young drinkers has an alcohol use disorder. The data highlights an increase in substance-related hospitalisations among young people and that treatment for cocaine use among young people increased by 171% between 2011 and 2019. It also shows a clear link between mental ill health and substance use, evident across data on anxiety, self-harm and suicide | HRB, Ireland

Access to alcohol treatment - removing barriers to healthcare

TODAY. Wed, 8 June 2022, 11:00 – 12:30 1ST. This webinar explores aspects of accessing alcohol treatment with contributions from those with lived experience and from service providers | Alcohol Action Ireland, Ireland

Timeline: 25 years of Early Warning System (EWS)

Take a journey through some of the key moments in the Early Warning System's (EWS) first quarter of a century by following the timeline and checking the main milestones | EMCDDA, Portugal

Cannabidiol novel food evaluations on hold pending new data

EFSA’s scientists cannot currently establish the safety of cannabidiol (CBD) as a novel food due to data gaps and uncertainties about potential hazards related to CBD intake | EFSA, Italy

How banning menthol cigarettes could save 6,000 Black lives a year

The AMA supports the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposal to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes, a move that will save hundreds of thousands of lives in the coming decades while reducing health inequities. The AMA joined a 2020 lawsuit (PDF) to compel the FDA to fulfill its mandate to take action on the agency’s own conclusions that banning the sale of menthol-flavored cigarettes would benefit the public’s health | AMA, USA

Opioids: Four ways to reduce harm, overdose and death

The epidemic of substance use disorder continues to ravage the United States—as nearly 108,000 Americans died due to overdose in 2021, according provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 40 million Americans over 12 years old reportedly needed treatment for a substance use disorder in 2020, yet only 2.7 million people received treatment at a specialty facility, a national survey shows | Medical Xpress, USA

The Right to Health Means the Right to Tobacco Harm Reduction

Abrutal culture war is raging on the role of harm reduction to hasten the end of smoking. But as the Twitterstorms rumble on, the evidence is mounting that safer nicotine products—vapes, pouches, snus and heated tobacco—are helping millions of people around the world switch away from combustible cigarettes and other risky tobacco use | Filter Magazine, USA

Oregon’s Decrim Funding Has Been a Trial to Implement. Better Is to Come

On February 1, 2021, Oregon became the first state in the nation to decriminalize drug possession, after ballot Measure 110 passed in November 2020. The two-fold mechanism reduced what had been deemed misdemeanor amounts of drugs to “civil violations,” similar to a traffic ticket, and simultaneously diverted the lion’s share of cannabis tax revenue to fund substance use services statewide | Filter Magazine, USA

Why are dance festivals risky environments for drug use?

Dance festivals, or live music events spanning multiple consecutive days, are becoming very popular in the United States and around the world. Festival attendees have higher rates of drug use and related adverse outcomes, including medical emergencies. However, few studies have examined why festivals are such high-risk environments. This week, STASH reviews a study by Joseph J. Palamar and İbrahim Sönmez that identified factors which influence drug use and related adverse outcomes at dance festivals | BASIS, USA

Canada took a step toward decriminalizing hard drugs. Here's what it can learn from other countries

When British Columbia decriminalizes small amounts of some illicit drugs next year, Canada will join a growing number of countries that have taken strides toward removing penalties for drug use. But as many Canadian public health experts call on lawmakers to go a step further — and replace black market street drugs with a regulated safe supply — their international counterparts say they are watching to see what their countries can learn from one another | CBC News, Canada



Blogs, comment and opinion

Tracing The History of Hallucinogens in China

Professor Fan Pen Li Chen, Associate Professor of Chinese Studies & Department Chair of East Asian Studies in the State University of New York (SUNY-Albany) kindly summarised her fantastic exploration of the history of hallucinogen use in China from her article: “Hallucinogen Use in China”, published in the Sino-Platonic Papers in 2021. This article unveils existing evidence of Chinese shamanic activity, translating it into English for wider audiences | Talking Drugs, UK

Can tailored text message quit support programs help close the gap in treatment outcomes experienced by low socioeconomic smokers in Australia?

Dr. Ryan Courtney and his team would like to highlight the importance of quit smoking research in low socioeconomic populations and provide details on an exciting new technology-based quit support study that begins recruitment in June 2022 | NDARC blog, Australia

Cannabis for therapeutic use is still out of reach for many sick New Zealanders, despite changes in the law

Access to cannabis-based products for medical reasons is technically legal in New Zealand. But changes to the legislation in 2020 have failed to make this potentially life altering option a reality for many | Conversation, New Zealand