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Daily news - 13th June 2022

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UK news

Drug workers warn heroin treatment shortage will cost lives

An "unprecedented shortage" of the heroin substitute diamorphine in England is putting hundreds of lives at risk, say drug workers | BBC, UK

Royal College of Nursing adds support for the introduction of safer injecting facilities

RCN Congress in Glasgow heard about the increase in drug-related deaths across the UK over the past decade, despite drug-related deaths being preventable. While the number of drug related deaths in Scotland fell for the first time in five years in 2021, there were still almost 1,300 suspected drug deaths. The Scottish government is exploring options for the introduction of safe injection facilities but disagrees with the UK Government about the legal changes required to allow for them in Scotland. Yesterday (8 June) RCN members voted to lobby the UK Government to support the introduction of safer injecting facilities | RCN, UK

Ease process for accessing medical cannabis, urges mother of boy with epilepsy

Charlotte Caldwell said just three children with severe epilepsy have been granted medical cannabis on the NHS, with others going private | Independent, UK

Would you take MDMA to save your marriage?

[Limited number of free articles per month] Some counsellors think psychedelic drugs could help save our love lives and restore intimacy – we examine the claims | Telegraph, UK

Recovery Walk Scotland Paisley 2022

Sat, 24 September 2022, 11:00 – 16:00 BST. Recovery Walk Scotland is the largest recovery event in Scotland and has been held in different locations across our beautiful country since 2013. The event is comprised of three parts: Roses in the River Memorial, Recovery Walk Scotland procession through the city centre and a Recovery Festival and Village in Paisley | Recovery Walk Scotland, UK

AHA Seminar Sessions: Alcohol harm and ethnicity

Wed, 29 June 2022, 14:00 – 15:00 BST. Alcohol harm and ethnicity: how does alcohol use differ across ethnic groups, and what does this mean for treatment services? | AHA, UK

Alcohol Focus Scotland and Alcohol Marketing Expert Network Report Launch

Thu, 30 June 2022, 10:00 – 11:00 BST. This new report presents evidence of the impact of alcohol marketing on people with (or at risk of) an alcohol problem, children and young people, and the general population | Alcohol Focus Scotland, UK

Arrest after West Midlands Police seize cocaine worth £2m at Dover

Blocks of cocaine with a street value of approximately £2m have been found in at lorry after it arrived from France | BBC, UK



International news

Biden's war on smoking: Administration plans to introduce new rules slashing amount of nicotine in cigarettes to 'nonaddictive' levels

The Biden administration is planning to push a policy that would require tobacco companies to reduce the level of nicotine in cigarettes sold in the U.S. | Mail Online, USA

Written warning on every cigarette in Canadian world-first

‘Poison in every puff’ message proposed amid government concern photo warnings on tobacco packages have lost impact | Guardian, UK

National Drug Treatment Reporting System 2015 – 2021 drug treatment data

In this bulletin, trends in treated problem drug use (excluding alcohol) are described for the seven-year period from 2015 to 2021. The data are drawn from the National Drug Treatment Reporting System (NDTRS), the national surveillance system that records and reports on cases of drug and alcohol treatment in Ireland | HRB, Ireland

Cocaine overtakes heroin as the main drug for which people seek treatment 

Cocaine has for the first time overtaken heroin as the main drug people are seeking treatment for, in what experts say could be a “tipping point” in Ireland’s battle with addiction | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Garda operations pay dividends as €2.5m worth of drugs and cash seized from Limerick gangs

Gardaí tackling organised crime gangs in Limerick have seized over €2.5m worth of drugs and cash since March of this year, as families and individuals involved in the drugs trade are targeted | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Patterns in Nonopioid Pain Medication Prescribing After the Release of the 2016 Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain

In this cohort study of the insurance claims data of more than 15 million patients, nonopioid pain medication prescribing rates were higher by 3.0% in postguideline year 1, by 8.7% in postguideline year 2, and by 9.7% in postguideline year 3 than the preguideline pattern–based estimates. All patient subpopulations analyzed showed larger-than-expected prescribing rates, but the relative magnitude of the difference varied | JAMA Network Open, USA

Binge drinking raises risk of developing alcohol problems, even for moderate drinkers

Moderate average drinkers with a pattern of binge drinking were almost five times more likely to experience multiple alcohol problems, researchers report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine | EurekAlert, USA

Averhealth’s Drug Tests Were Wrong Up to 30% of the Time, Former Employee Testifies

Exclusive court documents show that Averhealth’s ex-lab director said up to 30% of its drug tests in Michigan were wrong. The company denies her claims | VICE, USA

Hep C Outreach and Anonymity at Harm Reduction Vending Machines

Vending machines have proven to be an unexpected but largely successful harm reduction tool in numerous countries | Filter Magazine, USA

Online portal, drug reporting tool to help tackle Peterborough-area opioid crisis: health unit

A new online opioids harm portal and online drug reporting tool aim to help Peterborough-area health officials tackle the opioid crisis while making the public better aware of the growing issue | Global News, Canada

How psilocybin, the psychedelic in mushrooms, may rewire the brain to ease depression, anxiety and more

Shrooms, Alice, tweezes, mushies, hongos, pizza toppings, magic mushrooms -- everyday lingo for psychedelic mushrooms seems to grow with each generation. Yet leading mycologist Paul Stamets believes it's time for fans of psilocybin mushrooms to leave such childish slang behind | CNN, USA

Malaysia to get rid of ‘mandatory’ death sentences

Malaysia on Friday announced a stop to the mandatory death penalty — required death sentences for some crimes, including nonviolent drug trafficking offenses. Rights groups cautiously welcomed the move | Washington Post, USA

Medical cannabis is still out of reach for too many sick New Zealanders

Law changes should have made medicinal cannabis available and accessible to anyone who needs it. But overly stringent rules – and the reluctance of GPs – mean the reality is very different, writes a researcher on the subject | The Spinoff, New Zealand




Is rehab effective? The results are in

Recovery journeys are dynamic, take time and for those who receive treatment, may need several episodes. For some, residential rehab is part of the journey, just as harm reduction interventions can also be part of the journey. However, residential rehabilitation is a complex intervention and complex interventions are difficult to study | Recovery Review blog, UK

Language Matters: Is This a Drug Overdose or Drug Poisoning Crisis?

In public policy, language matters. In drug policy, language has always been divisive. Words from “dealer” to “addict” have been used to marginalise, incarcerate, and strip three-dimensional humanity away from people by casting them as two-dimensional villains | Talking Drugs, UK

Letters: We must stick with minimum pricing of alcohol

MarkSmith is not alone, amongst political commentators, in seeing the Public Health Scotland report as an indication of the failure of the minimum alcohol pricing policy ("So now we see the truth on pricing of alcohol", The Herald, 9 June). However, such pundits really misunderstand the intention of the policy, both short- and long-term | Herald letters, UK

We know cocaine is dangerous, so why is it glamorised on Everything I Know About Love?

[Possibe paywall] I took cocaine in my twenties because it looked cool on television, now I squirm at how normalised it is on screen | i news opinion, UK

Research to Move Policy — Using Evidence to Advance Health Equity for Substance Use Disorders

Rates of overdose death are rising faster in Black, Latinx, and American Indian and Alaska Native populations than in White populations. Members of some of these groups also use medications for opioid use disorder (such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone) at lower rates, have worse health outcomes in the context of SUD, and are more likely to be targeted by police and incarcerated for drug possession than their White counterparts | NEJM perspective, USA