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Daily news - 3rd March 2022

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UK news

Universities should be more tolerant of drug use if they are to keep students safe from drug harms

A new report from the Higher Education Policy Institute, Illicit drug use in universities: zero tolerance or harm reduction? (HEPI Debate Paper 29), suggests a zero-tolerance approach to illicit drug use may cause more harm than it prevents, as those who need help do not come forward for fear of punishment. Drawing on available evidence, the authors Arda Ozcubukcu and Professor Graham Towl argue that an approach based on public health and focused on harm reduction is a better way to deal with students who take illegal drugs | HEPI, UK

Zero-tolerance drug policies stop UK students seeking help, report says

Only three in 10 students would be confident to share information regarding their drug use without fear of punishment | Guardian, UK

White people at much higher risk of most cancers in England, study finds

Lower levels of smoking among most black and Asian groups is one reason they are at lower risk of some lifestyle cancers - such as bowel, breast and lung - than white people, the study suggests | BBC, UK

Vaping on NHS backed by more than a third in survey

GoSmokeFree.co.uk questioned 1,200 respondents to gauge their views toward vaping as a means of helping smokers cut down their tobacco use and subsequently, reduce the overall harm to society | Scotsman, UK

My plan for pool tables in prisons will give inmates a better shot at rehabilitation, says Dominic Raab

[Limited number of free articles per week] Justice Secretary pledges an expansion of drug-free wings in jails, where offenders will be offered new privileges and help to find work | Telegraph, UK

Drug driving

For each year 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 please can you provide the number of drug driving offences in each borough? | They work for you, UK

Met Officer Training and Awareness of Chem Sex

The Met launched training for officers around the drug Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) following the learnings from the Stephen Port murders. Can you provide information on wider training that is given to officers around chem-sex and how often this is refreshed? | They work for you, UK

Family Courts: Pilot Schemes

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent progress he has made on piloting (a) integrated domestic abuse courts and (b) other new types of family courts | They work for you, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Minimum Prices

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 11 Feb 2022 to Question 119880 on Alcoholic Drinks: Minimum Prices, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of introducing minimum unit pricing for alcohol in England following its introduction in Scotland and Wales | They work for you, UK

About Exchange Supplies - video

A short film about the values and people that lie behind our mission to make the world a better place reducing drug related harm | Exchange Supplies, UK

Exhibition: "I am a work in progress" The art of living with(out) drugs

An exhibition has opened at Goldsmiths, University of London telling the stories of people in recovery from drugs/alcohol through their 'body maps' and an installation. It will run until 25 March | Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

Gender and Substance use: Thinking beyond the binary

Tue, Mar 15, 2022 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM GMT. ISSUP Global are would like to invite you to attend our upcoming Webinar on Gender and Substance Use. This webinar will summarise and critically appraise the extant research on substance use among transgender and non-binary people. Dr Connolly will make recommendations for clinical practice, policy, and research while highlighting the need for cultural competence and gold-standard measures of gender (modality) | ISSUP, UK

IDPC recruits communications volunteer

Are you passionate about global drug policy and want to support its reform? IDPC is looking for a dynamic and motivated volunteer to support our communications work! If you are interested in volunteering with us, please send your CV and 1-2 paragraphs outlining why this experience is of interest to you and how it resonates with your skills by 4 March 2022 | IDPC, UK

Isle of Man cocaine dealer, 19, spared jail over university place

A teenager who admitted dealing cocaine has been given a suspended sentence after the Deemster said he did not want his life to be ruined by "stupidity" | BBC, UK

Cannabis worth £100k seized by police during drugs raid near Devizes

Officers searched a mixture of residential and agricultural buildings at the site as a warrant was carried out with support from the dog unit | ITV, UK

Hull arrests after cocaine worth £50k found in raids

Two men and two women were arrested on suspicion of importing a controlled drug after the Tuesday raids | BBC, UK

Halifax power cuts lead to cannabis factory find

More than 600 plants with a street value of £800,000 were spread across five floors of the derelict building in Halifax on Friday, police said | BBC, UK



International news


The Global Forum on Nicotine is launching GFN•TV to broadcast nicotine science, policy, news and updates throughout the year. GFN•TV is seen as “a natural next step” after in-person, online and hybrid conference successes. The news programme launches 3 March and GFN•TV will broadcast live from #GFN22 in Poland in June | Planet of the Vapes, UK

Costa Rica Congress passes medical marijuana bill

Costa Rica's Congress has passed a bill which will legalise the use of marijuana for medical purposes and allow its cultivation for industrial use | BBC, UK

Aryan Khan: No evidence of involvement of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan’s son found in drug case

Officer says Khan ‘wasn’t in possession of drugs, so there was no need’ to check his phone chats | Independent, UK

Adolescent Addiction Service Report 2022 (PDF)

In 2021 the Adolescent Addiction Service worked with 50 young people and their families with a mean age of 15.5 years (range 13-18 years). In comparison to 2020 referrals were up by 25%.The majority of referrals (70%) were male, which reflects a reduction on 2020 when 82% were male and 6% were Non Irish nationals, reflecting a decrease of 7% compared to 2020. Similar to previous year’s referrals were received from a broad range of services. Of note is 80% increase in referrals from CAMHS which reflects the extent of dual diagnosis among young people who access service | HSE, Ireland

FACT SHEET: Addressing Addiction and the Overdose Epidemic

Drug overdose deaths have reached a historic high, devastating families and communities. More than 104,000 Americans died due to a drug overdose in the 12-month period ending in September 2021. We grieve these losses, and commit to continuing our work to save lives | The White House, USA

2022 State of the Union Includes First-Ever Nod to Harm Reduction

The 2022 State of the Union address was the first such speech to mention harm reduction. The brief reference reinforced both the Biden administration’s inclusion of harm reduction in its approach to drug policy as well its habit of doing so to the minimum possible degree | Filter Magazine, USA

Evaluation of Increases in Drug Overdose Mortality Rates in the US by Race and Ethnicity Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Overdose death rates per 100 000 among Black individuals increased from 24.7 in 2019 to 36.8 in 2020, which was 16.3% higher than that for White individuals (31.6) in 2020 | JAMA Network, USA

Black Americans are now dying from drug overdoses at a higher rate than whites

When the first phase of the opioid epidemic was cresting in 2010, driven largely by prescription pain medications, white Americans were dying of fatal drug overdoses at rates twice that of Black Americans | npr, USA

Synthetic opioids stronger than fentanyl have cropped up in the US

While there’s no indication at this time nitazenes will become more prevalent than fentanyl, the drug’s emergence has some worried more potent synthetic opioids will continue proliferating throughout the country | The Hill, USA

Evidence links e-cigarette use with increased odds of prediabetes

New study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine challenges the promotion by some of e-cigarettes as a “safer” smoking alternative, especially for current cigarette smokers | EurekAlert, USA

The Role of Daily Goal Setting Among Individuals with Alcohol Use Disorder

[Open access] Individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) who seek help to reduce their drinking are expected to vary with respect to drinking goal with some choosing abstinence and others moderation. The present research explored whether drinking goals vary day to day among individuals with AUD who plan to enter treatment and the relationship of specific daily goals to actual drinking behavior in daily life | Drug and Alcohol Dependence Reports, USA

The representation of females in clinical trials for substance use disorder conducted in the United States (2010–19)

[Open access] Women have historically been under-represented in clinical research, but the extent to which this is true for substance use disorder (SUD) trials is unknown. We aimed to determine the ratio of female:male participation in clinical trials for SUDs and describe the reporting of sex-specific outcomes from 2010 to 2019 | Addiction, USA

About 80% of parents know little to nothing about CBD products, survey says

About 80% of parents know almost nothing about CBD and CBD products, with more than a third of them under the impression it is the same as marijuana | Medical Xpress, USA

Enhanced Alcohol Container Labels: A Systematic Review [report]

Analyzes the published research on alcohol labels with nutrition information, health warnings, standard drink information and low-risk drinking guidelines. Key findings show alcohol drink labels with this information improve consumer knowledge of alcohol-related risks, and, in some studies, decrease the intention to buy or drink alcohol, and the total amount of alcohol consumed. Evidence suggests there is public support for adding alcohol drink labels with this information | CCSA, Canada

Alberta in talks to open overdose prevention sites

New operations in Clagary and Edmonton expected to replace Calgary’s only supervised consumption site | Victoria News, Canada

Ontario looking to make naloxone kits mandatory at high-risk workplaces

The Ontario government says it has introduced legislation that would require workplaces at high risk for an opioid overdose to have life-saving naloxone kits on site | Global News, Canada



Blogs, comment and opinion

Insights from experience – alcohol and suicide

In this blog, Sarah Marsay from Samaritans and Robin Pollard from With Youtalk about recent work from the Suicide Prevention Consortium to capture the views of people with lived experience of alcohol use, suicidality and/or self-harm | SSA blog, UK

The North American Opioid Crisis: how it came about and how to manage it

There is continuing public concern over the North American Opioid Crisis (Anon et al., 2021). The subject has provoked numerous books, documentaries and, recently, a major Disney+ drama series “Dopesick”. Proposals to deal with the Opioid Crisis featured in both the 2016 and 2020 US presidential election campaigns | Mental Elf blog, UK

5 Wild Things I Learned Analyzing 23,000 Illegal Drugs

I founded a community program called Get Your Drugs Tested in my hometown of Vancouver, Canada. We have a storefront where anyone can come and get their drugs analyzed for free, plus we also accept samples by mail. We pay for it all with revenue from our medicinal cannabis dispensary, one of the few pre-legalization legacy weed shops still operating | Cracked, Canada

Decriminalising Drugs to Save Lives: An Interview With Reason Leader Fiona Patten

“The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world,” declared the Global Commission on Drug Policy, in its June 2011 report. And the commission holds serious weight being made up of leading intellectuals and former heads of state | Sydney Criminal Lawyers blog, Australia