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Daily news - 7th March 2022

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A BIG thank you to the Forward Trust for generously renewing their sponsorship this year. Very much appreciated!



UK news

Cutting back on final drink of day ‘could improve brain health’

Study of UK adults shows negative effects of alcohol consumption grow stronger with each additional drink | Guardian, UK

New drug, alcohol and sexual health service launches to support young people in Lewisham

Insight Lewisham, a free and confidential service that will provide advice and help to young people who are impacted by or living with drug and alcohol issues or require support around sexual health and relationships, is set to open this month | Humankind, UK

Street Drugs Discussion: Deep Dive Into After-Parties

Fri, 25 March 2022, 14:00 – 16:00 GMT. This webinar will examine the recent development of harm reduction in an 'after-party' setting | Drug Science, UK

Provider Event, Yorkshire and Humber Adult D&A Services for Inpatient Detox

Thu, 24 March 2022, 13:00 – 14:30 GMT. Adult Drug and Alcohol provider event for the Yorkshire and Humber consortium for Inpatient Detoxification | Stuart Green, UK

Jack Ritchie: coroner condemns ‘woefully inadequate’ care for gambling addict

Narrative verdict reached in inquest into English teacher who killed himself in 2017 | Guardian, UK

Police to test for signs of cocaine use at Ashton Gate stadium in Bristol

Avon and Somerset Police will swab surfaces during Bristol City's home fixture against Birmingham City later | BBC, UK

Essex drug dealers jailed for over £5.9m cocaine seizures

Two men have been jailed for 30 years after supplying multi-kilo consignments of cocaine to crime groups across London and Essex | NCA, UK

Surrey: Mustafa Oustha jailed for running 12 cannabis factories

Mustafa Oustha, 39, of Harewood Drive, Northolt, west London, was charged after using five different aliases to rent drug-producing units | BBC, UK

Royal Navy carries out heaviest drugs bust in a decade with £6.5m hash haul

Around £6.5m worth of drugs have been captured by the Royal Navy as HMS Montrose struck a third blow to traffickers in two months | ITV, UK



International news

Trends in alcohol consumption in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-country analysis

During the first sequence of lockdowns implemented in many countries around the world in early 2020 as a result of the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, there was widespread concern amongst many health professionals regarding a predicted rise in alcohol consumption. However, studies have reported diverse findings, with some consumer groups exhibiting an increase and others a decrease in their alcohol purchase and consumption patterns | International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, UK et al

Limerick garda drug operation needs to tackle '24/7 supermarket', policing meeting hears

The property in the St Mary's Park area, known locally as 'the shop', has been the subject of garda attention for nearly a year now | Irish Examiner, Ireland

More alcohol, less brain: Penn-led study finds an association that begins with an average of just one drink a day

The research, using a dataset of more than 36,000 adults, revealed that going from one to two drinks a day was linked with changes in the brain equivalent to aging two years. Heavier drinking was associated with an even greater toll | EurekAlert, USA

Combination treatment is effective for treating smokers who drink heavily

One in five people who smoke also drink heavily, but they show worse outcomes than non-heavy drinkers in quitting smoking and are often excluded from smoking cessation trials. Knowing how challenging it can be to quit smoking, Andrea King, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, wanted to find a treatment that could help smokers to quit, particularly those who would describe themselves as heavy drinkers | Medical Xpress, USA

Racism linked to drinking problems in Asian American students, new study shows

The research, conducted before the pandemic, found that most participants reported experiencing racism and drinking to cope with higher levels of psychological distress | NBC News, USA

Drug Policy Alliance Leads 50+ Organizations in Calling on Congress to Finally Remove D.C. Marijuana Rider

Today, the Drug Policy Alliance led a group of over 50 criminal justice reform, liberty, business, labor, and drug policy organizations in sending a letter to key House and Senate appropriators, along with Majority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, urging them to maintain the removal of the appropriations rider that has prevented D.C. from establishing a regulatory framework for marijuana, despite it being legalized by D.C. voters in 2014 | DPA, USA

Study Projects HIV Surge After Scott County Syringe Program Closure

In 2015, Scott County, Indiana, saw a huge HIV outbreak among its population of people who use drugs. The county had around 24,000 residents at that time, and 181 people tested positive for the autoimmune disease, representing a rate 50 times the national average | Filter Magazine, USA

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

March 21-27, 2022. Join NIDA for NDAFW and help share facts about drugs, alcohol, and addiction in your community. Sign up for emails from NDAFW for the latest news, planning tips, and free resources to support your NDAFW activities and other efforts | NIDA, USA

In Alberta, a Drug Poisoning Crisis Rages

The Kenney government leaves community groups scrambling for harm reduction. A Tyee special report | The Tyee, Canada

Vancouver overdose prevention society finds new home for drug consumption site

The Overdose Prevention Society has found a new location for a drug consumption facility after learning it had to vacate its current site set up in a parking lot on West Pender Street by the end of the month | Vancouver is Awesome, Canada

London's Salvation Army's addiction recovery program ends after two years

It acted as a unique option for people in recovery from substance use issues | CBC News, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

Overdose prevention centres in the UK

In response to the drug related death crisis in the UK, more than 80 prominent medical, academic, and third sector organisations have called for the introduction of pilot overdose prevention centres (also called drug consumption rooms).1 The government, however, has repeatedly indicated it has no plans to introduce them, and overdose prevention centres are not mentioned in it's 10-year drug strategy. Here, we question the arguments used to defend this position with relevance for other countries debating the introduction of overdose prevention centres | Lancet comment, UK

Universities must ditch the zero-tolerance approach to drugs and protect students

Leading higher education think tank HEPI yesterday launched a landmark report calling for an overhaul of the failed zero-tolerance approach to drug use in universities. This is a significant development from a reputable think tank, coming at a crucial juncture | Politics.co.uk, UK

Four nations, 15 years: alcohol policy in Wales

Across the four nations, there have been great policy successes and pitfalls. In this blog series, we look back on the progress that has been made to help reduce alcohol harm across the UK and reflect upon what needs to happen next. In this edition, Andrew Misell of Alcohol Change UK examines how alcohol policy has changed in Wales during the lifetime of the AHA | AHA blog, UK

Recovery: the SSA talks to Sarah Galvani, Alastair Roy, and Amanda Clayson about their new book

In a first for the SSA’s Addictions Edited podcast, Dr Rob Calder talks to the editors behind a new textbook about recovery from substance use problems. They discuss the different types of experiences and stories that went into the book and how this text consolidates and advances knowledge about recovery, plus give a behind-the-scenes look at the world of academic publishing | SSA, UK

Psychedelic circle jerk: Fake questions and mushroom misinformation

News.com.au publish a weekly column called ‘Ask Doctor Zac’, in which medical practitioner Zac Turner responds to questions, presumably submitted by readers of the column. A recent submission from ‘Anon’ reads like a more psychedelic and slightly less dramatic version of Reefer Madness. | AOD Media Watch, Australia