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Daily news - 14th March 2022

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UK news

Avoidable mortality in Great Britain: 2020

In 2020, Scotland had the highest avoidable ASMR (age-standardised mortality rate) for alcohol-related and drug-related deaths with 52.1 deaths per 100,000 people. This was statistically significantly higher than the rates for the other two countries. In comparison, England had the lowest rate with 24.0 deaths per 100,000 people | ONS, UK

Facility designed to allow people to take drugs more safely while supervised is coming to Llanelli

One mum whose son died in a locked toilet in Carmarthen town centre believes he might have been alive today had he been able to attend such a centre | Wales Online, USA

Two-thirds of scientists want to keep alcohol at conferences

Nearly 1,500 scientists participated in the online poll, which began on 20 December as part of a Nature story about reconsidering the role of alcohol in the scientific workplace (Nature 600, S86–S88; 2021). When asked whether alcohol should be banned at scientific conferences, 68% of those who responded to the self-selecting poll said no, 26% said yes and 6% were not sure | Nature, UK

SDF Learning Centre

SDF are pleased to offer a growing programme of quality-assured vocational learning to the drug, alcohol, and wider social care workforce through our SQA accredited Learning Centre. SVQs at Level 3 have filled up fast and are now full. SVQs at Level 2 are still available - this is an industry standard qualification suited to those working in direct support roles." | SDF, UK

Pregnancy and drug use: the SSA talks to Polly Radcliffe and Emma Smith

The Stepping Stones study brings together researchers from Kings College London, University of Huddersfield, University of Stirling and Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust, and is led by Dr Polly Radcliffe of King’s College, London and Professor Helen Cheyne of the University of Stirling | SSA, UK

Family Hubs

Church groups have been supporting excellent 12-step programmes, including Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, for many years. The all-party parliamentary group on the twelve steps recovery programme from addiction, which I chair, is very keen to hear how the Church Commissioners are supporting mental health and addiction issues, including linking with 12-step programmes in family hubs | They work for you, UK

Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many (a) total and (b) effective trials there were for the production, supply and possessions with intent to supply of class A drugs in each of the last five years | They work for you, UK

Oral Tobacco: Health Hazards

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Kamall on 15 November (HL3287), why they have referred to the Food and Drug Administration's 2016 assessment of the health risks associated with using snus, rather than the 2019 assessment | They work for you, UK

London Drugs Commission

Please can you answer the actual question posed in my previous question 2022/0234. When is the latest date the London Drug’s Commission will convene by? | They work for you, UK

What are LGBTQ+ people’s experiences of alcohol services in Scotland?

Wed, 23 March 2022, 14:00 – 15:00 GMT. Join Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) and researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University for the launch of a report: What are LGBTQ+ people’s experiences of alcohol services in Scotland? A qualitative study of service users and service providers | SHAAP, UK

SDF Webinar – All Burnt Out? Supporting frontline staff to respond to Scotland’s public health emergencies

Friday 25 March 2022 , 13.00 – 14.45. Through Scottish Drugs Forum’s work, burnout amongst front line workers in drug and alcohol services has been highlighted as a key issue which can impact on staff wellbeing and on service delivery and quality.  This includes factors such as poor health and wellbeing of staff, staff absence, staff turnover and negative staff attitudes and values towards clients. All of these factors impact on the ability of staff to offer high quality support which helps engage and retain people in treatment and support services | SDF, UK

AcoRN Webinar: Alcohol Availability - Research Design & Data

Wed, 23 March 2022, 10:00 – 11:30 GMT. The UK-Ireland Alcohol Research Network (AcoRN) would like to invite you to its third webinar, which will be focused on the availability of alcohol. This webinar is aimed at those interested in better understanding research on availability, and especially academics who are keen to be part of this kind of research in Ireland | ISMH, UK

Let's talk about David Stuart

Saturday 19th March 2022 2pm – 7pm at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern. David Stuart helped the LGBTQ+ community more than almost anyone in recent years, both in the UK and internationally. Through his pioneering work in the area of chemsex and LGBTQ+ wellbeing, at Antidote and 56 Dean St, he transformed and saved countless lives. Following his tragic passing in January, we invite you to come together to celebrate, commemorate and pay tribute to a man who lived his last years as a friend to us all | Royal Vauxhall Tavern, UK


International news

Death Penalty For Drug Offences: Global Overview 2021

Harm Reduction International has monitored the use of the death penalty for drug offences worldwide since our first ground-breaking publication on this issue in 2007. This report, our eleventh on the subject, continues our work of providing regular updates on legislative, policy and practical developments related to the use of capital punishment for drug offences, a practice which is a clear violation of international law | HRI, UK

British American Tobacco halts Russia sales after U-turn

Owner of brands including Rothmans had said it would still sell products – but will now pull out | Guardian, UK

Oregon’s psychedelic mushroom regulators accused of conflict of interest

Chair of board advising on legalisation of psychedelic mushrooms resigns after being accused to standing to profit from own rules | Guardian, UK

Six West Point cadets involved in Florida fentanyl-cocaine overdose

Two of the six are in critical condition, officials said; the incident highlights a two-year trend in suspected opioid overdoses | Guardian, UK

INCB Annual Report 2021

The Report reviews the functioning of the international drug control system and includes an analysis of the availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, particularly in humanitarian emergencies. Important differences between the concepts of legalization, decriminalization and depenalization are highlighted, as is the link between exposure to social media and drug use | INCB, Austria

New Federal Spending Plan Could Effectively Ban Products That Help People Quit Smoking

Of the many provisions included in the 2,741 page omnibus spending bill being pushed through Congress this week is a budget rider that will subject thousands of products containing synthetic nicotine to FDA regulation for the first time | Forbes, USA

Evolution of tobacco products: recent history and future directions

Current tobacco use has been declining globally, with 23.5% of adults currently using tobacco in 2018, down from 33% in 2000. About one-fifth (20.9%) are expected to be tobacco users by 2025 | BMJ Tobacco Control, USA

Polysubstance Exposure During Pregnancy and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Offspring—Methodological Challenges and Opportunities for Future Research

Substance use during pregnancy represents an important public health concern because it poses substantial health risks to both the mother and the offspring. Multiple studies have reported neurodevelopmental impairments among children prenatally exposed to alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, or illicit opioids | JAMA Network, USA

Non-opioid prescription misuse - new kids on the block - video

This presentation explored the who, how and why of non-opioid prescription drug misuse focusing on antipsychotics, stimulants and pregabalin | NDARC, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

It’s wrong and dangerous, Sajid Javid, to leave addicts’ treatment to their family

In my experience, family members are often the source of the problem. Addicts need NHS professionals’ help to get off drugs | Guardian opinion, UK

It's time to dispel the stigma that surrounds addiction

[Limited number of free articles per week] Last July I spoke in the House of Commons about my struggle with alcoholism, and the response was overwhelming | Telegraph, UK

Global cannabis markets; fair trade & the sustainable development goals

Currently, the United Nations drug conventions prevent a legally regulated export trade for non-medical cannabis. This is acknowledged in the Canadian Cannabis Regulations, which only permit the import and export of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes (for those granted the relevant import or export permit)... | Transform blog, UK

Book Review: ‘The New Science of Cannabis + Your Health’ – By Professor David Nutt

The latest book from Professor David Nutt is a one-stop-shop for everything you could ever need to know about cannabis | Volteface, UK

Our Unconscious Relationship with Tobacco

In the first part of this article, I’ll note one particular barrier I have heard expressed about the idea of changing an addiction treatment campus to “tobacco-free” or to the idea of a tobacco-free model of care.  And then I’ll discuss a few responses to that barrier. In the second part of the article, I’ll provide a list of some possible reasons why 480,000 deaths1 a year due to smoking don’t get our attention and don’t cause us to adopt a smoke-free model of addiction treatment | Recovery Review blog, USA