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Daily news - 15th March 2022

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UK news

National consultation asks public to help create a smoke-free Wales by 2030

The Welsh Government is calling on people across the country to join a national consultation that will shape its strategy to make Wales smoke-free by 2030 | Welsh Government, UK

Under-25s could be banned from buying cigarettes under Government plans

UK lawmakers may follow New Zealand's lead by banning cigarettes for future generations as smoking levels remain stubborn | Mirror, UK

Menthol cigarettes used by three fifths of young smokers in Wales prior to their ban

The use of menthol cigarettes in underage smokers was widespread in Wales before a ban was introduced, according to new research from Cardiff University and the University of Stirling. The study – the first to reveal the full extent of flavoured cigarette use in this age group – found 60.5% of smokers aged 11-16 reported using menthol cigarettes in the 30 days prior to the survey being carried out in 2019 | Cardiff University, UK

Carmarthen mother believes supervised 'drug room' could have saved her son Kevin Lane's life

A woman whose son died following a heroin overdose says she believes he could have been saved by accessing a supervised drug consumption room - also known as an overdose prevention centre | ITV, UK

'Drug consumption rooms' would save lives - Newcastle councillor calls on Government to change public health 'status quo'

Newcastle's Coun John-Paul Stephenson has written to Government minister Kit Malthouse urging him to change the law to allow 'drug consumption rooms' | Chronicle, UK

Insights from experience: alcohol and suicide

In this article, 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 | DDN, UK

Peer Led Harm Reduction Show Case Vlog 1 - video

EuroNPUD Coact and Cranstoun launch our new Peer Led Harm Reduction Show Case. Mat Southwell introduces the social media series and explains that a series of video shorts and blog posts will show case Cranstoun and Coact's demonstration project in Sandwell in the UK | EuroNPUD, UK et al

The Drugs Wheel - updated (PDF)

NPS/Established version 1.0.3 - added THC and Modafinil | Mark Adley, UK

Top NHS clinicians call for ‘addiction levy’ on gambling industry

Call for new independent health board to be created, funded by ‘polluter pays’ principle | Guardian, UK

Batley flat explosion caused by cannabis production, court hears

An explosion at a flat in West Yorkshire which left five men hurt was caused by butane gas which was being used to produce super-strength cannabis being ignited, a court has heard | BBC, UK

EncroChat: Manchester man jailed for £1.6m cocaine smuggling plot

A man who used the secret phone network EncroChat to smuggle cocaine worth £1.6m has been jailed for 12 years | BBC, UK


International news

Britain should welcome Ukrainians with drug problems – they desperately need our help

[Register for free to gain limited access to Premium articles] If Russia takes control of Ukraine, harm reduction and treatment will be terminated – a move that is sure to cultivate blood-borne viruses such as HIV and hepatitis | Independent premium, UK

Sixty-fifth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND)

The sixty-fifth session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs will be held from 14 to 18 March 2022. The session will be held in a hybrid format, combining in-person participation at the Vienna International Centre (VIC) and online participation. The CND meets every year to discuss the global state of drug control and to adopt resolutions to guide the way forward | EMCDDA, Portugal

Sixty-fifth session

Event website with information on the programme, including CND side events | UNODC, Austria

Carolina researchers developing warnings for tainted street drugs

Led by Nabarun Dasgupta, researchers from across the University will work with seven community-based harm reduction programs from all regions of North Carolina to conduct the first-ever street drug assessment focused on public health, backed by sophisticated machine learning techniques | University of North Carolina, USA


Dipyanone is classified as a novel opioid. Novel opioids have been reported to cause psychoactive effects similar to heroin, fentanyl, and other opioids. Novel opioids have also caused adverse events, including death, as described in the literature. Dipyanone is reported to be slightly less potent that structurally similar opioids methadone and dipipanone | CFSRE et al, USA

13.4% of high school students reported tobacco use in 2021

During 2021, 13.4% of high school students and 4.0% of middle school students reported tobacco product use during the previous 30 days, according to research published in the March 11 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report | Medical Xpress, USA

Homeless deaths doubled in San Francisco during the pandemic's first year, mostly from drug overdoses

More than twice as many people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco died during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to previous years, with the leading cause of death being drug overdose. No deaths attributed to the virus itself | Medical Xpress, USA

Feds’ Survey Reveals Which Industries Drug-Test Employees the Most

Anew federal labor report indicates that drug testing rates at US workplaces have fallen considerably over the past quarter-century, as states began ending marijuana prohibition—and the data offer a glance at what types of industries are screening workers for drugs the most and the least | Filter Magazine, USA

New Mexico Marijuana Legalization: Key Innovations, Big Equity Questions

New Mexico will open its first adult-use cannabis dispensaries to the public on April 1. It legalized through its legislature in April 2021, in a major victory for a state movement dating back decades. And unlike New York, New Jersey or Virginia—all of which approved legalization measures last year, but won’t open sales until at least 2023—New Mexico has rolled out its cannabis market remarkably fast | Filter Magazine, USA

The Heroin Capsules Sparking Deadly Turf Wars in South Africa

Heroin addiction is surging since mass-produced capsules have triggered gun wars on South Africa’s east coast | VICE, USA

Feds look to change cannabis drink regulations so Canadians can buy more at a time

The federal government is eyeing regulatory changes that could allow Canadians to purchase a greater number of cannabis beverages without exceeding public possession limits | Toronto Star, Canada

Drugs, the dark web and distributing safe supply in hopes of saving lives

A small white box sits on a plastic folding table. Inside the nondescript package are two bags, one with heroin and one with cocaine. The illicit drugs were purchased on the dark web by Jeremy Kalicum and Eris Nyx. Together, they founded the Drug User Liberation Front, or DULF as it’s more commonly known | CTV News, Canada

Australians spending $10.3bn a year on illicit drugs according to ACIC’s latest wastewater report

An estimated 15.7 tonnes of methylamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA and heroin was consumed in 2020–21, the fifth year of the Program. Consumption of methylamphetamine is still dominant, well ahead of cocaine, the next biggest market of the four major drugs | Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Australia

NSW campaign challenges teens ‘do you know what you’re vaping?’

The NSW government has launched a $300,000 education campaign to stem the growing tide of teenagers taking up vaping while defending its existing efforts to crack down on the black market | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Rehab works!

When it comes to trying to improve access to residential rehabilitation in Scotland, one thing I’ve heard too often from doubters is: ‘there’s no evidence that rehab works’. Ten years ago I was hearing the same thing about mutual aid, which was recently (at least in terms of Alcoholics Anonymous) found to be as effective, if not more effective, than commonly delivered psychological interventions | Recovery Review blog, UK

Safer supply of opioids saves lives: Providing alternatives to toxic street drugs

Over 25,000 Canadians have died from opioid overdose since 2016 — with 6,306 people dying in 2020 alone | Conversation, Canada