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Daily news - 18th March 2022

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UK news

Reducing Drug Deaths in London (PDF)

This report urges the Government to introduce a national naloxone programme in England, bringing it in line with Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. It also calls on the Mayor to work with the Metropolitan Police Service so that officers routinely carry nasal naloxone spray, as the police are regularly in contact with people who use drugs and are at risk of an overdose. The report makes a series of recommendations aimed at reducing the number of people who die from drug-related causes in London, with a particular focus on drug checking services, naloxone, and drug consumption rooms. [Press release here] | London Assembly Health Committee, UK

London should pilot drug checking and consumption rooms, says report

London should “lead the way” in tackling drug deaths by piloting drug consumption rooms and other harm reduction schemes, according to a new report | Evening Standard, UK

The Marketing and Consumption of No and Low Alcohol Drinks in the UK (PDF)

This report examines how No and Low Alcohol (NoLo) beverages are marketed and promoted in the UK and explores how and why consumers drink them. Whilst a more nuanced understanding of the expanding NoLo market and changes in drinking practices is important for policy and public health debates, this topic remains under-researched. The report adds to the evidence base on NoLo consumption in the UK through interviews with drinkers and nondrinkers alongside an examination of marketing and social media outputs for two popular NoLo drinks | IAS, UK

“Drinkers Like Me”: A Thematic Analysis of Comments Responding to an Online Article About Moderating Alcohol Consumption

[Open access] There has been media coverage surrounding the dangers of heavy drinking and benefits of moderation, with TV and radio presenter, Adrian Chiles, documenting his experience of moderating alcohol consumption in an online article for the Guardian. By analysing the comments in response to Chiles’ article, this study aimed to explore (i) posters’ (someone who has posted a comment in response to the article) attitudes or beliefs toward moderating alcohol and (ii) posters’ experiences of moderating or abstaining from alcoholn | Frontiers in Psychology, UK

Service Users’ Views and Experiences of Alcohol Relapse Prevention Treatment and Adherence: New Role for Pharmacists?

[Open access] To understand service users' views and experiences of alcohol relapse prevention medication, views of a telephone behavioural modification intervention delivered by pharmacists and the use of Contingency Management (CM) to support acamprosate adherence following assisted alcohol withdrawal | Alcohol and Alcoholism, UK

Substance Use in the Justice System [Scottish Parliament]

In January, we marked the first year of the national mission to reduce drug-related deaths and harms. The groundwork has been laid for addressing the issues head-on across Government in health, justice, housing and education and putting in place the investment and actions so that we can focus on delivering change on the ground | They work for you, UK

Sunderland mum: 'I pay for medical cannabis to help my debilitating headaches'

Frances Pallas' migraines were so bad that as a "last resort" she began to self-medicate with cannabis her husband would buy for her from street dealers | BBC, 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. In this webinar we will explore these themes on staff burnout within the sector prior to, during and beyond the  COVID-19 pandemic | SDF, UK

Forward Enterprise Club - Women in Enterprise

Thu, 31 March 2022, 16:00 – 17:30 BST. Purpose of the Club: To provide a peer networking platform for those who are either trading or thinking to start up their own enterprise | Forward Trust, UK

Drugs: North Wales £700,000 heroin and cocaine gang jailed

Eighteen people have been sentenced for their part in one of north Wales' largest drug conspiracies | BBC, UK


International news

Brittney Griner: Russia extends arrest of US basketball star over drugs charge

A Russian court has extended the detention of US basketball star Brittney Griner for another two months, reports state news agency Tass | BBC, UK

Latest wastewater data reveal drug-taking habits in 75 European cities in a record 25 countries — increases in detections of most drugs studied

The 2021 findings from the largest European project in the science of wastewater analysis are revealed today in Wastewater analysis and drugs — a European multi-city study, published by the Europe-wide SCORE group, in association with the EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) | EMCDDA, Portugal

War deepens suffering for Ukraine’s drug users

At a time of increased stress, withdrawal medication is hard to find while blackmarket drug prices soar | Aljazeera, Qatar

Study finds methadone the most effective drug in medication-assisted treatment for opioid-use disorder

Medications for opioid-use disorder (OUD) are associated with lower death rates and improved quality of life for people in recovery. But which of the most commonly used medications for OUD are most effective? And how does that effectiveness improve when coupled with behavioral therapy? | Medical Xpress, USA

In U.S., alcohol use disorder linked to 232 million missed workdays annually

Heavy alcohol use is associated with missing work, but the scope of that relationship has not been well understood. Now, based on survey data from more than 110,000 U.S. adults with full-time jobs, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have quantified the extent of the problem | Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, USA

Tobacco Product Use Among Adults — United States, 2020

In 2020, 19.0% of U.S. adults (47.1 million) used any tobacco product. Cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product (12.5%), followed by e-cigarettes (3.7%). From 2019 to 2020, the prevalence of overall tobacco product use, combustible tobacco product use, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and use of two or more tobacco products decreased | CDC, USA

The FDA Has 120 Days to Regulate Synthetic Nicotine. That’s Impossible

On March 15, tobacco controllers gathered at a hotel in Baltimore for an annual conference hosted by the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT), the preeminent scientific society in the field | Filter Magazine, USA

LSD, a future anti-anxiety pill?

The craze for psychedelics used for therapeutic purposes is real. However, the scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness and explaining their mode of action in treating mental health disorders is still very thin | McGill University, Canada

New Report: Alcohol companies reliant on people who drink at heaviest levels

A new report - Distribution of Alcohol use in Australia - has found that alcohol companies rely on people who drink the most for sales, with more than a third of alcohol consumed in Australia drunk by only five per cent of the population | FARE, Australia

Life success remains high despite adolescent drug use

Young people who stop using cannabis or amphetamines before becoming adults experience life success at the same levels of those who have never used drugs, according to a University of Queensland study | University of Queensland, Australia

DanceWize to return to NT’s biggest and best music festival

In great news for music fans attending this year’s BASSINTHEGRASS music festival on 21 May, DanceWize will again be on site to offer free help and advice to festivalgoers | Mirage News, Australia

Government introducing roadside drug testing from 2023

Random roadside drug testing will come into force from next year as part of an effort to deter drug-impaired driving. Drivers who test positive will be fined and stopped from driving for a minimum of 12 hours | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Letters: When we talk about tackling drug deaths, why do we neglect the toll of smoking and drinking?

AUDIT Scotland says “that amid our spiralling illicit drug deaths, progress [by the Scottish Government] has been too slow” (“SNP ministers urged to draw up plans to cut drug and drink deaths”, The Herald, March 8) | Herald letters, UK

Helping drinks workers when they hit hard times

The Licensed Trade Charity (LTC) has been supporting people who work, or used to work, in the licensed drinks trade since 1793. In that time the help our customers (beneficiaries) need has changed many times. The most recent during COVID-19, a clear example of that, fast-paced, changing need | Portman Group blog, UK

AI maps psychedelic ‘trip’ experiences to regions of the brain – opening new route to psychiatric treatments

For the past several decades, psychedelics have been widely stigmatized as dangerous illegal drugs. But a recent surge of academic research into their use to treat psychiatric conditions is spurring a recent shift in public opinion | Conversation, USA

Points Interview: Carl Erik Fisher

Today we’re excited to feature a Points Interview with Dr. Carl Erik Fisher, the author of The Urge: Our History of Addiction (Penguin Press, 2022) | Points blog, USA