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Daily news - 21st March 2022

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UK news

Policy paper: People at the Heart of Care: adult social care reform

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) will focus the whole health family on delivering greater action on prevention and – working with a new cross-government ministerial board on prevention – drive and support the whole of government to go further in improving health and tackling health disparities, addressing the wider drivers of good health, from employment to housing and education to the environment. OHID will tackle the top preventable risk factors for poor health, including obesity, smoking and alcohol | DHSC, UK

Sentencing: Females

Since publication in June 2018, the number of women entering the criminal justice system has fallen by 30%. We are investing millions of pounds over the next three years into a variety of community services such as women’s centres, drug rehabilitation and accommodation support so fewer women end up in prison | 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

How and why is British drinking culture changing?

Tue, 10 May 2022, 09:30 – 12:30 BST. The ESRC-funded SPARC Collaboration set out to develop new understanding about contemporary British drinking culture and analyse how changes in alcohol use relate to wider policy, cultural and structural shifts. This event is an opportunity to hear the researchers talk about their findings | MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, UK

Cops Tried to Claim a Smuggler’s £90 Drugs Stash Was Worth Nearly £1m

Authorities tried to convince a court that a British man was in line to make a profit of nearly £1 million. An expert told VICE World News he found the overvaluation “incredulous.” | VICE, UK

Drugs trafficker in global dark web organised crime group jailed

Mubinar Rahman, 26, is believed to have posted over 104 packages of MDMA to global destinations | NCA, UK

County lines: Leicestershire drug raids see 63 arrests

Officers said three lines from Nottingham to Birmingham were dismantled as part of a national week of action from 7 to 13 March | BBC, UK

County lines: 46 arrested in Chesterfield and Sheffield drugs raids

Derbyshire Police said eight lines had been dismantled or seriously disrupted as part of the crackdown | BBC, UK

St Patrick's Day: 1,600 units of alcohol and seven arrests made in Belfast

Police seized 1,600 units of alcohol across various locations in Belfast over the course of St Patrick's Day | BBC, UK



International news

Spanish driver who ate hash cakes claims diplomatic immunity from non-existent state

Man arrested after driving erratically fails to convince officers over ID from ‘Wandering Republic of Yours Truly’ | Guardian, UK

San Francisco officials issue alert about fentanyl-laced cocaine after overdoses

Health authorities listed three fatal and nine non-fatal incidents this month in individuals who had intended to only use cocaine | Guardian, UK

Fewer Americans smoked during first year of pandemic, study shows

Experts suggest all-time low smoking rates may be thanks to less socializing and more time with kids | Guardian, UK

Sonoran Desert Toad under threat as demand grows for its hallucinogenic venom

[Limited number of free articles per week] The toad has disappeared in California and fears that poaching could see its numbers dwindle elsewhere | Telegraph, UK

Mental health issues more common among young Australians, national survey suggests

Health survey by Australian Bureau of Statistics also finds young people more likely to binge drink and vape | Guardian, UK

‘I needed ice like I needed air’: meth use is still rampant in regional Australia

Study finds methamphetamine the most consumed illicit drug nationwide – and the problem is worse outside the cities | Guardian, UK

The dark side of using AI to design drugs

Scientists were horrified when an experiment produced thousands of new chemical killers in a few hours | FT, UK

Big problems in small towns: Rural Ireland has a problem with cocaine

Ann Murphy reports on how cocaine has moved from being a problem that was largely confined to more urban areas to become an increasing scourge in towns and villages across the country | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Drug gangs 'rule' Limerick estate which is home to 'crack supermarket' 

Year-long Garda operation 'can only be measured as a success if the forces of the State can close this crack 'supermarket', says local TD | Irish Examiner, Ireland

European Commission adopts measures to control two harmful new drugs amidst health concerns and surge in supply

The European Commission has adopted measures to control two harmful new psychoactive substances (NPS) across the EU. The substances in question —
3-methylmethcathinone (3-MMC) and 3-chloromethcathinone (3-CMC) — are both synthetic cathinones, which have been raising concerns in Europe | EMCDDA, Portugal

Report on the risk assessment of 1-(3-chlorophenyl)-2-(methylamino)propan-1-one (3-chloromethcathinone, 3-CMC) in accordance with Article 5c of Regulation (EC) No 1920/2006 (as amended)

This publication presents the data and findings of the risk assessment on 1-(3-chlorophenyl)-2-(methylamino)propan-1-one (3-chloromethcathinone, 3-CMC), carried out by the extended Scientific Committee of the EMCDDA on 19 November 2021 | EMCDDA, Portugal

Report on the risk assessment of 2-(methylamino)-1-(3-methylphenyl)propan-1-one (3-methylmethcathinone, 3-MMC) in accordance with Article 5c of Regulation (EC) No 1920/2006 (as amended)

This publication presents the data and findings of the risk assessment on 2-(methylamino)-1-(3-methylphenyl)propan-1-one (3-methylmethcathinone, 3-MMC), carried out by the extended Scientific Committee of the EMCDDA on 18 November 2021 | EMCDDA, Portugal

How traffic law enforcement can contribute to safer roads (PDF)

Exceeding speed limits, drink- or distracted- driving, and failure to wear a seatbelt are among the important factors leading to death and serious injury on European roads. Road safety laws have been adopted to guide drivers in their behaviour. Many comply with them willingly. Others, however, would be less likely to comply if it were not for fear of being detected and sanctioned. This is where traffic law enforcement comes in. This report gives an overview of the current state of road traffic enforcement across the EU, with recommendations for action | European Safety Transport Council, Belgium

Harm reduction during wartime in Ukraine - podcast

An interview with Anton Basenko, chair of the Ukrainian Network of People Who Use Drugs. The Russian aggression against Ukraine causes tremendous suffering for the Ukrainian people in general - and especially for vulnerable groups with special needs, such as people who use drugs. In this video interview Anton Basenko explains how their communities struggle to survive, how brave harm reduction workers save lives amid destruction of the war and how people in other countries can help them | Ukrainian Network of People Who Use Drugs, Ukraine

Alcohol-related deaths in the US spiked more than 25% in the first year of the pandemic, study shows

The number of deaths in the US involving alcohol jumped 25.5% between 2019 and 2020, the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to research published Friday in the Journal of the American Medical Association | CNN, USA

Are e-cigarettes a “gateway” to cannabis use among adolescents? It depends on mental health status

A new study led by public health researchers at Georgia State has found that mental health status significantly affects whether adolescents who use e-cigarettes will begin using cannabis | EurekAlert, USA

Effect of Medical Marijuana Card Ownership on Pain, Insomnia, and Affective Disorder Symptoms in Adults

In this randomized clinical trial involving 186 participants, immediate acquisition of a medical marijuana card increased the incidence and severity of cannabis use disorder (CUD) and resulted in no significant improvement in pain, anxiety, or depressive symptoms, but improved self-reported sleep quality | JAMA Network, USA

Researchers find ketamine to have significant anti-depressant and anti-suicidal effects

First manufactured more than 50 years ago, ketamine is a fast-acting dissociative anesthetic often used in veterinary and emergency medicine. Ketamine also has a history of being an illicit party drug | News Medical, USA

Little evidence on how psilocybin therapy interacts with existing psychiatric treatments, review finds

As Oregon embarks on a voter-approved initiative to permit psychoactive mushrooms in clinical use, a new systematic evidence review from Oregon Health & Science University reveals a lack of scientific research describing the interactions between widely used psychiatric medications and psychedelics like psilocybin and MDMA | Medical Xpress, USA

Why is Canada's illicit drug supply so deadly and what's being done about it?

'On any given day, nobody knows what they're using,' says one addiction medicine physician | CBC News, Canada

Smokers Rush to Stock Flavored E-cigarettes Before China Bans Them

A new policy prohibits the sale of flavored vapes, other than tobacco flavor, from May 1 | Sixth Tone, China

Continued funding to tackle scourge of methamphetamines

As part of our plan for a stronger future, the Australian Government will extend the National Ice Action Strategy (NIAS), investing more than $315 million over four years in the ongoing fight to reduce the impact of ice, other drugs and alcohol | Department of Health, Australia

Australia’s long history of forgiving celebrities

Australians have a long history of forgiving celebrities, but such absolution is not always guaranteed, as former game show host Andrew O’Keefe is discovering | SMH, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Agents of change: strategically developing our workforce

As is often the case, support for people with drug and alcohol problems defies easy categorisation. It does not fit easily into a box marked ‘health’, ‘community development’ or any other label. Addiction and recovery are defined by their all-encompassing nature, and the responses our society has developed are similarly broad | Collective Voice blog, UK

Celebrating 30 years of advancing tobacco control policy

In 2022, Tobacco Control celebrates 30 years of publication. When the journal launched in 1992 with Ron Davis as Editor-in-Chief, it was the only peer-reviewed journal dedicated to studying the nature and extent of tobacco use worldwide... | BMJ Tobacco Control, UK

Are Stoners Actually Lazy?

We have all heard the trope of the 'lazy stoner'. It has permeated modern, Western society to the extent where 'stoners' have come to embrace—or perhaps simply accept—it themselves. But, is this view backed up by science? | Drugs and Me blog, UK

The Red review – Marcus Brigstocke probes the psychology of the addict

This is a gripping drama about the inner struggles and temptation endured by a recovering alcoholic during a dark night of the soul at his father’s wake | Guardian, UK

How StreetVet’s Hostel Accreditation Scheme is helping keep people and their pets together

Only around 10% of homeless hostels accept pets. Laura Sayer from StreetVet writes about how they are attempting to change this picture | Homeless Link blog, UK

Alcohol-Related Deaths During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Research suggests that alcohol consumption and related harms increased during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies reported increases in drinking to cope with stress, transplants for alcohol-associated liver disease, and emergency department visits for alcohol withdrawal. We examined mortality data to assess whether alcohol-related deaths increased during the pandemic as well | JAMA Network research letter, USA

A New and More Dangerous Drug Market Requires a New Approach

More than 100,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2021—double the number that died in 2015. This is more than the number that died in the United States from firearms and car crashes combined. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death for people aged 18 to 45 | RAND blog, USA

The Ideological Aversion to Harm Reduction

Many doctors find harm reduction strange. They instinctively view an act of opioid abuse, tobacco usage, or unsafe sex as an anarchistic phenomenon, a revolt against medicine’s ideals. Harm reduction, on the other hand, accepts that some people will live outside the law, medically speaking | Quillette, USA

Tom Hill – Interview on Recovery Values & Government Service February – 2022

I recently learned that Tom Hill was retiring from government work and concentrating on his art, another one of his many talents. My first reaction was a feeling of abandonment | Recovery Review blog, USA