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Daily news - 22nd March 2022

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UK news

Women and young adults propel huge rise in use of anti-anxiety drugs

Findings are based on analysis of care given to almost 2.6 million adults across UK from 2003 to 2018 | Guardian, UK

Rise in prescribing for anxiety in UK primary care between 2003 and 2018: a population-based cohort study using Clinical Practice Research Datalink

Recent increases in incident prescribing, especially in young adults, may reflect better detection of anxiety, increasing acceptability of medication, or an earlier unmet need. However, some prescribing is not based on robust evidence of effectiveness, may contradict guidelines, and there is limited evidence on the overall impact associated with taking antidepressants long term. As such, there may be unintended harm | BJGP, UK

General practice addiction nurses effective in treating alcohol problems

Embedding specialist addiction nurses within general practice teams can help address drug and alcohol problems in deprived areas, according to a study published by the Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) | Nursing in Practice, UK

Review to establish greater strategic coherence for UK legal cannabis

The Hodges Review has been launched to review regulation and public policy relating to the UK’s industry | Cannabis Wealth, UK

Small brewers feel bitter at tax bonus for cider makers

[Free one month trial available] Small brewers have expressed alarm at the government’s proposed reform of alcohol duty, and want to know why the mooted tax on cider will be only half the rate on beer | The Times, UK

Small Grants Scheme

We are inviting applications from researchers – especially early career researchers – to our small grants scheme. This scheme will provide funding for innovative research ideas that can help inform public policy debates on how to tackle alcohol harm. Priority will be given to proposals that align with our organisational objectives, as outlined in our Strategy 2020–2023 | IAS, UK

QMJC February 2022: “I was raised in addiction”: Constructions of the self and the other in discourses of addiction and recovery

No one in our group had done a discourse analysis before, but this paper made us want to try one; even in our work in the past we have questioned the use of words and the construction of selves within narratives. It was fascinating to see an analysis of the social construction of the subjective positioning of participants and other people who use drugs | SSA, UK

Helping families and friends negatively affected by gambling: Policy and practice recommendations from Adfam’s research (PDF)

This report sets out Adfam's findings from a range of research activities including four specific gambling related surveys, peer support training and round -table events. It looks at the effects of gambling on families as well as the impact of Covid-19 on these families and explores what support services would be beneficial. The research has also provided some very powerful voices articulating the impact of gambling on family and friends | Adfam, UK

Families and gambling: A resource toolkit for working with families affected by gambling (PDF)

This toolkit has been produced by Adfam for practitioners working with families affected by gambling. It contains a selection of resources - some for practitioners to use with their clients and others for practitioners to hand out to clients. Some of the resources are based on components of the 5-Step Method whilst others have been used with affected family members to support individual or group work | Adfam, UK

The Truth About Cannabis - Drug Science virtual conference

Wed, 23 March 2022, 18:00 – 21:00 GMT. An evening of talks exploring scientific, technological, recreational and medical perspectives on cannabis | Drug Science, UK

South West police seize '£404k of drugs' in county lines raids

Police in the South West have arrested nearly 200 people and seized suspected drugs with an estimated street value of £404,000 in a county lines crackdown | BBC, UK


International news

American Airlines to resume serving alcohol on flights

American Airlines has announced that it will start serving alcohol on its flights once more from 18 April, following a nearly nine-month ban | Independent, UK

Associations between alcohol consumption and gray and white matter volumes in the UK Biobank

Heavy alcohol consumption has been associated with brain atrophy, neuronal loss, and poorer white matter fiber integrity. However, there is conflicting evidence on whether light-to-moderate alcohol consumption shows similar negative associations with brain structure. To address this, we examine the associations between alcohol intake and brain structure using multimodal imaging data from 36,678 generally healthy middle-aged and older adults from the UK Biobank | Nature Communicatons, UK

Ukrainians displaced by Russian invasion struggling to access HIV and drug dependency treatment

Considerable efforts are underway to support Ukrainian refugees and internally displaced people to access the HIV and drug dependency treatment they need, the European Union’s HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis and TB Civil Society Forum heard on Wednesday 16 March | NAM Aidsmap, UK

The time is now: the national perspective on ramping up FASD prevention, diagnosis and support services (PDF)

This report, “The Time is Now,” builds on an unprecedented alignment of UK public health bodies focused on the serious risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the need for recognition, diagnosis and support for those with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Ten key themes emerged from a series of expert roundtables focused on the national perspective on ramping up FASD services | The National Organisation for FASD, Ireland

The Narcofeminism Storyshare Model - video

The story share model is an important tool for deconstructing the interanalized narratives around the drug war. Traditional storyshare models often reinforce tropes and stigma we find in existing cultural narrative projects. Reproductive Harm Reduction is an inclusive powerful new paradigm focused on pregnant and parenting people who use drugs, and it was born from the Narco Feminism storyshare experience | Drug Reporter, Hungary

Iceland the Latest Country to Plan Counterproductive Nicotine Law

Earlier this month, Iceland’s Office of Health Promotion and Science launched a consultation on a draft law on nicotine products. If passed, the law will introduce age limits for nicotine consumption, ban e-cigarette flavors perceived to appeal to children, and stipulate a permissible maximum nicotine concentration | Filter Magazine, USA

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week® will be held 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

Opioid abuse treatment begun in emergency departments is rarely sustained

Most people who fill prescriptions from emergency physicians to treat their opioid use disorder do not continue to receive the medication, suggesting new approaches are needed to help people continue drug treatment begun on an emergency basis, according to a new RAND Corporation study | Medical Xpress, USA

Opioids and the brain: New insights through epigenetics

Drug overdose, mostly from opioid use, is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Prior studies of twins have revealed that genetics play a key role in opioid use disorder | Medical Xpress, USA

Reviewing past studies exploring the effects of steroids on cocaine-use behaviors

Past research findings suggest that women who are addicted to cocaine are more sensitive to cocaine-related stimuli that make them crave the drug and relapse into addiction. However, other studies suggest that steroid hormones can modulate cocaine cravings, which could help to reduce the risk of relapse in people with cocaine-use disorders | Medical Xpress, USA

Who Will Be the First Person To Go to Prison for Selling Flavored Tobacco or E-Cigarettes?

Sometime in the not-too-distant future, if it hasn't happened already, the first American will likely be sentenced to prison for selling flavored tobacco or e-cigarettes | Reason, USA

How the Drug War Dies

Just a few decades ago, the left and the right, politicians and the public, universally embraced the criminalization of drug use. But a new consensus has emerged | The Nation, USA

Students Launch Bid to Decriminalize All Drugs in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Astudent group has launched a campaign to decriminalize drug possession and low-level distribution in Ann Arbor, Michigan, after months of consulting with members of the community. The University of Michigan chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) drafted the Ann Arbor Resolution to Advance Sensible Drug Policy. The resolution will be put to the city council, and has already won some political support | Filter Magazine, USA

Doctors call for restrictions on vapes ‘aimed at kids’ as import ban fails to hurt black market

Australian doctors are calling for the ban of non-nicotine vaping products they say are designed to appeal to children and cause unknown long-term health consequences, while creating confusion that allows a black market to thrive | SMH, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Steve Moore: The government should be proud, not scared, of the UK’s market for cannabis products

On Monday 11 June, 2018 Charlotte Caldwell and her 14-year-old son Billy landed at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 from Toronto. Caldwell had spent the previous weekend having Billy treated at Sick Kids, the nearest equivalent Canada has to Great Ormond Street Hospital. Billy, who suffers from status epilepsy, was assessed by Canada’s leading paediatric neurologist and prescribed a cannabis-based medical product that was the subject of an active clinical trial | Conservative Home, UK

New research finds ‘encouraging’ one-year psilocybin-assisted therapy response rates for patients with major depression

Psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms, can be effective in treating major depression for up to one year, a new study shows | Volteface, UK

Reflections on my son’s death

This blog was written by Anyone’s Child campaigner Brian, whose son, Tom, died three days after his 37th birthday. This blog is the first of a series of reflections about my son’s death and the circumstances in which it took place | Anyone's Child blog, UK