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Daily news - 25th March 2022

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UK news

New partnership launched with the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), King's College London and COMPASS Pathways

South London and Maudsley has announced a new partnership to launch The Centre for Mental Health Research and Innovation to accelerate psychedelic research and develop new models of care for mental health in the UK. Research will initially focus on COMPASS’s investigational COMP360 psilocybin therapy and supportive technologies, and will also cover other novel therapeutic approaches being researched and developed by COMPASS, in areas of significant unmet mental health need including treatment-resistant depression (TRD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anorexia nervosa | SLAM.NHS, UK

North East experts demand a new 'long overdue' Government alcohol action plan

Health campaigners in the North East are calling for a new evidence-based government action plan with the worst rate of alcohol related deaths in the region | Chronicle, UK

Price of cigarettes and alcohol WON'T change as Sunak leaves them out of Spring Statement

Chancellor Rishi Sunak did not mention tobacco or alcohol duty - meaning prices won't rise - when he delivered his "mini Budget" Spring Statement to MPs in the House of Commons this afternoon | Mirror, UK

Whitty: Focus on smoking, obesity and alcoholism has ‘gone backwards’

England’s chief medical officer has warned of the “serious need” to address the most significant public health issues of smoking, obesity and alcoholism which have “either trodden water or gone backwards” | LGC, UK

Police GHB training

When did the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) first become aware of the potential for the drug gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) to be used non-consensually as an offensive weapon, and of the risk people using it as such may pose? When was consideration of the non-consensual use of GHB, or other drugs, as part of crime investigations introduced to MPS training? | They work for you, UK

Ikea put CCTV above Peterborough toilets to check drug use

Surveillance cameras installed in a void above toilets to catch illegal drug activity at an Ikea distribution centre accidentally filmed other areas of the toilets, an investigation found | BBC, UK

Tobacco products and e-cigarette cross-border sales: registration

Updated the list of registered retailers. Registration for the supply of tobacco products and e-cigarettes to consumers in the UK and European Economic Area | OHID, UK

Suspected drug dealers arrested after police find Class A's hidden in a dog bone

Three suspected drug dealers have been arrested after a haul of Class A drugs was found hidden inside a large dog bone | ITV, UK


International news

Ex-Garda Superintendent facing sentence over drugs seizure

John Murphy, 61, was charged with possessing cannabis for sale or supply, worth more than €13,000, at his home in a north Dublin suburb | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Cork paramedic addicted to Oxycontin appeals drug-driving prison sentence

An advanced paramedic who became addicted to the painkilling drug Oxycontin has appealed against a five-month jail term for repeatedly driving under the influence of cocaine and having no insurance | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Penalties for drug law offences in Europe at a glance

Updated with new Countries. On this page you can examine and compare the penalties, or rehabilitative responses, for the core offences of drug use, possession for personal use, and supply-related offences, across countries in Europe. It also allows you to see how those penalties vary according to the type or quantity of the drug, and the addiction or recidivism of the offender | EMCDDA, Portugal

In Malta, confusion over cannabis law after doctor arrested for drug dealing

Malta has been rocked by the arrest of a local doctor, Andrew Agius, for distributing cannabis mere months after the island became the first in Europe to legalise the drug | Euronews, Belgium

Assessment of Patient-Reported Naloxone Acquisition and Carrying With an Automated Text Messaging System After Emergency Department Discharge in Philadelphia

 In this cohort study of 41 patients discharged from 2 urban EDs, 88% reported acquiring naloxone or a naloxone prescription from the ED. Overall, 66% planned to continue carrying naloxone, including most patients who were not carrying the drug before their ED visits | JAMA Network, USA

Drug Users Are Losing Their Fingers and Toes After Shooting ‘Tranq Dope’

In Philadelphia, the animal tranquilizer xylazine has infiltrated the opioid supply, and it's been linked to horrific wounds and amputations | VICE, USA

FDA Authorizes Logic Vapes as “Appropriate for the Protection of Public Health”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized several tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn devices produced by Logic, which is owned by Japan Tobacco International (JTI). The agency also denied other, flavored product applications from Logic, while indicating that menthol-flavored products remained under review | Filter Magazine, USA

Connecticut Could Open East Coast’s First Psychedelic Medicine Centers

Connecticut lawmakers have proposed a bill that would create the first psychedelic medicine centers on the East Coast. The bill anticipates that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will soon approve psilocybin and MDMA as legal treatment for depression and PTSD, respectively. If it passes, Connecticut will become an early mover as several states look to legalize psychedelics | Filter Magazine, USA




Blogs, comment and opinion

2012’s Alcohol Strategy 10 years on: was the ‘GAS’ a lot of hot air?

The 23rd March marks 10 years since the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition published its Alcohol Strategy. It was a hotly anticipated piece of policy. The 2012 Government’s Alcohol Strategy – or ‘GAS’ as it unfortunately became known – promised a new approach and radical change | IAS blog, UK

Accessing psilocybin in the UK

Acceleration the adoption and accessibility of psychedelic healthcare is crucial to drive innovation in mental health care and improved patient outcomes worldwide. The discovery and development of psychedelic medicines in Europe are currently hindered by regulations that restrict their access. Despite a mounting body of clinical evidence demonstrating its medical efficacy, psilocybin remains a Schedule 1 substance in the UK | Psych, UK

'My daughter died from taking 91% pure MDMA - we need to legalise drugs in the UK'

It would have made more sense if it wasn’t such a lovely day. Cloudless, blue skies, mid-July, the perfect Saturday. I'd been out shopping and was busy holiday planning, enjoying the start of the weekend, when my teenage daughter, Martha, was swallowing the almost pure ecstasy that would end her life just hours later | JOE, UK

Why European Drug Gangs Love Guernsey

Hannah Willey and Karli Wellington drove off the ferry towards Guernsey’s customs’ checkpoint. Inside their Audi, there was 1.2 kilos of cocaine and four kilos of cannabis. The drugs had been double vacuum-packed then dipped in white spirit to hide their scent from sniffer dogs | Volteface, UK

The Real War on Families: U.S. Child Welfare Law in the Shadow of Drug Prohibition

Today’s post summarizes the excellent work of Karen Augenstein. As she writes, the inherent value of family is deeply rooted in U.S. law; yet in legislating drug control over the past 50 years, “the importance of family was forgotten in favor of punishing those with substance abuse issues in the worst way possible: taking away their children.” The paper covers three major acts of Congress (in 1974, 1980, and 1997) that form the basis of child welfare law | Points blog, USA

Kava may be coming to a supermarket or cafe near you. But what is it? Is it safe?

You might be hearing more about kava over coming months, the psychoactive drink better known in the Pacific, but becoming more widely available in Australia | Conversation, Australia