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Daily news - 31st March 2022

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UK news

Mental health services failing people using alcohol and drugs

People who use drugs and alcohol are being denied proper support to deal with their mental health problems, The Ferret’s From the Margins team has found | The Ferret, UK

Isle of Man pharmacy to trial dispensing medicinal cannabis

People on the Isle of Man with private prescriptions for medicinal cannabis could soon be able to access the products through a local pharmacy | BBC, UK

Smoke-free England

I beg to move, That this House has considered progress towards a smoke-free England... | They work for you, UK

Prison Officers: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prison officers have been (a) prosecuted and (b) convicted for possession with intent to supply drugs in each of the last five years | They work for you, UK

A call for voices: we want to hear from women

In 2020 I approached Change Grow Live with my addiction problems, having lived with them for almost all of my adult life. Eighteen months later, I am here, I am well, living in recovery and working with Change Grow Live and the National Lived Experience Group | Change Grow Live, UK

Psychedelics and the Philosophy of Mind and Metaphysics

Tue, April 19, 2022, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM BST. Certain psychedelic states can give rise to alternate metaphysical beliefs, such as the recently-researched psychedelic-induced shift from physicalism to panpsychism (that minds are ubiquitous in Nature). Whilst some may see these shifts as delusions, there are logical reasons to keep an open mind as we do not yet agree upon any answer to the mind-matter problem: the question as to what relation the ‘mind’ has to ‘matter’ | UCL Society for the Application of Psychedelics, UK



International news

Human rights and drug use: an interview with Gabriele Fischer

In this interview, Professor Gabriele Fischer discusses what first interested her about applying human rights work to people who use drugs. She outlines the implications of United Nations (UN) human rights treaties and their relevance to psychiatry. She also talks about the importance of incorporating family planning and trauma-informed care into treatment services, and some of the international issues around coercion in treatment | SSA, UK

How ‘The Russians’ Took Hold of Ireland’s Heroin Trade

A violent gang of heroin dealers from Lithuania fuelled Ireland and Northern Ireland's drug trade by forcing trafficking victims to sell drugs, a joint investigation by VICE World News and the OCCRP reveals | VICE, UK

Ahead of House vote – why can’t the US bring itself to legalise marijuana?

Gulf continues to grow between federal prohibition and state-led legalisation | Independent, UK

How the pandemic created a new generation of stoners

Americans who rarely, if ever, smoked marijuana before the pandemic now say they’re turning to weed to help them cope | Guardian, UK

Prevention toolkit — a new one-stop shop for EMCDDA prevention materials

The EMCDDA is launching today a new Prevention toolkit, bringing together all of its key prevention-related materials to date. Part of the agency’s toolkit series, this new resource is aimed at anyone involved in shaping decisions, opinions and policies in Europe in the science-based prevention of substance use | EMCDDA, Portugal

Local communities and drugs: health and social responses

This miniguide is one of a larger set, which together comprise Health and social responses to drug problems: a European guide 2021. It provides an overview of what to consider when planning or delivering health and social responses to drug-related problems in local communities, and reviews the available interventions and their effectiveness. It also considers implications for policy and practice | EMCDDA, Portugal

Ukrainian Activist Discusses Russian Invasion’s Devastating Impact on HIV Care and Harm Reduction in His Country

Like countless people worldwide, we here at TheBody have been horrified, infuriated, and heartbroken at the misery that Russia’s reckless invasion has inflicted on the people of Ukraine. And of course, we’ve also been worried about the roughly 250,000 people—about 1% of the population—living with HIV in Ukraine | The Body, USA

Under 6 percent of criminal justice cases get opioid use disorder treatment

About 4 million people who reported use or misuse of prescription opioids or heroin in 2014 also reported having a concurrent arrest or active probation or parole status. Individuals who report opioid use are significantly more likely to have been arrested compared to those who do not use opioids | EurekAlert, USA

Positive Drug Tests for US Workers Reportedly Hit 20-Year High

Last year, the percentage of employees who tested positive for drugs reached its highest rate since 2001, according to Quest Diagnostics, one of the largest drug-testing labs in the United States. Increasing percentages of employees, it reported, tested positive for marijuana, methamphetamine and cocaine | Filter Magazine, USA

An underused tool for alcohol use disorder: Evaluating the effectiveness of extended-release, injectable naltrexone

Naltrexone is one of three FDA-approved medications for alcohol use disorder. It is usually prescribed in a once-per-day oral dose that can prove challenging for some patients, for example those insecurely housed. This meta-analysis summarizes studies that examined the effectiveness of monthly, extended-release (XR) naltrexone injections | Recovery Research Institute, USA

Can CBD reduce cocaine use and craving?

There are currently no FDA approved medications to treat cocaine use disorder. The administration of cannabidiol (CBD) – a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant – is associated with reduced craving and drug use for other substances, potentially by decreasing the brain’s reward response to substance use. In this study, the research team compared the effects of a high dose of CBD to placebo to determine whether this cannabinoid can reduce cocaine craving and use for individuals with cocaine use disorder | Recovery Research Institute, USA

The Brave New World of Legalized Psychedelics Is Already Here

And so are the profiteers. Get ready for Psychedelics Inc. | The Nation, USA

Fear of child separation, violence increases overdose risk for mothers

Canada’s child welfare system, in combination with policies that criminalize people who use drugs, are increasing risk of overdose and other harms for mothers, according to new research | University of British Colombia, Canada

Cannabis seedlings weeded out of Parliament grounds

Cannabis seedlings have been found growing in Parliament's rose gardens today, with a groundskeeper confirming to RNZ that the plants had been raked up and destroyed along with the rest of the green waste | RNZ, New Zealand



Blogs, comment and opinion

Thank you, Sara McGrail

The DrugWise Daily newsletter noted the passing of Sara McGrail. I never met Ms. McGrail and I didn’t follow her work, but her name rang a bell. I knew I’d interacted with her years ago but couldn’t remember the details | Recovery Review blog, UK

The Harms of Constructing Addiction as a Chronic, Relapsing Brain Disease

As an international network of historians and social scientists who study approaches to the management of drugs across time and place, we have noticed the effort to redefine addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disease (CRBD)...  We are concerned that the CRBD model paints drug users as individuals whose exclusion from social, economic, and political participation is justified by their biological flaws and damaged brains | AJPH, USA

Trying to cut back on alcohol? Here’s what works

With everything going on over the past couple of years, many people have changed their drinking habits. We’ve seen an increased demand for support, suggesting more people are trying to cut back or quit. There are so many options for cutting back or quitting alcohol it’s hard to know what will be most effective | Conversation, Australia

What are ‘binaural beats’ and do they affect our brain?

You might have seen online or heard about “binaural beats”, which have been described as “digital drugs” | Conversation, Australia