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Daily news - 3rd May 2022

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Home Affairs Committee: Wednesday 27 April 2022 Meeting on drugs - video

Parliamentary drugs debate featuring the witnesses: Niamh Eastwood, Executive Director, Release; Dr Kojo Koram, Lecturer, School of Law, University of London; Dr Karenza Moore, Lecturer in Sociology of Crime, Newcastle University; Martin Powell, Head of Partnerships, Transform Drug Policy Foundation; Chloe Hartnell, Partner, Hodge Jones and Allen LLP; Rudi Fortson QC, Barrister | UK Parliament TV, UK

Low Alcohol Drinks: Marketing

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of requiring zero or low alcohol products to be named and branded differently from existing alcohol products | They work for you, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Children and Young People

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to help ensure that parents are aware of the Chief Medical Officer Guidance on the Consumption of Alcohol by Children and Young People published in 2009 | They work for you, UK

'I beat my addiction, but alcoholism killed my son'

Fred Parry credits his 20-year sobriety to the time he spent in Castle Craig, a private rehab clinic in the Scottish Borders | BBC, UK

Alfie Dingley: Boy using medical cannabis seizure-free, says mum

The mum of a boy with severe epilepsy said he has been free of seizures for two years since using medical cannabis | BBC, UK

Calls to legalise cannabis in Guernsey

Could Guernsey be the first place in the British Isles where you can grow and buy cannabis legally? Licensed use of medicinal cannabis was agreed in 2020 with licences for growing and production following in 2021 and 2022. But does that mean the island is ready to legalise what is currently a Class B drug? | BBC, UK

Regulating the oxides of nitrogen – popping the myths

In 2015 and 2016, during the debates that culminated in The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, both houses of the UK parliament debated the pharmacology of nitric oxide and amyl nitrites, otherwise known as “poppers”. The original draft Psychoactive Substances Bill had recommended that poppers should be made illegal | Drug Science, UK

Trailer for Darren McGarvey’s Addictions, Series 1 - video

Darren McGarvey explores why Scotland is the most addicted country in Europe | BBC, UK

Alcohol Alert - April 2022-podcast

The Health Disparities White Paper - podcast; Ban on football match drinking may be overturned after 40 years; ‘Sobriety tags’ to be rolled-out further | IAS, UK

Men charged over Merseyside £4m cocaine and heroin haul

The vehicle was pulled over in Huyton, Merseyside, before an initial 7kg (15lb) of the drugs was uncovered | BBC, UK

Police called to Witham burglary find 900 cannabis plants

A cannabis farm containing about 900 plants has been discovered by police responding to a call about a suspected burglary | BBC, UK


International news

Global comparisons of responses to alcohol health information labels: A cross sectional study of people who drink alcohol from 29 countries

Predicted probabilities showed substantial variability in responses across countries. Respondents from Colombia, Brazil and Mexico were more likely to consider drinking less as well as have lower levels of previous awareness. Those from Denmark and Switzerland were not as likely to say the labels would make them consider drinking less. The cancer message was consistently the newest and most likely to make people consider drinking less across countries | Addictive Beahaviors, UK

A House of Cards: ‘High compliance’: A legally indefensible and confusing distraction

In a recently published report, ‘High compliance, a lex lata legalization for the non-medical cannabis industry’, Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli claims to have discovered a new legal justification for regulating recreational cannabis in accordance with the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs | TNI, UK

Daniel Barwell: Labour councillor who ‘plotted to import magic mushrooms’ to US apologises to voters

He faces extradition to the US after being accused of planning to help import magic mushrooms into Ohio | Independent, UK

Mike Jay on Mescaline - podcast

Until it was supplanted by LSD in the 1950’s and 60’s, mescaline was the best known and most popular psychedelic in the world. It’s the key psychoactive ingredient in peyote, which has been used for millennia among indigenous people in the Americas and often demonized and prohibited by civil and religious authorities who feared it | Mike Jay, UK

UK set to impose direct rule on British Virgin Islands as premier faces cocaine charges

In a further twist, the islands’ premier has been arrested in a Miami sting operation on suspicion of drug trafficking | Guardian, UK

Heroin-soaked yarn worth £46m seized in India

Container packed with heroin derivate-laced yarn was lying at the port for five months | Independent, UK

Coming soon: latest analyses of Europe’s cocaine and methamphetamine markets

Understanding the reality of the European drug market requires a holistic approach, following the supply chain from production and trafficking to distribution and use. Taking such an approach, two EU agencies have joined forces to provide their latest overview of the European illicit market for stimulant drugs. To be presented in Brussels on 6 May, the analyses combine data from the EMCDDA’s drug monitoring system with Europol’s operational intelligence on organised crime | EMCDDA, Portugal

EMCDDA and Europol Directors discuss future cooperation in The Hague

In a wide-ranging meeting, the Directors discussed the current drug situation and potential future threats relating to drug-related crime and drug markets | EMCDDA, Portugal


CH-PIATA is classified as a synthetic cannabinoid. Prior generations of synthetic cannabinoids were reported to cause psychoactive effects similar to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and caused adverse events, including deaths, as described in the literature | NPS Discovery, USA

How the tobacco industry targeted Black Americans with menthol smokes

Menthol cigarettes have been historically heavily marketed toward Black Americans. And that's had a strong enough impact that when the Food and Drug Administration proposed a ban on menthol cigarettes yesterday, the agency specifically noted that the move would save the lives of 92,000 to 238,000 African Americans | npr, USA

Epidemiological trends in opioid-only and opioid/polysubstance-related death rates among American Indian/Alaska Native populations from 1999 to 2019: a retrospective longitudinal ecological study

The rate of drug overdose deaths in the USA has more than tripled since the turn of the century, and rates are disproportionately high among the American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) population. Little is known about the overall historical trends in AI/AN opioid-only and opioid/polysubstance-related mortality. This study will address this gap | BMJ Open, USA

States that legalized marijuana now researching mental health risks of high-potency cannabis

Products like wax and shatter can have THC levels up to 90 percent, and states like Washington and Colorado are looking at potency caps and product warnings | NBC News, USA

Marijuana linked to heart disease; supplement may mitigate risk, researchers report

People who use marijuana have an increased risk of heart disease and heart attack, according to a large study led by researchers at Stanford Medicine | Medical Xpress, USA

Internet-based interventions can help individuals manage heavy drinking, but do they save employers and society money?

Heavy alcohol use, including but not limited to alcohol use disorder, is associated with substantial economic costs to employers and society. Internet-based interventions are often helpful in reducing heavy drinking at relatively low cost to individuals. This study explored whether these kinds of interventions can also save employers and society money by increasing people’s productivity and reducing costs related to healthcare for alcohol related problems | Recovery Research Institute, USA

BU doc receives NIH funding to study addiction-related behavior

Camron D. Bryant, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology and psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), has been awarded a five-year, $3.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health National Institute on Drug Abuse, which will help fund his latest research on the various aspects of drug addiction, including genetics | EurekAlert, USA

How To Open Your Wallet: The Hyped and Distorted Claims of Online Psychedelic Marketing

From cultural appropriation to “Shroom Boom,” psychedelic online marketing gaffes and misrepresentations are becoming more and more prevalent from major psychedelic organizations | Psymposia, USA

New study suggests Calgary's supervised consumption site saves taxpayers millions

The study, published in the Harm Reduction Journal on March 28, indicates more than $2.3 million in cost savings occurred through the implementation of the Safeworks Harm Reduction Program at the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre from November 2017 to January 2020 | CTV News, Canada

Factors associated with intention to vaccinate against COVID-19 among a sample of people in Australia who regularly use ecstasy or other illicit stimulants

This bulletin describes COVID-19 vaccine uptake and intention to vaccinate among a sentinel sample of people who regularly use ecstasy and other illicit stimulants in Australia. It describes barriers to vaccination among those who reported they were unsure or did not intend to be vaccinated | NDARC, Australia

Rod's been using heroin for 38 years. This is what he wants you to know about drug addiction

When Rod was homeless, he needed to find places he could inject heroin without being seen. That's how he ended up overdosing in the bathroom at the Victoria Park train station | abc.net.au, Australia

‘The unparalleled greatest feeling’ or risky drug? Inside the celebrity-loved psychedelic

Perched on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night couch, bedazzled in a sparkly black vest and fishnet sleeves, pop-punk musician Machine Gun Kelly recalled his experience of taking the psychedelic brew, ayahuasca, with his fiancée Megan Fox | SMH, Australia

Police division over controversial cannabis operation revealed

Senior police are divided over whether to run a controversial cannabis eradication operation nationwide, emails released under the Official Information Act (OIA) reveal | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

An argument for phasing out sales of cigarettes

The successes of tobacco control in some countries and locales have led to discussions of ending the tobacco epidemic, often called the ‘endgame’. In this paper, we recommend articulating the endgame goal as phasing out sales of cigarettes, a goal once called ‘unthinkable’ | BMJ Tobacco Control, UK

Never give up encouraging patients to give up smoking

Louise Ross discusses key recommendations in a new NICE guideline on tobacco dependency, which offers some positive new approaches to smoking cessation | Guidelines in Practice, UK

The Social Justice Potential of Legal Cannabis Regulation

As the momentum for regulation of cannabis gathers pace internationally, with almost half a billion people living in legal jurisdictions, the challenge for reformers has shifted from demonstrating that workable frameworks are possible, to learning from best practice and advocating for a model most likely to achieve the desired aims of ensuring social justice and protecting public health | Transform blog, UK

Reconsidering Cannabis and the Law - audio

Will Self argues that the UK needs to properly debate the kind of drug culture it wants, if we are to avoid the mistakes evident elsewhere over the legalisation of marijuana | BBC, UK

Could a psychedelic retreat cure my lifelong hang ups?

[Limited number of free articles per month] Known for its therapeutic properties ayahuasca, an Amazonian drug, is getting attention from the West. But how effective is it? | Telegraph, UK

A Greater Focus On Harm Reduction Will Save Lives

During his State of the Union address, President Joe Biden emphasized the need to increase funding for harm reduction related to drug use. This declaration was a historic first for federal drug policy, and one that is necessary to address a worsening overdose crisis | RAND blog, USA

We spent time inside the New York City sites that allow drug use and save lives. Why is San Francisco failing to act?

Alsane Mezon begins each day the same way. She makes strong coffee. She lights a joint. And she consumes both on her couch while watching “The Price Is Right.” | SF Chronicle, USA