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Daily news - 10th May 2022

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UK news

Europe’s first psychedelic drug trial firm to open in London

Startup Clerkenwell Health hopes to help make UK a world leader in psychedelics research | Guardian, UK

The impact of lower strength alcohol products on alcohol purchases: ARIMA analyses based on 4 million purchases by 69 803 households, 2015–2019

[Open access] Lowering the strength of alcohol products could lead to less alcohol being bought and drunk. In its prevention White Paper, the UK Government aims to promote a significant increase in the availability of alcohol-free and low-alcohol products by 2025 | Journal of Public Health, UK

Vape Britain: Huge new drive to wipe-out smoking in England by 2030

Smokers could be encouraged to take up vaping instead, as part of a drive to create a "smoke free" England by 2030 | Express, UK

Shock sudden death of CEO Steve Douglas CBE

Steve passed away suddenly at his home on Sunday morning, 8 May. The 57 year old leaves four children and a partner and our deep condolences are with his family and friends at this incredibly difficult time | St Mungo's, UK

Axe-throwing venue asks York council to ease alcohol rules

Bosses at Viking-themed The Hilt, in York, have applied to have restrictions on drink sales lifted, claiming its competitors have "an edge" | BBC, UK

Drug-filled tennis balls thrown into Suffolk prison

Police tweeted to say one of the balls, containing suspected controlled drugs, was retrieved by a police dog named Harry, with other balls being found by a prison dog | BBC, UK

Scottish Drug Deaths Taskforce: Research Fund Dissemination Event 7th June

Tue, 7 June 2022, 10:00 – 12:00 BST. Event showcasing the work of projects funded through the DDTF Research Fund | Drugs Research Network Scotland, UK

Dreamachine review – as close to state-funded psychedelic drugs as you can get

Woolwich, London, and Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh. Unboxed (formerly the Festival of Brexit) offers a free trip inside your own head courtesy of a flashing light technique pioneered in the 1960s. Our writer is addicted | Guardian, UK

Open day planned at Leeds Recovery hub

10am-4pm on the 24 May. 5 WAYS, the Leeds centre for those in recovery from issues with alcohol and drugs, will be highlighting the range of work they do with an Open Day later this month | Forward Leeds, UK


International news

How restrictions on syringe programs led to a severe HIV outbreak in West Virginia

The state had hope with programs providing free, sterile syringes, but when those were shuttered one county saw as many infections as in New York City | Guardian, UK

Diver’s body found near $20m worth of cocaine in Newcastle waters

Police investigating whether the diver was attempting to retrieve the 50kg of drugs from a ship or the water | Guardian, UK

Ecuador prison riot leaves 43 dead in latest bloody episode

Sixth deadly prison massacre in country fueled by rival drug gangs since the beginning of 2021, bringing death toll to nearly 400 | Guardian, UK

Tobacco use in prisons: a neglected public health issue

Among all psychoactive substances, tobacco is the most widely used by people living in prisons. Studies conducted in the WHO European Region countries show that tobacco use prevalence rates can be as high as 90% among men and 85% among women. At the same time, smoking is the least addressed health risk in prisons compared to other types of substance abuse. A new factsheet published by WHO/Europe shines a light on the pressing need to tackle this public health issue | WHO, Denmark

ONDCP Releases Plan to Address Methamphetamine Health and Safety Concerns

During Trip to San Diego, Dr. Gupta Announces New Plan Outlines Evidence-Based Public Health and Safety Actions to Reduce Supply and Save Lives | The White House, USA

Intentions and Attempts to Quit Smoking Among Sexual Minoritized Adult Smokers After Exposure to the Tips From Former Smokers Campaign

In this cross-sectional study of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health study wave 5 data, among 8072 current established cigarette smokers, a positive association was found between frequent Tips exposure and intentions and attempts to quit smoking among those identifying as heterosexual but not among those who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or another sexual identity | JAMA Network open, USA

Unconditional cash transfers and maternal substance use: findings from a randomized control trial of low-income mothers with infants in the U.S.

[Open access] Policy debates over anti-poverty programs are often marked by pernicious stereotypes suggesting that direct cash transfers to people residing in poverty encourage health-risking behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and other substance use. Causal evidence on this issue is limited in the U.S | BMC Public Health, USA

N-Cyclohexyl Methylone

N-Cyclohexyl methylone is classified as a novel stimulant and substituted cathinone. Substituted cathinones are modified based on the structure of cathinone, an alkaloid found in the Khat plant | NPS Discovery, USA

Take Time Now To Review Your Drug Testing Policy

Employers need workers, and some of those prospective employees may not be interested in complying with a mandatory drug screening, with their employment dependent on results | Forbes, USA

Dire Harm Reduction Funding Gap for Lower-Income Countries Is Growing

Last year, Harm Reduction International (HRI) released a report that found funding for harm reduction in 2019 was only 5 percent of what was required in low- and middle-income countries. According to Catherine Cook, HRI’s sustainable financing lead, the situation doesn’t appear to be improving​​—quite the reverse | Filter Magazine, USA

Tobacco Bans in Our Prisons Are Rich Pickings for Me—and the COs

The first time the Georgia Department of Corrections tried to go tobacco-free was 1994. In the mid-’90s it was trendy to express concern that exposing non-smoking prisoners to secondhand smoke violated their Eighth Amendment rights, never mind how the smoking majority of us felt about it | Filter Magazine, USA

Illicit drug use in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic (PDF)

The use of illicit drugs is associated with numerous negative psychological, physiological, financial, social, and legal effects [1]. The restrictions associated with COVID-19 have exacerbated these outcomes for many people around the world, with an increase in anxiety and depression and reduced overall well-being being evident | University of New England, Australia

Queensland hits high for medicinal cannabis prescriptions

Queensland accounts for more than half the medicinal cannabis prescriptions dispensed since it was made legal in 2016, new research shows, but other states are now expected to close the gap | Age, Australia

Impact of opioid regulatory reforms on people living with chronic pain (PDF)

A new Painaustralia report shows, since opioid regulations were tightened, 56.2 per cent of people with chronic pain have had their medication cut | Pain Australia, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Cannabis Dependence and Mental Health: A Light in The Dark

I started smoking cannabis properly for the first time at university. Though I still count the two tokes I took from a boy a couple years older than me in exchange for some kissing, and the 20 bags we used to split between ten of us in our most rebellious friend’s garage, my real love affair with the drug began there | Volteface, UK

‘A Vicious Cycle’: criminalization, shame and relapse

In my previous blog post, I talked about the shame associated with drug taking: how that shame is at least partly a consequence of the criminalization of the use of drugs, how that shame leads to isolation, and how that isolation in turn then sometimes leads back to using drugs. It becomes a vicious circle that many people find difficult to break out of | Anyone's Child blog, UK

Can electoral politics fix our broken drug policy?

With burgeoning support for ending the war on drugs, political parties may begin to liberalise on the issue of drug use | Honi Soit, Australia