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Daily news - 12th May 2022

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UK news

Sadiq Khan launches commission to examine cannabis legality

Mayor of London says panel of experts will consider effectiveness of UK policies on non-class A drugs | Guardian, UK

Drug checking service The Loop launching in Bristol

The UK's first Home Office-licensed regular drug-checking service is launching in Bristol this month | BBC, UK

Introducing the Drugs Venn – the new, simplified way to classify drugs by effect

The Drugs Venn, a new model seeking to simplify and improve the classification of drugs by their effects building on the most useful aspects of the existing Drugs Wheel and Drugs Pyramid, was revealed in an academic paper co-authored by the University of Liverpool | University of Liverpool, UK

Jump-starting the conversation about harm reduction: making sense of drug effects

This paper describes the history of the development of taxonomies of psychoactive drug use, and discusses the conceptualization of three recent taxonomies: comparing their features, and considering their application in education, treatment, and harm reduction settings | Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, UK

Medication Assisted Treatment Standards

To ask the First Minister whether the medication assisted treatment standards have been fully embedded across Scotland | They work for you, UK

Drink driving 2

Question to the Mayor of london: What are you and the MPS doing to tackle drink driving in London? | They work for you, UK

Consultation on Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol in NI

Consultation opened on 22 February 2022. Closing date 17 May 2022 at 17:00. This consultation invites views from across society on proposals to introduce legislation to enact Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) of Alcohol in Northern Ireland. Everyone with an interest is encouraged to read the policy document and respond to the consultation | DEpartment of Health Northern Ireland, UK

SDF Webinar – Providing emergency help to someone having an overdose: your experiences

Friday 20 May 2022, 1.00pm – 2.15pm. An SDF survey of people who have acted to help people who have overdosed shows that people have immediate and ongoing support needs and how these are currently met. This webinar shares the survey findings and explores implications for policy and practice | SDF, UK

Wigan cocaine boss rumbled after posting beer snap online

The boss of a huge cocaine empire was caught after he posted a photograph of himself drinking beer on a secret messaging app being monitored by police | BBC, UK


International news

Thomas Cook imposes ‘six drinks a day’ rule on Spanish all-inclusives

‘We want to put a stop to bad behaviour. We will have zero tolerance for tourism excesses,’ says Balearics tourism minister | Independent, UK

US asks China to do more to stop rising drug deaths from fentanyl

Beijing must "do more" to stop the export of chemicals to make fentanyl, the US drug law enforcement agency has said | BBC, UK

Increased risk of death immediately after discharge from compulsory care for substance abuse

[Open access] In Sweden, approximately 1000 persons per year are committed to compulsory care for substance abuse for a maximum duration of six months. People admitted to compulsory care are known to suffer high mortality risks, but whether the risk of dying is further heightened immediately after discharge is not known | DAD, UK

The alcohol industry, the tobacco industry, and excise taxes in the US 1986–89: new insights from the tobacco documents

The UCSF Industry Documents Library has provided public health researchers with key insights into the organization of political activities in the tobacco industry. Much less is known about the alcohol industry. In the US, there is some existing evidence of cooperation between the two industries, particularly in areas where there are mutual interests and/or policy goals at stake. Efforts to raise excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol products are one such example | BMC Public Health, UK

Dutch court jails drugs gang who built torture room and cells in containers

Eleven men sentenced after police hack online chat and hear of plans for ‘cutting pliers for fingers and toes’ | Guardian, UK

Man trying to leave Australia charged over cocaine haul that was found near dead diver in Newcastle

Police say man was trying to fly from Queensland to Singapore when he was arrested over alleged drug importation | Guardian, UK

Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts

This data visualization presents provisional counts for drug overdose deaths based on a current flow of mortality data in the National Vital Statistics System. Counts for the most recent final annual data are provided for comparison | CDC, USA

Alcohol and the Adolescent Brain: What We’ve Learned and Where the Data Are Taking Us

The past 50 years of research supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) have resulted in an accumulation of invaluable data to address the multifaceted problems surrounding underage drinking. Youth use of alcohol remains a pervasive social and public health concern in the United States and a leading cause of disability and mortality during adolescence | NIAAA, USA

Analysis of Stimulant Prescriptions and Drug-Related Poisoning Risk Among Persons Receiving Buprenorphine Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

In this cohort study of 22 946 persons with OUD receiving buprenorphine treatment, stimulant treatment days were associated with 19% increased odds of drug-related poisoning and 36% decreased risk of attrition from buprenorphine treatment | JAMA Network Open, USA

Lawmakers consider expansion of supervised injection sites

New York lawmakers are weighing whether to create a regulatory framework that could lead to the expansion of supervised injection sites in the state amid a record number of overdose deaths over the last year. The measure backed by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal is meant to pave the way for supervised injection sites around the state and operate out of existing syringe exchange programs | State of Politics, USA

Hope After Safe Consumption Advocates’ “Productive” DOJ Talks

Advocates say that talks with the Justice Department over the establishment of safe consumption sites (SCS) have been “productive,” prompting them to agree on another extension of the deadline for the Biden administration to make clear its stance in a legal case concerning the harm reduction facilities | Filter Magazine, USA

Opioid industry archive releases 1.4M documents from leading opioid maker implicated in drug crisis

UC San Francisco and Johns Hopkins University have announced the addition of 1.4 million documents to their Opioid Industry Documents Archive from Mallinckrodt, a leading generic opioid manufacturer now in bankruptcy | Medical Xpress, USA

IV Ketamine: A Possible 'Trajectory of Improvement' in Severe Depression

Off-label use delivered promising outcomes versus intranasal esketamine in retrospective study | MedPage Today, USA

New study finds global adolecent vaping is low [Australia]

A new study published today in the scientific journal Addiction has found that approximately 8.6% of adolescents reported using e-cigarettes (vaping) in the past 30 days, but only 1.7% engaged in frequent vaping. This suggests most adolescents who vape are experimenting but not making it a habit | EurekAlert, USA

COVID-19 increased risk of overdose due to poorer drug quality: SFU study

B.C. declared a public health emergency due to rising overdose deaths in 2016. Deaths from illicit drug toxicity reached record highs in 2020 and 2021, with 1,768 and 2,236 deaths respectively | Vancouver Sun, Canada

Declining prevalence of current HCV infection and increased treatment uptake among people who inject drugs: The ETHOS Engage study

[Open access] Evaluating trends in HCV treatment and prevalence is crucial for monitoring elimination. We evaluated the change in current infection and treatment among people who inject drugs (PWID) between 2018-2019 and 2019-2021 | IJDP, Australia

Thailand is allowing people to grow cannabis at home. To celebrate, it’s giving away one million free plants

The move is the latest step in Thailand’s plan to promote cannabis as a cash crop - but it comes with a catch | 7 News, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Therapy doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective

There were a few moments early on in my mental health career that made me think ‘this is an amazing job’. I remember working with someone who was experiencing depression. He stands out because he was having an incredibly difficult time with being bullied at work, and I didn’t know if I could make a difference | We Are With You blog (via Medium), UK

We need to talk about alcohol industry involvement in science

Does the alcohol industry fund alcohol research and what impact does this have? Dr Gemma Mitchell, a research fellow at the University of York, spoke to researchers to find out more about how the industry’s involvement in science affects them | AHA UK blog, UK

Addiction Lives: Paul Roman - audio

In this occasional series in conjunction with the SSA’s journal Addiction, we record the views and personal experiences of people who have especially contributed to the evolution of ideas in the journal’s field of interest. In this episode Paul Roman talks about working in research for the past 55 years, including his work on employee assistance programmes in relation to alcohol in the workplace, the relationship between the NIAAA and NCA, the controversies around controlled drinking studies right up to drinking in the US during the COVID pandemic | SSA, UK

One in three people with chronic pain have difficulty accessing ongoing prescriptions for opioids

One in five Australians live with chronic pain lasting three months or more. Common causes include back and neck pain, headache, and joint pain. Opioid medicines – such as oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl and codeine – are essential medicines and provide relief to many people with this type of pain | Conversation, Australia



And finally...

Drug dog Bailey saved by police animal charity

Ten-year-old springer spaniel Bailey spent eight years as a cash, drugs and weapons detection dog with Humberside Police before retiring from service last year alongside handler PC Chris Wright... Because of Bailey's history as a working dog, Mr Wright was unable to get pet insurance and was left with a bill of £1,500. For help paying the bill, he turned to Thin Blue Paw Foundation, a charity dedicated to the welfare of serving and retired police dogs in the UK | BBC, UK