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Daily news - 16th May 2022

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UK news

The characteristics of people who inject drugs in the United Kingdom: changes in age, duration, and incidence of injecting, 1980–2019, using evidence from repeated cross-sectional surveys

[Open access] Mortality and drug treatment data suggest that the median age of people who inject drugs is increasing. We aimed to describe changes in the characteristics of people injecting drugs in the United Kingdom | Addiction, UK

Labour 'Not Yet Convinced' Of The Need To Decriminalise Cannabis, Says Ed Miliband

The former leader spoke out after Sadiq Khan was hit by a shadow cabinet backlash | Huffington Post, UK

Dyfed-Powys Police chief calls for fresh drugs approach

Drug-related deaths in Wales "will continue to rise" unless a different approach is taken, according to Dyfed-Powys Police's chief constable | BBC, UK

British Army provides new funding to help soldiers recover from alcohol use and gambling

Project Reset – a scheme delivered by Humankind to help soldiers in North Yorkshire recover from problematic alcohol use and gambling – has received further funding from the British Army to continue its important work for another year | Humankind, UK

Legalising cannabis in Guernsey proposal submitted

Guernsey's Health and Social Care Committee has submitted its plan to look at legalising cannabis | BBC, UK

Richard Mylan: Waterloo Road star reveals heroin addiction battle

"This could be a career-ending interview but I don't care about that any more," actor Richard Mylan says as he opens up on his 20-year battle with heroin addiction | BBC, UK

Coffee bad, red wine good? Top food myths busted

We’re being bombarded with conflicting advice on what we should and shouldn’t put into our bodies. Finally, here are the definitive answers, according to the experts | Guardian, UK

Birmingham Airport heroin smuggler jailed over £1m haul

A man who tried to smuggle heroin with an estimated street value of almost £1m through Birmingham Airport has been jailed for nine years | BBC, UK


International news

Tobacco industry is “talking trash” on environmental harms of production, say WHO and watchdog

The harmful effects of tobacco on health are well documented. Fewer people in developed economies smoke each year in the knowledge that cigarettes kill up to one in two long term users, amounting to more than 8 million deaths each year | BMJ, UK

WNBA star Brittney Griner to be detained another month in Russia on cannabis charge

Lawyer for the Phoenix Mercury center expects the case will be tried soon as the extension is relatively short | Guardian, UK

Illegal cigarettes cost the state €264m in a year

More than one in eight of all packets of cigarettes used by smokers in Ireland last year were illegal, with a sharp increase in the number of counterfeit products being sold | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Singapore: UN human rights experts urge immediate death penalty moratorium

UN human rights experts today called on the Government of Singapore to immediately impose a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, and said its continued use of capital punishment for drug-related crimes ran contrary to international law | UN, Switzerland

U.S. Overdose Deaths In 2021 Increased Half as Much as in 2020 – But Are Still Up 15%

Provisional data from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics indicate there were an estimated 107,622 drug overdose deaths in the United States during 2021, an increase of nearly 15% from the 93,655 deaths estimated in 2020. The 2021 increase was half of what it was a year ago, when overdose deaths rose 30% from 2019 to 2020 | CDC, USA

Potentially dangerous synthetic cooling agents are used at high levels in E-cigarettes and refillable vaping liquids

E-cigarette makers are adding potentially dangerous levels of the synthetic cooling agents WS-3 and WS-23 to disposable e-cigarettes and e-cigarette refills sold in the U.S., according to research published at the ATS 2022 international conference | EurekAlert, USA

Researchers study traumatic injuries caused by exploding e-cigarettes

The dangers of using electronic cigarettes are well known when it comes to the potential for addiction and lung injury, but new research published in the Journal of Surgical Research finds another cause for concern when it comes to e-cigarettes: the potential for the vaping devices to explode during use | Medical Xpress, USA

A cultural and political difference: comparing the racial and social framing of population crack cocaine use between the United States and France

[Open access] Crack cocaine refers to a derivative of powder cocaine. Nonetheless, the usage of the term “crack cocaine” is loaded with unfortunate connotations of stigma and discrimination. When comparing the framing of crack cocaine use between the United States (U.S.) and France, the respective cultural and sociopolitical settings need to be accounted for | Harm Reduction Journal, USA

Colorado Flavored Vape Ban Voted Down in Big Loss for Prohibitionists

On May 10, a Colorado Senate committee voted against a bill that would have banned flavored e-cigarettes as well as most flavored tobacco products. With the legislation unlikely to be revisited in the foreseeable future, it represents a notable stemming of the tide of bans around the United States | Filter Magazine, USA

Renewed calls for pill testing in Victoria as synthetic benzo deaths soar

A sharp spike in overdoses from synthetic drugs is prompting fresh calls for pill testing, and a coroner fears deaths will rise unless urgent action is taken. Twenty-eight people died in Victoria after consuming novel benzodiazepines – a type of new psychoactive substance – in 2020, up from just one death in 2018 | The Age, Australia

First comprehensive study reveals why Australians take medicinal cannabis

Of the 248,000 scripts approved for Australians since inception of national medicinal cannabis scheme in 2016, many related to conditions for which the drug has limited evidence of efficacy, a new University of Sydney study shows | University of Sydney, Australia

Economic benefits of increased Hep C testing and treatment - video

This webinar presented modelled estimates of the health and economic benefits of achieving hepatitis C elimination in Australia. In order to achieve elimination and realize these benefits, uptake of testing and treatment must be high among people who inject drugs. The webinar also examined a recent modelling study on the impact and cost-effectiveness of incentives to facilitate testing and treatment uptake among people who inject drugs | NDARC, Australia

Participants needed for study on new treatment option for methamphetamine dependence

The Incentivise Study is seeking participant perspectives on a new treatment option for methamphetamine (crystal meth, ice) use. The treatment is called ‘contingency management’ and has been used in the USA, but not in Australia | NDARC, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Mayor Khan can’t legalise Cannabis, but he can tackle violent drug crime

This week Sadiq Khan announced further details of his long-awaited London drugs commission – a key election pledge of last year’s London Mayoral campaign. Khan – who used a visit to an LA cannabis dispensary to announce the details – revealed that the commission will be headed up by Lord Falconer, former Chair of the Labour Campaign for Drug Policy Reform | Politics.co.uk, UK

Polarisation, tension and hostility: just another day in the field of addictions

Someone relatively new to the substance use disorder area asked me recently why I thought there was so much division and hostility in the addiction and recovery field, compared to other parts of health and social care. Do we really have more conflict than in some other healthcare areas? There are strongly held positions which seem impossible to reconcile in all areas of life. Is addiction policy, advocacy, treatment, support and recovery any different? | Recovery Review blog, UK

Smokefree 2030?

In July it will be three years since the Government announced the goal of making England Smokefree by 2030. Despite the upheaval of the pandemic, we have continued to make progress to tackle the huge health impact of smoking | ADPH blog, UK

Naloxone: A Life Saving Drug But Only When Not Alone

Naloxone is a drug that can quickly reverse an opioid overdose, so family members, friends, emergency services and first responders can save a person's life by carrying it. Unfortunately, many overdoses occur when a person is alone, making naloxone administration impossible | NHS APA blog, UK

I’m going through the same thing as Cassie in The Flight Attendant – it’s not easy

I too have taken steps to transform my life and distance myself from the person I was when I was drinking | Independent voices, UK

William Brewer: ‘The Red Arrow isn’t a drug book, but…’

The American author on how his own experience of psychedelic therapy sparked his debut novel, and his poems about the opioid epidemic | Guardian, UK