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Daily news - 17th May 2022

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UK news

Drug misuse prevention review

Advice on preventing drug misuse among vulnerable groups of people, with a focus on understanding factors that contribute to vulnerability | ACMD, UK

E-cigarettes ‘as safe as nicotine patches’ for pregnant smokers trying to quit

Pregnant smokers were more likely to quit when using e-cigarettes than patches after four weeks, study shows | Guardian, UK

Implementation of alcohol minimum unit pricing (MUP): a qualitative study with small retailers

[Open access] Minimum unit pricing for alcohol (MUP) came into effect on 1st May 2018 in Scotland, raising the price of the cheapest shop-bought alcohol. Small retailers are a key source of alcohol for communities, often located in areas of high alcohol-related harm. We sought to examine their experiences of MUP implementation and impact | DEPP, UK

Anabolic androgenic steroid use population size estimation: a first stage study utilising a Delphi exercise

[Open access] Harms associated with anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) use are well-established and a public health concern. Robust estimates of the numbers using AAS are needed to inform responses, however, in the UK these are lacking | DEPP, UK

The 'village' that got me off drink and drugs

At a time when deaths from drugs and alcohol are at an all-time high, a town in north-west England has caught the attention of the government's senior drug advisor. Birkenhead is trying a new way to support addicts and save lives | BBC, UK

Joe Wicks: 'I realised my childhood wasn't normal'

Over the first four months of the Covid pandemic in 2020, Joe Wicks became a national hero as he livestreamed PE lessons every morning to hundreds of thousands of Brits | BBC, UK

Scientists develop wearable alcohol sensor for drinking self-management

Device was seen as better alternative to keeping a mobile drinking diary | Independent, UK

Football fans who take drugs at matches will face five-year ban in new crackdown

A crackdown will be unveiled this week amid growing evidence thugs high on cocaine are fuelling a surge in violence at stadiums | Sun, UK

Dispute with council over legal cannabis use following eviction from home

A legal cannabis user has expressed his frustration at struggling to find a new place to live in the city after being served an eviction notice | Norwich Evening News, UK

Benzo Research Project

We are collecting stories from young people who have had experiences with non-prescription benzodiazepine use - either by taking them or being around those who are using them. If you are a young person between the ages of 18-25 years old (or were at the time of your experience with benzos) - we would love to hear your story | Drugs and Me, UK



International news

Association between the implementation of tobacco control policies and adolescent vaping in 44 lower-middle, upper-middle, and high-income countries

[Open access] In a study published in Addiction that analyzed 2015–2018 information from 47 countries, approximately 1 in 12, or 8.6%, of adolescents reported vaping in the past 30 days. Countries with higher tobacco taxes tended to have higher adolescent vaping | Addiction, UK

QMJC April 2022: Intersectional structural vulnerability to abusive policing among people who inject drugs: A mixed methods assessment in California’s central valley

The Qualitative Methods Journal Club met in April 2022 to discuss a study about abusive and violent policing among people who inject drugs. Of particular interest were the use of ‘key informants’ in research, and the decision by the researchers to describe the social positioning of participants (e.g. their race and gender) | SSA, UK

Matriarch accused of leading drug clan captured

Police in Honduras have captured a woman accused of leading a drug trafficking clan with four of her sons | BBC, UK

Drug smuggling tunnel with rail system uncovered on US-Mexico border

The ventilated underground passage runs the length of a football field and also contains reinforced walls and electricity supply | Guardian, UK

National Dissemination meeting on Synthetic Opioids, Department of Health 

Tue, 24 May 2022, 09:30 – 13:30 IST, Dublin. SO PREP is a European-funded research project with participation from organisations and research institutions from The Netherlands, Belgium, Estonia and Finland. The aim of the SO PREP project is to provide an understanding of trends in synthetic opioid use and its consequences in Europe and to develop guidelines on good practice in monitoring and responding to this phenomenon and increase preparedness in member states | Department of Health, Ireland

Workshop on drug monitoring and reporting for Georgian national drug observatory

Staff members of the Georgian national drug observatory (NDO) are at the EMCDDA this week for a workshop on drug monitoring and reporting. The event is taking place under the technical cooperation project EMCDDA4Georgia. The NDO, based at the Georgian Ministry of Justice, is the EMCDDA’s principal counterpart in the project and serves as the main coordinating body for drug monitoring in the country | EMCDDA, Portugal

The Next Wave of the Overdose Crisis: Benzo Dope and Tranq - video

More than 100,000 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2021, the worst year on record. The newest wave of the overdose crisis involves man-made chemicals, including animal tranquilizers, that are being combined with fentanyl to make street drugs that are deadlier and more addictive | VICE News, USA

Study explores how people's beliefs impact overdose education and naloxone distribution programs

Overdose education and naloxone distribution are key parts of a comprehensive response to the overdose epidemic, and evidence supports expansion of these programs in the U.S. to reduce fatal overdoses. But naloxone still appears to be insufficiently available and/or used | Medical Xpress, 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 | Medical Xpress, USA

Pre-drinking might save money, but it can come at a cost

Pre-drinking, or consuming alcohol in a private setting before going to a public event, is common among young adults, often with the motivation to save money | BASIS, USA

On-demand buprenorphine clinic reaches every corner of Oregon

In fall 2019, Oregon Health & Science University opened a clinic to provide same-day, walk-in access to proven medications to treat opioid use disorder | Medical Xpress, USA

NY Bill to Expand Safe Consumption Sites Advances, With Time Short

ANew York State Assembly committee has voted to advance legislation that would authorize safe consumption sites (SCS) across the state. But time is running out in the current legislative session, which ends June 2. If the state Senate doesn’t similarly advance its version of the bill soon, the Safer Consumption Services Act (SCSA) likely won’t reappear before the legislature until 2023 | Filter Magazine, USA

Drug Use on Edmonton Public Transit “Reflects Policy Failures”

In March, president of the Edmonton Police Association Stg. Michael Elliot shared an image of a person apparently freebasing or smoking an unknown drug on an Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) light rail transit (LRT) train car. In the tweet, the officer said of the student who apparently provided the photo, “She was fearful of the open drug use & wanted to share to the public what is occurring.” | Filter Magazine, USA

Psychotropic Compound Synthesized from Rainforest Tree

Scripps Research scientists report that they have developed a method to synthesize one of the chemicals found in the Galbulimima belgraveana tree, found only in remote rainforests of Papua New Guinea and northern Australia and long used by indigenous people for both healing and ceremony. A tea brewed from the bark not only induces a dreamlike state but is said to ease pain and fever | GEN, USA

Farm workers in cannabis grow-op raids often oblivious to criminal nature, OPP say

Illegal marijuana grow operations most often crop up on the Ontario Provincial Police's radar in Essex County, and during raids, farm workers are "almost every time" completely unaware of the criminals behind the cannabis, police told CBC News | CBC News, Canada

Factors associated with perceived decline in the quality of drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from community-recruited cohorts of people who use drugs in Vancouver, Canada

[Open access] Driven by an increasingly toxic drug supply, drug toxicity deaths in the United States and Canada have risen to unprecedented levels during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to characterize the prevalence of and the factors associated with a perceived decline in the quality of drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic among community-recruited cohorts of PWUD in Vancouver, Canada | DEPP, Canada



Blogs, comment and opinion

Loss of Institutional Knowledge – a Critical Tipping Point in the SUD Workforce Crisis

Our substance use care system workforce has long faced very high turnover rates. One of the studies from years ago that always stuck with me as framing out the challenges and value of working in our field, was from 2003, the toughest job you’ll ever love: A Pacific Northwest Treatment Workforce Survey | Recovery Review blog, USA

How a powdered fentanyl program has improved a client’s quality of life

I’ve tried titrated injectable opioid therapies and none of them worked, so when they came out with the powdered fentanyl program, I thought I’d give it a try. So far it seems to be working pretty good. I’ve been on it for about 2 months | CMAJ, Canada

Won’t somebody think of the children: from icy poles to ice pipes

In February 2022, the Herald Sun ran a feature story on a proposed new Melbourne MSIC. This piece was essentially propaganda that excluded factual data and used graphic images and sensationalist language to incite moral panic | AOD MediaWatch, Australia