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Daily news - 25th May 2022

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UK news

Is it time to move on with safe drug consumption in Scotland?

A new effort to establish drug consumption rooms in Scotland against the wishes of the Home Office has been launched | BBC, UK

Online Alcohol Sales & Deliveries: A survey of young people in Scotland (PDF)

This report presents the findings of a survey - conducted by Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS) in February-March 2022 - which asked children and young people about their views and experiences of online alcohol sales and deliveries | Alcohol Focus Scotland, UK

Medical cannabis plea for boy, three

A mother whose three-year-old son has up to 80 seizures a day wants the NHS to prescribe him cannabis | BBC, UK

Edinburgh taxi drivers to carry Naloxone kits to help prevent drug deaths

[Free registration may be required] The move has been welcomed as life-saving by drug policy minister Angela Constance | Scotsman, UK

Universities told to crack down on spiking after ‘brazen’ attacks on students

Universities minister launches working group to spearhead plans for practical action to help keep students safe | Guardian, UK

Almost £30m of Class A drugs seized in just 12 months by Merseyside Organised Crime Partnership

A specialist team of officers from the National Crime Agency and Merseyside Police have seized nearly £30m worth of Class A drugs in their first year of operating | NCA, UK

Alcohol Occasionals - Care for co-occurring heavy alcohol use & depression

Tue, 21 June 2022, 12:30 – 14:00 BST. Dr Kat Jackson and Dr Amy O’Donnell present on how people with co-occurring heavy alcohol use and depression describe the care they receive | SHAAP, UK



International news

Using e-cigarettes may lead to higher use of and spending on health services

Use of electronic (e) cigarettes appears to lead to substantially higher costs and excess use of healthcare services in the USA, suggests new research published in the journal Tobacco Control | BMJ, UK

Legalised cannabis in Canada and US hasn’t killed illegal market

Even when cannabis is legalised, some users still prefer to stick with their usual illegal sources, which can be cheaper and easier to access | New Scientist, UK

Delayed response to drug use report due to ‘competing views’, NSW premier says

Dominic Perrottet insists government will respond shortly to the ‘complicated issues’ raised by 2018 inquiry into ice addiction | Guardian, UK

Queensland laws mandating last drinks at 3am helped halve early morning assaults, report finds

Policies passed after Cole Miller’s death from one-punch attack have also not adversely affected hospitality venues, review says | Guardian, UK

Take Home Naloxone Programme Annual report on the supply and use of Take Home Naloxone to reverse an overdose April 2020 – March 2021 (PDF)

Naloxone is a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. It can very quickly restore normal respiration to a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped as a result of overdosing with heroin or prescription opioid pain medications | PHA, Ireland

HSE to target music festivals for harm reduction amid ‘worrying trends’ in drug use

HSE teams are targeting three music festivals this summer to spread harm reduction advice to drug users amid “very worrying trends” at the drugs in circulation | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Development, feasibility, acceptability, and impact of a positive psychology journaling intervention to support addiction recovery

[Open access] Recovery from substance use disorders can be an arduous, lengthy process, yet there exist few interventions specifically designed to make recovery more reinforcing. This single-group mixed-methods study describes the development, feasibility, acceptability, and impact of a novel journaling intervention that combines aspects of positive psychology and behavioral activation to make recovery more reinforcing | Journal of Positive Psychology, USA

Legalizing marijuana found to decrease use of alcohol, pain meds and cigarettes

A team of researchers at the University of Washington, working with a colleague at Multnomah County Health Department and Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division has found that when a state decriminalizes recreational use of marijuana, the use of alcohol and the abuse of pain medications and smoking cigarettes by young people decreases | Medical Xpress, USA

Excessive degradation of mitochondria is the tipping point from normal alcohol metabolism to alcoholic liver disease

While most commonly known as "the powerhouses of the cell" because of their energy producing capabilities, mitochondria also play important roles in regulating the health of cells. These important structures can be damaged by alcohol consumption, which can cause them to rupture and release their DNA, proteins and lipids, collectively known as "damage associated molecular patterns (DAMPs)." | Medical Xpress, USA

Medicinal cannabis can be considered as alternative to pain relief medicines for cancer patients

A comprehensive assessment of the benefits of medical cannabis for cancer-related pain found that for most oncology patients, pain measures improved significantly, other cancer-related symptoms also decreased, the consumption of painkillers was reduced, and the side effects were minimal | News Medical, USA

Buprenorphine Implementation at Syringe Service Programs following Waiver of the Ryan Haight Act in the United States

Among people with an opioid use disorder in the United States, only 10% receive buprenorphine treatment. The Ryan Haight Act is a federal law that has regulated buprenorphine delivery, requiring an in-person examination between a patient and provider before initiating treatment. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, federal agencies waived in-person examination requirements for buprenorphine treatment initiation. We examined whether Ryan Haight Act waiver improved implementation of telehealth buprenorphine within syringe service programs | DAD, USA

The Methadone Clinic System Needs Abolition, Not a Tepid Reform Bill

Peter Vanderkloot’s groundbreaking article—Methadone: Medicine, Harm Reduction or Social Control—hit me hard. As a social worker, I helped people who used heroin get into methadone programs | Filter Magazine, USA

Ohio Bills Seek to Decriminalize Fentanyl Test Strips

Ohio lawmakers are—slowly—considering legislation to decriminalize fentanyl test strips. On May 19, state Representative Kristin Boggs (D) testified before the House Criminal Justice Committee in support of House Bill 456, which she first introduced in October 2021 | Filter Magazine, USA

The Future of Drugs Is a Synthetic Cocktail From Hell

The worst wave of the overdose crisis is here and it’s drugs worse than fentanyl you’ve likely never heard of | VICE, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

Stigma is a six-letter word

In this blog post, Michaela reflects on her own lived experience of addiction and the need to understand stigma as more than just language | SHAAP blog, UK

Learning to discern entails humbly attuning our ears & softening our hearts

Since we began emulating the work of FAVOR in America, back in 2009, we have learned a great deal about the addiction sector and its very different dynamics across the UK, as well as in other areas of the world.  Since we first started organising & mobilising the recovery community and its friends & allies in the UK, we always had a very positive campaign style | FAVOR blog, UK

Expert reaction to paper on e-cigarettes and spending on health services in the US

A paper published in Tobacco Control looks at healthcare utilisation and expenditures attributable to current e-cigarette use among US adults | Science Media Centre, UK

From smoking to vaping: a new environmental threat?

E-cigarettes are generally considered to be less dangerous for human health than combustible cigarettes, and are a promising harm reduction tool for smokers.1 However, despite possible health benefits compared with tobacco smoking, vaping is a potential environmental threat. Recently, dry powder inhalers—widespread medical devices routinely used to treat pulmonary diseases—were shown to have a concerning carbon footprint.2 Given their similarities to inhalers, the impact of e-cigarettes on planetary health can also no longer be ignored | Lancet corresspondence, UK

An authoritarian turn from the Tories on drug policy leaves Labour an open goal

Government plans announced at the Home Office national drugs summit last week, including the expansion of football banning orders to include those convicted of drug possession offences, herald a significant shift in rhetoric and approach – as the war on drugs meets the culture wars. Labour can now score an easy win by presenting itself as the party of rationality, evidence and reform | Labour List, UK

Alcohol marketing has crossed borders and entered the metaverse – how do we regulate the new digital risk?

The World Health Organization’s newly released report on regulating cross-border alcohol marketing raises the alarm for countries like Australia and New Zealand, given their light touch towards alcohol advertising | Conversation, Australia