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Weekly news - 10th June 2022

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In date order, Monday to Friday

Tackling Drug Deaths and Drug Harm [Scottish parliament]

As the convener of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee, I welcome the opportunity to open the debate. When my committee took evidence from the Minister for Drugs Policy last year, it became apparent that a number of key policy levers in this area lie with the United Kingdom Government. As part of our joint scrutiny work, we heard evidence that the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 is outdated and fails to reflect the public health-led approach that we want to pursue in Scotland | They work for you, UK

Veterans (Data on Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Abuse) [Scottish parliament]

To ask the Scottish Government what data it collects on any difficulties faced by veterans in Scotland, including on the prevalence of mental health issues and drug and alcohol abuse | They work for you, UK

ScotRail told to rethink alcohol ban after admitting it failed to seek expert advice

[Possible paywall] ScotRail has been urged to reconsider its alcohol ban after it emerged the operator failed to consult police or behavioural experts about its decision. The train operator, which was taken into public ownership in April, has no plans to lift its ban on alcohol, which was imposed during the first Covid lockdown in 2020 | The Times, UK

Naloxone: Bedfordshire Police pilot scheme to help save lives and counter drug overdoses

Bedfordshire’s deputy chief constable, Trevor Rodenhurst, told the PCC the Delivery and Beating Crime Meeting that the force is piloting a scheme for community teams to carry Naxalone | Bedford Today, UK

Recovery Street Film Festival - open for entries 2022

This year, the Recovery Street Film Festival is looking for film submissions of one to three minutes in length themed around the question: “Who am I?” Read more about the theme for film submissions to our 2022 competition, take a look at our resources aimed at helping you to make your film, and submit your film when it’s ready | RSFF, UK

Canada trials decriminalising cocaine, MDMA and other drugs

Canada has announced it will temporarily decriminalise the possession of small amounts of some illicit drugs in British Columbia (BC) | BBC, UK

Brexit helping cause harmful increase in fake ecstasy, study warns

Covid and crackdowns also blamed as researchers find half of pills sold as MDMA at festivals in England contained none of the drug | Guardian, UK

The Cathinone Hydra: Increased Cathinone and caffeine adulteration in the English MDMA market after Brexit and COVID-19 lockdowns

Adulteration poses additional unknown risks to the health of people who use illicit drugs. In this study, we sought to determine the extent and nature of adulteration of ‘MDMA’ in circulation at English summer music festivals in 2021, following Brexit, COVID-19 lockdowns and various regulatory changes overseas. At three festivals in 2019 and 2021, 1648 surrendered substances were analysed with Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and colourimetric reagents in a mobile laboratory as part of a harm reduction project | Drug Science Policy and Law, UK

Plan to raise smoking age to 21 to be unveiled amid UK government splits

Delayed review, which also suggests new taxes on tobacco firms, reportedly faced pushback from ministers | Guardian, UK

Children sold vape pens as powerful as 50 cigarettes

[Possible paywall] Children are routinely being sold cheap disposable vaping pens online that contain as much nicotine as up to 50 cigarettes, experts have said | The Times, UK

School exclusions for drugs and alcohol across the south among highest in the country

Schools across the south are excluding and suspending more pupils because of drugs and alcohol than most other parts of the country. It means some primary schools are now teaching children about the dangers of substances including cocaine and cannabis | ITV, UK

National naloxone programme Scotland - Quarterly monitoring bulletin

During 2021/22 Quarter 3 (1 October 2021 to 31 December 2021): 9,006 Take-Home Naloxone (THN) kits were issued. 6,656 THN kits were issued by services based in the community. 521 kits were issued by prisons in Scotland. 1,465 kits were dispensed by community pharmacies and 339 THN kits were provided by the Scottish Ambulance Service | Public Health Scotland, UK

Alcohol and other drug use among children and young people in Ireland: prevalence, risk and protective factors, consequences, responses, and policies

Findings from the latest HRB report reveal that adolescents are starting to drink alcohol at a later age – but one-in-three young drinkers has an alcohol use disorder. The data highlights an increase in substance-related hospitalisations among young people and that treatment for cocaine use among young people increased by 171% between 2011 and 2019. It also shows a clear link between mental ill health and substance use, evident across data on anxiety, self-harm and suicide | HRB, Ireland

Timeline: 25 years of Early Warning System (EWS)

Take a journey through some of the key moments in the Early Warning System's (EWS) first quarter of a century by following the timeline and checking the main milestones | EMCDDA, Portugal

Smoking age should rise, government report to say

The age at which people can buy tobacco products in England should be gradually increased year after year, a review for government is expected to recommend | BBC, UK

England going smoke-free by 2030 depends on No 10 willpower

Analysis: The question is not what is in the Khan review but whether its recommendations will be implement | Guardian, UK

The Khan review: making smoking obsolete

Independent review by Dr Javed Khan OBE into the government’s ambition to make England smokefree by 2030 | OHID, UK

Characterising smoking and smoking cessation attempts by risk of alcohol dependence: A representative, cross-sectional study of adults in England between 2014-2021

There is a strong shared association between smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol. This study aimed to compare smoking prevalence and smoking characteristics in drinkers who were versus were not at risk of alcohol dependence in England | Lancet, UK

Pharmacies and opioid dependency: working together to better support recovery

One patient in particular led Rachel Britton to discover and develop the role of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in helping people with opioid dependency | Pharmaceutical Journal opinion, UK