Addiction News

Addiction News aims to provide an inclusive summary of addiction-related stories from across the globe. It is likely that some news sources will be influenced by political, financial or other agendas. It is therefore important for readers to consider the source when assessing the relevance of news stories included here.

Addiction does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information in external sources or links and accepts no responsibility or liability for any consequences arising from the use of such information.

We welcome suggestions and contributions from our readers. Send your material to Rob Calder, Addiction News Editor, Addiction, National Addiction Centre PO48, 4 Windsor Walk, London SE5 8AF. Fax +44 (0)20 7848 5966; e-mail rob@addiction-ssa.org


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US athletics association changes cannabis testing

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has relaxed its cannabis testing policies, increasing the threshold of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for a positive cannabis test. Similar changes have already been introduced by the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Football League.

Source: https://norml.org/blog/2022/03/09/ncaa-relaxes-drug-testing-policies-for-cannabis/

US State of New York introduces law against ‘gifting’ cannabis

New York has introduced a new law that will ban companies from ‘gifting’ cannabis. Gifting involves retailers selling low-value items (such as tee-shirts) at an artificially high price with an added ‘free’ cannabis product. The new bill was introduced to prevent retailers avoiding cannabis licencing requirements by technically not selling cannabis products. The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) has made several calls for retailers to cease and desist the schemes.

Source: https://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/cannabis-hemp/1171348/new-york-lays-down-the-law-on-illicit-cannabis-operations

UK’s revised gambling laws delayed until May 2022

Publication of the UK’s updated gambling laws has been delayed and is now expected in May 2022. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport initiated the review in 2020 following concerns about increases in gambling and young people’s exposure to gambling advertisements. The review was previously delayed from the end of 2021 to early 2022.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/feb/06/uk-government-puts-off-review-of-gambling-laws-until-may

Many of Switzerland’s CBD products do not meet legal requirements

The Swiss Association of Cantonal Chemists has reported that most cannabis products containing cannabidiol (CBD) that are sold in Switzerland do not meet legal requirements. Following analyses of CBD products, 85% were found to be non-compliant and 73% contained prohibited products. Many products contained illegal amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol or prohibited hemp extracts.

Source: https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/most-cbd-cannabis-products-fail-to-meet-standards--say-swiss-chemists/47310824

Portland, Maine, bans flavoured tobacco and vaping products

Portland City Council in the US state of Maine has approved a bill that bans flavoured tobacco and vaping product sales. Under the new legislation, menthol flavoured vaping products and products that use synthetic nicotine are also prohibited. The legislation will be implemented on 1 June 2022. 

Source: https://filtermag.org/portland-vape-flavor-ban/

UN drug experts warn about opioid-methamphetamine drug use in Afghanistan

The United Nations has issued a warning about the illicit trade in a drug containing a mix of methamphetamine and opioids. The drug is called ‘tablet K’ and is believed to be the world’s first illicit drug tablet to contain both depressants and stimulants. While the drugs have been used in Afghanistan since 2016, recent reports suggest that its popularity is rising.

Source: https://www.vice.com/en/article/dyp4gk/meth-heroin-pill-afghanistan

Venice introduces legislation permitting alcohol on beaches

Venice has introduced new legislation that if passed into law will permit the possession and use of alcohol on the city’s beaches. Premises selling alcohol for consumption on the beaches will be required to hold a state license and city café permit. Alcohol will only be allowed on the beaches from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

Source: https://www.newsbreak.com/news/2510072687202/alcohol-on-city-beaches-clears-first-hurdle

New South Wales, Australia, seizes over 100,000 illegal vaping products

Between July 2020 and December 2021, New South Wales Health seized more than 100,000 illegal vaping products. New laws introduced in October 2021 made it illegal to sell vaping products without a doctor’s prescription. The confiscated products are believed to have a street value of more than $2 million (approx. £1.1 million).

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/more-than-2-million-worth-of-vapes-seized-in-state-health-crackdown-20220128-p59s0m.html

Scottish government to train firefighters in delivering naloxone

The Scottish government has appealed for volunteer firefighters to undergo naloxone training as part of a pilot project. The firefighters will be equipped with naloxone and trained in how to administer the drug in the event of an opioid overdose.

Source: https://www.gov.scot/news/firefighters-to-carry-life-saving-naloxone/

Kenya to include smoking cessation drugs as essential medicines

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised Kenya’s Ministry of Health to add two smoking cessation drugs to the country’s ‘Essential Medicines’ List. The WHO has also advised that bupropion and varenicline are more effective than other smoking cessation drugs in helping smokers to quit smoking.

Source: https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2022-02-07-adopt-non-nicotine-tobacco-cessation-drugs-kenya-told/

UNODC announces operations against drug crime in South America

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has announced a new strategy to combat drug trafficking and drug related crimes in South and Central America. A UNODC representative announced plans to strengthen operations against organised crime, drugs and corruption in Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador and Uruguay.

Source: https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/UN-Announces-Strategy-Against-Drugs-and-Crime-for-Latin-America-20220207-0017.html

US state of Alaska’s Senate passes alcohol law bill

Alaska’s Senate has passed a bill intended to modernise alcohol laws. If passed into law, the legislation would consider expanding the alcohol industry while safeguarding public health. The bill would allow alcohol manufacturing businesses such as breweries to expand their activities and events.

Source: https://www.juneauempire.com/news/bill-aimed-at-refining-state-alcohol-laws-passes-senate/

Ireland records an estimated 12,000 problem gamblers

Ireland’s Health Research Board has estimated that there are 12,000 problem gamblers, 25,000 moderate-risk gamblers, and 90,000 low-risk gamblers in Ireland. The report suggested that men were around five times more likely to have a gambling problem compared with women.

Source: https://www.irishpost.com/news/report-estimates-there-are-12000-problem-gamblers-in-ireland-229578

Carfentanil found in adulterated cocaine that killed 24 people in Argentina

Argentinian officials have announced that carfentanil was present in a batch of adulterated cocaine responsible for the death of 24 people. The opioid, which is reported to be 10,000 times more potent than morphine, is restricted for use as a sedative for large animals. Investigations into how the cocaine was exposed to carfentanil are underway.

Source: https://english.elpais.com/international/2022-02-11/drug-used-to-anesthetize-elephants-found-in-adulterated-cocaine-that-killed-24-in-argentina.html

Germany proposes raising legal age of alcohol purchase

Germany’s Commissioner on Narcotic Drugs at the Federal Ministry of Health has proposed raising the legal age for alcohol purchases from 16 to 18 years old. The commissioner has also proposed abolishing rules that allow young people to purchase alcohol in the presence of their parents and increasing restrictions on alcohol and tobacco advertising.

Source: https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/germanys-drugs-czar-higher-age-limits-alcohol-82826801

Israel minister proposes cannabis law amendment

Israel’s Justice Minister has proposed draft guidelines that, if approved, will further relax laws relating to recreational cannabis use. The law in Israel previously changed in 2017, so that first time offenders now face fines and treatment instead of criminal prosecution. The new proposal would remove criminal action for repeat offenders.

Source: https://www.timesofisrael.com/justice-minister-proposes-further-decriminalizing-recreational-cannabis-use/

UK launches investigation into societal impacts of drug use

The UK’s Home Affairs Committee has launched an inquiry into the impact of illegal drug use on society. The investigation will assess the effectiveness of Government-led strategies to deal with drug use and crime. It will also explore the impact of current legislation, including the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

Source: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/83/home-affairs-committee/news/160939/drugs-inquiry-launched/

El Salvador seizes 700kgs of drugs between June 2021 and January 2022

Between June 2021 and January 2022, 711.3kgs of illicit of drugs were seized and destroyed in El Salvador. The drugs were discovered during joint operations carried out by the National Civil Police, Armed Forces of El Salvador and the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic. The seizures included 690kgs of cocaine.

Source: https://california18.com/security-authorities-destroy-more-than-700-kilos-of-drugs-seized-between-june-2021-and-january-2022/3279912022/

CDC proposes relaxing US opioid prescription guidelines

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has proposed amending the guidelines for US physicians who prescribe opioids. If approved, the amendments will relax the suggested limits on prescription drugs. The changes come following concerns that current guidelines, which were issued six years ago, have removed access to painkillers for patients who need them most.

Source:  https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-02-cdc-softer-guidance-opioid-prescriptions.html

UK supermarkets trial vending machines for vaping products

A UK vaping product retailer has launched a 12-month pilot programme installing vending machines for vaping products in UK supermarkets, NHS locations and pubs. Customers must verify their age by uploading a form of ID and a photograph before being able to purchase the products.

Source: https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/02/10/uk-to-trial-vape-vending-machines/