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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Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) faces charges over vaping and heated tobacco products

New charges have been brought against the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA), claiming it has received funds from foreign vested interest groups. Consumers have threatened to file ‘graft’ charges following the admission that the FDA received funds from The Union and Bloomberg Initiative, both of which advocate for the prohibition of cigarette alternatives.

Source: https://business.inquirer.net/310267/consumers-threaten-fda-with-graft-charges-over-e-cigs-and-heated-tobacco-rules

South African Government proposes a ‘public cigarette ban’

Under a new Tobacco Control Bill, smokers in South Africa could face a ‘public cigarette ban’ which would see smoking prohibited in all public spaces. The bill also proposes placing limits on the use, marketing and sales of certain tobacco products and aims to regulate vaping products. The bill is due to be processed before the end of 2020.

Source: https://www.thesouthafrican.com/news/new-regulations-smokers-public-cigarette-ban-proposals/

Scottish NHS smoking cessation service attendance down another 5%

For the eighth consecutive year, the number of smokers accessing Scottish NHS smoking cessation services has dropped. Between April 2019 and March 2020, the number of attendees was down by 5% compared with the previous year. Furthermore, numbers are down almost 60% since 2011/2012.  It is suspected this continued decrease is due to people using vaping products to quit smoking and a reduction in smoking prevalence overall.

Source: https://beta.isdscotland.org/find-publications-and-data/lifestyle-and-behaviours/smoking/nhs-smoking-cessation-service-statistics-scotland/

Indian territory launches anti-drug use campaign

The Indian territory of Delhi’s Government has announced that it will provide targeted treatment and counselling services in a campaign to combat substance use. The project will promote awareness of the harms and consequences of substance use among people who are deemed to be susceptible to substance use. People who drive for a living are due to receive information and advice on the risks of using drugs to stay awake whilst driving, as well as on the risks of drink driving.

Source: https://www.businessinsider.in/india/news/delhi-govt-launches-campaign-against-drug-abuse/articleshow/78734498.cms

Offenders in Wales ordered to wear ‘sobriety tags’

Wales has introduced sobriety tags for people convicted of alcohol-related crimes. The electronic devices monitor compliance with alcohol bans imposed by courts in an attempt to reduce reoffending. The sobriety tags are due to be introduced in England in early 2021.

Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/sobriety-tags-launched-to-tackle-alcohol-fuelled-crime

Paraguay police seize 2.3 tons of cocaine in largest drug bust

A record haul of 2.3 tons of cocaine has been seized by police in Paraguay. Police officers discovered the cocaine in a shipment of charcoal in Villeta, the country’s largest port. The cocaine was believed to have been bought by Dutch drug traffickers and was intended for distribution across northern Europe.

Source: https://www.vice.com/en/article/wx8qeq/police-in-paraguay-seize-biggest-cocaine-stash-ever

Wales bans smoking in playgrounds and hospital sites

From March 2021, smoking in playgrounds, on school grounds and on hospital sites will be banned in Wales. Anyone found breaching the new law will face a fixed-penalty notice. Wales is the first country in the UK to introduce a law banning smoking in playgrounds and on school grounds.

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-54630639

Purdue admit criminal conduct over OxyContin mishandling

Purdue Pharma LP has admitted criminal conduct relating to distribution of its opioid painkillers. The admission comes as part of an agreement between the company and the US Justice Department in which Purdue has agreed to pay $225 million towards resolving legal investigations. As part of the agreement the company must now complete a bankruptcy filing and shift its assets to a ‘public benefit company’. The agreement means that the company will avoid an estimated $8 billion in penalties and that the executives and owners will not face criminal convictions. None of the individuals, however, has been released from criminal liability, with many still under investigation by a separate Justice Department.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-purdue-pharma-opioids-investigations/oxycontin-maker-purdue-reaches-plea-deal-in-opioid-probe-idUSKBN276236

450kgs of methamphetamine seized in largest drug bust

The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a multinational maritime partnership comprising 33 member nations that operates in the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, has seized 450kgs of methamphetamine in the largest drug bust in the CMF’s history. The illicit drugs were found on a vessel during an anti-drugs operation in the Arabian Sea.

Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/security/maritime-security/combined-maritime-forces-seizes-over-450kg-drugs-in-largest-methamphetamine-bust/

Rise in vaping among young people in Taiwan

A survey by the Health Promotion Administration in Taiwan found over 57,000 young people used vaping products in 2019, while a further 16,000 used Heated Tobacco Products (HTP), suggesting an upward trend among junior and senior high school students. A proposed amendment to Taiwan’s Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act, currently being reviewed, could increase the legal smoking age from 18 to 20-years-old.

Source: https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4035328

Turkish Parliament increases late night alcohol sales fine

A bill proposed by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey will increase the fine for late night alcohol sales to 320,000 Turkish Liras (USD $40,000). The fines will be applied to retailers caught selling alcohol between 10pm and 6am as well as to retailers selling alcohol to people under 18-years-old at any time.

Source: https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/fine-increases-for-retailers-selling-alcohol-late-night-159373

Walmart files lawsuit against US federal government

Retail company Walmart has filed a pre-emptive lawsuit against the US Federal Government. The company claims that the Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are attempting to scapegoat Walmart for the US Government’s lack of effective regulation and enforcement during the opioid crisis. Walmart argues that federal agencies have no grounds on which they could sue Walmart for pharmacy malpractice.

Source: https://www.wsj.com/articles/walmart-files-pre-emptive-lawsuit-against-federal-government-in-opioid-case-11603401216

UK to ban celebrity gambling advertisements

The UK Committee of Advertising Practices (CAP) has proposed new legislation that would ban gambling advertisements that use celebrities. Currently, advertisements are only banned if they are more likely to appeal to those under 18-years-old than adults. If passed, the new legislation will place a blanket restriction on advertisements that might appeal to young people, regardless of how they are perceived by adults.   

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/oct/22/crackdown-on-uk-gambling-ads-expected-to-ban-use-of-celebrities


Johnson & Johnson increases opioid payment to $5bn and Mallinckrodt file for bankruptcy

The multinational corporation Johnson & Johnson has announced that it will pay a further $1bn towards settling a range of lawsuits in which it is alleged that it, and other companies, perpetuated the US opioid epidemic. In 2019, Johnson & Johnson agreed a $4bn settlement framework which has now been increased following negotiations. There are now more than 3,000 lawsuits from US states, counties and municipalities against opioid manufacturers and distributers. Johnson & Johnson denies any wrongdoing. Also this week, drug manufacturer Mallkinckrodt Plc filed for bankruptcy in the face of ongoing opioid related lawsuits.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-opioids-johnson-johnson/jj-to-contribute-up-to-5-billion-to-potential-u-s-opioid-settlement-idUSKBN26Y2FT

Thousands quit smoking in Finland due to COVID-19

In a survey by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Finland, 15% of respondents said they quit smoking as a direct consequence of COVID-19 health concerns. ASH Finland has estimated that between 5,000 and 18,000 people have quit smoking since early 2020. Eighty-four percent of people who quit smoking in the survey said they did so for health reasons, compared with 73% in the same survey in 2019.

Source: https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/corona_concerns_prompt_thousands_to_quit_smoking/11591654

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) report highlights advances in drug trafficking during COVID-19

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has reported that there was an increase in international cocaine trafficking during the COVID-19 pandemic. They further report that the quantity and quality of cocaine has increased, that cocaine markets in European cities have expanded and that production of MDMA in Europe continues to rise.

Source: https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/european-drug-report-advances/

 

Increased cocaine seizures in Honduras and Guatemala

The number of airstrips that have been destroyed so far in 2020 has increased compared with 2019 in both Honduras and Guatemala. Thirty-one airstrips in Honduras have been destroyed so far this year and 2,830kg of cocaine have been seized (up on 2,218kg for the whole of 2019). Guatemalan forces have destroyed 15 airstrips and seized 20 drug planes so far in 2020. Fifteen of the planes that were seized were jets indicating that drug traffickers are using improved technology to transport drugs across borders.

Source: https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/aerial-cocaine-trafficking-honduras-guatemala/

Alcohol and tobacco price increase in Ukraine

According to the State Statistics Service in Ukraine, the price of alcohol and tobacco rose between September 2019 and 2020. The average price of domestic beer increased by 2.8%, while wine rose by 1.1% and vodka by 0.5%. The price of tobacco also rose significantly during the reporting period, with filtered cigarettes seeing an average 21.9% increase while the cost of unfiltered cigarettes rose by 25.4%.

Source: https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-economy/3116800-all-alcohol-and-tobacco-products-grow-in-price-in-ukraine.html

Fifty illicit alcohol-related deaths in 1 week in Turkey

The number of alcohol-related deaths attributed to illicit alcohol consumption in Turkey rose to 50 in the 7 days from 9 October 2020. The recent increase in deaths from illicit alcohol has been attributed to a rise in ethyl prices, resulting in an increased use of methyl alcohol, a more toxic substance. Police have detained more than 200 people on illicit alcohol charges and have enhanced inspections of liquor stores that they suspect of selling illicit alcohol.

Source: https://www.dailysabah.com/turkey/deaths-from-bootleg-alcohol-consumption-in-turkey-reach-50-in-a-week/news

Vaping decrease among adults in Britain

Findings from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) UK suggest that vaping product use has dropped since last year from 7.1% to 6.3% among the British adult population. The proportion of current vapers who are ex-smokers continues to grow year-on-year, whereas the proportion of vapers who also smoke (dual use) fell from 40% in 2019 to 38% in 2020.

Source: https://ash.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Use-of-e-cigarettes-vapes-among-adults-in-Great-Britain-2020.pdf