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Alcohol-related deaths are soaring – British drinking is out of control

7/18/21--One of the main findings from a new Public Health England analysis is that there has been a staggering 20 percent rise in alcohol-specific deaths, mainly due to alcoholic liver disease. Interestingly, 58.6 percent of people have increased their intake during the pandemic. This group reveals they are drinking more than 50 units of alcohol a week – the current cut off point used to identify a higher risk of harm. Fifty units is equivalent to 25 double gins or 25 cans of beer. Read

2021 Study: How legalizing recreational marijuana impacts home values

7/12/21--As legalization brings marijuana into the mainstream, it’s sparked questions for real estate professionals and individual citizens alike. Will legalization impact property values, for better or worse? Will communities begin to reap benefits of marijuana legalization — or suffer the consequences? According to data from Zillow and the U.S. Census, among other sources, overall marijuana legalization leads to higher property values and millions of dollars in new tax revenue. Read

States and cities near tentative $26 billion deal in opioid cases

7/20/21--The three largest pharmaceutical distributors and Johnson & Johnson are on the verge of a $26 billion deal with states and municipalities that would settle thousands of lawsuits over their role in the opioid epidemic and pay for addiction and prevention services nationwide. Read

Protecting women and girls from tobacco and alcohol promotion

7/19/21--According to Emma Feeny and colleagues, gender transformative measures could curb the industries’ expansion into low and middle income countries, contain the burden of chronic disease, and promote gender equity. Without urgent action, the number of women and girls consuming tobacco and alcohol is likely to rise substantially in the coming years as a result of the combination of changing gender norms, aggressive industry marketing, and continuing population growth in low and middle income countries. Read

Former Liverpool radio boss launches new alcohol-free community

7/19/21--Over The Influence is a brand new online community for people who are living an alcohol-free lifestyle or who want to re-examine or readjust their relationship with alcohol. Members pay a monthly fee to be a part of the community which will enable them to connect with other members (both online and in the real world), access exclusive resources and attend exclusive events with notable guest speakers. Read

Juul bought out medical journal for 51K

7/13/21--Juul Labs is facing scrutiny for funding and working on studies of their products, and paying a journal to publish them. Juul teamed up with healthcare consultants Pinney Associates and the Centre for Substance Use Research (CSUR), chiefly, to examine its tobacco vaping device, as FDA weighs whether to grant the company a Premarket Tobacco Product Application (PMTA) as a safer alternative to cigarettes. Read

Compliance with Cannabis Act regulations regarding online promotion among Canadian commercial cannabis-licensed firms

7/12/21--In this cross-sectional study of 261 Canadian cannabis-licensed firms, widespread violations were observed in online Canadian cannabis promotion. Among the 261 licensed firms, 86.3% with an online platform had at least 1 violation, which was significantly more likely to occur on social media compared with a website. A lack of age restrictions for youth, unsubstantiated claims, omission of risk information, and glamorization of cannabis products were found. Read

Can the latest Olympic controversy change cannabis policy?

7/13/21--In an op-ed penned by Jordan Tishler, MD, cannabis specialist and President of the Association of Cannabinoid Specialists, he expresses his unique perspective on the science and the politics of cannabis and believes that this Olympic controversy pertaining to Sha'Carri Richardson's suspension is entirely a political problem. Tishler also firmly believes it is unfortunate that Richardson has become the victim of decades of racist policy and states it's time for these policies to be changed. Read

Addiction treatment in the postpartum period: an opportunity for evidence-based personalized medicine

7/8/21--In this article, the existing evidence as well as highlight opportunities for both clinicians and researchers to advance the integration of tailored approaches for postpartum women into personalized SUD medical and behavioral treatments are reviewed. Read

How should we do drugs now?

7/8/21--Michael Pollan, who teaches writing at Harvard and at the University of California, Berkeley, and is the author, most recently, of “This Is Your Mind on Plants,” pens an editorial published in The New York Times covering how much harder it is to envision what the drug peace will look like. Pollan poses the question: How will we fold these powerful substances into our society and our lives so as to minimize their risks and use them most constructively? He makes the point that conversation begins with the recognition that humans like to change consciousness and that cultures have been using psychoactive plants and fungi to do so for as long as there have been cultures. Read

High potency weed linked to psychotic episodes, mysterious vomiting illness in young users

7/11/21--Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. Several years later, doctors in Colorado and other states are expressing alarm over the increasing potency of cannabis and the health risks it may pose for young users — from psychiatric issues, including violent psychotic episodes, to the mysterious condition officially called "cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome" but now known to health care workers as "scromiting," a mashup of "screaming" and "vomiting" — has popped up with increasing frequency at hospitals in Colorado, doctors say. Read

Drug use, alcohol blamed for excess deaths of Canadians under 65 in the last year

7/12/21--Drug use and alcohol, and not COVID-19, are largely to blame for an excess of deaths in Canadians younger than 65 from March last year to April 2021, new research suggests. The deaths pushed up the mortality rate in that category to a peak higher than what occurred in Canada during the opioid crisis in 2017, according to the research by Statistics Canada. Read

Coalition pushes for federal marijuana legalization as chagrin with Biden grows

7/9/21--A bipartisan coalition of business and advocacy groups, including the powerful billionaire Koch family, issued a white paper this week with recommendations for federally legalizing marijuana like alcohol or tobacco. The 14-page white paper by the recently formed Cannabis Freedom Alliance came at the same time legalization advocates expressed increasing frustration with President Joe Biden’s stance on marijuana as exemplified by his response to sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson’s exclusion from the U.S. Olympic team for using the drug. Read

Effects of menthol use and transitions in use on short-term and long-term cessation from cigarettes among US smokers

7/10/21--This study was designed to estimate the effect of menthol use and transitions in use (switching to or from menthol) on short-term and long-term cessation from cigarette smoking and whether this differed across demographic groups (age, sex, race). Results demonstrate that menthol impaired menthol smokers’ attempts to quit smoking but switching from menthol improved success. This suggests that removing menthol may improve menthol smokers’ success during quit attempts. Read

Sha’Carri Richardson suspension underscore frustration with Biden’s marijuana policy

7/8/21--Advocates for marijuana legalization are expressing disappointment and frustration with the Biden administration’s response to Sha’Carri Richardson’s disqualification from the Tokyo Olympic Games, which they say highlights the White House’s refusal to move forward on cannabis policy. Read

FTC approves final administrative consent order against Kushly

7/6/21--Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final administrative consent order against Scottsdale, Arizona-based Kushly Industries LLC (Kushly) and the company’s owner, Cody Alt, for allegedly making false or unsupported health claims during the marketing and sale of cannabidiol (CBD) products to consumers. Read

Cannabis Liberalization in the U.S.: The Policy Landscape

7/1/21--An article conceived and drafted by Rebecca Haffajee published in Health Affairs, the leading journal of health policy thought and research, mentions that state cannabis policies are inconsistent across jurisdictions and often conflict with federal policy. She believes policy makers should adopt an approach to cannabis liberalization that addresses these inconsistencies, improves the safety of cannabis supply, and combats health disparities and other inequities. Read

Women oppose Sha’Carri Richardson’s marijuana suspension while men support it, poll finds

7/4/21--There’s been widespread condemnation over the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) recent decision to suspend U.S. runner Sha’Carri Richardson from at least some Olympic competition over a failed marijuana test. According to a new poll, women are notably more likely to oppose the suspension (44 percent) than men are (39 percent). Men, on the other hand, are more supportive of the penalty (48 percent) than they are against it (38 percent). Read

Child dies outside Manitou Springs marijuana shop

7/7/21--A child, 4, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound Tuesday afternoon outside of a Manitou Springs pot shop, according to law enforcement. Deputies said they arrested the child’s parents — 25-year-old Ashlynne Perez and 26-year-old Carlos Perez — and booked them into the El Paso County Jail for alleged criminally negligent child abuse that resulted in death. Read

Alcohol still a threat in too many American pregnancies

7/1/21--According to a Yale University study, more than half of American babies are exposed to at least some alcohol before they are born -- and for 8 out of 10, it happens before their mothers even realize they're pregnant. Because alcohol consumption may harm the developing fetus, researchers said their findings underscore the need to promote abstinence in women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, as well as preventing unintended pregnancies. Read

Webinar: E-cigarettes and vaping – What you need to know

7/6/21--Vaping is becoming an increasing concern for schools and parents, and this webinar will provide up-to-date and relevant information on the research around vaping and trends in use among youth. Information will also be provided on how to best prevent e-cigarette and vaping use among youth. Read

Recommendations for federal regulation of legal cannabis

7/5/21--This white paper was prepared to help guide federal legislators and regulators as they consider the end of cannabis prohibition in the United States in ensuring a free, fair, open, and equitable cannabis marketplace. Read

Text message support prompts young adults to quite vaping

7/6/21--Tailored, interactive text messages improved quit rates among young adults using e-cigarettes, a randomized trial in JAMA Internal Medicine reported. The trial’s 2588 participants, aged 18 to 24 years, expressed a strong desire to quit using e-cigarettes. Nearly all vaped daily and had previously attempted to quit. Three-quarters of the participants were current students and more than 80% were White. Read

Apple now allows marijuana businesses on its App Store, while Google maintains ban

7/1/21--Apple will no longer prohibit marijuana delivery services from being hosted on its App Store—one of the latest pro-cannabis developments to come out of the tech industry. The policy was updated last month to remove the ban, with some restrictions. A marijuana app must be geo-restricted to jurisdictions where cannabis is legal, and the program must be “submitted by a legal entity that provides the services, and not by an individual developer.” Read

House approves bill to let researchers access marijuana from state-legal dispensaries

7/1/21--The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a large-scale transportation bill that includes a provision that would allow researchers to access marijuana from state-legal dispensaries in order to effectively study impaired driving. Under the House-passed measure, a federal report would need to be issued with recommendations on establishing a national clearinghouse with samples of different types of marijuana that scientists from non-legal states could obtain for studies. Read

E-cigarette manufacturers’ compliance with clinical trial reporting expectants: a case series of registered trials by Juul Labs

6/29/21--The reporting of clinical trials sponsored by Juul Labs, the largest e-cigarette company in the USA, is assessed against accepted reporting standards. Findings raise substantial concerns regarding these trials. Clinicians, public health professionals, and the public cannot make informed choices about the benefits or hazards of e-cigarettes if the results of clinical trials are not completely and transparently reported. Clarification and potential enforcement of reporting laws may be required. Read

Alcohol COVID-19 fallout: Teens’ happy hour with parents

6/30/21--Although underage drinking has steadily declined over the past decade—according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 33.5% of teens in 2019 said they drank during the past year compared with 44.7% in 2009—the COVID-19 pandemic may have steered teenage drinking into troublesome territory. Social isolation during lockdowns likely kept some teens from drinking with friends or at parties, but for others the concentrated family time at home included a new ritual: happy hour. Read

Sha’Carri Richardson, a track sensation, tests positive for marijuana

7/1/21--The American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who was set for a star turn at the Tokyo Olympics this month, could miss the Games after testing positive for marijuana. The United States Anti-Doping Agency announced the positive test result Friday morning, and said Richardson had accepted a suspension of one month, starting on June 28. That could clear her in time to run in the 4x100 meter relay that takes place later in the Games — if she is named to the U.S. team. Read

UN world drug report calls for global ban on marijuana advertising & THC potency caps

6/25/21--Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) reports the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released the latest edition of the annual World Drug Report, which highlighted the fact that while use of marijuana among young people has increased to levels not seen since the early nineties, the perception of harm from use among the same demographic is at a historic low. The report also called for a global ban on marijuana advertising and the implementation of a cap on THC potency in marijuana products where the marijuana industry has expanded. Read

America’s pot labs have a THC problem

6/29/21--Experts say that lab corruption is widespread because the incentives to cheat are too high and enforcement is mostly ineffective. America’s legal weed industry sold over $17 billion of pot last year and the industry’s obsession with THC, pot’s most famous intoxicant, has created financial rewards for every marginal increase in THC potency. Weed shoppers use THC percentages like nutritional labels, purchasing products based on their THC content, yet the lab system entrusted with measuring the compound is vulnerable to corruption. Read

Alcohol-related diseases increased as some people drank more during COVID-19 pandemic

6/30/21--According to George Koob, PhD, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), more than a dozen studies have found that 20% to 40% of individuals surveyed reported consuming more alcohol than usual during the pandemic. Complicating the situation is that people with alcohol use disorder (AUD) might have an increased risk of developing severe COVID-19, because alcohol impairs lung immune responses. Read

Broadcasters eager to advertise pot tap lobbyists for Hill push

6/28/21--A coalition of state broadcaster associations seeking to cash in on TV and radio ads for marijuana products hired a team of lobbyists with ties to senior lawmakers to secure congressional approval to air spots for pot. The coalition hired bipartisan boutique lobbying firm Klein/Johnson Group to work with policymakers on its behalf, according to lobbying registration filed with Congress. Read

Juul to pay $40 million to settle N.C. vaping case

6/28/21--Juul Labs has agreed to pay North Carolina $40 million to settle the first of a spate of lawsuits brought by states and localities claiming the e-cigarette company’s marketing practices fueled widespread addiction to nicotine among young people and created a new public health problem. Read

Pfizer pauses Chantix distribution after finding carcinogen

6/24/21--Pfizer Inc. said it’s pausing worldwide distribution of its smoking-cessation drug Chantix after finding elevated levels of nitrosamines, a likely carcinogen, in the pills. Read

Johnson & Johnson to end sale of opioids, settles New York case for $230 million

6/26/21--Johnson & Johnson will pay $230 million to resolve an opioids lawsuit, days before the company was slated to go to trial, in a settlement reached with New York Attorney General Letitia James. In the agreement, the company will end the sale of all opioid products nationwide. Read

Need and feasibility of cannabis substitution implementation in Canadian managed alcohol programs

6/23/21--With less attention being paid to alcohol harm reduction for people experiencing severe alcohol use disorder (AUD), homelessness, and street-based illicit drinking, a pre-implementation mixed-methods study was conducted utilizing structured surveys and open-ended interviews to determine the feasibility of cannabis substitution. Data were collected from MAP organizational leaders, program participants, staff and managers across 6 MAPs in Canada. Results indicate that all three groups identified a need for additional supports for implementation including peer support, staff education, and counseling. Read

Republicans are watching their states back – and they’re not sold

6/27/21--A growing number of Republican senators represent states that have legalized recreational or medical cannabis — six approved or expanded marijuana in some form just since November. But without their support in Congress to make up for likely Democratic defectors, weed falls critically short of the 60 votes needed to advance legislation. Read

Appropriations Committee releases fiscal year 2022 Agriculture-Rural-FDA funding bill

6/24/21--The House Appropriations Committee today released the draft fiscal year 2022 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies funding bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation funds agencies and programs within the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the Farm Credit Administration. Read

Federal officials meet with state marijuana regulators to discuss legalization impacts

6/25/21--A coalition of state marijuana regulators met with federal officials and members of Congress this week to discuss the potential impact that national legalization and other cannabis policy changes could have on the local programs they oversee. Read

Marmoset study identifies brain region linking actions to their outcomes

6/24/21--The study, published today in the journal Neuron, found that marmoset monkeys could no longer make an association between their behavior and a particular outcome when a region of their brain called the anterior cingulate cortex was temporarily switched off. This finding is important because the compulsive behaviors in OCD and addiction are thought to result from impairments in the 'goal-directed system' in the brain. Read

Adolescent drug use before and during U.S. national COVID-19 social distancing policies

6/21/21--A study designed to examine how adolescent substance use and perceived availability of substances have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic has concluded that perceived availability of marijuana, alcohol, and vaping devices declined at historic rates during the pandemic of 2020. Lack of accompanying reductions in prevalence for marijuana and binge drinking demonstrates the substantial challenges facing a supply-side approach to the reduction of adolescent use of these substances. Read

Inviting applications for socially disadvantages group grants

6/21/21--This notice announces that the Rural Business-Cooperative Service (Agency) is announcing fiscal year (FY) 2021 funding for applications for the Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant (SDGG) program. The purpose of this program is to provide technical assistance to socially disadvantaged groups in rural areas. Eligible applicants include cooperatives, groups of cooperatives, and cooperative development centers. Read

World Drug Report 2021

6/21/21--Consisting of five separate booklets, the World Drug Report 2021 provides an in-depth analysis of the global drug markets and paints a comprehensive picture of the measurable effects and potential impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the world drug problem. Read

Crash rates jump in wake of marijuana legalization, new studies show

6/7/21--More evidence is emerging that crash rates go up when states legalize recreational use and retail sales of marijuana. According to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and another by the affiliated Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) show, crash rates spiked with the legalization of recreational marijuana use and retail sales in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Read 

FDA must do more to stop youth vaping, House members say

6/23/21--House members told FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD, at a hearing on youth vaping that the FDA should be doing more to stop kids from getting addicted to e-cigarettes. Subcommittee chairman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) began the hearing by laying out statistics on the problem and he focused some of his questions on flavored e-cigarettes, noting that the agency's 2020 e-cigarette "flavor ban" included two exemptions: one for tobacco and menthol flavors for Juul and other cartridge-based devices, and another for all flavors of disposable e-cigarettes. Read

Associations of Suicidality trends with cannabis use as a function of sex and depression status

6/22/21--Results of this study concludes that from 2008 to 2019, suicidal ideation, plan, and attempt increased 40% to 60% over increases ascribed to cannabis use and MDE. However, future research is needed to examine this increase in suicidality and to determine whether it is due to cannabis use or overlapping risk factors. Read

New WHO report shows how manufacturers attempt to avoid regulation of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products

6/21/21--A new WHO report “Litigation relevant to regulation of novel and emerging nicotine and tobacco products: comparison across jurisdictions” offers governments examples of the legal arguments that industry has used in attempts to evade or minimize regulation, as well as how courts have addressed those arguments. Read

Pediatric cannabis intoxication trends in the pre and post-legalization era

6/17/21--Results from a retrospective cohort study of children 0-18 years who presented to a pediatric ED between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2019 with cannabis intoxication indicate that the recreational cannabis legalization in Canada is associated with increased rates of severe intoxications in children. Edible ingestion is a strong predictor of ICU admission in the pediatric population. Read

Association of cannabis use during adolescence with neurodevelopment

6/16/21--Results of a study designed to examine the degree to which magnetic resonance (MR) imaging-assessed cerebral cortical thickness development is associated with cannabis use in a longitudinal sample of adolescents suggest that cannabis use during adolescence is associated with altered neurodevelopment, particularly in cortices rich in cannabinoid 1 receptors and undergoing the greatest age-related thickness change in middle to late adolescence. Read

Toddler left fighting for life after ‘eating cannabis’ as five arrested

6/19/21--The two-year-old boy was rushed to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children with large amounts of cannabis in his system. Five people, three women and two men, have been arrested on suspicion of child cruelty. Irish News reports that the little boy was admitted to ICU in a critical condition and placed on a ventilator - but it is understood he is now stable. Read

Association of cannabis use during adolescence with neurodevelopment

6/16/21--In this cohort study, linear mixed-effects model analysis using 1598 magnetic resonance images from 799 participants revealed that cannabis use was associated with accelerated age-related cortical thinning from 14 to 19 years of age in predominantly prefrontal regions. The spatial pattern of cannabis-related cortical thinning was significantly associated with a positron emission tomography–assessed map of cannabinoid 1 receptor availability. Read

Temporal trends in suicidal ideation and attempts among US adolescents by sex and race/ethnicity, 1991-2019

6/14/21--In this cross-sectional study of 183,563 adolescents in the US, a decreasing temporal trend in suicidal ideation changed to an increase, with different turning points for female (2009), White (2009), Hispanic (2007), and Black (2005) adolescents. Male and Black youths had nonsignificant changes in suicidal ideation, but the greatest increase in the prevalence of nonfatal suicide attempts. Read

Who sells tobacco, who stops? A comparison across different tobacco retailing schemes

6/18/21--This study examines patterns of tobacco retailing across three legislative environments with three different licensing schemes (an annual fee-based license, a zero-cost, one-off notification scheme and no notification/licensing scheme). Results of this study indicate that, unexpectedly, the annual license fee to sell tobacco was not significantly associated with a lower rate of selling tobacco or a higher rate of stopping. Read

Effect of flavor manipulation on ENDS (JUUL) users’ experiences, puffing behavior and nicotine exposure among US college students

6/18/21--This study evaluates the impact of ENDS flavor manipulation on user’s puffing behavior, subjective experience, harm perception and nicotine exposure among college-aged ENDS users. Results of this pilot study provides evidence that ENDS flavors have a substantial effect in enhancing young current ENDS users’ experiences, product appeal and motivation to use the product in the future. It highlights that limiting flavors could play a potential role when designing strategic policies to reduce the appeal of ENDS use among young people. Read

Exposure to JUUL use: cue reactivity effects in young adult current and former smokers

6/18/21--This study examines whether observing the use of this device would elicit similar responses in smokers. Exploratory analyses were also conducted to determine whether JUUL can act as a smoking cue for former smokers. Study results conclude that the use of JUUL affects the user and elicits responses in observers, It is the study first to demonstrate that exposure to JUUL use may act as a smoking cue and exposure to JUUL use may affect tobacco control efforts. Read

NY cannabis law is national blueprint for pot expungement

6/18/21--New York's Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, signed into law on March 31, is the most progressive cannabis legislation in the country and has profound ambitions. Besides legalizing adult personal use of cannabis and drastically downgrading penalties for illegal use, the MRTA aims to create and regulate a new cannabis market on principles of social justice. Its goal is to channel tax revenue into communities of color. Read

Illegal drugs trade goes digital for pandemic

6/9/21--According to Europe’s drugs agency, the illegal drugs trade went digital to serve its customers during lockdown, and could stay that way when the COVID-19 pandemic is over. The pandemic has forced changes to every level of the drugs trade, from wholesale traffickers and smugglers to neighborhood dealers. Read

Strategies of effectively allocating opioid settlement funds

6/16/21--States and communities have one chance to get the allocation of settlement funds right and to avoid some of the missteps that substantially diminished the potential public health impact of tobacco settlements. Therefore, OPTIC researchers have compiled materials that include guiding principles for allocating opioid settlement funds, recommendations for addressing the root causes of overdose death, and profiles of studies assessing the effectiveness of specific programs and policies as a resource to focus on different aspects of the crisis, and use different methods to derive their assessments. Read

Cannabeta Realty

6/16/21--Cannabeta Realty is the first real estate brokerage firm in the New York and New Jersey area dedicated to serving the needs of the cannabis industry. Read

Marijuana joints produce 3.5 times as much secondhand smoke as a Marlboro

6/16/21--Wayne Ott and colleagues have done a real-world study of the levels of pollution caused by smoking a joint (or a bong or vaping cannabis) and found that marijuana products are as or even more polluting than tobacco cigarettes. The joints were the most polluting — 3.5 times that of a Marlboro (figure above), with the other cannabis products producing as much or more pollution than the cigarette. Read