Daily news - 1st April 2020

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Coronavirus frequently updated resources

Treatment and recovery services – and COVID-19 |Collective Voice

Society for the Study of Addiction useful coronavirus links | SSA

DDN coronavirus advice links |DDN

COVID-19 and smoking: resources, research and news | BMJ

Coronavirus: information and advice hub - alcohol | Alcohol Change UK



UK news

Heavy drinking into older age ‘adds 4cm to waistline’

The study found that more than half of drinkers aged 59 and over have been heavy drinkers, and that this is linked to a larger waistline and increased stroke risk | ITV, UK

National drug and alcohol treatment waiting times

This release by Information Services Division (ISD) reports on the waiting times for people accessing drug and alcohol treatment services between July and September 2019 | Public Health Scotland, UK

Hepatitis B virus (HBV): regional reports

Added new Hepatitis B in the North West report: 2017 data | PHE, UK

Advice for health and justice healthcare teams on medicines and pharmacy services continuity

This guidance describes the changes that may be needed to provide continuity of medicines during an outbreak. [ Includes advice on access to community services for people released from prison needing continued OST ] | NHS, UK

Covid: Adfam Top Tips

There is a lot of advice out there for staying well. We've pulled together a selection of the best. We'll continue to share new ideas over the coming weeks | Adfam, UK

To stop COVID-19 we must help people dependent on drugs

In a letter to The Times on 28 March, Transform and Release joined 22 leading academics and practitioners to call for government action to protect and enhance key services under COVID-19. This letter is from 13 Professors of Epidemiology, Public Health, Drug Policy and Criminology as well as drug treatment service providers, doctors and drug policy groups | Transform, UK

Producing hand sanitiser and gel for coronavirus (COVID-19)

Temporary changes to the use and supply of denatured alcohol and duty-free spirits, to help businesses who produce hand sanitiser and gel | HM Revenue & Customs, UK

Coronavirus: crisis drives £160m additional spend on supermarket booze

Brits splashed out an extra £160m on supermarket booze in the first three weeks of March as the coronavirus crisis swept shoppers into a frenzy, data reveals | Grocer, UK

On Drugs: County Lines - Victims or Criminals? - audio

This week he hears about County Lines - the practise of drugs gangs exploiting children into carrying out illegal activity on their behalf. He talks to Nikki Holland from the National Crime Agency, Sonya Jones from charity Addaction and Tanayah Sam, ex-gangster who now prevents children from following the same route he did | BBC, UK



International news

Finding and advising risky drinkers

Consolidates the lessons of the last five instalments of the free course on alcohol treatment research, exploring key studies on treatment in relation to safeguarding family and community from crime. A common theme was the contradictions involved in offering or imposing treatment centred on the patient’s welfare within a system which sees the patient essentially as a threat | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Letter to the Special Rapporteur on the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health on protecting and promoting the health of people who use drugs during the COVID-19 emergency (PDF)

The COVID-19 emergency poses unprecedented challenges, creating new vulnerabilities and exacerbating existing ones. While exceptional measures are required to confront the emergency, they may be in tension with state obligations regarding the right to health, and other rights. Any such measure must be strictly necessary and proportionate, and safeguard the rights of those most at risk | HRI et al, UK

Covid-19 cutting drug users and recovering addicts off from key supports

Merchants Quay Ireland fears relapse and deaths among ‘very vulnerable demographic’ | Irish Times, Ireland

A review of legislative initiatives on the liability of drug-related advocacy (propaganda) in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan during the second half of 2019 and early 2020 and possible risks for social programmes aimed at working with people who use drugs

A number of countries in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) region have recently seen a tendency to adopt legislative initiatives aimed at strengthening measures to combat drug-related advocacy (“propaganda”), particularly on the Internet, and toughening the liability for such propaganda | EHRA, Lithuania

Harm Reduction Responses to COVID-19 in Europe: Regularly Updated Infopage

[Updated] On this info page Drugreporter provides regular updates about resources and news on how harm reduction service providers respond to the COVID-19 Epidemic | Drug Reporter, Hungary

DrugNet Europe March 2020

Latest news and research. Lead story on Covid 19 implications for people using drugs and service providers | EMCDDA, Portugal

Coronavirus is causing a rise in drug and alcohol relapses

As the nation gets more stringent about non-essential travel and bans on group gatherings to slow the spread of coronavirus, one expert says the pandemic may result in an unintended rise in drug and alcohol relapses among those who are in recovery | NYPost, USA

Novel Opioids: Systematic Web Crawling Within the e-Psychonauts’ Scenario

A wide range of novel psychoactive substances (NPSs) are regularly searched and discussed online by e-psychonauts. Among NPSs, the range of prescription/non-prescription opioids (fentanyl and non-fentanyl analogs) and herbal derivatives currently represents a challenge for governments and clinicians | Frontiers in Neuroscience, USA

The placebo effect and psychedelic drugs: tripping on nothing?

There has been a lot of recent interest in the use of psychedelic drugs to treat depression. A new study from McGill suggests that, in the right context, some people may experience psychedelic-like effects from placebos alone | Medical Xpress, USA

Stop mandatory drug reporting scheme in face of coronavirus: doctors

Doctors and pharmacists have asked the Andrews government to delay a mandatory drug reporting scheme that could help Australia avoid a US-style opioid crisis because they fear it could detract from the fight against coronavirus | Age, Australia

New Zealand Initiative Criticises Government For Rushing New Vaping Legislation During Lockdown

Rushing to deal with new vaping legislation during an unprecedented economic lockdown is not just folly, it is anti-democratic, according to a public submission by the New Zealand Initiative | SCOOP, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Ian Hamilton: What will covid-19 mean for the illegal drug market and people dependent upon it?

This pandemic has the potential to amplify the risks and harms of using illicit drugs, argues Ian Hamilton | BMJ opinion, UK

GDS Corona Conversations - with Niamh Eastwood from Release - Youtube

In this episode Adam speaks with the executive director of Release, Niamh Eastwood. In the conversation Niamh talks how the corona virus is forcing drug traffickers to think outside the box as well as that the police need to focus their attention elsewhere | Global Drug Survey, UK

Covid-19 YP Drug Mini Pod - audio

I was asked by a local youth service to record some advice and harm reduction in relation to the current Cover-19 pandemic. Here's my thoughts, straight off the dome | Nick Hickmott, UK

High-dose opioids – five factors that increase the risk of harm

Sean Jennings started taking opioids in 1993 following a complication from a hernia operation that left him in debilitating pain | Conversation, UK

Minimum unit pricing: from the theory to the supermarket shelf

As we discussed in a previous blog, minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol in Wales was ten or more years in the making. During that time, there was detailed mathematical modelling and in-depth studies of the experiences of other countries. We could say with some confidence how people were likely to respond to the measure once it was in place in Wales, but we couldn’t say for sure | IAS blog, UK

The Size Of The UK Illicit Drugs Market

This is the fifth in a series of posts based on perhaps the most important drug-related report of the current century, Dame Carol Black’s Review of Drugs . Today’s post looks at the section from that report dedicated to the size of the illicit drugs market within the UK | Russell Webster, UK

Secret histories of drugs – legal and illegal – in southern Africa

If you want to score heroin in some of the historically black suburbs, or townships, of Johannesburg, South Africa, you need to find yourself a ‘Snyman’. A ‘Snyman’ is a drug dealer. The word is used in tsotsitaal, the creole, urban dialect that emerged during the colonial and apartheid eras of segregation | Points blog, USA

Drug And Alcohol Use Under Quarantine - Expert Reaction

The nationwide lockdown raises questions on how New Zealanders will consume both legal and illegal substances during Alert Level 4 restrictions for at least three more weeks | SCOOP, New Zealand