Daily news - 6th April 2020

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Coronavirus frequently updated resources

NEW: COVID-19 resources page for people who use drugs (PWUD) and drug service providers - International | EMCDDA

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

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

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


UK news

Smokers at greater risk of severe respiratory disease from COVID-19

Emerging evidence from China shows smokers with COVID-19 are 14 times more likely to develop severe respiratory disease | PHE, UK

The public health grant has been increased but is still too low

The 2020/21 public health grant allocations are a welcome increase, but are not enough to reverse previous cuts entirely | The Health Foundation, UK

Britain’s drinking habits are changing under lockdown

With Britain’s pubs, bars and restaurants shut down, the nation’s drinking patterns have changed as a result, with almost a quarter of the population (24%) buying alcohol online in the past two weeks, and with more planning to in the coming weeks, new research shows | CGA, UK

People who inject drugs can ‘give bacteria the boot’ with new SDF booklet

SDF have published a new resource to highlight good hygiene practices for people who inject drugs in order to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses | SDF, UK

Coronavirus: Dealing with addiction while in lockdown

The coronavirus lockdown has been especially tough for people in recovery from addiction because support meetings have been cancelled | BBC, UK

Healthcheck live: Episode 4 - audio

Dr Xand van Tulleken and Michelle Ackerley find out why this is the best time to give up smoking. But is vaping really any safer than cigarettes? | BBC, UK

C-stores urged to make the most of “VApril” e-cig opportunity

Convenience stores could have an unprecedented opportunity to grow vape sales this month and beyond, as the 2020 Vapril campaign kicks off and specialist vape shops across the UK remain closed amid the coronavirus outbreak | Convenience Store, UK

Rough Sleeping: Alcoholic drinks and Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support rough sleepers with (a) drug and alcohol addiction and (b) mental health problems | They work for you, UK

BBC Young Reporter finds loophole allowing vaping adverts on school buses

With vaping increasingly popular Bethan takes a look at how it is being advertised in her home town | BBC, UK

QMJC March 2020 - Tracing the ‘event’ of drug use: ‘Context’ and the coproduction of a night out on MDMA

Ella Dilkes-Frayne’s (2014) article ‘Tracing the “event” of drug use: “Context” and the coproduction of a night out on MDMA’ is a detailed case study of an event of MDMA consumption | SSA, UK

Psychedelic drugs like LSD and magic mushrooms could help treat mental health conditions say scientists

Study by government adviser calls for further research into the medical usage of such drugs | i news, UK


International news

When cannabis use becomes a problem for older people

Can the UK learn anything from North America about best clinical practice when cannabis becomes a health or social problem for older people? In Canada, where the medicinal and recreational use of cannabis was legalised, new guidelines acknowledge that older people have questions about the potential harms and benefits of cannabis, and deserve evidence-based answers and guidance | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Alcohol could limit your resistance to coronavirus, warns World Health Organization

[Free registration may be required] Increased social isolation could lead to a surge in harmful drinking, but too much alcohol can lower the immune system | Telegraph, UK

Stoners cheered when Canada legalised cannabis. How did it go so wrong?

The lights shone more brightly than anything I’d ever seen. One million blinding watts strafed across the leaves of countless cannabis plants that peeled off in neat rows in every direction | Guardian, UK

Legalisation of cannabis in America has led to surge of drug imports to UK, reveals National Crime Agency

[Free registration may be required] Organised crime gangs appear to be exploiting the legalisation of cannabis in the US and Canada to surge imports into the UK | Telegraph, UK

Berlin’s drug dealers adapt to life under coronavirus lockdown

Vendors face a shifting landscape as supply routes close and users’ habits change | FT, UK

A drop in demand for cocaine, a switch to cannabis: How the crisis is affecting drug crime in Ireland

The cocaine trade has been skewed – and the crisis means many gangland figures are simply hunkering down and waiting it out | Journal, Ireland

COVID-19 resources page for people who use drugs (PWUD) and drug service providers

On this page, the EMCDDA has compiled examples of advice being issued to people who use drugs and service providers by some national bodies and different associations, networks and NGOs. This page is being continuously updated | EMCDDA, Portugal

International standards for the treatment of drug use disorders (PDF)

This document is the work of UNODC and WHO to support Member States in their efforts to develop and expand effective, evidence-based and ethical treatment for drug use disorders. The Standards are intended for all those involved in the policy development, planning, funding, delivery, monitoring and evaluation of treatment services and interventions for drug use disorders. This document is based on currently available scientific evidence on treatment for drug use disorders and sets out a framework for the implementation of the Standards, in line with principles of public health care | UNODC and WHO, Austria and Switzerland

Smoking, vaping and hospitalization for COVID-19

The study purpose was to examine the prevalence of current e-cigarette use and current smoking among hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in China | Qeios, Greece

Nonfatal Drug Overdoses Treated in Emergency Departments — United States, 2016–2017

From 2016 to 2017, the nonfatal overdose ED visits rates for all drugs, all opioids, nonheroin opioids, heroin, and cocaine increased significantly, whereas those for benzodiazepines decreased significantly | CDC, USA

It's stockpiling, but not as you know it. Why coronavirus is making people hoard illegal drugs

It's not just toilet roll that people are panic buying. Some illegal drug users are reportedly stockpiling their substance of choice as restrictions intended to stop the spread of coronavirus disrupt the international supply chain | CNN, USA

After a long day of lockdown, how 'essential' is a drink?

Some countries have banned alcohol, others say liquor shops are essential services, and one top official even suggested a tipple after another long day trapped at home can be a necessary restorative | Medical Xpress, USA

Saliva test for cannabis could someday help identify impaired drivers

Those who consume alcohol and drive are often subjected to roadside stops, breathalyzer tests and stiff penalties if their blood alcohol content exceeds certain limits. Currently, no such test exists for cannabis intoxication, although the substance can impair driving. Now, scientists report a convenient saliva test for cannabis levels that might someday be used at roadside stops | Science Daily, USA

Higher alcohol intake may harm bone health in HIV patients

Greater alcohol consumption is associated with lower serum levels of bone formation markers among patients living with HIV and substance use disorder, according to a study published online | Medical Xpress, USA

Alcohol consumption by fathers before conception could negatively impact child development

Trouble for alcoholic fathers, hope for alcoholic mothers. Scientists have explored the relationship between parental alcohol consumption -- before conception in the case of fathers and during pregnancy in the case of mothers -- and offspring development | Science Daily, USA

Deaths due to new psychoactive stimulants

This seminar addresses mortality due to new psychoactive stimulants and hallucinogens. These cover a wide range of “designer drugs” that have risen to prominence in the 21st century and become a source of clinical concern. They include drugs such as synthetic cathinones and NBOMe. New data on the characteristics of Australian fatalities, the circumstances of death, and their toxicology are presented | NDARC, Australia

Coronavirus outbreak prompts new restrictions on alcohol sales in WA bottle shops

Alcohol sales have been restricted across Western Australia to prevent panic buying andstop excess drinking during the coronavirus outbreak, with limitations on how much bottle shops can sell to patrons introduced | abc.net.au, Australia

Alcohol rehab centres close over virus fears amid rising demand

The deadly coronavirus is adding strain to drug and alcohol services, with some rehabilitation centres closing or refusing to take new admissions as the sector prepares for a COVID-19 outbreak, adding to wait times for Australians desperate to get treatment | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

Man 'attempts to deliver drug' in fruit box to quarantined traveller in luxury hotel

A man has been charged after he allegedly attempted to deliver a fruit box concealing a prohibited drug to a quarantined traveller at a five-star hotel in Sydney’s CBD | Sydney Morning Herald, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Blog: Involving people and improving services with Barbara Zaman

As a result of those initial discussions, we developed an eighteen-month initiative that would see myself and members of the NQD team work with eight services in D&G to look at how they could better involve people in their organisation and improve service quality | SDF blog, UK

My working week: 'Which homeless residents will we lose to coronavirus?'

Working in a supported housing service with staff off sick and residents with underlying health conditions is tough | Guardian, UK

‘It’s a way of differentiating the working day and the evening’: How coronavirus is affecting the way we drink

Rebekah, 22, was never a big drinker. “I’m a fitness enthusiast, and would normally go to the gym five times a week, play football with a ladies team and have regular sessions with my personal trainer,” she says | i news, UK

Coronavirus is no time for sobriety – a drink or two can make this crisis bearable

What we’re faced with right now is scary – and we need a way to collectively cope. So let’s have a drink – hell, let’s have two | Independent voices, UK

Are there associations between drinking contexts and harms that are not explained by the level of alcohol consumption?

The details of how we drink are important for public health, and this isn’t just about how much and how often we drink. Lots of research finds that people drink more alcohol in particular contexts, such as when they are drinking with friends, or at the weekend. Drinking contexts are therefore associated with increased harm due to their relationships with heavy drinking | IAS blog, UK

I’m an alcoholic mum, but my husband won’t help by not drinking

Focus on giving up drinking on your own – and your husband’s lack of support when you are healthier, says Mariella Frostrup | Guardian, UK

GDS Corona Conversations - with Shaun Shelly from South Africa

In this episode Adam speaks with Shaun Shelly, TB HIV Care’s Policy, Advocacy and Human Rights Manager for People Who Use Drugs in South Africa | Global Drug Survey, UK

Exercise addiction is a real mental health condition, yet still poorly understood

We might assume a person that goes to the gym every day is “addicted” to exercise. But in reality, exercise addiction is a complicated condition that researchers still don’t fully understand | Conversation, UK

Caring for Others with Addiction During a Time of Uncertainty and Social Distancing

We recently published a blog describing some suggestions for maintaining addiction recovery during current recommendations for social distancing. Specifically, we recommended four key strategies | BASIS, USA