Daily news - 14th April 2020

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Coronavirus frequently updated resources

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

Coronavirus triggers UK shortage of illicit drugs

Drug treatment experts have raised concerns a drop in the supply of illicit drugs to the UK triggered by the lockdown is leading to an increase in the number of users turning to more dangerous alternatives | Guardian, UK

Coronavirus: Shoppers stock up on alcohol amid lockdown

The coronavirus pandemic has meant that British people have been forced to stay in to try to contain its spread. And many are buying more alcohol to drink at home as a result | BBC, UK

Impact of Coronavirus on Drug Purchases Survey

The purpose of this survey is to monitor changes in the UK’s drug supply – and how people buy their drugs – that may arise following lockdown restrictions because of coronavirus | Release, UK

COVID and drug markets survey - week one

Last week, we launched a survey about COVID-19 and the impact the global outbreak has had on drug markets. We’ve had a good response so far with people who take drugs and workers within support organisations taking part | Crew, UK

Online support groups for alcoholics on the rise during lockdown

Shift away from physical meetings a success apart from trolling, say organisers | Guardian, UK

Cocaine Anonymous reveal 1,000 Scots a week seek support via online meetings

The internet chat rooms were hastily convened as a response to the current Covid 19 crisis | Daily Record, UK

Call for evidence: barriers to research with controlled drugs

[Update] The deadline to submit written feedback has been extended to 3 May 2020 because of coronavirus (COVID-19) | ACMD, UK

Research dashes expectations and ambitions. Highlights from Effectiveness Bank Alcohol Treatment Matrix row 1

Research on the key public health strategy of finding and briefly advising risky drinkers exemplifies the main function of evaluation studies: not to confirm what we think we know, but to confound our expectations and force us to think again. Among the highlights from row 1 of the Alcohol Treatment Matrix were two important examples | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Exploring people's responses to different types of cannabis health information labels - Survey

The purpose of this study is to look at individual responses to information about cannabis use. The results of this study will be written up and submitted as a piece of work to fulfil the requirements of my masters dissertation | Oxford Brookes University, UK

Gangs still forcing children into 'county lines' drug trafficking

Police taskforce head says Covid-19 lockdown has not led to fall in numbers of young drug runners | Guardian, UK

Drug dealer who claimed to be key worker found with £57k of cocaine

An YSTRADGYNLAIS drug dealer who tried to pass himself off as a key worker was found with £57,000 worth of cocaine when stopped by police | South Wales Guardian, UK

Liverpool cannabis farm 'worth £1.8m' found by police

A cannabis farm consisting of about 460 plants with a street value of £1.8m has been found by police | BBC, UK


International news

“All human life has worth”: meet the organisations battling music’s opiate crisis

Opioid deaths are out of control, and the problem is plain to see in the fates of a generation of musicians. But the drug-blocking Naloxone can help | NME, UK

Psychiatrist calls for minimum age for alcohol to be raised after rise in contacts to helpline

A consultant psychiatrist is calling for the minimum age for alcohol to be raised to 21 to tackle addiction issues. It comes after new figures show the number of calls and emails to the HSE’s Drug and Alcohol Helpline increased by more than 29% last year | Irish Examiner, Ireland

Mini-European Web Survey on Drugs (EWSD): Impact of COVID-19 on patterns of drug use, harms and drug services in the European Union

The Mini European Web Survey on Drugs: COVID-19 is part of this snapshot and is being conducted across Europe. The aim is to gather information about how patterns of drug use may have changed in Europe due to COVID-19 | Europa, Belgium

NPS Benzodiazepines in the United States (PDF)

This report provides up-to-date information regarding the status of NPS benzodiazepine prevalence and positivity within the United States | NPS Discovery, USA

Trump officials, health experts worry coronavirus will set back opioid fight

President Donald Trump’s top mental health and addiction experts are warning that the coronavirus pandemic will derail the fragile progress they’ve made addressing the opioid crisis, one of the administration’s top priorities and an achievement Trump hoped to run on in November | Politico, USA

Prevalence of Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms Among People With Regular or Dependent Use of Cannabinoids: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

In this meta-analysis of observational studies including 23 518 participants, the prevalence of cannabis withdrawal syndrome was found to be 47%. Factors that were associated with higher cannabis withdrawal syndrome were clinical settings (particularly inpatient and outpatient vs population settings), concurrent tobacco or other substance use, and daily cannabis use | JAMA Open, USA

Alcohol or Benzodiazepine Co-involvement With Opioid Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999-2017

This repeated cross-sectional analysis of deaths attributed to opioid overdose identified the co-involvement of alcohol or benzodiazepines as common and increasing, reaching 14.7% for alcohol and 21.0% for benzodiazepines in 2017. Significant correlations occurred between state-level binge drinking rates and alcohol co-involvement and between state-level benzodiazepine prescribing rates and benzodiazepine co-involvement in opioid overdose deaths | JAMA Open, USA

Potential Emerging Risks Among Children Following Parental Opioid-Related Overdose Death

The goal of this study was to determine the number of children who experienced unexpected parental loss because of opioid-related overdoses in Allegheny County. It also sought to understand their human service encounters and mental health services use subsequent to parental loss | JAMA Open, USA

Large majority of Washington state's heroin users want to reduce use

Syringe programs helping during COVID-19 crisis | EurekAlert, USA

Pot Use Reached All-Time High in March Amid Lockdown Measures

Cannabis use hit an all-time high in March as lockdown measures spread across the U.S., giving people more free time with less to do | Bloomberg, USA

Smokers and Vapers May Be at Greater Risk for Covid-19

Tobacco and marijuana products damage lungs, where the virus does its harm. Health officials are urging people to quit, and temporary sales bans are even being discussed | NYTimes, USA

Blocking stress-induced cocaine addiction relapse

Stress is a precipitating factor for craving and relapse in cocaine use disorder. A part of the brain known as the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) has been linked to both anxiety and addiction | Medical Xpress, USA

Indiana Cops Are No Longer Reversing Overdoses During Pandemic

At least two Indiana law enforcement departments have suspended police administration of naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal medication, until the end of the coronavirus pandemic due to concerns over possible transmission of the virus to responding officers. Overdose reversals will be left to emergency medical services | Filter Magazine, USA

NY’s New Vape Flavor Ban Attacks Public Health Amid Public Health Crisis

On April 3, at 3:38 am, the New York State Assembly passed a budget that includes a ban on the sale of vapor products in flavors other than tobacco. The ban was passed with no public debate; the State Capitol has been on lockdown for weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic | Filter Magazine, USA

Pandemic restrictions reshape opioid treatment as doctors sound alarm

Physicians across the country are relaxing their prescribing practices around medical treatment for opioid addictions in a bid to bolster physical distancing by cutting down on urinary drug screens and increasing the amount of methadone they give patients to take at home without supervision | Globe and Mail, Canada

Road toll worse than last year despite COVID-19 traffic slump

A drop in cars on the road may be encouraging some motorists to drive at higher speeds and panic-buying of alcohol could be leading to increased drink-driving, a leading road safety expert has warned | Age, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Hospital beds needed for coronavirus victims are being blocked by alcoholics depending on the NHS

Alcohol related deaths are at record levels in the UK. Past political decisions which have led to a lack of specialist alcohol treatment proved to be fatal | Independent voices, UK

COVID-19 and addiction treatment delivery: Oliver Standing of Collective Voice talks to the SSA

How has the addiction treatment sector responded to COVID-19? | SSA, UK

Chief Exec's Blog - The Coronavirus isn't the great leveller it's labeled to be

Feeling isolated….. lacking contact with others…….. fearing an invisible threat that could lead to serious illness and death……..unable to leave the house…… unable to access services or support society took for granted….. rationing of essential health care | Phoenix Futures blog, UK

GDS Corona Conversations - tips for reducing harm from alcohol - video

In these special episodes founder of Global Drug Survey and addiction pscyhiatrist Adam Winstock will provide harm reduction tips in the time of Covid-19. In this video Adam talks about reducing your alcohol intake which can be benefical for your immune system | Global Drug Survey, UK

The Trip Report 09/04

Through the work of organisations such as WEDINOS, The Loop, and SaferParty, we know a little more about the drugs in circulation. The report provided below is a summary of their findings over the last week | The Trip Report, UK

Problematic Drug Use In The UK

Dame Carol Black's Review of Drugs looks at recent increases in the number of people using crack cocaine | Russell Webster, UK

Tommy Chong: 'We were always high. That was the job'

How does half of stoner duo Cheech and Chong cope with coronavirus lockdown? Fine – thanks to drugs, his wife and the experience of nine months in prison for selling bong pipes | Guardian, UK

During the pandemic, let’s stop locking up people who use drugs | Opinion

As the nation desperately tries to halt the spread of COVID-19, potential epicenters of the pandemic are suddenly getting much-needed attention: jail and prisons | NJ opinion, USA

More young people vaping, despite growing evidence of risks

Vaping use is on the rise in young people, with as many as one in five junior and secondary school students reporting use of vaping products in 2019 | Conversation, Canada