Daily news - 16th 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

COVID-19: guidance for commissioners and providers of services for people who use drugs or alcohol

This guidance outlines COVID-19 advice for commissioners and service providers involved in assisting people who are dependent on drugs or alcohol or both | PHE and DHSC, UK

One in three drinking less in lockdown, UK survey finds

Coronavirus changing alcohol habits, as one person in five consumes more | Guardian, UK [See Blogs section below for more on this from Alcohol Change UK]

Coronavirus: Addicts 'more vulnerable' because of lockdown

People with drug and alcohol dependency could be left even more vulnerable as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, a charity fears | BBC, UK

Navigating environmental constraints to injection preparation: the use of saliva and other alternatives to sterile water among unstably housed PWID in London

The United Kingdom is experiencing an increase in drug-related deaths and serious bacterial infections among its most vulnerable citizens. Cuts to essential services, coupled with a growing homeless population, create a challenging environment to tackle this public health crisis | Harm Reduction Journal, UK

Social media interaction with alcohol brands up 327%

Alcohol brands witnessed a 327% spike in social media engagement in March, with consumers keen to engage with those donating money or resources to help during the covid-19 pandemic | The Spirits Business, UK

On-line course explores the ‘common factors’ at the heart of treatment

On-line course on alcohol treatment research explores the ‘common factors’ often sidelined as components of the ‘placebo effect’, but which are actually active ingredients at least as important as the particular therapy | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

50 million pints of beer could go to waste due to coronavirus – so how can you help?

With millions of pints of beer potentially spoiled, customers at many pubs can buy takeaway beer – but it might not be enough | Telegraph, UK

Protecting the safety of consumers is at the heart of today's credit card gambling ban

The regulator of Great Britain’s gambling industry says the credit card ban which comes into force [on the] 14 April will add another vital layer of protection for consumers | Gambling Commission, UK

Coronavirus: Cocaine haul in boxes of face masks seized

Smugglers hid cocaine worth more than £1m in a consignment of protective face masks, Border Force officials said | BBC, UK

Coronavirus: Drug dealers ‘disguising themselves as key workers’ during UK lockdown

Gang attempts to smuggle cocaine worth £1m into UK hidden inside face mask shipment as criminals change tactic | Independent, UK

£2m cocaine and £300k cash seized in major anti-drugs and money laundering operation

Five people have been arrested and cocaine worth more than £2 million has been seized as part of a drugs and money laundering investigation run by officers from the National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police Service | NCA, UK

Carlisle drugs courier with cocaine 'worth £200k' jailed

A "naive" drugs courier caught with cocaine with a street value of £200,000 has been jailed for 40 months | BBC, UK


International news

No One Should Have to Suffer Through This: COVID-19 Experiences of Street-Based People Who Use Drugs in South Africa

Living on the street and not being able to move around is problematic, particularly if there is a need to purchase drugs on a daily basis. Unfortunately, those who are opioid – referred to as nyaope, unga and whoonga – dependent face the challenge of needing daily doses of the drug. Street-based people have to risk being stopped and detained by the police during their journey to acquire drugs, often resulting in dire consequences | Talking Drugs, UK

Alcohol does not protect against COVID-19; access should be restricted during lockdown

Alcohol is known to be harmful to health in general, and is well understood to increase the risk of injury and violence, including intimate partner violence, and can cause alcohol poisoning. At times of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol consumption can exacerbate health vulnerability, risk-taking behaviours, mental health issues and violence | WHO, Switzerland

The opioid crisis and community-level spillovers onto children’s education

ecent high-profile litigation and settlements among states and local governments with drug companies have highlighted the costs of the opioid epidemic on communities. The dollar amounts discussed in some of these cases have been huge | Brookings, USA

Methadone Rules Requiring In-Person Visits Are Putting Patients At Risk Of Coronavirus

For many people across the U.S. who need methadone treatment, sheltering in place during the coronavirus outbreak is impossible | The Appeal, USA

Assessment of Potentially Inappropriate Prescribing of Opioid Analgesics Requiring Prior Opioid Tolerance

In this cohort study including 153 385 use episodes of opioid analgesics labeled only for use in people who are opioid-tolerant, more than half of patients who received these medications showed no evidence of prior opioid tolerance in health insurance claims or electronic health records | JAMA Open, USA

Study finds that frequent cannabis users are way too high… in their estimates of cannabinoids

One would think that cannabis enthusiasts attending a marijuana advocacy event would be knowledgeable about cannabinoids | Medical Xpress, USA

Impacts of COVID-19 on Substance Use

We have put together a suite of resources from websites and organizations from around the world, as well publications from our own experts | CCSA, Canada

Coronavirus pandemic could trigger a spike in mental illness — this organisation thinks psychedelic drugs will help

A more drastic approach involving the introduction of psychedelic drugs for therapy is needed to tackle the psychological impact of coronavirus shutdowns in Australia, a mental health charity has warned | abc.net.au, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Drinking during lockdown: headline findings: New research reveals how UK drinking habits have changed during lockdown

Alcohol Change UK commissioned new research from Opinium to find out whether people’s drinking habits have changed during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) lockdown | Alcohol Change UK blog, UK

GDS Corona Conversations - with Associate Prof. Magdalena Harris from LSHTM - video

In this episode Adam speaks with Associate Professor in Sociology of Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Dr. Magdalena Harris, PhD. She has spent her life exploring and promoting safer ways for people to inject and smoke drugs. Here she highlights the risks with crack smoking, the need for running water and informal peer supported consumption rooms | Global Drug Survey, UK

Smoking history is an important risk factor for severe COVID-19

Current evidence suggests that an association exists between smoking and COVID-19 severity, in line with recent research which has shown that smoking is associated with increased risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome | BMJ Tobacco Control, Italy

How policymakers can help smokers quit now

On a trip to the supermarket these days you’ll be hard pressed to find canned food, toilet paper or hand sanitizer on the shelves. But if you swing by the pharmacy department, there’ll be plenty of nicotine patches and gum gathering dust | The Hill opinion, USA

Drug use may increase the risk of coronavirus. Here’s how to reduce the harms

People who use illicit drugs, whether they are dependent or use them occasionally, are potentially at increased risk of harm during the coronavirus pandemic | Conversation, Australia