Daily news - 17th 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

How much alcohol are we really drinking?

Whether it’s from boredom, stress or anxiety, the sale of alcohol has reportedly increased by 291 per cent during the coronavirus pandemic | University of Portsmouth, UK

Deaths of Blackburn 'drug users' prompt medicine warning

The men, aged 47 and 50, were from Blackburn and died earlier in April, Lancashire Police confirmed. Users in the town have been advised not to take pregabalin and diazepam tablets believed to be in circulation | BBC, UK

No 4. Substance Misuse - video

A conversation with Mark Hindwell from Forward Leeds | MEAM, UK

COVID-19 and Drug Markets Survey; Week Two Summary

It has now been two weeks since we launched our survey exploring the impact of COVID-19 on the way drugs are bought, sold and taken. It has also been 23 days since the UK government introduced measures that are described as ‘lockdown’ and a number of weeks since similar measures have been introduced in other countries | Crew, UK

Drug dealers demand 'risk' money from customers as deserted streets leave them exposed to police

[Free registration may be required] Prices for drugs are rising as drug dealers charge a premium for the risk in lockdown but police warn gangs are adapting tactics | Telegraph, UK


International news

Statement by the UN expert on the right to health* on the protection of people who use drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic

In the current COVID-19 context, people who use drugs face unique needs and risks, due to criminalisation, stigma, discrimination, underlying health issues, social marginalisation and higher economic and social vulnerabilities, including a lack of access to adequate housing and healthcare. Treatment and harm reduction services should continue to be provided to them | OHCHR, Switzerland

Psychedelic compound from magic mushrooms produced in yeast

Scientists from DTU Biosustain prove that psilocybin, a potential drug for treating depression and other psychological conditions can be produced in yeast | EurekAlert, Denmark

Delivering Opioid Overdose Prevention in Bars and Nightclubs

[Open access] To raise awareness of fentanyl overdose risk among people who use cocaine, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene pilot tested an awareness campaign in 23 NYC nightlife venues. Although 87% of venue owners/managers were aware of fentanyl, no participating venues had naloxone on premises prior to the intervention | JPHMP, USA

Should you stop smoking pot during the coronavirus pandemic? What about vaping?

If you smoke marijuana, or vape e-cigarettes, you could end up with the kind of damage to your lungs and airways that could put you at risk of real harm from COVID-19, medical experts said | Inquirer, USA

JUUL sales bounced back within weeks of self-imposed flavor ban: study

A new study finds JUUL sales recovered within weeks following a dip after the company withdrew some flavored products from stores, eventually surpassing sales from before the change as consumption shifted to the menthol/mint and tobacco flavors that remained on shelves | Medical Xpress, USA

The Damage to Vape Shops Deemed “Non-Essential”—And Their Customers

People who rely on vapes and other reduced-risk nicotine products—overwhelmingly former smokers, or those in the process of switching—face immediate worries over access during the coronavirus lockdown, as well as long-term fears for the survival of the small shops on which many rely | Filter Magazine, USA

Vast Coalition Issues Demands for Far-Reaching MAT Reform

Harm reduction organizations, providers, experts and advocates from across the US are calling on government agencies to eliminate the notoriously burdensome restrictions imposed on medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder—a move they say would mitigate the dual crises of overdose and coronavirus | Filter Magazine, USA

Coronavirus prompts Canada to roll out safe drugs for street users

Canada’s Pacific province of British Columbia was already battling an opioid epidemic when the new coronavirus hit, compounding the threat to drug users, many of whom are homeless and particularly vulnerable during the pandemic | Reuters, USA

COVID-19 and Increased Alcohol Consumption: NANOS Poll Summary Report

This report highlights the results of a Nanos poll commissioned by CCSA during the COVID-19 pandemic. The poll focuses on whether people are staying at home more during the pandemic, whether their alcohol and cannabis use has increased because of this and, if it has, the reasons behind the increase | CCSA, Canada

COVID-19, Alcohol and Cannabis Use [infographic]

Outlines potential risks from alcohol and cannabis use during the COVID-19 pandemic, including how alcohol and cannabis use can affect the immune system and how measures such as physical distancing can increase alcohol and cannabis use | CCSA, Canada

Many Australians using more alcohol and worried about household drinking

New data released today shows one-in-five Australians have purchased more alcohol than usual during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the majority are drinking more and have concerns about their alcohol use and the drinking of others in their household | FARE, Australia

Coronavirus-themed alcohol marketing sparks calls for regulators to raise the bar

A national alcohol research body has slammed retailers using coronavirus-related marketing to boost sales, including ads it claims promote drinking as a solution to isolation boredom and depression | abc.net.au, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Alcohol consumption during Covid-19 - Ian Hamilton video

Alcohol hasn't been talked about much during this pandemic so thought I share some information about a new survey from Alcohol Change UK which provides some insights | MYPOV online, UK

Covid 19 and People Who Use Drugs : The Dual Public Health Emergency

COVID has brought a new urgency to the drug crisis: Disapproval is no excuse for inaction. The drug crisis rarely gets a fair hearing in the UK. COVID-19 calls for a re-evaluation of that convention. If we truly want to save the NHS, we must support the most vulnerable; that includes those that use drugs ‘problematically’ | London campaign for drug policy reform, UK

COVID-19: the global pan(dem)ic and reflections on a prevention science response

Currently, the COVID-19 outbreak is having a firm grip on the global population. To restrict further spread and increase preventive measures across the population, prevention science is called upon to complement medical actions | EUSPR blog, UK

Worried about your drinking during lockdown? These 8 signs might indicate a problem

We’ve seen images of people “panic buying” alcohol since lockdown started in March. Now new data from the advocacy group Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) shows people are not just stocking up for a rainy day. In households that have been buying extra alcohol, 70% are drinking more than usual too | Conversation, Australia

Are you a vulnerable celebrity? Why not try meth with The Seven Network

On the evening Sunday the 29th of March, Channel Seven aired a one hour program about former AFL player Ben Cousins called “Coming Clean”. In the opening sequence, the audience is greeted with footage of Ben from ten years ago, polished and media-trained | AOD Media Watch, Australia