Daily news - 21st 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

Alcohol fuels rise in assaults on over 50s, study suggests

Nearly 21,000 people aged over 51 went to A&E in England and Wales in 2019 for violence-related injuries, according to analysis by Cardiff University | BBC, UK

Remote prescribing guidance for health and justice sites

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected that some aspects of healthcare in health and justice sites may need to be delivered by remote technology, for example, using video appointments. Processes have been described separately for controlled drugs (CDs) and non CDs | NHS, UK

Accessing medicines for detainees released during COVID-19

This is a guide to support probation and youth offending teams and other teams supporting people released from custody on accessing medicines and pharmacy services during the COVID-19 outbreak | NHS, UK

NDTMS: accreditation for software suppliers

Information for software suppliers who have participated in the national drug treatment monitoring system (NDTMS) compliance programme and the level of compliance awarded. Updated with software supplier accreditation details | PHE, UK

Thousands of UK pubs will go under without bailout, industry warns

Plea follows Michael Gove saying pubs will be among last businesses to exit lockdown | Guardian, UK

Drug taskforce calls for addicts to be deemed ‘priority group’

The Scottish Government’s drug deaths taskforce has called on users to be classed as a “priority group” during the coronavirus outbreak | Evening Express, UK

On Drugs: Fourteen Units A Week - How Dangerous Is Alcohol? - audio

Comedian Jacob Hawley explores the UK drugs scene, by heading to the bar and discussing the damaging effects of alcohol. He talks to comedians Lou Sanders and Jon Long about their relationship with alcohol, Tom Blackwood about low/no alcohol beer, Professor David Nutt about his years of research (and his wine bar) and Dr Richard Piper from Alcohol Change UK about what needs to change | BBC, UK

Survey - Lockdown effects on families and friends of someone with a drug, alcohol or gambling problem

Responses will provide Adfam with vital evidence of what families are currently experiencing during the crisis, using this to inform their work, raise awareness through the media and influence local and national Government | Adfam, UK

Heroin found concealed within lorry packed with crisps

A 48-year-old Polish man has been charged as part of a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation into the attempted importation of heroin with a potential street value of £800,000 into Harwich International Port | NCA, UK



International news

IDPC Survey on COVID-19

The International Drug Policy Consortium's Secretariat is seeking to support our membership, and civil society colleagues, to document this rapidly evolving situation, as well as gain a shared understanding of both the challenges that are emerging for our organisations and the communities that we represent or serve. The information provided can also help to inform potential collective action that we can take as the drug policy reform movement to respond to this emerging crisis | IDPC, UK

Mozambique expels suspected Brazilian drug lord

Gilberto ‘Fuminho’ Aparecido dos Santos arrested in international sting operation | Guardian, UK

New project aims to frustrate gangs and lure children away from organised crime

€3m programme will be rolled out in two communities which will remain anonymous | Irish Times, Ireland

Tobacco and waterpipe use increases the risk of suffering from COVID-19

Tobacco use may increase the risk of suffering from serious symptoms due to COVID-19 illness. Early research indicates that, compared to non-smokers, having a history of smoking may substantially increase the chance of adverse health outcomes for COVID-19 patients, including being admitted to intensive care, requiring mechanical ventilation and suffering severe health consequences | WHO, Switzerland

Worried about staying in addiction recovery during COVID-19? You're not alone

Social distancing is a public health measure to help curb the spread of COVID-19, but it presents unique challenges to people with alcohol or other substance use disorders | Medical Xpress, USA

A key brain region for controlling binge drinking has been found

A team of researchers has found that turning off a stress signaling system in a single specific brain area can reduce harmful binge drinking. This finding brings researchers one step closer to understanding which signals in the brain drive individuals to consume alcohol excessively and put them at risk for developing an alcohol use disorder | Science Daily, USA

Association of Formulary Prior Authorization Policies With Buprenorphine-Naloxone Prescriptions and Hospital and Emergency Department Use Among Medicare Beneficiaries

This comparative interrupted time series analysis of Medicare beneficiaries with opioid use disorders found that Medicare Part D plans that removed prior authorization had an associated increase in the use of buprenorphine-naloxone, whereas plans that added prior authorization had an associated decrease in buprenorphine-naloxone use | JAMA Open, USA

As marijuana use grows, researchers want to know how it affects the heart

Although marijuana is growing in use—and becoming more legal—across the country, there is still much to learn about its effect on the body, and particularly on the heart | Medical Xpress, USA

Extra payments motivate sobriety and employment among people recovering from addiction

After a yearlong study of people with opioid dependence, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers report evidence that adding $8 an hour to their paychecks may help those in recovery stay drug free longer, as well as encourage them to get and hold regular jobs | Medical Xpress, USA

Black and Brown Teens Are Still More Likely to Be Punished for Smoking Weed

“Marijuana is the drug for which most kids get penalized in school settings,” Sheila Vakharia, deputy director of the Department of Research and Academic Engagement at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), tells Teen Vogue | Teen Vogue, USA

A Harm Reduction Plan for Vulnerable Drinkers Hits Unnecessary Obstacles

As harm reductionists, we always have on our minds the health and well-being of people who use drugs. Too often, however, we forget that alcohol is a drug too, and that drinkers sometimes also could use our help | Filter Magazine, USA

4/20 goes digital as coronavirus clouds cannabis' high holiday

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, event planners have scrapped plans for large; outdoor gatherings; groups have organized online livestreams; and retailers have shifted expectations for a day that typically rang like Christmas to their cash registers | CNN, USA

Marijuana fans celebrate 4/20 online with performances by Mike Tyson, Billy Ray Cyrus, others

4/20 fans celebrated online Monday as the marijuana enthusiasts' holiday was forced indoors this year due to the coronavirus epidemic | The Hill, USA

A New York Doctor Who Died After Fever and Cough Was Never Tested for Coronavirus, Highlighting the Limits of the Official Toll

As the coronavirus bore down on New York, Dr. Doug Bass’ family begged him to work from home. He refused, pointing to his patients at Phoenix House, a drug and alcohol treatment center where he served as medical director | TIME, USA

Coronavirus Ruined 4/20. Here’s How Indians Are Dealing With It

From the loopholes that let people score despite a strict lockdown to how the smoke circle etiquette has changed, this is how Indians across the country are celebrating the international stoner holiday today | VICE, India

Alcohol sales and use during Covid- 19 (PDF)

One in five (20 per cent) households reported buying more alcohol than usual since the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia | FARE, Australia

WA coronavirus alcohol restrictions lifted in first signs of easing of government shutdown

Restrictions on the sale of takeaway alcohol have been lifted across Western Australia, with the WA Government praising good community behaviour for the rules being softened | abc.net.au, Australia

Coronavirus: Concerns that a decrease in illicit drugs could lead to even more harmful substitutes

Experts have raised concerns that coronavirus could see vulnerable drug users turn to even more dangerous alternatives | SBS News, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Cooked With Cannabis review – potty food contest offers a real high

Cookery competitions are usually pretty stressful affairs, but not this one helmed by singer Kelis. In fact the contestants and judges are strangely relaxed. Wonder why … | Guardian, UK