Daily news - 29th 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: Medical cannabis access eased amid lockdown

Patients have begun receiving medical cannabis through the post, as the coronavirus pandemic has left them unable to access the drug any other way | BBC, UK

Easing UK lockdown would require tough rules, says adviser

Economist says strict measures needed to avoid pubs and shops getting too busy | Guardian, UK

Councils urged to suspend late-night levy fees

Local authorities have been implored to suspend late-night levy payments for pubs | Morning Advertiser, UK

Coronavirus in Scotland: NHS staff 'should be able to buy alcohol before 10am'

Licensing laws should be relaxed to allow NHS staff and vulnerable groups to purchase alcohol before 10am, the Scottish Conservatives have suggested | Herald, UK


Are you affected by the drug or alcohol use, or gambling of a loved one? How has this impacted your experience at home during COVID-19? | Adfam, UK

At the crux: the encounter between clinician and client

Influences explored across the Alcohol Treatment Matrix come to a head in the encounter between clinician and client. Take a step back and you will see that therapies may be the “trees”, but the “forest” is the client-therapist relationship | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he will be taking to reduce alcohol related (a) cancer diagnoses and (b) deaths | They work for you, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister of Care of 17 March 2020, Official Report column 274-275WH, when the roundtable on low and no alcohol products will meet; and how many public health experts will be invited to take part; and which other organisations (a) have been and (b) will be invited | They work for you, UK

COVID-19, alcohol and domestic abuse: Sarah Fox talks to the SSA

Why have we seen an increase in alcohol use and domestic abuse during COVID-19 restrictions? | SSA, UK

Webinar to look at cannabis opportunities for UK farmers

An upcoming webinar will look at the opportunities available for British farmers looking to grow and export the Cannabis sativa crop | FarmingUK, UK



International news

Alcohol sales in Ireland down 30% due to pandemic

Drinks Ireland estimates total alcohol sales have fallen by 30% across the country since on-trade venues were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic | The Spirits Business, UK

Seoul Searching: South Korea’s AI Counter-Cryptomarket Capability and Associated Privacy Dilemmas (PDF)

The Republic of Korea (ROK) has been quietly developing – in conjunction with domestic academic and corporate partners – highly sophisticated counter-crypto capabilities. By March 2020, ROK technologies were so advanced that Seoul-based S2W Lab were invited to enter a technology-for-data partnership with Interpol | GDPO, UK

The psychiatric nurse who overcame a life of addiction - audio

The dramatic turnaround of a carnival runaway and drug addict who spent more than 20 years living on the streets. Today Anthony Brown is a psychiatric nurse and college professor. He has written a book about his remarkable journey called: From Park Bench to Park Avenue | BBC World Service, UK

Toxic alcohol kills more than 700 in Iran following false reports it wards off coronavirus

The country sees a wave of alcohol poisonings following false reports that strong alcohol could protect against the Covid-19 | Telegraph, UK

Street tablet use in Ireland: A Trendspotter study on use, markets, and harms (PDF)

In the Republic of Ireland, converging signals of the ongoing non-medical use of pharmaceuticals (‘street tablets’) among clients of community-based, drug harm reduction service agencies in Dublin were noted in 2018. These included significant levels of street tablet use among service clients, an increase in the prevalence of pregabalin in drug-related deaths data since 2015, and reports of online purchasing of tablets for the Irish market. To understand these recent trends, the present study was deemed necessary | Anna Lifey Drug Project, Ireland

Report highlights increase in deaths involving street tablets in Ireland

The purchasing of drugs online brings significant regulatory challenges | Journal, Ireland

EMCDDA initial report on the new psychoactive substance N,N-diethyl-2-[[4-(1-methylethoxy)phenyl]methyl]-5-nitro-1H-benzimidazole-1-ethanamine (isotonitazene)

Isotonitazene is a synthetic opioid analgesic monitored by the EMCDDA as a new psychoactive substance through the European Union Early Warning System since 2019. Based on potential public health risks, an initial report has been prepared and submitted to the Commission and the Member States, in accordance with Article 5b of Regulation (EC) No 1920/2006 (as amended) | EMCDDA, Portugal

Iran: Over 700 dead after drinking alcohol to cure coronavirus

More than 700 people died in Iran after ingesting toxic methanol, erroneously thinking it can cure the new coronavirus | Aljazeera, Qatar

How Bars and Nightclubs Can Help Prevent Fentanyl-Involved Deaths

The adulteration of many drug supplies with the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl poses a serious risk for people who use illicit drugs of all kinds. But those who use substances other than opioids are more likely to be unaware of the risk or how to mitigate it | Filter Magazine, USA

Why the Pandemic Will Challenge the Brain Disease Model of Addiction

There is no shortage of articles offering advice for how to deal with lockdown: Stick to a routine; get enough sleep; eat regular meals; maintain social connections (at a safe distance); and so on. Drug use often doesn’t make the list, but early signs suggest this is how many people are grappling with a dark and uncertain reality | Filter Magazine, USA

Study reveals pharmacy-level barriers to treatment for opioid use disorder in Appalachian Kentucky

A new study led by University of Kentucky researcher April Young and Emory University researcher Hannah Cooper shows that a number of pharmacies in the Appalachian region of Kentucky are limiting the dispensing of buprenorphine, a medication used to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) | Medical Xpress, USA

Overdose calls are rising, but some police in Indiana and Texas have been banned from giving a 'life-saving' drug

During a pandemic, opioid overdoses don't stop — but in police stations in Texas and Indiana, naloxone use does | Business Insider, USA

FDA bans products that help kids hide vape use from parents

On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it was sending warning letters to 10 manufacturers to stop making products designed to allow youth to vape without getting caught by parents or teachers | Medical Xpress, USA

Does Smoking Make COVID-19 Worse? Better? Here’s What We Actually Know

The research on the relationship is all extremely preliminary and should change little of how we think about cigarettes or vaping | Slate, USA

Trends in the availability and type of drugs sold on the internet via cryptomarkets, January 2019 - January 2020

This bulletin series reports on trends in the availability and type of substances sold on the internet via cryptomarkets over the last 12 months (new bulletin released every four months) | NDARC, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Public health messaging and harm reduction in the time of COVID-19

We are concerned that the current public health messaging might be leaving out an important at-risk population: people who use drugs, including beverage and non-beverage alcohol, and in particular, individuals who are marginalised and street entrenched | The Lancet, UK

When we waken from the COVID nightmare – what then?

For almost all of us, the current COVID-19 pandemic represents the first time we have been confronted with a personal and proximate threat to our lives. Accordingly, we have supported the current strategy of personal shut-downs, social distancing and health care ramp-ups to deal with the cases of acute severe infections | Drug Science blog, UK

Harvey Goldstein obituary

Statistician who highlighted the dangers of smoking during pregnancy and did research into the effectiveness of schools | Guardian, UK

Cannabis in the Time of Coronavirus

Today we’re continuing our investigation of drugs under quarantine. Contributing editor Bob Beach reports on the impact of the coronavirus on cannabis’s biggest holiday, 4/20, and the marijuana marketplace as a whole | Points blog, USA