Daily news - 30th April 2020

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Coronavirus frequently updated resources

Treatment and recovery services – and COVID-19 |Collective Voice

COVID-19 Information Hub | Scottish Drugs Forum

COVID-19 and smoking: resources, research and news | BMJ

Coronavirus: information and advice hub - alcohol | Alcohol Change UK

COVID-19 resources page for people who use drugs (PWUD) and drug service providers | EMCDDA


UK news

Novel benzodiazepines: prevalence and harms in the UK

This report examines the evidence of prevalence and harms in the UK of several novel benzodiazepines and provides advice to the government | ACMD, UK

COVID-19 and drug markets - week 4 update

As lockdown continues for many, and moves into week four in the UK, we have completed the week four summary of our drug markets and COVID-19 survey | Crew, UK

COVID-19 – Benzodiazepine use and prescribing during the pandemic

The third SDF COVID-19 webinar will be held on Friday the 1st of May 1pm-2pm and will focus on benzodiazepine use and prescribing during the pandemic | SDF, UK

Smoking and Covid-19 - audio

In the US the FDA warned that if you were a smoker and contracted the virus you might become sicker than non-smokers. Meanwhile a French study suggested that smokers were less likely to get the virus, and that nicotine might even protect them. Claudia Hammond explores this research with Linda Bauld, Professor of Public Health at the University of Edinburgh and Chair in Behavioural Research for Cancer Prevention at Cancer Research UK | BBC, UK

Alcohol and mortality in older people: understanding the J-shaped curve

Alcoholic beverages have been used by humans for thousands of years. Drnking alcohol is associated with short-term feelings of pleasure and reward. This enjoyment has led to the widespread use of alcohol in many societies and at all ages including older people | Age and Aging, UK

Father in recovery urges people worried about alcohol use in lockdown to seek help

A father-of-three in recovery from alcohol dependency has urged people to seek help in lockdown, amid concerns that referrals to drug and alcohol services have dropped | ITV, UK

Everything You Should Know About Taking Ketamine

Traditionally used as an anaesthetic, ketamine is now being used to treat depression, OCD and other mental health conditions | VICE, UK

MAGIC MEDICINE Screening + Live Q&A with Prof David Nutt & Dr Ros Watts

DrugScience and Dartmouth Films are happy to announce that there will be an online screening of the documentary MAGIC MEDICINE on Tuesday 5th May followed by a live Q&A with Professor David Nutt and Dr Rosalind Watts. Tue, 5 May 2020. 19:00 – 21:00 BST | Drug Science, UK

The training and development needs of emerging Scottish drugs researchers - survey

The Drugs Research Network for Scotland is keen to support emerging, early career and non-academic researchers to develop capacity across the sector and to ensure that emerging researchers are well-placed to lead on the future of Scottish drugs research. We'd like to find out how we can best support your professional development, and are asking you to complete this brief survey | DRNS, UK

County lines gangsters are buying taxis to deal drugs in bid to outwit police during lockdown

County lines gangsters may be attempt to hide their drug dealing but emptier streets during lockdown are leaving them exposed | Telegraph, UK

Police seize £100,000 of suspected prescription drugs

Two people have been arrested in east Belfast following the seizure of suspected prescription drugs with an estimated street value of £100,000 | BBC, UK

Leeds cannabis farm found after Wetherby Road gas blast

A cannabis farm with 200 plants has been discovered in a building after emergency services were called following an explosion | BBC, UK


International news

Millions of bottles of wine could go to waste in Europe during lockdown, producers claim

Nation-wide lockdowns across much of Europe have led to the closure of bars, pubs and restaurants meaning demand for wine has plummeted in recent weeks | Independent, UK

NT alcohol law curtails booze-related harm

Alcohol-related harm, ambulance call outs and car crashes have all dramatically declined in the Northern Territory since the introduction of a minimum price on the cost of alcohol | Mail Online, UK [See also item at end of the International news section]

We Looked Into Whether CBD Would Show Up in a Drug Test

Despite the wellness glow surrounding CBD products, could they make you fail a pre-employment pee test? | VICE, UK

Nearly one-third of primary care providers do not view medication treatment for opioid use disorder as effective

New survey also found that majority of primary care physicians have little interest in treating individuals with opioid use disorder | EurekAlert, USA

Methadone dosing could be far more precise, study finds

Fifty years after the discovery of methadone, not much has changed in terms of how it's prescribed to treat opioid use disorder. A new University at Buffalo study on how methadone is metabolized reveals how more individualized prescribing could better serve patients | Medical Xpress, USA

Study: E-cigarettes damage vascular function much like traditional cigarettes

Using e-cigarettes damages the arteries and blood vessel function much like smoking traditional cigarettes, according to new research published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association | News Medical, USA

What's in Toronto?s Drug Supply? (PDF)

Drug samples expected to be opioids were more contaminated than other expected drug types. This report amasses results from 543 samples for a variety of unregulated drugs checked by the service from its launch date on October 10, 2019 until March 31, 2020 | Centre on Drug Policy Evaluation, Canada

Don't use drugs alone, health experts say, even with physical distancing guidelines in place

Overdoses far more deadly on the DTES than COVID-19, Dr. Patricia Daly says | CBC News, Canada

Investigating the introduction of the alcohol minimum unit price in the Northern Territory

On 22 August 2018 amendments to the Northern Territory Liquor Act 1978 (the Act) were passed in the NT Legislative Assembly, introducing a minimum alcohol unit price MUP, commonly referred to as a minimum floor price. On 1 October 2018 the MUP was set at $1.30 per standard drink contained in the alcohol product | NT.gov.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

GDS Corona Conversations - with David Stuart on chemsex and COVID-19 - video

David Stuart has been at the forefront of advocating for honest and effective education and harm reduction for gay men and is an expert in ChemSex (even credited for coining the term in the first place!). Drug counsellor, social worker and innovator David talks about how gay men have always faced health crises and as a community have risen to the challenge of supporting each other. Here he talks about GHB, online sex parties, keeping safe and being honest | Global Drugs Survey, UK

COVID-19 & Alcohol Dependency: Looking After Yourself During Lockdown

For alcohol dependent individuals, self-detoxing alcohol at home without medical support isn’t advised. There is much uncertainty in the alcohol detox process, including the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. If you experience withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, sweating, nausea or headache after several hours without a drink, please do not stop drinking suddenly | NHSSMPA blog, UK

British American Tobacco’s ‘resilience’ does not herald a ‘Better Tomorrow’

As British American Tobacco (BAT) prepares for tomorrow’s Annual General Meeting, the University of Bath’s Tobacco Control Research Group and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), are calling out the tobacco company for undertaking a rebranding exercise intended to hook a whole new generation of young adults to its tobacco and nicotine products, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic | ASH, UK

From Ebola to Covid-19. Is all nicotine bad nicotine? An epidemiologist’s reflections

Forty-seven years later I still remember my first cigarette, and I was addicted to nicotine from the first puff. I smoked regularly for twenty years, then following multiple attempts, I kicked the habit cold-turkey after a doctor in Nairobi misread a chest x-ray and warned me I may have a Broncho-carcinoma. Luckily he was wrong | Drug Science, UK

Drug Treatment And Recovery In The UK

This is the eighth in a series of posts based on perhaps the most important drug-related report of the current century, Dame Carol Black’s Review of Drugs. Today’s post looks at the section from that report dedicated to drug treatment and the factors associated with recovery | Russell Webster, UK