Daily news - 5th August 2020

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Coronavirus frequently updated resources

COVID-19 and addiction: webinars, podcasts and online discussions | SSA

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

Commonly used treatments for chronic pain can do more harm than good and should not be used, says NICE in draft guidance

A number of commonly used drug treatments for chronic primary pain have little or no evidence that they work and shouldn’t be prescribed, NICE has said in its draft clinical guideline published today (3 August 2020) on the assessment and management of chronic pain in over 16s | NICE, UK

Painkillers such as aspirin 'do more harm than good' for chronic primary pain

NHS health officials say paracetamol, ibuprofen and opioids also unsuitable for chronic primary pain | Guardian, UK

Twenty21 is now live

Project Twenty21 is a registry aiming to monitor the health outcomes of 20,000 patients using cannabis based medicinal products (CBMPs), creating the largest body of evidence in Europe for the safety and efficacy of CBMPs. Drug Science hope that the findings of Project Twenty21 will provide evidence for NHS funding where the benefits of treatment with medicinal cannabis is proven to outweigh the potential risks | Drug Science, UK

Addictions experts, including researchers from the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Behavioural Science and Evaluation at University of Bristol, have been awarded more than £170,000 in Scottish Government funding to lead life-saving research to help tackle the country's drugs death challenge | NIHR, UK

English pubs likely to be spared new Covid-19 restrictions, No 10 says

PM’s spokesman says focus will be on localised measures to restrict gatherings in homes | Guardian, UK

August 2020 APPG on Liver Health update

APPG on Liver Health Co-Chair Baroness Randerson this month tabled two written questions relevant to the APPG’s work, one on increasing provision of low dead space needles in needle and syringe exchanges in England (which are more effective for hepatitis C prevention purposes) and another on hepatitis C testing and treatment in prisons during the Covid-19 pandemic | APPG, UK

Turning Point Annual Review

This past year has been an exciting time of significant growth and development across our Mental Health, Learning Disabilities and Substance Misuse services, with the numbers of people we support rising | Turning Point, UK

Assertive outreach in Scotland during and after lockdown - SDF Webinar - video

This webinar explored models of assertive outreach being delivered in Scotland, particularly for those experiencing near fatal overdoses | SDF, UK

The Hepatitis C Trust peer-to-peer support programme (video with subtitles)

This good practice video provides an overview of The Hepatitis C Trust's peer-to-peer support work, which involves staff and volunteer peers with lived experience of hepatitis C providing support to those at risk of and living with hepatitis C, raising awareness and supporting access to testing and treatment | Heptitis C Trust, UK

Alcoholism: Prescription Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that GPs and commissioners follow the latest NICE guidance on the prescription of drugs for alcohol dependence | They work for you, UK

Inside the pop-up cabins that have eradicated Truro's homeless problem

Cornwall Housing is working on-site in partnership with We Are With You (formerly Addaction), St Petrocs and other services in order to meet the support needs of the residents and find them a suitable, more permanent, home to move to | Cornwall Live, UK

Whisky sour and lockdown tumbleweed

Meet Sir Robert Giffen. Born in Strathaven, Lanarkshire in 1837, he worked in a lawyer's office while taking classes at Glasgow University, striding out on an inky career path with a job on the Stirling Journal | BBC, UK

Stockton £1m cannabis farm: Man admits to growing class B drug

Officers found 1,200 plants growing in 12 rooms over four floors at a property on High Street, Stockton, on 6 July | BBC, UK


International news

Making the most of medical care. Effectiveness Bank Alcohol Treatment Matrix cell C3

Highlights the remarkable transformation of a US clinic in the 1950s by an open-minded manager, then addresses three key management issues: How do you identify effective clinicians? Worth ‘stepping up’ to more intensive treatment if initial treatment fails? Can research tell us which patients do best on which medication? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Changes to a New Kind of Drug Smuggling Are Harming Mexico's Opioid Users

Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, tighter border controls have stopped drug workers from smuggling life-saving medicine into Mexico | VICE, UK

The Next Marijuana Millionaire: Amazon Prime launches Apprentice-style cannabis business talent search

The Next Marijuana Millionaire: Amazon Prime launches Apprentice-style cannabis business talent search fronted by ‘dope don’ Michael ‘BigMike’ Straumietis | i news, UK

Physicians’ progress toward ending the nation’s drug overdose and death epidemic (PDF)

The American Medical Association’s Opioid Task Force report (PDF) released today shows a dramatic increase in fatalities involving illicit opioids, stimulants (e.g. methamphetamine), heroin and cocaine and a similarly dramatic drop in the use of prescription opioids | AMA, USA

What influences adolescents to share marijuana-related content on social media?

With social media use being as prevalent as ever, a new study from Washington State University's Edward R. Murrow College of Communication shows that adolescents may share marijuana-related content on social media in an effort to fit in with their peers | EurekAlert, USA

The pandemic is eating away at the illicit marijuana market

Legal operations have moved quickly to take advantage of the situation, seizing on relaxed rules to expand shopping options in states across the country, including curbside pickups and deliveries | Politico, USA

Why I Overdosed During the Pandemic, and Why I Survived

Overdosing and being treated for it during the pandemic was a fucked-up experience. Altogether, it was perhaps the scariest and most emotional week of my life | Filter Magazine, USA

Overdose response accelerates with treatment, prevention supports

More people in B.C. will have access to life-saving overdose prevention, treatment and supports. These supports are part of the $10.5 million in funding that will accelerate the response to an increasingly toxic illicit drug supply due to COVID-19 | Gov.bc, Canada

P.E.I. Lung Association says social media is the next frontier in vaping battle

As Canada prepares to enact new regulations restricting the promotion of vaping products this week, the P.E.I. Lung Association is turning its focus to social media influencers and their impact on teenagers | CBC News, Canada

Easing up on public drinking laws would be useful as bars reopen, infectious disease experts say

Toronto cracking down on alcohol consumption in parks amid COVID-19 pandemic | CBC News, Canada

4 Palliative Canadians approved for end of life psilocybin therapy through section 56(1) ; First legal medical exemptions for psilocybin in Canada since 1970’s 

Four Canadians battling incurable cancer have been approved by the Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu, to use psilocybin therapy in the treatment of their end-of-life distress | Thera Psil, Canada

B.C. allows private pot retailers to sell products online for in-store pick-up

The British Columbia government says new rules for private cannabis retailers will allow pot to be reserved and paid for online, but customers still have to pick up their orders in person | Star, Canada

New standard set of outcomes to measure and improve care for disorders related to substance use and addictive behaviours

Director of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at UNSW Sydney, Professor Michael Farrell chaired a project team of leading researchers, practitioners, and lived experience representatives across Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, and Australia to establish the first international standard for measuring treatment outcomes for adults and young people aged 12 and above with disorders related to substance use and addictive behaviours | NDARC, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Our patients with addiction often feel little more than ‘animals’ in the pharmacy — we must change

“I just want you guys to know this: you are by far the best chemist that I’ve been to. I know we are addicts and that, but that doesn’t mean we have to be treated like animals, so thanks for being kind with people like us.” | Pharmaceutical Journal, UK

The Trip Report 04/08

Through the work of organisations such as WEDINOS, The Loop, and SaferParty, we know a little more about the drugs in circulation. The report provided below is a summary of their findings over the last week | The Trip Report, UK

If pubs are exempted from new lockdown restrictions, let's hope the coronavirus knows the difference between a boozer and a living room

Scientists argue that social distancing is more easily enforced in a bar than in someone’s lounge – I wonder if anyone in Sage has tested that theory out after a couple of pints | Independent voices, UK

Injecting risk behaviours amongst people who inject drugs

It is estimated that between 10.2 and 23.7 million people worldwide inject illicit drugs. Among people who inject drugs (PWID), those who engage in injecting risk behaviours are at increased of blood-borne viruses, such as HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV), as well as bacterial infections | NDARC blog, Australia