Daily news - 13th July 2020

Weekly subscribe button

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

UK tobacco sales fell faster after plain packaging rules came into force

Rate of decline equates to about 20m cigarettes a month since introduction of tougher policies | Guardian, UK

Longitudinal evaluation of the impact of standardised packaging and minimum excise tax on tobacco sales and industry revenue in the UK

[Open access] Standardised packaging for factory-made cigarettes (FM) and roll-your-own tobacco (RYO), and a minimum excise tax (MET) were fully implemented in the UK in May 2017 following a 12-month transition period. This paper is the first to examine effects on tobacco sales volumes and company revenues | BMJ Tobacco Control, UK

Substance use and mental health problems: which is chicken, which is egg, and does it matter?

With the vast majority of their clients also experiencing mental health problems, deciding how to respond is a major concern for Britain’s drug and alcohol services. An Effectiveness Bank bulletin explores the theme of ‘dual diagnosis’ | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Rumours and threats: what happened when Covid-19 shut our pubs

When a customer in a Somerset town tested positive, two local venues found themselves in the eye of a storm | Guardian, UK


To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the timeframe is for his Department to undertake a review of tobacco legislation after the transition period; and what the terms of reference for that review will cover | They work for you, UK

Missing children increases by two-thirds amid fears of exploitation by county lines gangs and rising mental ill health

[Free registration may be required] Police in England and Wales are dealing with 23 missing children incidents a day amid concerns over gangs, mental ill health and bullying | Telegraph, UK

Botanic needle and syringe exchange to be withdrawn

The service, which is currently based at a pharmacy in the Botanic area, had attracted some controversy amid claims it led to some anti-social behaviour and issues around discarded drug paraphernalia | Belfast Live, UK

Man jailed for 10 years after UK’s largest residential seizure of MDMA and crystal meth, police say

Border Force officers say they found stash hidden in children’s toys, which was later linked to separate haul found by council workers | Independent, UK


International news

Why Mexican Cartels Are Shooting Up Drug Rehabs

Last week’s massacre at a drug rehab was the latest in a string of attacks on drug users in Mexico | VICE, UK

Iran: Man executed for drinking alcohol

The Iranian authorities have once again laid bare the sheer cruelty and inhumanity of their judicial system by executing a man simply for drinking alcohol | Amnesty International, UK

Coronavirus: South Africa bans alcohol sales again to combat Covid-19

A night-time curfew has been imposed, and the wearing of masks outdoors is now compulsory | BBC, UK

Sudan to ban FGM and allow non-Muslims to drink alcohol in shift away from hardline Islamist rule

New leaders have vowed to lead country to democracy and end discrimination | Independent, UK

Study sheds new light on neurobiological processes that control drug-related adaptations

The lab of Jeremy Day, Ph.D., at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has used single-nucleus RNA sequencing approaches to compare transcriptional responses to acute cocaine in 16 unique cell populations from a portion of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, or NAc | News Medical, USA

Doc Charged in Scheme to Pay Addicts to Get Naltrexone Implants

Randy Rosen, MD, allegedly hired "body brokers" to lure patients, reaped $50M from insurance | MedPage Today, USA

Prescription Opioids (Canadian Drug Summary)

Summarizes data on the use of prescription opioids, including information on associated harms and effects, legal status, costs, hospitalization, emergency department visits and access to treatment. As of the date of the summary (June 2020), opioid pain relievers are used by 11.8% of the population, unchanged from 13% in 2015. Hospitalizations due to opioid poisoning have been increasing and there were 2,913 opioid-related deaths in 2019 | CCSA, Canada

Prof, former public health officer launch company to produce legal heroin for treatment

Long before fentanyl transformed the illicit drug market, researchers in Vancouver embarked on a study that would open the door in Canada to a new form of treatment for opioid addiction | Globe and Mail, Canada

Trudeau ministers welcome decriminalization endorsement as opioid crisis deepens

Canada's attorney general and federal health minister say they welcome the call from Canadian police chiefs to decriminalize drugs for simple possession, as the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the opioid crisis | Canada's National Observer, Canada



Blogs, comment and opinion

Benzodiazepines, Dependence and the Importance of Testing

The Drop sent a sample to WEDINOS for testing after a user in Bristol reported strange and unexpectedly strong effects (extreme muscle relaxation, slurred speech, memory loss, blackout, strong rebound anxiety) from taking one pill branded as 10mg ‘Neliz’ diazepam. When we received the result on 7/7/2020 it actually turned out to be flualprazolam | BDP blog, UK

Opinion: To Protect Young People from Drug Harms, we Should Teach them how to do Drugs ‘Safely’

If I told you that alcohol causes cancer, dementia, traffic accidents and violence, would you be a teetotaller for the rest of your life? There is no doubt that all drugs, whether legal or illegal, are harmful and come with risks | Volte Face, UK

COVID-19 - Enacting a ‘new normal’ for people who use drugs

The COVID-19 crisis has magnified existing social, economic and political inequities. People who use drugs are particularly vulnerable due to criminalisation and stigma and often experience underlying health conditions, higher rates of poverty, unemployment and homelessness, as well as a lack of access to vital resources – putting them at greater risk of infection | IJDP, UK and others

Steve Brine: Making the most of vaping to deliver a smoke-free Britain

Last year, the Government announced plans to make England smoke-free by 2030, building on previous initiatives such as the ban on smoking inside public places, and the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco | Conservative Home, UK

I'm worried that my father is smoking and vaping too much

He is vaping the equivalent of 30 cigarettes a day and smoking rollups, but gets angry if criticised about it. What can I do? | Guardian, UK

Happy hour: the great cocktail comeback

As a nation, we’ve been getting into the spirits like never before, says Richard Godwin. If you’re going to mix drinks, here’s how to do it well | Guardian, UK

Did drug busts and COVID just win the drug war?

Recent events may look like good news for those who think prohibition can deliver a ‘drug free world’ | Transform blog, UK