Daily news - 16th July 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

A million people have stopped smoking since the COVID pandemic hit Britain

On the eve of a new campaign to engage more smokers to quit, new analysis by ASH and UCL finds that over a million people in the UK have stopped smoking since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country. A further 440,000 smokers tried to quit during this period | ASH, UK

Smoking: Thousands quit as ban extension proposed

About 33,000 people in Wales have stopped smoking since the coronavirus pandemic began, a survey by charity Action on Smoking and Health suggests | BBC, UK

Launch of the Drug Science Medical Psychedelics Working Group - video

On July 14th 2020, the UK’s leading independent scientific body on drugs has launched the Drug Science Medical Psychedelics Working Group | Drug Science, UK

Medical Psilocybin Student Educational Slides

The psychotropic effects of Psilocybe mushrooms were largely unknown in the West until the 1950s, despite evidence that they had a long history of indigenous use in Central and South America, and possibly other parts of the world | Drug Science, UK

Prisons: Drug Seizures

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many incidences of drug seizures there were in each prison in England and Wales in each month of 2020; and what the classification was of the drugs that were seized | They work for you, UK

Belfast: Two men arrested and cannabis worth £2m is seized

Detectives from the organised crime branch carried out searches at three properties in the south and east of the city on Wednesday | BBC, UK


International news

Bleak new record as 71,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year

Nearly 71,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year, a new record that predates the Covid-19 crisis, which the White House and many experts believe will drive such deaths even higher | Guardian, UK

E-cigarette use among young Australian non-smokers quadruples in six years, survey finds

While fewer people are smoking tobacco, more are vaping and using e-cigarettes, the National Drug Strategy Household Survey says | Guardian, UK

How has COVID-19 affected some of the most vulnerable people in society? | LSE Research - video

We've been working with our global partners to consider how drug users and homeless people have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic | LSE, UK

Coronavirus Has Only Made the Mafia Stronger

The three most powerful Italian mafias are all taking advantage of COVID-19. But what is the current health of the Cosa Nostra, the Camorra and the 'Ndrangheta? | VICE, UK

‘At night I would go to my room to quietly drink.’ Irish women and addiction

Lolly Strahan has come to a realisation. The founder of the Lolly & Cooks chain of cafes, bakery and commercial caterers knows now that in life, you really can have it all. Just not all at the same time | Irish Times, Ireland

Stronger together: EU agencies join forces to respond to COVID-19

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nine JHA agencies (CEPOL, EASO, EIGE, EMCDDA, eu-LISA, Eurojust, Europol, FRA and Frontex) have been supporting the EU Member States and institutions in meeting the unprecedented challenges resulting from the outbreak of the virus in both the short and long term | EMCDDA, Portugal

In Shadow of Pandemic, U.S. Drug Overdose Deaths Resurge to Record

After the first decrease in a quarter-century, in 2018, the number of deaths is again on the rise | NYTimes, USA

Association of State Policies Allowing Medical Cannabis for Opioid Use Disorder With Dispensary Marketing for This Indication

In this cross-sectional study of the online content of 167 medical cannabis dispensaries, compared with dispensaries in states where OUD was not a qualifying condition for medical cannabis, 39% more dispensaries in states where this policy was enacted promoted cannabis to treat OUD and 14% more recommended replacing US Food and Drug Administration–approved medications for OUD with cannabis | JAMA Network, USA

Reminder! Call for Nominations: The 2021 Jellinek Memorial Fund Award for outstanding contribution to the advancement of knowledge on alcohol/alcoholism

The category for the Year 2021 award, specified by the Board of Directors of the Jellinek Memorial Fund, will be Social and Cultural Studies. Nominees must have contributed outstanding research in this specific (albeit broad) area, and should be someone who would provide an example and serve as a model for others who might be attracted to work in this field | Points: Alcohol and Drugs History Society, USA

Colombia is advancing towards meeting a court's requirements that will allow it to renew aerial herbicide spraying of coca crops, the chief ingredient of cocaine, the minister of defense said Monday | NYTimes, USA

Clearing Opium Fields Hurts Honeybees

Some unexpected results are found from the movement against the production of opium in China. In the Yunnan, one of the provinces where opium was produced in large quantities, it appears that the poppy is no longer cultivated, owing to the recent measures | Scientific American, from the archive, USA

Girls more negatively affected by pot than boys

Early use of cannabis affects the working memory of adolescents, but its deleterious effect is more pronounced in girls, posing a risk to their academic success as well as to their memory when they reach adulthood | Medical Xpress, Canada

National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019

The 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey report showed that: 1) fewer Australians are smoking tobacco daily, while the use of e-cigarettes is increasing, 2) more Australians are giving up or reducing their alcohol intake, driven by health concerns, 3) rates of substance use are falling among younger generations (less likely to smoke, drink and use illicit drugs) and 4) non-medical pharmaceutical use is down, driven by a fall in the use of pain-killers | AIHW, Australia

Young Australians give drugs and alcohol a miss, vaping on the rise

Young Australians are turning away from alcohol, drugs and cigarettes, consuming them less than their parents' generation in a trend that has public health experts baffled | SMH, Australia

Lack of vaping regulation prompts calls for investigation by doctors

Doctors are being encouraged to start asking their patients about this after thousands exhibited coronavirus-like damage to their lungs | news.com.au, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

Does cannabis really affect memory? Here’s what research currently says

Cannabis use has long been associated with memory loss. But until now, this notion was largely anecdotal. As researchers begin to look into cannabis and the effect that it has on human health, they’re beginning to better understand the effect it has on the human brain – and whether cannabis really does impair memory | Conversation, UK

A milestone in drug policy: saving the lives of people who use drugs and were homeless in Dublin during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dublin has outperformed even best-case scenarios for COVID-19 mortality among homeless and drug-using populations, write Austin O’Carroll, Tony Duffin and John Collins (LSE). When government policy is well coordinated and underpinned by a science-driven and fundamentally pragmatic approach, lives are saved | LSE blog, UK

When 15-year-old Ali found out I was going to be her new key worker she said I had one chance

When 15-year-old Ali found out I was going to be her new key worker she said I had one chance. You never know how someone will react when you first meet them. What I got was a very wary, angry, young woman | We Are With You, UK

Social landlords join sector call for scale-up of Housing First in England

With major new investment in move-on housing and support on the horizon, now is the time to follow through on commitments and make Housing First available to those who need it | Homeless Link blog, UK

Top 10 books about recovery

Finding a life beyond addiction, or other kinds of damaged personal life, is more complicated than we might wish. But as these books show, it is possible | Guardian, UK

'My husband’s drinking problem hit in lockdown'

As (mostly male) executives are now working from home, those with drinking dependencies are spiralling, finds Miranda Levy | Telegraph, UK

More Australians back legalising cannabis and 57% support pill testing, national survey shows

A growing number of Australians support the legalisation of cannabis, while almost three in five back the idea of pill testing, according to a new national survey | Conversation, Australia