Daily news - 27th 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

Evidence of harm from illicit or fake benzodiazepines

This alert advises of the availability of, and harm from, illicit drugs sold as benzodiazepines particularly when used in conjunction with alcohol and drugs with a respiratory depressant effect including gabapentinoids and opioids | MHRA, UK

Medicinal Use of Psilocybin: Reducing restrictions on research and treatment

This new report outlined the medical potential of psilocybin and the need to reduce restrictions on research and treatment | Adam Smith Institute, in conjunction with the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group (CDPRG), UK

Ease restrictions on medical psychedelics to aid research, experts say

Psilocybin may be safe for treating depression but research is stymied by government controls | Guardian, UK

‘Government funded trap houses‘? Unregulated care homes and County Lines

Amid concerns about untrained staff, unclear responsibilities and cases of violence, exploitation and abuse, the Government are currently considering changes to the rules on looked after children (LAC) being placed in independent and semi-independent settings | Crest Advisory, UK

Boris Johnson plans calorie labels on alcohol and restaurant meals in radical plan to tackle Britain's obesity crisis fuelling coronavirus deaths

Restaurant and takeaway chains will be forced to publish the calories in every meal they serve. Similar labels will also have to be placed on bottles and cans of beer, wine and spirits sold in shops | Mail Online, UK

Digital iDEAS trial launched to help reduce alcohol intake

A new trial offering digital support to help people reduce their alcohol consumption has been launched by UCL researchers. With the apparent rise in drinking during the UK lockdown, investigators say the iDEAS study is timely | UCL, UK

Specific challenges for women who use drugs during COVID - SDF COVID-19 Webinar - video

The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown results in specific challenges for women who use drugs. In this webinar we discussed issues around gender based violence (GBV), homeless women and the HIV outbreak in Glasgow, and supporting women to access sexual and reproductive health needs | SDF, UK

The Alcohol Health Alliance hosts roundtable discussion with Labour’s health team

This week, the Alcohol Health Alliance UK hosted a roundtable discussion with members of the Labour Shadow Health team on alcohol harm, COVID-19 and the national recovery | AHA UK, UK

P2P Naloxone with Mat Southwell - video

Peer to Peer Naloxone is a decentralised distribution mechanism designed by EuroINPUD for supporting people who use opiates. Mat Southwell is a veteran harm reductionist working on the frontlines for providing peer-led services to people who use drugs in the UK | Knowledge is Power, UK

New Horizons 2020: Call for applications

Applications are now invited for our New Horizons grants programme for innovative and future-facing academic research on 'Groups, Communities and Alcohol Harm' | Alcohol Change UK, UK

The Mindful Drinking Festival

30th July to 2nd August. Live on Facebook and Youtube. A long and inspiring weekend of drinks tastings, special offers, panels, conversations and community | Club Soda, UK

Met police increased use of section 60 stop and search during lockdown

Exclusive: number of people stopped with no grounds for suspicion doubled compared with previous year | Guardian, UK

Oldham arrest after £1.2m cannabis farm found

They found about 3,000 plants after raiding premises in Shaw Road, Oldham, at about 22:15 BST on Friday, Greater Manchester Police said | BBC, UK

Postmistress dubbed 'Deirdre the Dealer' sold cocaine alongside first class stamps

Deirdre Jenkins, 45, led a secret double life alongside being the postmistress in the rural Welsh village of Parcllyn, west Wales | Mirror, UK

Coronavirus: Gambling addiction treatments paused as staff redeployed

Treatments for dozens of people with gambling addictions across Great Britain were paused as NHS staff were redeployed due to coronavirus | BBC, UK


International news

World Hepatitis Day - 28 July 2020

Worldwide, 290 million people are living with viral hepatitis unaware. Without finding the undiagnosed and linking them to care, millions will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost. On World Hepatitis Day, 28 July, we call on people from across the world to take action and raise awareness to find the “missing millions” | WHA, UK

France drugs: PM Castex to impose on-the-spot fines nationwide

France will introduce on-the-spot fines nationwide for drug users, particularly targeting cannabis, from September | BBC, UK

Civil society webinar discussing the World Drug Report 2020

The Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC) together with the UNODC Civil Society Team are holding a series of webinars to present and discuss the World Drug Report 2020. The webinar in English will be held on July 27 at 3 p.m. Vienna time | IDPC, UK

Why smokers and vapers – and those around them – may face higher Covid-19 danger

New reports cast doubt on early claims smoking offered protection from disease | Guardian, UK

Addressing co-occurring public health emergencies: The importance of naloxone distribution in the era of COVID-19

Until recently, the overdose crisis has been at the forefront of public health efforts in the United States (US). However, with the COVID-19 pandemic and rapid rise in cases across the country, attention has quickly shifted at the federal and state levels from overdose response to minimizing the spread of COVID-19 | IJDP, UK

What the heroin industry can teach us about solar power

If you have ever doubted whether solar power can be a transformative technology, read on | BBC, UK

Australian police criticised after 'asking woman to remove tampon' during controversial strip search

Watchdog report recommends police force apologises to several women after potentially unlawful searches | Independent, UK

Many Irish people 'may be in denial' about the amount of alcohol they drink

Only a third of regular binge drinkers in Ireland recognise their drinking as harmful | Journal, Ireland

The new EU Agenda and Action Plan on Drugs 2021-2025

On the path toward building up its internal security, on 24 July 2020, the European Commission adopted a new EU Agenda and Action Plan on Drugs 2021-2025 as part of the Security Union Strategy. The new EU Agenda and Action Plan on Drugs 2021-2025 sets out the political framework and priorities for action in the next five years | Europa, Belgium

Entire police station shut in northern Italy amid 'drug-dealing', 'torture' and 'extortion' charges

Seven Carabinieri police officers have been arrested in Italy on Wednesday over charges including but not limited to drug-dealing, extortion, torture and abuse of power | Euronews, Belgium

Care for Veterans with Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders Requires Improvement

Veterans who have served in the U.S. military since the 9/11 attacks have a high level of need for both substance use treatment and mental health care, yet many do not receive appropriate help for their co-occurring disorders, according to a new RAND Corporation report | RAND, USA

FDA tells doctors to discuss overdose antidote with patients

Doctors who prescribe opioid painkillers should tell their patients about a potentially life-saving medication that can reverse drug overdoses, according to new federal guidelines issued Thursday | Medical Xpress, USA

A state tobacco monopoly looms over China’s e-cigarette makers

Smoore, the world’s most valuable vaping company, tries to carve out a niche among Chinese smokers | Economist, USA

Drug users at risk with closure of Halifax overdose prevention site, advocate says

The site on Gottingen Street closed at the end of June, but a new one is expected to open in the coming weeks | CBC News, Canada

$20m to fight meth harm in the regions and help addicts into jobs

A $20 million meth-fighting fund will be spread across the regions in hope of helping people with drug addictions clean up, as employers desperately seek reliable workers | Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Harry's Blog #102: How to Make a Public Health Disaster Worse: a 5-Point Guide

The primary concern of tobacco control should be to tackle the extent of the current adult smoking epidemic. This means tackling the projected toll from death and disease which will worsen as populations grow in those lower and middle income countries (LMIC) which already have the highest numbers of smokers | NSP blog, UK

Popularity of drugs like Xanax with young people has led to a rise in dangerous fake medicines

One of the problems with issuing alerts about illicit drugs is that rather than being put off, some people will actively seek out these drugs. The latest alert follows several people requiring hospital admission having used fake medicines, that they thought was a drug like Xanax | Independent voices, UK

The 7 year itch for Martha

Martha Mary Fernback died aged 15 from an accidental ecstasy overdose on the 20th of July 2013 in Oxford. Her mother Anne-Marie Cockburn has been campaigning over the past few years to have all drugs legally controlled and regulated as part of Anyone’s Child: Families for Safer Drug Control | Anyone's Child blog, UK 

Medical Cannabis in the UK: 2 Years On

Two years ago today, following a remarkable public campaign, UK laws were changed to permit specialist clinicians to prescribe medicinal cannabis for the first time | Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, UK

Labour Against Balloons

Rosie Duffield's campaign against laughing gas is the latest example of a Labour Party which plans to ignore evidence-based policy and subcontract out its politics to the tabloid press | Tribune Magazine, UK

Raves, laughing gas and drink: a nuisance in Hackney

This case involved the ancient tort of public nuisance. Such a claim is addressed to behaviour which inflicts damage, injury or inconvenience on all members of a class who come within the sphere or neighbourhood of its operation | UK Human Rights blog, UK

Quitting alcohol: 'The joyless vision of sobriety couldn’t have been further from the truth'

A new wave of support groups are breaking down stereotypes of sobriety, and appealing to very different demographics in the process | Guardian, UK

Alberta and B.C. grapple an overdose epidemic deadlier than COVID-19

The scourge of opioids seemed to finally ease last year in the two provinces where it has hit hardest. After taking a terrible toll in 2017 and 2018, the number of deaths in British Columbia fell by more than a third in 2019. In Alberta, deaths were down by almost one-quarter | Globe and Mail editorial, Canada