Daily news - 1st June 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

COVID-19: advice for smokers and vapers

Advice for people who smoke or vape during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak | PHE, UK

Medical use of cannabis

This briefing provides an overview on the recent change in the law and debate on medicinal cannabis products | House of Commons Library, UK

Lockdowners and Uppers - audio

Myles Bonnar talks to three people about their recreational drug use during lockdown. He also hears from the Scottish Drugs Forum and Crew 2000 about changes in drug use, and advice for people who are using drugs during the pandemic | BBC Sounds, UK [See also item below]

'Lockdown boredom led me to smoke more weed’

Like most of us at the beginning of lockdown, Reece had big plans about what he and his partner would do with the extra time | BBC, UK

Need to switch off? Brits more likely to turn to alcohol than turn off their work phone

UK workers trying to switch off from work are more likely to drink alcohol (26%) than turn off their work phone (25%) or switch on its ‘do not disturb’ mode (17%), according to connectivity experts 99&One | HRNews, UK

Deaths of young men have fallen during lockdown, Cambridge study shows

Fewer drivers on the roads and the hospitality industry shutdown means fewer men are dying in accidents and from alcohol-related incidents | Telegraph, UK

SMMGP and Royal College of Psychiatrists present COVID19: Managing entry and release from prison

Tuesday 2 June, 4pm - 5pm. Our next webinar will address the specific issues that COVID-19 is creating for people coming into prison and returning back to the community. It will cover physical health, mental health and substance misuse | SMMGP, UK

Hundreds of arrests and deal lines closed as police crackdown on county lines gangs

The Home Secretary has today welcomed the impact of a major police crackdown on county lines gangs | Home Office and The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, UK

Coronavirus: Sanitiser maker's links back to Victorian cough cure

A company that can trace its roots back to the makers of a medicine Florence Nightingale used to treat soldiers in the Crimean War is manufacturing sanitiser to donate to frontline workers | BBC, UK

Three arrests after eight million cigarettes seized

Officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) attended a property in Newry on Saturday morning along with colleagues from the PSNI | BBC, UK

Suspected cannabis worth more than £600k seized in Belfast and Ballyclare

Two raids were carried out as part of an investigation into criminality linked to the east Belfast UVF | BBC, UK

'Violent and arrogant' Warrington drugs gang bosses jailed

Two ringleaders of a drugs gang who enlisted their girlfriends and a grandmother to help run their criminal business have been jailed | BBC, UK


International news

“Some of us need to be taken care of”: young adults’ perspectives on support and help in drug reducing interventions in coercive contexts in Denmark and the UK

This paper provides an account of young people’s experiences of and perspectives on help and support in drug reducing interventions. It is based on interviews with young people age 14–25 who were in contact with the Criminal Justice System (CJS) and, at the same time, participated in a drug reducing intervention. The interview data forms part of the EU funded EPPIC project | DEPP, UK

South Africa's alcohol ban has given ‘massive boost’ to criminal gangs

Prohibition of beer and spirit sales has cut rates of murder and violence but the resulting illicit trade will now be hard to stop | Guardian, UK

The War on Drugs And The Justification Of Black Death

Our relationship to punishment and our relationship to white supremacy and anti-black racism intersect. Within a carceral logic, “criminals” deserve to be punished. But blackness itself is always already criminal. Ideas and misconceptions about drugs, addiction and criminality mean that derivative moral judgements and racialised logic about "criminals" - as opposed to facts about drugs - is shaping drug policy | Talking Drugs, UK

'Cannabis burned during worship' by ancient Israelites - study

A well-preserved substance found in a 2,700-year-old temple in Tel Arad has been identified as cannabis, including its psychoactive compound THC | BBC, UK

Desert, drugs and fatal desperation: the true story behind Alice Springs trio's miraculous rescue

They told friends they going for a drive. Two weeks later, one was dead, two were lucky to be alive, and the police had found the site of their drug stash | Guardian, UK

Elton John says it took a ‘Herculean effort’ to get his cocaine use noticed in 1970s Los Angeles

Singer said there were moments in his biopic Rocketman that made him ‘sob’ remembering his former addiction struggles | Independent, UK

The Changing Nature of the Benzodiazepine Market

Benzodiazepines are a widely prescribed group of medicines with a range of clinical uses that include treating anxiety, insomnia, acute muscle spasms and managing alcohol withdrawal | Drugs.ie, Ireland

New report provides window onto EU drug market changes during COVID-19

What effect is COVID-19 having on the largest criminal market in the EU? This question is explored in EU Drug Markets: Impact of COVID-19, a new report out today [see next item] | EMCDDA and Europol, Portugal

EU Drug Markets — Impact of COVID-19

What effect is COVID-19 having on the drug market in the EU? This joint publication from the EMCDDA and Europol analyses the impact of the pandemic on the market for the main drug types (cannabis, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, NPS), including demand, production, trafficking and availability. It reports higher prices, local shortages and reduced purity for some drugs, while noting continued violence among suppliers and distributors. It also shows how organised crime groups remain active and resilient, by adapting transportation models, trafficking routes and concealment methods, even during the pandemic | EMCDDA and Europol, Portugal

Resources on COVID-19 and drug markets

The EMCDDA is producing a series of special reports and briefings on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on drug markets. COVID-19 and the related government responses are likely to precipitate impacts that have never been observed before and have therefore not been studied | EMCDDA, Portugal

Anesthetic drug Ketamine uses serotonin receptors to relieve depression

The study comes from Sweden, where depression affects 10% of men and 20% of women. This makes it the most frequently diagnosed mental disorder in this country | News Medical, USA

Study: Public health campaigns can do better on cannabis harm reduction

UB, University of Michigan researchers surveyed cannabis enthusiasts about their knowledge of effective harm reduction strategies | EurekAlert, USA

Incidence of Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder Following Nonfatal Overdose in Commercially Insured Patients

In this cohort study of national commercial insurance claims for 6451 patients, 16.6% of patients obtained follow-up treatment after a nonfatal opioid overdose. Among those who had not received treatment for opioid use disorder before the overdose, patients of older age, female sex, black race, and Hispanic ethnicity were less likely to obtain follow-up | JAMA Network, USA

States explore keeping alcohol on-demand delivery permanent after COVID

For more than half the country, restaurants and bars have been allowed to deliver beer, wine and cocktails to customers stuck at home as part of various states' emergency orders | abc news, USA

Most Baltimore Primary Candidates Back Safe Consumption Sites

A survey released by Baltimore-based safe consumption site (SCS) advocacy group the BRIDGES (Baltimore Resources for Indoor Drug-use Grassroots Education and Safety) Coalition shows that 54 out of 74 of the city’s mayoral and council candidates polled answered “yes” to the question, “Will you actively support establishing overdose prevention sites [OPS, another term for SCS] in Baltimore City?” | Filter Magazine, USA

More Canadians are dying of drug overdoses — and coronavirus is to blame

Shawn Richards began the month of March 2020 clean and sober | Global News, Canada

Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) statement on tobacco use, e-cigarette use and COVID-19

A statement from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) about tobacco use, e-cigarette use and COVID-19 | AHPPC, Australia

Role of alcohol in family violence revealed by specialists in COVID-19 assessment

The seriousness of alcohol’s role in family and intimate partner violence is evident in an Australian-first survey of specialists working in domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic | FARE, Australia

A vape being touted as a vitamin inhaler is being targeted to young women on Instagram

Inhale Vitamins herbal vapes are marketed via social media with experts saying the company appears to be actively targeting a younger demographic | New Zealand Herald, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Cannabis: high potency strains linked to greater chance of anxiety – new research

Cannabis is one of the most commonly used drugs in the world, though it’s only legal in a few places. Despite it’s popularity, there’s still a lot that researchers don’t know about how cannabis, including how it affects our mental health | Conversation, UK

A letter to… my alcoholic husband, in lockdown

‘The hardest part is the loneliness. It falls on me to try to educate our children and manage our dwindling finances’: the letter you always wanted to write | Guardian letters, UK

Hope for a Dutch MUP

The lobby for effective alcohol measures has grown in recent times, argues Wim van Dalen | IAS blog, UK

Peru’s war on drugs is an abject failure – here’s what it can learn from Bolivia

When Peruvian government forces began eradicating coca leaf, the raw material for cocaine, without warning in a remote corner of Peru’s principal coca growing region last November, they were met by growers armed with sticks and rocks | Conversation, UK