Daily news - 17th March 2020

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UK news

COVID-19: guidance for hostel or day centre providers of services for people experiencing rough sleeping

This guidance will assist staff and employers in addressing coronavirus (COVID-19), in a hostel or day centre environment. This guidance may be updated in line with the changing situation | PHE, UK

Coronavirus: 'Safe spaces' needed for homeless to self-isolate

Safe spaces must be provided for the homeless and other vulnerable people to self-isolate, ministers are being told | BBC, UK

Dame Carol Black's independent review of drugs - Early Day Motion

That this House acknowledges the importance of Professor Dame Carol Black's informative and insightful Independent Review of Drugs; notes that her research reveals that while the cost to society of illegal drugs is estimated at £20 billion per year, only £600 million is spent on treatment and prevention... | UK Parliament, UK

NDTMS: recording data on blood-borne virus interventions

Added with March 2020 blood borne virus (BBV) information | PHE, UK

Understanding the link between alcohol excises and the price of alcoholic drinks in UK supermarkets using scanner data

The alcoholic drinks market is characterised by an incomplete pass-through: for every £1 tax increase only £0.66 is passed onto the price | Alcohol Change UK, UK

Out of harm's way (PDF)

This document has been written in response to one of eight recommendations in the West Midlands PCC’s Drugs Policy Report (2018), a report that adopts a new approach that is dictated by evidence and compassion and where the emphasis centres on harm reduction to help to lower crime, save money and support communities | West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, UK

Health groups disappointed again as 2020 budget freezes duties

The 2020 spring budget has again left health groups dismayed by freezing all duties, which the IAS point out is the seventh year out of the last eight that alcohol duties failed to keep up with inflation | Alcohol Policy UK, UK

Desperate Scots forced to beg and borrow to fund drugs rehab after public funding slashed

Poor families have racked up bills of more than £10,000 as they pay for their loved ones to enter long-term rehab centres in last-ditch bids to save their lives | Daily Record, UK

On Drugs: Performance Enhancing Drugs - audio

Comedian Jacob Hawley explores the UK drugs scene, looking at the murky world of doping and Performance Enhancing Drugs | BBC, UK

New Fingerprint Technology Can Tell If You've Taken Coke Recently

University of Surrey researchers have figured out a new way to test for cocaine and yes, it works – we tried it | VICE, UK

Volunteering at Bristol Drugs Project is a glimpse into how spaces of community and support can be fostered

Through the pink door at Number 11 Brunswick Square, into a homely room filled with the everyday sounds of tea-making and gentle chatter about the weather | B24/7, UK

How too many drinks at a wedding led to the creation of the UK's best breathalyser 

[Free registration may be required] AlcoSense has won more awards than any other at-home breathlysing kit, but it all started at the morning after a heavy night... | Telegraph, UK

Fenland distillery using surplus alcohol to make hand sanitiser for vulnerable

A small family run distillery in Cambridgeshire has started producing hand sanitiser using a surplus supply of its alcohol to help those who are struggling to get hold of any | ITV, UK


International news

COVID19 Harm Reduction for People Who Use Drugs

The following tips were developed to inform the global community of drug users on important harm reduction tips to practice during the current COVID-19 ("coronavirus") pandemic | Talking Drugs, UK

Coronavirus: Does smoking and vaping put you at risk

Those who are older or have underlying medical conditions are most susceptible to disease, according to CDC | Independent, UK

Dutch panic buyers queue round the block for cannabis

Cannabis panic buyers were queueing round the block in the Netherlands to stock up on weed before a nationwide shut down | Metro, UK

Ireland bans menthol cigarettes and rolling tobacco starting May 20

In Ireland, menthol cigarettes and rolling tobacco, along with irregularly shaped packs such as skinny cigarettes will be banned from May 20 | Euronews, Ireland

How Harm Reducers Cope with the Covid-19 Pandemic in Europe?

Drugreporter gives a short overview about how European harm reduction service providers mitigate the risks of Covid-19 infections and protect their clients, who are among the most at risk groups of our societies. (This article is being constantly updated as we receive more information.) | Drug Reporter, Hungary

UN Committee calls Ukraine to decriminalize the possession of drugs

In January 2018 EHRA together with Canadian HIV/AIDS legal network and Charitable Fund Ukrainian Network of People who Use Drugs VOLNA submitted the report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on the disproportional sentencing of people who use drugs and their access to health and social services in Ukraine | EHRA, Lithuania

New COVID-19 precautionary measures: EMCDDA to switch to teleworking from 16 March 2020

EMCDDA staff members will be switching to teleworking today following a decision by its Director Alexis Goosdeel (1). The decision comes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to intensify and as the EU and its Member States adopt new precautionary measures | EMCDDA, Portugal

Young adults vape without knowing what's in their e-cigarettes

The study, published online in March 2020 in the Journal of Adolescent Health, raises concerns about the labeling and regulation of vaping products | News Medical, USA

Magnetic component in e-cigarettes found to interfere with implantable cardioverter-defibrillator function

Potential for unintended temporary programming and arrhythmic complications when an electronic cigarette is placed in close proximity to an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator or pacemaker reported in HeartRhythm Case Reports | EurekAlert, USA

Prevalence and Risk Factors of Nonmedical Prescription Opioid Use Among Transgender Girls and Young Women

In this cross-sectional study of 297 transgender girls and young women, 35 participants (11.8%) reported lifetime nonmedical prescription opioid use. Risk factors for opioid use included smoking cigarettes and identifying as a sexual orientation other than gay, lesbian, or bisexual | JAMA Open network, USA



Blogs, comment and opinion

Drug Treatment and Coronavirus/COVID19

As you are all aware, this virus is rapidly spreading and affecting people with underlying health conditions – that is practically everyone who attends a drug treatment clinic. Many people who use drug treatment services have COPD, and that means this virus can hit you harder | Release blog, UK

Ian Hamilton: Covid-19—are we rationing who we care about?

Certain vulnerable groups risk being left behind in our response to the covid-19 outbreak, says Ian Hamilton | BMJ opinion, UK

No strangers to the bar: the drinking habits of MPs

Dr Tony Rao describes a recent study examining alcohol use by Members of the UK Parliament | IAS blog, UK

How Drug Policies are Breaching Human Rights in 2020

Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch released its latest World Report, reviewing human rights and spotlighting abuses in nearly 100 countries. Drug policy shouldn’t feature heavily in such a report. Unfortunately, it does — revealing just how much more has to be done to ensure human rights-compliant drug policies | Transform blog, UK

Harm Reduction in the Time of Coronavirus

We have never had the luxury of being innocent to viruses nor epidemics. Our most codified histories trace the emergence of harm reduction in the United States to the grassroots mobilization against the wildfire ravages of the AIDS crisis among people who use drugs through community education and syringe exchange programs | Daniel Raymond blog, USA