Daily news - 24th March 2020

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Coronavirus resources

Note from PHE

Drug and alcohol treatment staff are included in the definition, released by the government of key workers whose children can – if they cannot be kept safe at home – continue to attend school.

If there are problems obtaining supplies of essential personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitising gel, you can call the NHS supply disruption number: 0800 915 9964.

PHE is working with DHSC and others to try to mitigate the impact of community pharmacy policy changes and closures, which are restricting or ending the availability of supervised consumption of OST. Most services already have contingency plans to move people off supervised consumption but these plans now need to be accelerated.

Treatment and recovery services – and COVID-19

Regularly updated page collating guidance and resources on the virus relating to people who use drugs and services | Collective Voice, UK

Useful coronavirus (COVID-19) links

Here is a list of links to information about coronavirus including national guidance, information for treatment services, harm reduction advice for people who use drugs, online courses and news and opinion | SSA, UK


UK news

Coronavirus: Uncharted Waters

The coronavirus outbreak is transforming almost every aspect of our society at dizzying speed. DDN looks at the impact so far on treatment services and their vulnerable client groups | DDN, UK

Coronavirus advice

In light of the current situation we thought it would be useful to collate as much information, advice, and useful resources as possible | DDN, UK

‘Service as usual’ during the COVID-19 outbreak?

In response to the global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, UK governments are imploring citizens to ‘stay at home’ and ‘avoid all non-essential contact’. However, if the spirit of the advice is for us all to reduce opportunities to contract and transmit the virus, what happens to services that typically require people to leave their house on a regular (sometimes daily) basis? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Policing a pandemic: The challenges of maintaining law and order during the Coronavirus response (PDF)

The impact of the coronavirus crisis on crime and law and order will be profound but likely short term. The consequences of extremely high ‘surge’ demand on the health service alongside drastic government induced measures will shake up all social norms, resulting in a significant shock to the economy and high levels of disruption combined with pressure on families and local communities. This will increase demands on the already overstretched police and other emergency services | Policy Exchange, UK

Coronavirus outbreak could increase gang violence in UK, report finds

Social distancing measures will increase competition between drug dealers, Policy Exchange finds | Independent, UK

COVID-19 Special Edition

A warm welcome to Multiple Disadvantage Matters, the newsletter from the Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) coalition. During this unprecedented time, we're reaching out to the network to let you know what we're doing, hear about how you are responding locally, and to learn more about how we can best support you at this time | MEAM, UK

Coronavirus: UK urged to waive alcohol duty for companies stepping up to make hand sanitiser

The Scottish finance secretary and an SNP MP have asked the government to waive the duty for companies making hand gels | Edinburgh Live, UK

Coronavirus: Premises still trading could lose their licence

Police Scotland has issued a statement condemning pubs which have continued to trade despite the UK and Scottish government orders to close – and has warned that pubs still open to the public will be closed and referred to their licensing board | Scottish Licensed Trade News, UK

What constitutes ‘quality’ in alcohol screening and brief intervention?

Responding to concerns that screening and intervention quality can be compromised in the drive for quantity, on-line course asks what ‘quality’ is, when official UK recommendations appear comprehensively contradicted by government-funded research undertaken precisely in order to identify effective practice in real-world settings | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

IAS Strategy 2020-2023 (PDF)

Since its establishment, the Institute of Alcohol Studies has worked to raise understanding of the harm alcohol causes to individuals, families, communities and society as a whole. Often faced with ambivalence in political circles, IAS has ensured alcohol harm has remained on the policy agenda, informing key decision makers and influencers with the latest available evidence on what works to reduce harm | IAS, UK

IAS Small Grants Scheme call for applications

We are inviting applications from researchers – especially early career researchers – to a new small grants scheme. This scheme will provide funding for innovative research ideas that can help inform public policy debates on how to tackle alcohol harm. Priority will be given to proposals that align with our organisational objectives, as outlined in our Strategy 2020–2023 | IAS blog, UK

Bristol explosion: Drug producer James Toogood jailed

A man who destroyed a block of flats in an explosion he caused while producing drugs has been jailed | BBC, UK


International news

Mexican city rejects plans for giant US-owned brewery amid water shortages

Vote in border city of Mexicali is unlikely win for farmers and activists over wealthy maker of Corona, Modelo and Pacifico | Guardian, UK

'Chaos' at Australian bottle shops as drinkers rush to buy alcohol amid fears of coronavirus lockdown - before PM confirms liquor stores will stay OPEN

Drinkers rushed to bottle shops around Australia on Sunday fearing a coronavirus lockdown, before the Prime Minister confirmed liquor stores would stay open | Mail Online, UK

Clinical guidelines for opioid substitute treatment. Guidance document for OST in the hospital setting (PDF)

Appropriate policies and standard operating procedures for the provision of in-patient Opioid Substitution Treatment (OST) is paramount to patient safety when treating a person with an opioid dependency (prescribed or unprescribed) | Health Service Executive, Ireland

Smoking Prevalence and Secondhand Smoke Exposure during Pregnancy and Postpartum—Establishing Risks to Health and Human Rights before Developing a Tailored Programme for Smoking Cessation

To identify the number of pregnant women smoking during pregnancy and to identify their exposure to secondhand smoke, we conducted a cross-sectional observational pilot study in one regional maternity hospital in Ireland in July/August 2018 |  International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Ireland

Impact of Covid-19 on drugs trade likely to hit recreational cocaine users most

Garda sources say reduction in cocaine use more likely to be due to economic factors than to closure of clubs and pubs | Irish Times, Ireland

Preventing COVID-19 outbreak in prisons: a challenging but essential task for authorities

Today, WHO/Europe has published interim guidance on how to deal with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in prisons and other places of detention, entitled “Preparedness, prevention and control of COVID-19 in prisons and other places of detention” | WHO, Denmark

CDC’s successful Tips From Former Smokers campaign returns on March 23

New ads feature the real-life impact of smoking on people who smoke – and their loved ones | CDC, USA

How Harm Reduction Is Responding to the Pandemic

In the two weeks since the first coronavirus cases were confirmed in New York City, the harm reduction landscape here has been rewritten | Filter Magazine, USA

When Methadone Clinics Support Patients Who Use Marijuana

Methadone patients face many harsh restrictions. Among them, clinics frequently test for and punish cannabis use, including by withdrawing services—even when cannabis is legally prescribed, and despite this not being required by federal guidelines | Filter Magazine, USA

PA Liquor Store Closures Put Heavy Drinkers at Risk: Here’s How to Taper

All Pennsylvania liquor stores were closed at 9 pm on March 17 as part of the state’s coronavirus response—in contrast to states such as New York, where liquor stores have been deemed “essential.” | Filter Magazine, USA

Researchers Got People to Hallucinate from Fake Psychedelics

When it comes to taking hallucinogenic drugs, context may matter in deeper ways than previously assumed | VICE, USA

Supervised Drug Use Will Move Online Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Some Vancouver harm reduction advocates are taking a DIY approach to B.C.’s intersecting health emergencies | VICE, Canada

Coronavirus and addiction: For people in recovery, self-isolation can be harmful

For someone struggling with addiction, fellowship is a big part of the recovery process. Unfortunately, since the coronavirus outbreak began and social distancing became the norm, this process has become more challenging | Global News, Canada


Blogs, comment and opinion

Coronavirus crisis shows why homelessness urgently needs to become a thing of the past

The terrifying reality of living rough is never more apparent than when someone is ill. There is no bed, there are no walls, there is little physical safety, or protection from the elements. And there is no personal space to control or keep clean | Conversation, UK