Daily news - 25th March 2020

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Release and Transform’s Submission to Treasury Committee Enquiry on Government’s coronavirus financial package

Release and Transform are both charities working on issues that impact people who use drugs, including those who are drug dependent and those in treatment for this condition. This briefing has also been informed by clinical leads and experts from the drug treatment sector including Change Grow Live and Humankind. This submission is also supported by Harm Reduction International and Recovering Justice | Release, UK

Government announces £2.9bn for supporting vulnerable people

The Department of Health and Social Care and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have announced £2.9 billion of funding allocation for local authorities to support vulnerable people, including people who are homeless during the COVID-19 crisis. This funding is from the £500 billion COVID-19 fund announced in The Budget | MEAM, UK

FAQs from Families about Coronavirus

There is no doubt that you are facing a variety of challenges at this current time and we want you to know that our team are here to help in any way we can | SFAD, UK

County Lines Drugs Gangs

What steps her Department is taking to dismantle the operations of county lines drugs gangs | They work for you, UK

Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, which (a) Scottish constituency hon. Members, (b) English constituency hon. Members and (c) Members of the Scottish Parliament were invited to the Government's drugs summit held in Glasgow on 27 February 2020 | They work for you, UK

Electronic Cigarettes

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of (a) the number of people and (b) the number of people under the age of 18 who have taken up vaping who did not previously smoke cigarettes | They work for you, UK

On Drugs: Prescription Drug Abuse - 'Our Dealers Wear White Coats' - audio

This week, Jacob heads to Bradford to find out more about prescription drug abuse - people using and becoming addicted to drugs that you can get from your doctor or at a pharmacy | BBC, UK

Alcohol and the Outbreak

Friday 27th, at 2pm, UK time, here. The coronavirus outbreak has created radically new conditions for everyone, including those working to reduce alcohol harm. Expert speaker will seed a free-flowing group discussion of a vast and rapidly evolving topic. Addiction psychiatrist Peter Rice will put post-covid drinking at home in the context of a long trend in that direction. And Bill Greer, President of SMART Recovery, will join from Washington to detail a rapid switch to online recovery meetings. These sessions seed a Q&A and a chance for attendees to offer their own valuable insights | Phil Cain, UK

Drug dealer sentenced after Mutiny Festival deaths probe

Lee Harvey, 22, was detained as part of inquiries into drug dealing at Portsmouth's Mutiny Festival in 2018, although he did not attend the event | BBC, UK


International news

Coronavirus: Denver mayor forced to reverse lockdown of alcohol and marijuana shops following panic buying

City reconsiders restrictions but only with implementation of extreme social-distancing measures | Independent, UK

COVID-19 Resource Centre

To support people who use drugs and other marginalized and underserved communities, as well as health and social workers delivering services under challenging conditions to bring this outbreak to a close, Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network is developing this Coronavirus Resource Centre | Correlation: European Harm Reduction Network, Netherlands

Drugs in Iran: A New IranWire Series

The illicit drugs trade in Iran has shaped countless lives, exacerbated by punitive and misguided polices that have left some of society’s most vulnerable in the cold. In an exclusive new series for IranWire, academic Dariush Farahani lifts the lid on an under-reported contemporary crisis | Iran wire, Iran

Smokers At Higher Risk Of Severe COVID-19 During Coronavirus Outbreak

A leading expert has warned that smokers are likely at increased risk of more severe COVID-19, compared to non-smokers, suggesting that now would be a particularly good time to try and quit or cut down | Forbes, USA

Mapping the cannabis genome to improve crops and health

Unlocking the full potential of cannabis for agriculture and human health will require a co-ordinated scientific effort to assemble and map the cannabis genome, says a just-published international study led by University of Saskatchewan researchers | EurekAlert, Canada

COVID-19 aka Coronavirus : Some Things You Should Know for People Who Use Drugs or are on Pharmacotherapy

Harm reduction advice | HRVIC, Australia

Delay Vaping Bill And Ensure Product Access

The Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand (VTANZ) has written to the Associate Health Minister, Minister for Small Business, and the Chair of the Health Select Committee asking for the legislation to regulate vaping to be delayed and for clarity going forward | SCOOP, New Zealand

Covid-19 coronavirus: Liquor stores record 1800% spike in business ahead of alert level 4 lockdown

The alcohol industry is calling for calm as bottle stores targeted by panic buying recorded an 1800 per cent spike in business yesterday ahead of the Covid-19 lockdown | NZ Herald, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

A shortage of illicit drugs is imminent due to the coronavirus lockdown – and the consequences could be deadly

Various aspects of life need radical recalibration, including our stagnant approach to drug policy. If ever there was a time to introduce consumption rooms, it is now | Independent voices, UK

Last week was unprecedented - this week needs to be too - MEAM Approach

As we reflect on the last seven days, three things are clear: This is an unprecedented time, both in terms of the issue and the response. Second, the pandemic will almost certainly have a disproportionate impact on certain groups of people | MEAM blog, UK

We need to support the vulnerable as COVID-19 spreads

The COVID-19 crisis has now left an impact on every aspect of our lives. The recent, unprecedented, social distancing rules have been widely accepted on the basis that this is an issue of shared risk. For now, most of us are prepared to give up core liberties in order to protect vital services and ‘flatten the curve’ | Transform, UK

Opinion: Unfamiliar Ground | Kaleidoscope and COVID-19

A crisis such as this forces pressing issues to the foreground, issues that governments have long avoided taking sufficient measures to solve. Our under-funded health surface, often cruel welfare system and unacceptable numbers of street homeless are now frighteningly visible to all | Volte Face opinion, UK

Covid-19 and smoking: the elephant in the room?

The role of smoking in the contraction, transmission and mortality rate of Covid-19 should be given research attention, and countries should allocate resources to health stimulus packages, scientific research, and actions to further reduce smoking rates | BMJ blog, UK

Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking: A Potential Conduit of COVID-19

On New Year’s Eve 2019, the outbreak of a novel infectious respiratory disease (known as Coronavirus disease 2019; COVID-19) was reported in several patients with a history of exposure to the Huanan seafood market, in multiple hospitals in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China | BMJ blog, UK

Protecting people experiencing homelessness from the coronavirus

Our Executive Director of Strategy and Policy, Dominic Williamson, outlines what the Government must do to protect both our staff and people experiencing homelessness during the coronavirus pandemic | St Mungos blog, UK

The E-Cigarette Revolution That Wasn't

In 2014, the Oxford English Dictionary christened "vape" the Word of the Year. The designation was a tribute to the impressive rise of the electronic cigarette, a battery-powered device that heats a flavored solution containing nicotine and converts it into an inhalable, or "vape-able," aerosol | National Affairs, USA