Daily news - 8th May 2020

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Coronavirus frequently updated resources

NEW: 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: information on stopping drinking for people dependent on alcohol

Advice on stopping drinking for people dependent on alcohol | PHE, UK

60% of people are less likely to access health services during lockdown

60% of people are less likely to access non-emergency health services due to the current coronavirus restrictions, according to research released today by drug, alcohol and mental health charity We Are With You | We Are With You, UK

Response to the ACMD recommendation: Epidyolex

A letter from the Minister of State for Fire and Policing to the ACMD, in response to the recommendation to Schedule Epidyolex | ACMD, UK

COVID-19 and addiction: webinars, podcasts and online discussions

In these unprecedented times there is a need to learn about the emerging evidence on COVID-19. Listed below are upcoming and recorded webinars, podcasts, and discussions on COVID-19 from organisations working in the addictions sector | SSA, UK

COVID19: UK Home Secretary Urged To Allow Pharmacists To Dispense Controlled Drugs

More than 50 drug policy, public health and harm reduction experts have signed an open letter urging the UK Home Secretary to trigger legislation that is contained in the recently amended Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. Such actions would allow additional flexibilities during the covid-19 pandemic pertaining to OST prescriptions such as methadone, benefitting patients and health care staff alike | Talking Drugs, UK

Minimum unit pricing (MUP) in Scotland: what we know so far (PDF)

Minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol was introduced in Scotland on 1 May 2018. MUP sets a floor price per unit, currently 50p, below which it is illegal to sell alcohol. This briefing collates some of the various sources of evidence that have been publicly released so far and assesses how useful they are in telling us what impact MUP has had | IAS, UK

Benzodiazepine use and prescribing during the pandemic - SDF COVID-19 Webinar - video

High rates of ‘street’ benzodiazepines has been a feature of problem drug use in Scotland for decades. The issue of whether and how to prescribe benzodiazepines has been long discussed but the COVD-19 pandemic has thrown these issues into stark relief | SDF, UK

The Scots doctor and her 'cure' for drug addiction

Scottish surgeon Dr Meg Patterson thought she had a cure for drug addiction but the technique she pioneered in the mid-1970s was never taken seriously. However, interest in it is growing in the US | BBC, UK

Multiple disadvantage: A framework for transition planning

Transition planning: Four questions for every local area and the new homelessness taskforce | MEAM, UK

Time really does make a difference to primary care brief intervention delivery

Lack of time in general practice consultations is probably the most commonly cited obstacle to more widespread screening and brief intervention for drinking in primary care. A study in England from 1992 proved this was not just an excuse for the low priority given to alcohol – an extra minute really did make a difference to alcohol advice and health promotion in general | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Heads Up: The UK Is Banning Menthol Cigarettes in Two Weeks

Say goodbye to ever feeling like you're in Year 10 again. | VICE, UK

Drug dealers posing as joggers and NHS staff in Covid-19 lockdown

Some using fake hospital ID badges to avoid police detection, say crime experts | Guardian, UK

'I Was Quite Surprised' – How Dealers Have Adapted to Lockdown

A new survey aims to find out how the UK's drug market is getting on | VICE, UK

'I might have died if they hadn't rescued me': life inside the new hotels for the homeless

Coronavirus prompted an emergency operation to house rough sleepers in Travelodges and Holiday Inns. In many ways it has been a success – but what happens next? | Guardian, UK

Reopening of beer gardens will require new smoking restrictions, says MP

An MP says new rules on smoking will need to introduced if the Government relaxes the lockdown on pubs and restaurants with outside seating | Shropshire Star, UK

Sugar Ray Leonard: Why I fell into 'alcohol and drugs' after legendary Hearns fight

All-time great Sugar Ray Leonard details his struggle with addiction following his legendary fight with Thomas "The Hitman" Hearns in 1981 | BBC, UK

Drugs: Organised Crime

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to dismantle the operations of the county lines drugs gangs in (a) Stoke-on-Trent and (b) Kidsgrove | They work for you, UK

Man charged after cocaine seized from fake medical supplies van

Cocaine worth more than £25m has been seized from a vehicle claiming to be taking medical supplies to a hospital | BBC, UK


International news

Booze bonanza for shops masks beer and spirits downturn

When Lionel Platteuw started planning how he would cope under Belgium’s coronavirus lockdown, there was one item he wanted to make sure he had enough of - alcohol | Reuters, UK

“Disturbing”—Cannabis Policing Meets COVID-19 Social Distancing Enforcement

On May 2, photos of New Yorkers congregating in some of the most affluent neighborhoods and parks in the city were uploaded online. Meanwhile, images of two cannabis policing incidents by the New York Police Department that put on full display the drug war’s counter-productivity and brutality sparked outrage on Twitter | Talking Drugs, UK

They're fearless’: the women battling to free Myanmar from meth

From jungle stakeouts to burning drug dealers’ property, a group of mothers is willing to do whatever it takes to free their community from addiction | Guardian, UK

COVID-19 and the drug supply chain: from production and trafficking to use (PDF)

Drug trafficking relies heavily on legal trade to camouflage its activities and on individuals being able to distribute drugs to consumers. The measures implemented by Governments to counter the COVID19 pandemic have thus inevitably affected all aspects of the illegal drug markets, from the production and trafficking of drugs to their consumption | UNODC, Austria

Alcohol Use in Times of COVID 19: Implications for Monitoring and Policy

Based on a literature search undertaken to determine the impacts of past public health crises, and a systematic review of the effects of past economic crises on alcohol consumption, two main scenarios – with opposite predictions regarding the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic on the level and patterns of alcohol consumption – are introduced | Movendi International, USA

Certain factors are linked to frequent use of e-cigarettes among adolescents

In the Public Health Nursing study of 1,556 adolescents in Korea, 55.1% reported that they had used e-cigarettes for 6 to 30 days in the past month and 44.9% used them from 1 to 5 days | News Medical, USA

Treatment for opioid use disorder is rare in hospitals, study finds

Despite a national opioid-related overdose epidemic that continues to claim tens of thousands of lives annually, a new nationwide study shows that a scant proportion of hospitalized patients with opioid use disorder receive proven life-saving medications both during and after they're discharged | EurekAlert, USA

Starting Bupe From Fentanyl Can Be a Nightmare. Microdosing Methods Help

What I remember most about precipitated withdrawal last year is the color yellow. It was like living the gruesome, nightmare version of a Coldplay song | Filter Magazine, USA

Coronavirus Drug Policies Echo Plague Scapegoating of the Past

Infectious waves of illness that flash flood through cities, regions and—rarely but occasionally—all continents, date back throughout recorded history | Filter Magazine, USA

Joe Biden’s Unwelcome Plan to Expand Coerced Treatment and Drug Courts

Presumed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden released his “Plan for Black America” on May 4, which discussed some of the drivers of racial inequality and how he proposes to fix them | Filter Magazine, USA

Drug and alcohol service shutting city doors

National not-for-profit organisation Drug ARM will close its two metropolitan Adelaide treatment centres including a needle exchange on Friday, after its funding contract expired and wasn’t renewed | Indaily, Australia

Motor vehicle accidents a leading cause of cannabis-related deaths new study finds

In the first Australian study of its kind, 559 cannabis-related deaths identified between 2000 and 2018 have been examined by researchers at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), UNSW Sydney | NDARC, Australia


Blogs, comment and opinion

People are drinking more in lockdown, but accessing health services less

During the coronavirus outbreak we need to find new ways to get people support | We Are With You blog, UK

Recreational drugs and isolation

Lockdown is a funny time to be taking drugs, isn’t it? On one hand, you’re likely working from home (or furloughed...), so can snort cocaine on a school night without the prospect of a 7/10 anxiety attack during the next morning’s commute | Drugs and me blog, UK