Daily news - 15th May 2020

Weekly subscribe button

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

Lockdown leads to increases in secondhand smoke exposure for children

Health campaigners are warning that new evidence suggests lockdown has left more children exposed to the harms of secondhand smoke | Smokefree Action, UK

Oxfordshire plan to be first 'smoke-free' county agreed

Authorities will look to ensure that less than 5% of its adult population smoke - half of the current total | BBC, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the level of alcohol consumption during the covid-19 outbreak | They work for you, UK

Drugs: Misuse

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the level of illegal drug use during the covid-19 outbreak | They work for you, UK

Alcoholic Drinks: Rehabilitation

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment has he made of the availability of inpatient NHS alcohol detoxification beds in (a) the UK, (b) London and (c) Suffolk during the covid-19 outbreak | They work for you, UK

No 8 - Substance Misuse and Clinical Responses - video

A conversation with Dr Roya Vaziri, from Humankind | MEAM, UK

2020 Recovery Street Film Festival is open for submissions

This year we are inviting anyone who is directly or indirectly affected by addiction (individuals, family members, friends, professionals) to make a 60 second film on the theme of ‘Isolation’ | RSFF, UK

Bathgate father and son charged over airport drug seizures

A father and son have been charged after a new psychoactive substance with a black market value of £60,000 was seized by Border Force at two airports | BBC, UK


International news

Smugglers impregnated cardboard with cocaine, Spanish police say

Eighteen people arrested over scheme in which chemists were sent to extract drug from boxes | Guardian, UK

Coronavirus: How the pandemic is relaxing US drinking laws

Coronavirus has Americans picking up two new summer accessories: a mask and an alcoholic to-go drink | BBC, UK

Beer today, gone tomorrow: Australian brewers tip 7.8m pints down the drain

Big companies and microbreweries dump millions of litres of old keg beer weeks after pubs were closed to stem spread of coronavirus | Guardian, UK

South African minister embraces 'zol' meme that mocks her cannabis slang

A viral song sampling a verbal warning about the dangers of cannabis during the pandemic has been embraced by the politician who said it | BBC, UK

Alcohol consumption in Finland skyrockets amid pandemic

Statistics reveal that alcohol sales in Finland increased by 23% in April compared to the year before. Finnish national alcoholic beverage retailing monopoly, Alko, saw its sales of Rosé wine increase by 40% that month, while red and white wins saw a 35% and 28% increase respectively | Euractiv, Belgium

Death of despair (PDF)

More Americans could lose their lives to deaths of despair, deaths due to drug, alcohol, and suicide, if we do not do something immediately. Deaths of despair have been on the rise for the last decade, and in the context of COVID-19, deaths of despair should be seen as the epidemic within the pandemic. The goal of this report is to predict what deaths of despair we might see based on three assumptions during COVID-19: economic recovery, relationship between deaths of despair and unemployment, and geography | Wellbeing Trust, USA

Complicated Alcohol Withdrawal—An Unintended Consequence of COVID-19 Lockdown 

We examined the change in the incidence of severe alcohol withdrawal syndrome presenting to hospitals in the city of Bangalore | Alcohol and Alcoholism, USA

Assessing the Evidence on Supervised Drug Consumption Sites

Current levels of opioid-related morbidity and mortality in the United States are staggering. Data for 2017 indicate that there were more than 47,000 opioid-involved overdose deaths (roughly similar to deaths from AIDS at its peak in 1995), and 1 in 8 adults now report having had a family member or close friend die from opioids | RAND, USA

Practices of care among people who buy, use, and sell drugs in community settings

Popular perception of people who sell drugs is negative, with drug selling framed as predatory and morally reprehensible. In contrast, people who use drugs (PWUD) often describe positive perceptions of the people who sell them drugs. The “Satellite Sites” program in Toronto, Canada, provides harm reduction services in the community spaces where people gather to buy, use, and sell drugs | Harm Reduction Journal, USA

Automotive assembly plant closure and opioid overdose mortality rates: Is economic opportunity the difference between life and death?

The erosion of economic opportunities has long been tied to diseases of despair such as drug overdoses, suicides, and alcohol-related liver disease. Like the current coronavirus pandemic, the closing of automotive plants are significant events that, in one fell swoop, can ravage a community’s economy | BASIS, USA

SF Sees Success Battling Drug Overdoses During COVID-19

Shelter-in-place rules make it harder to reach people who use drugs, but local providers have adapted | SF Weekly, USA

I Secretly Started Using Heroin Again in Lockdown

My heart pounded as the rough, beige powder raced through a straw, into my nostril. Heroin—my first hit since 1999 | Filter Magazine, USA

Fiscal Crisis for Cities and States Threatens Harm Reduction Funding

City and state governments around the US are facing a fiscal crisis as the coronavirus pandemic has taken away sales tax and other revenues. Because of “balanced budget” laws in many jurisdictions, governments unable to run deficits are being forced to cut spending and lay off public sector workers | Filter Magazine, USA

Cambodian official says human rights 'need to be put aside' in drug war

A Cambodian official on Wednesday defended an anti-drug campaign that has been decried as rife with abuses, saying human rights “need to be put aside” to fight drugs that destroy families and fuel violent crime | Reuters, USA

Halt drug possession charges during pandemic to stem spike in overdose deaths, advocates say

COVID-19 is leading to more dangerous drug use practices among vulnerable people | CBC News, Canada

Dan Murphy's quest to set up NT store near three dry Indigenous communities enters fifth year

Alcohol-fuelled violence, a loss of culture and pedestrian safety are at the forefront of objectors pleas to stop a Dan Murphy’s being built near three dry Indigenous communities in the Top End | SBS News, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Coronavirus: big tobacco sees an opportunity in the pandemic

Over the last few months, as COVID-19 has spread around the world, big tobacco has exploited the pandemic to push its branding and products. The industry never misses a trick when it comes to exploiting the chaos of international crises, including wars. The current pandemic is no exception | Conversation, UK

Regulating Vaping — Policies, Possibilities, and Perils

Federal and state governments have implemented numerous policies to combat the growth of vaping. To promote the health of the population, however, policies should protect young people without diminishing the ability of e-cigarettes to help adult smokers transition away from more harmful combustible cigarettes or to serve as a cessation aid for people attempting to quit smoking | NEJM, USA

Recovery at the Grassroots: Addicts, Alcoholics, and Communal Living in Postwar Los Angeles

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from contributing editor Jordan Mylet, a doctoral candidate in history at the University of California, San Diego. This is Part 2 in a series on The Addict and Addiction Treatment Before the War on Drugs | Points blog, USA

2,200 deaths, 32,000 hospital admissions, 15.7 billion dollars: what opioid misuse costs Australia in a year

In a single year, extra-medical opioid use caused more than 2,200 deaths, 32,000 hospital admissions and resulted in the loss of over 70,000 years of life in Australia | Conversation, Australia