Daily news - 18th 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: guidance for commissioners and providers of services for people who use drugs or alcohol

Added clarification on guidance and legislation | PHE and DHSC, UK

Media Advisory: Ban on menthol flavoured cigarettes comes into force on 20 May 2020

From Wednesday 20th May 2020, the sale of menthol flavoured cigarettes and tobacco products will be prohibited | ASH, UK

Plan to study nicotine patches as potential coronavirus treatment

Doctors in Wales could stage trial after suggestion smokers may be less at risk of Covid-19 | Guardian, UK

Charity brings drug treatments to addicts' doors in lockdown

Support workers in Edinburgh making contactless deliveries of methadone to vulnerable clients | Guardian, UK

The UK Medicinal Cannabis Report: The Needs of A Nation - Part A: “The Current Landscape”

Free download on registration. This report intends to highlight some of the changes needed to achieve the aspirations behind the rescheduling of cannabis in 2018 | CDPG, UK

Smoking: Public Places

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to allow local councils to prohibit smoking outside (a) restaurants and (b) other food outlets | They work for you, UK

Short- and Longer-Term Benefits of Temporary Alcohol Abstinence During ‘Dry January’ Are Not Also Observed Among Adult Drinkers in the General Population: Prospective Cohort Study

[Open access] The alcohol abstinence challenge ‘Dry January’ continues to grow, but there is a lack of knowledge of how Dry January participants compare to the general population. There is also a need to determine whether benefits experienced by Dry January participants are unique to that group or are also observed among other people | Alcohol and Alcoholism, UK

Do AKT1, COMT and FAAH influence reports of acute cannabis intoxication experiences in patients with first episode psychosis, controls and young adult cannabis users?

[Open access] Epidemiological and biological evidence support the association between heavy cannabis use and psychosis. However, it is unclear which cannabis users are susceptible to its psychotogenic effect | Nature, UK

NDTMS: accreditation for software suppliers

Updated software supplier accreditation details | PHE, UK

Anyone's Child Activist Training Webinar

Thu, June 4, 2020. 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM BST. We are running an activist training webinar on Zoom for those wishing to develop their knowledge and campaigning skills around drug policy reform | Anyone's Child, UK

Home brewers apply for alcohol licenses after lockdown success

Delivery companies report surge in orders for home brewing kits since March | Telegraph, UK

UK police fear explosion of violent crime as lockdown eases

Attacks are expected to surge as rival drug gangs try to re-establish dominance in county lines | Guardian, UK

UK is the largest consumer of cocaine in Europe, National Crime Agency says

Head of drugs threat Lawrence Gibbon estimated that the amount being trafficked into the UK has risen three-fold. "A lot of the consignments we see coming into Europe - through Spain, Belgium or the Netherlands mainly - a significant proportion is destined for the UK,” Mr Gibbon told The Times | i news, UK

Gang who smuggled hundreds of kilos of cocaine into UK inside frozen chicken jailed

Four men who smuggled hundreds of kilos of cocaine into the UK hidden inside packages of frozen chicken have been jailed | Independent, UK

Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette facing disciplinary action for inhaling nitrous oxide

Lacazette was pictured with a balloon in his mouth and is said to have sent a video to friends | Independent, UK

Wolverhampton's Kazbar warned over serving alcohol

A bar that was found selling alcohol in contravention of the strict conditions imposed to tackle coronavirus has been warned by police | BBC, UK


International news

UK cannabis firm bought by US-based fund in multi-million pound deal

Sale of Bridge Farm for £66m could accelerate legalisation of drug in UK, some say | Guardian, UK

Coronavirus: South Africa's alcohol and cigarette lockdown

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the world has seen lockdowns in many countries. In South Africa, not only have people been told to stay at home, but exercise outside was banned for some time - and cigarettes and alcohol still can't be purchased | BBC, UK

Why drinking during a pandemic is a bad idea

It’s probably no surprise that Australians are drinking more during the pandemic. What you may not know is that alcohol could decrease your capacity to deal with Covid-19 | Guardian, UK

Cambodia: Abusive “war on drugs”, rife with torture and corruption, must be overhauled

The Cambodian government’s three-year long “war on drugs” campaign has fuelled a rising tide of human rights abuses, dangerously overfilled detention facilities and led to an alarming public health situation – even more so as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds – while failing in its stated objective of curbing drug use, a new investigative report by Amnesty International published today reveals | Amnesty International, UK

The Uruguay – West Africa trafficking connection. An urgent need for closer cooperation and policy exchange (PDF)

Uruguay’s emergence as a transit route for cocaine provides new challenges to international law enforcement cooperation and creates greater need for setting up secure channels of communication between Uruguayan and West African law enforcement | GDPO, UK

Dutch and Mexican Gangs Are Teaming Up to Sell High-End Meth to Asia

A VICE investigation reveals that meth shards "the size of your arm" are the latest product of the globalized drug trade | VICE, UK

Five arrested for brazen teen abduction over drug debt

A wanted man has turned himself in after Canadian police arrested four others in connection with the March abduction of a 14-year-old boy | BBC, UK

EMCDDA webinar: How is COVID-19 shaping the future of drug services in Europe?

The EMCDDA is offering a new series of webinars around the theme of COVID-19. The purpose of the webinars is to help those working in the drugs field understand how drug users, and those supporting them, are coping with the pandemic and to share knowledge and experience | EMCDDA, Portugal

Over 250 Million Bottles’ Worth of French Wine Will Be Distilled into Industrial Alcohol

French winemakers are looking to sell off some of the excess wine that has not been consumed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Reports suggest that the unsellable amount in Europe could be well over a billion bottles’ worth | Euroweekly, Spain

UNODC report on East and Southeast Asia: continued growth in the supply of methamphetamine while synthetic opioids spread

A new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) warns that the synthetic drug market in East and Southeast Asia continues to expand and diversify, and the price of methamphetamine has dropped to the lowest level in a decade as the supply has surged | UNODC, USA

Synthetic Drugs in East and Southeast Asia Latest developments and challenges (PDF)

Recognizing the flexibility of illicit markets to quickly reconstitute themselves in times of crisis, we should first exercise caution in quickly attributing drugrelated trends as a direct or indirect consequence of the pandemic | UNODC, USA

Smokers needing a lockdown fix warned after scammers sell empty cartons of cigarettes

Desperate South Coast smokers were duped into buying cigarette cartons which turned out to be empty. The lockdown regulations prohibit the sale and purchase of cigarettes | IOL, South Africa

Stigma and people who inject drugs: Surveillance and interventions to reduce stigma

While the National BBV/STI Strategies have emphasised the importance of stigma for people who inject drugs, until recently there has not been a system to measure and report on the experience of stigma. This presentation covers the national monitoring system established to measure and report on stigma among key population groups | NDARC, Australia

Binge drinkers beware, Drunkorexia is calling

Mojito, appletini or a simple glass of fizz – they may take the edge off a busy day, but if you find yourself bingeing on more than a few, you could be putting your physical and mental health at risk according new research at the University of South Australia | University of South Australia, Australia

Smoking cannabis causes bronchitis and changes to lung function

Cannabis is harmful to the lungs, but in a different way to tobacco, causing significant respiratory symptoms such as bronchitis with evidence to suggest it can result in destructive lung disease – sometimes referred to as ‘bong lung’ – in heavy cannabis users | University of Otago, New Zealand


Blogs, comment and opinion

Phoenix Chief Exec Blog on the impact of COVID-19 - 'Tsunami of Need'

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought many people in society to a crisis point. People who were already struggling to access the health and social care they desperately need.  When society opens its doors again it will reveal a tsunami of need which we should be ready to meet | Phoenix Futures blog, UK

Opinion: Funding for harm reduction services is key for long-term health goals

Harm reduction interventions — such as needle and syringe programs and opioid agonist therapy — operate in an extremely fragile environment | Devex, USA

Why everyone should learn how to administer naloxone

Anti-overdose drug naloxone is a pharmacological fix for a symptom of a deep-rooted societal problem | Salon, USA



And finally...

Antarctic Researchers Get The Giggles As Penguin Poop Produces Laughing Gas

Nitrous oxide is just one of many air pollutants that has a detrimental effect on our climate, but for researchers studying nitrous-oxide-pooping King Penguins in Antarctica, it had an unexpected effect on their cognitive state | IFL Science, UK