Daily news - 21st May 2020

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Coronavirus frequently updated resources

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


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UK news

Coronavirus: 'Tackle harmful lockdown drinking,' BMJ editorial warns

"It is increasingly clear that if we don't prepare for emerging from the pandemic, we will see the toll of increased alcohol harm for a generation," the editorial says | BBC, UK

Millions in UK smoking more amid coronavirus crisis, study suggests

About 2.2 million people in the UK may be smoking more than usual during the coronavirus crisis despite the serious harm it does to respiratory and immune systems, a survey has suggested | Guardian, UK

Menthol Ban

The European Union Revised Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU) makes it an offence for manufacturers to produce menthol cigarettes and retailers to sell menthol cigarettes from 20th May 2020 | ACS, UK

Tobacco industry tactics to circumvent and undermine the menthol cigarette ban in the UK

A ban on the sale of cigarettes with a characterising flavour, including menthol, was part of the revised European Tobacco Products Directive (EUTPD) (2014), which has been written into UK law and came into force in May 2016 | BMJ, UK

Deaths by Overdose

In the past few days, I have seen figures for North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire that show that the monthly rate of death from suspected overdoses is currently more than twice what it was last year. That suggests that there could be a link to lockdown. Can the First Minister say what the figure is across the country? | They work for you, UK

How the Lockdown Has Affected My Drug Use

Taking acid is the opposite of a bad idea for some people, while others have been smoking up or are newly experimenting | VICE, UK

The purchase of CBD (cannabidiol) for pets - survey

This survey aims to gain a better understanding about people's beliefs, purchases and use of CBD as a treatment or supplement for their pets. We wish to understand what people know about CBD, whether people have purchased CBD, and how they think it compares to other products they may obtain from their vet or pet shop | LJMU, UK

M6 cocaine gang ringleader ordered to repay £6m

A drugs gang ringleader has been ordered to forfeit more than £6m after he was jailed over one of the UK's largest ever cocaine seizures | BBC, UK


International news

The most controversial issue in alcohol treatment

Focus is on the section of last week’s matrix cell release which explored the fascinating history of the most controversial issue in alcohol treatment - whether dependent drinkers should always try for abstinence. Controversy was most vitriolic in 1970s USA, where it reached the headlines and TV networks, but dates back at least to a 1962 report on “Normal drinking in recovered alcoholics” from a British psychiatrist | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Is the UK really the ‘cocaine capital’ of Europe?

The National Crime Agency’s findings say British people consumed 117 tonnes of coke in 2019 alone | Dazed Digital, UK

Does smoking or vaping increase your risk of contracting coronavirus?

Those who are older or have underlying medical conditions are most susceptible to disease, according to CDC | Independent, UK

Totality of the Evidence Suggests Prenatal Cannabis Exposure Does Not Lead to Cognitive Impairments: A Systematic and Critical Review

Despite limited data demonstrating pronounced negative effects of prenatal cannabis exposure, popular opinion and public policies still reflect the belief that cannabis is fetotoxic | Frontiers in Psychology, UK

Singapore Just Sentenced A Drug Trafficker To Death Via Zoom

Even a global pandemic hasn't deterred the city-state from enforcing its harsh drug laws | VICE, UK

Testing for drug-related infectious diseases — a crucial step towards meeting international health goals

Testing for drug-related infectious diseases among people who inject drugs (PWID) is crucial if international health targets are to be met. This is among the conclusions of a new EMCDDA report out today | EMCDDA, Portugal

Methadone Is Helpfully Understood as a Refuge From Criminalization

When I got on methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) about 16 years ago, my decision had nothing to do with wanting to stop using drugs, or even to stop using heroin | Filter Magazine, USA

Legal Cannabis hemp oil effectively treats chronic neuropathic pain: study

Researchers examine the effectiveness of consuming hemp oil extracted from the whole Cannabis plant using a chronic neuropathic pain animal model. Researchers at The University of New Mexico (UNM) showed that legal Cannabis hemp oil reduced mechanical pain sensitivity 10-fold for several hours in mice with chronic post-operative neuropathic pain | Medical Xpress, USA

Heating poppy seeds, but not baking them in muffins, reduces opiate levels

You might have heard the advice to avoid eating a poppy seed bagel or muffin before a drug screen, lest you test positive for opiates | EurekAlert, USA

What Lockdown? World’s Cocaine Traffickers Sniff at Movement Restrictions

As a wave of coronavirus infections hit Italy in late March, Rocco Molè, a member of the country’s ’Ndrangheta organized crime group, was faced with a dilemma | OCCRP, USA

It’s Official: DMT Makes You Believe in God

More than half of users of the “spirit molecule” told researchers they had started to believe in a higher power | VICE, USA

Does gambling really lead to crime? A closer look

There are many popular depictions of people who resort to crime to make up for gambling debts, such as movies like Uncut Gems and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. But do high levels of gambling actually cause involvement in crime? | BASIS, USA



Blogs, comment and opinion

Covid-19 and alcohol—a dangerous cocktail

As the UK and most other countries went into lockdown, the need to save lives from covid-19 rightly took priority over longer term health concerns. Many people reacted to the closure of pubs and restaurants by stocking up to drink at home in isolation, and alcohol, along with household items and storecupboard food, disappeared from supermarket shelves | BMJ editorial, UK

Psychedelic drugs could help treat the mental health epidemic we'll face after coronavirus

One ecstasy trial reached a milestone when it was approved to treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder in America. This could be good timing for the UK too | Independent voices, UK

Tony Rao: Reducing alcohol harm during self-isolation needs a measured approach

There is a pressing need for public health education for older people who are able to cut down or stop drinking safely, argues Tony Rao | BMJ Opinion, UK

Commentary on Allen et al. (2020): Cannabis use during pregnancy—the importance of a life‐course health disparities framework

Research by Allen et al.—published in this issue—provides several important contributions, but none stands out more clearly than the finding that approximately one in three women reporting cannabis use prior to becoming pregnant continue to use cannabis during pregnancy | Addiction commentary, UK

Adapting our support to families affected by a parent’s alcohol dependency in Swindon

Over the past six months Adfam has been working in Swindon to support families affected by a parent’s alcohol dependency | Adfam blog, UK