Daily news - 20th October 2020

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Reminder: All COVID-19 PPE now available free of charge via portal

Drug and alcohol services are reminded that they can now use the Government's PPE portal to obtain all the COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) they need, free of charge. The contact details of services registered with NDTMS or CQC have been provided to the PPE portal, and service managers informed by their regional NDTMS team. However, not all services have registered on the portal – PHE encourages services to register on the portal to start benefiting from the offer of free PPE. Note: only email addresses provided to the portal by NDTMS/CQC are valid for registration. Contact your regional NDTMS team if you have not yet received an invitation email or if you need to register. Access the portal: https://nhs-ppe.co.uk



UK news

COVID-19: guidance for commissioners and providers of services for people who use drugs or alcohol

Updated to include information on local COVID alert levels and virus transmission | PHE and DHSC, UK

Sapphire Medical Clinics First to Offer More Affordable UK Manufactured Medical Cannabis Products

According to recent reports, more than a million UK patients buy cannabis illegally to treat themselves. While on the streets, patients can never be sure what they’ve got for their money, the BBC reports that Sapphire Medical Clinics are first in the UK to offer access to a new range of low-cost UK manufactured medical cannabis products | Canex, UK

Two drug users an hour helped at consumption van service in Glasgow city centre

Last Friday, Peter parked the van in a quiet spot just yards from one of the city’s busiest streets and an alleyway known to be a busy injecting spot. Over the five previous Fridays, Peter and volunteers – trained in overdoes reversal drug Naloxone and CPR – had overseen 47 injections | Glasgow Times, UK

HMRC to test UK-only track and trace system

The new UK-only repository will replace the EU version currently being used in this country to monitor the movement of tobacco products in order to clamp down on illicit trading. It is being brought in to allow track and trace to continue once the UK fully exits the EU on 31 December | Grocer, UK

Green social prescribing: call for expressions of interest

Expressions of interest for a project which aims to improve people’s mental health through green social prescribing | PHE et al, UK

Behind The Scenes | Club Drugs - free event

22nd October, 2020 at 9:30am. Led by a member of our engagement team this Behind The Scenes event will explore how we have been reacting to the changing face of new psychoactive substances and 'club drugs' over the past few years, as well as exploring our continued outreach work engaging with festivals and night clubs to provide harm reduction support to the masses | BDP, UK

New Forward Leeds team delivering Trauma-informed care on the streets

A new team of mental health professionals is reaching out to help people living on the streets and others who are facing homelessness in Leeds | Forward Leeds, UK

Women in Psychedelic Science - Full event - video

The purpose of this Drug Science symposium is to showcase the inspiring work of women in psychedelics | Drug Science, UK

NHS Care Plan Confirmed for Billy Caldwell

Last Friday I received the news I have been waiting for this past two and a half years. My GP called to inform me that a shared care plan has been signed off for Billy, one that will allow him to receive his prescribed cannabis based medicine on the NHS | CMC UK, UK

Project Twenty21 - an eventful first year!

In November 2019, Drug Science launched Project Twenty21 – Europe’s first and biggest national medical cannabis registry | Drug Science, UK

Putting UK Drug Policy into Focus - trailer

Putting UK Drug Policy into Focus - full film to be released 5th November 2020 in collaboration with European Harm Reduction Conference, the Harm Reduction journal and Policy Bristol - sign up here | Drug Science, UK

The global cocaine trade - survey

You are being invited to take part in a research study to find out what people think about the impact of the global cocaine trade | LJMU, UK

Isle of Man faces 'increasing threat' from drug crime

In his annual report, Gary Roberts said a continued rise in violent crime was "directly linked" to the drugs trade | BBC, UK


International news

Government urged to sell cocaine and ecstasy in pharmacies

Cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines should be “nationalised” and sold legally in government-run pharmacies to undermine global drug-related crime, a UK drugs reform charity has recommended | Guardian, UK

CND Intersessional: Colleen Daniels Deputy Director Harm Reduction International (PDF)

It has been a year in which public health has dominated the agenda and many governments looked to lessons from the AIDS response. Unfortunately, health-based responses to drug use are not part of this successstory. Our global tracking shows that harm reduction implementation has worsened since our last report in 2018, having effectively stalled since 2014 | HRI, UK

The greater use of flavoured snus among ever-smokers versus never-smokers in Norway

Similar to the debate around e-cigarettes, an increase in snus use among Norwegian adolescents has prompted debate on whether flavour options in snus should be limited. To this end, we compared use of flavoured snus among snus users with different smoking status | Harm Reduction Journal, UK

Civil Society Forum on Drugs - Laurene Collard - video

CND thematic Intersessional October 2020 - Intervention from the the Civil Society Forum on Drugs, addressing the challenge that "drug treatment and health services continue to fall short of meeting needs and deaths related to drug use have increased - "Recommendations from an European Perspective" | Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs, Austria

Changes in blood metabolite profile are visible years before diagnosis of alcohol-related disease

A new study from the University of Eastern Finland is the first in the world to show that the serum metabolite profile can be used to identify individuals likely at risk of developing an alcohol-related disease in the future. The finding also opens up new avenues for preventing alcohol-related adverse effects | EurekAlert, USA

NIH study tests a comprehensive model intervention to reduce opioid overdose deaths in hard-hit communities

National Institutes of Health and other federal leaders outlined their vision for a groundbreaking study that will aim to address gaps in reaching communities most heavily affected by the opioid epidemic with proven, evidence-based interventions for opioid use disorder (OUD) | NIH, USA

An international multidisciplinary consensus statement on the prevention of opioid‐related harm in adult surgical patients

An international panel of healthcare professionals evaluated the literature relating to postoperative opioid‐related harm, including persistent postoperative opioid use; opioid‐induced ventilatory impairment; non‐medical opioid use; opioid diversion and dependence; and driving under the influence of prescription opioids | Anaesthesia, USA

Cannabis reduces OCD symptoms by half in the short-term

People with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, report that the severity of their symptoms was reduced by about half within four hours of smoking cannabis, according to a Washington State University study | EurekAlert, USA

Major Anti-Vaping Scientific Study Retracted

Vaping is supposed to be a form of harm reduction, that is, allow nicotine addicts to have access to the drug without the harmful tars and chemicals in cigarettes that cause cancer, heart disease, and other maladies | National Review, USA

Campaign pushes to ban the sale of tobacco-flavored products to teens in DC

More than 70 community and public health organizations are coming together and calling on D.C. legislators to stop the sale of all flavored tobacco products in the District | WTop, USA

The DRAM, Vol. 16(11) - In-laws as a health risk?

Marriage involves an intention to commit “in sickness and in health,” but tying the knot also has profound, unintended effects on health. How much people drink, for instance, is affected not only by their own taste for alcohol, but also by how much their partner drinks | BASIS, USA

At least 10 times a day, someone on the brink of death from a drug overdose is saved in S.F.

San Francisco’s drug epidemic has skyrocketed this year, claiming about 470 lives in just the first eight months of the year, according to preliminary data from the medical examiner. In a similar time period, at least 2,155 potentially fatal overdoses were prevented by the opioid reversal medication Narcan, which is commonly sprayed up the nose | SF Chronicla, USA

Māori Women Benefit From a Harm Reduction Approach to Smoking

Smoking rates among Indigenous peoples have remained stubbornly high around the world, despite stigmatizing anti-smoking campaigns and massive increases in cigarette taxes. In New Zealand, a pack of cigarettes now costs the equivalent of almost $25 US | Filter Magazine, USA

Rapid Access Models for Substance Use Services: A Rapid Review

A review of the published literature to identify the key features of rapid access models designed to improve access to and engagement with substance use treatment services, as well as the extent to which these models achieved their goals | CCSA, Canada

COVID-19 pandemic adversely affecting mental health of women and people with children

A mental health gender gap that was forged early in the COVID-19 pandemic has been reinforced, according to the latest survey by The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in collaboration the global research technology company Delvinia | CAMH, Canada

'I'm truly sorry': Ex-fentanyl trafficker whose drugs caused fatal overdose apologizes to victim's family

An Edmonton man who sold a deadly mixture of drugs containing fentanyl apologized to his victim’s family Monday on the second day of his sentencing hearing | Edmonton Journal, Canada

How and why vendors sell on cryptomarkets (PDF)

Cryptomarkets represent a growing component of the global illicit drugs trade. Australia is over-represented in the proportion of online vendors who use these platforms to reach drug consumers. Despite the growth in online drug trading, relatively little is known about people who use cryptomarkets to sell drugs. This study addresses the knowledge gap and provides qualitative insights into this new, and little understood, cohort of offenders | Australian Government, Australia

Spate of fantasy drug overdoses in 24-hour period prompt warning from SA Health

The patients, aged between 20 and 30-years-old, were admitted to Flinders Medical Centre in the early hours of this morning after taking the drug gamma hydroxybutyrate, also known as GHB or fantasy | abc.net.au, Australia



Blogs, comment and opinion

Who do we help after an opiate overdose?

We are not exactly awash with solutions to the mental health problems that many people experience, but when it comes to opiate overdosing and knowing how to prevent them the evidence is clear | Mental Elf, UK

Public Health Alcohol Act – time for action

It is now two years (October 17th, 2018) since the enactment of the Public Health Alcohol Act. While some aspects of the Act have been implemented, much remains to be done | Irish Times letter, Ireland

Is Vaping Cool? What People Really Think

We can spot them from a mile away.  Vapers—disappearing in a huge cloud of smoke every time they take a hit.  Their cars look like fog machines if they are vaping while driving, and they are painfully visible in public as well.  But is vaping cool?  Does being surrounded by a huge cloud of white smoke enhance the image of the vaper? Not necessarily | Psychology Today blog, USA

The opioid crisis didn’t disappear amid the pandemic. It still calls for urgent action

Understandably the coronavirus pandemic ranks as the nation’s top public health priority, with first claim on limited public funds and public attention. Yet more of both must be devoted to the public health catastrophe that dominated the headlines before the coronavirus hit early this year, and that has not disappeared since: opioid addiction | Washington Post opinion, USA