Weekly news - 17th July 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


In date order, Monday to Friday:

UK tobacco sales fell faster after plain packaging rules came into force

Rate of decline equates to about 20m cigarettes a month since introduction of tougher policies | Guardian, UK

Longitudinal evaluation of the impact of standardised packaging and minimum excise tax on tobacco sales and industry revenue in the UK

[Open access] Standardised packaging for factory-made cigarettes (FM) and roll-your-own tobacco (RYO), and a minimum excise tax (MET) were fully implemented in the UK in May 2017 following a 12-month transition period. This paper is the first to examine effects on tobacco sales volumes and company revenues | BMJ Tobacco Control, UK

Substance use and mental health problems: which is chicken, which is egg, and does it matter?

With the vast majority of their clients also experiencing mental health problems, deciding how to respond is a major concern for Britain’s drug and alcohol services. An Effectiveness Bank bulletin explores the theme of ‘dual diagnosis’ | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

DDN July/August 2020 out now

Conversations at the moment often come back to feelings of anxiety and isolation, so we’re pleased to be able to keep sharing the ways you’re responding positively to the COVID situation. Forward Trust are among those looking for creative ways to engage their service user community (p10), while Open Road and Humankind are also redoubling their efforts to connect with service users and make sure no one is isolated (p16 and p22) | DDN, UK

Benzodiazepine market: strong drugs in circulation

Recently, a number of benzodiazepine drugs have been tested by the Welsh drug testing service WEDINOS, and have been found to contain a drug called flubromazolam which is much more potent that diazepam (the drug you usually expect to find in Valium.) | Crew, UK

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

Guidance updated relating to PPE supply, NHS test and trace, accessing treatment and meeting of groups inside and outside | PHE, UK

Coronavirus: Smokers quit in highest numbers in a decade

More than one million people have given up smoking since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, a survey for charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) suggests | BBC, UK

Wales moves to ban smoking outside pubs, cafes and restaurants

Health Minister Vaughan Gething says he wants to extend the current smoking ban into some outdoor areas | Wales Online, UK

Normalised pain and severe health care delay among people who inject drugs in London: Adapting cultural safety principles to promote care

In the United Kingdom, increases in premature mortality among the intersecting populations of people made homeless and people who inject drugs map onto the implementation and solidification of fiscal austerity policies over the past decade, rather than drug market fluctuations and trends as in North America | SSM, UK

Why are today’s drinkers missing out on an effective drug?

The matrix cell released last week featured an extended examination of disulfiram or ‘Antabuse’, the original anti-alcohol medication whose deterrent effects have also made it the most controversial. Relative neglect means many of today’s drinkers are missing out on what UK studies found to be the most convincing of the approved anti-drinking pharmacotherapies | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

A million people have stopped smoking since the COVID pandemic hit Britain

On the eve of a new campaign to engage more smokers to quit, new analysis by ASH and UCL finds that over a million people in the UK have stopped smoking since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country. A further 440,000 smokers tried to quit during this period | ASH, UK

Bleak new record as 71,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year

Nearly 71,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year, a new record that predates the Covid-19 crisis, which the White House and many experts believe will drive such deaths even higher | Guardian, UK

National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019

The 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey report showed that: 1) fewer Australians are smoking tobacco daily, while the use of e-cigarettes is increasing, 2) more Australians are giving up or reducing their alcohol intake, driven by health concerns, 3) rates of substance use are falling among younger generations (less likely to smoke, drink and use illicit drugs) and 4) non-medical pharmaceutical use is down, driven by a fall in the use of pain-killers | AIHW, Australia

NI alcohol sales to be relaxed in pubs and nightclubs

Rules on the sale of alcohol are to be significantly relaxed under plans agreed by Stormont ministers | BBC, UK

Belfast needle and syringe exchange to close

Protests had taken place outside the pharmacy on Botanic Avenue after claims the service was leading to anti-social behaviour in the area | BBC, UK