Weekly news - 31st 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:

Evidence of harm from illicit or fake benzodiazepines

This alert advises of the availability of, and harm from, illicit drugs sold as benzodiazepines particularly when used in conjunction with alcohol and drugs with a respiratory depressant effect including gabapentinoids and opioids | MHRA, UK

Medicinal Use of Psilocybin: Reducing restrictions on research and treatment

This new report outlined the medical potential of psilocybin and the need to reduce restrictions on research and treatment | Adam Smith Institute, in conjunction with the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group (CDPRG), UK

‘Government funded trap houses‘? Unregulated care homes and County Lines

Amid concerns about untrained staff, unclear responsibilities and cases of violence, exploitation and abuse, the Government are currently considering changes to the rules on looked after children (LAC) being placed in independent and semi-independent settings | Crest Advisory, UK

France drugs: PM Castex to impose on-the-spot fines nationwide

France will introduce on-the-spot fines nationwide for drug users, particularly targeting cannabis, from September | BBC, UK

The new EU Agenda and Action Plan on Drugs 2021-2025

On the path toward building up its internal security, on 24 July 2020, the European Commission adopted a new EU Agenda and Action Plan on Drugs 2021-2025 as part of the Security Union Strategy. The new EU Agenda and Action Plan on Drugs 2021-2025 sets out the political framework and priorities for action in the next five years | Europa, Belgium

Piloting the UK’s First Home-Office-Licensed Pharmacist-Led Drug Checking Service at a Community Substance Misuse Service

his pilot demonstrated the proof-of-concept that a pharmacist-led Home Office-licensed drug checking service can be successfully implemented in community SMSs | MDPI, UK

The impact of COVID-19 restrictions on needle and syringe programme provision and coverage in England

The restrictions introduced in response to COVID-19 present many challenges, particularly for vulnerable and marginalised populations. These include maintaining access to Needle and Syringe Programmes (NSPs) to reduce the harms associated with injecting drugs. NSPs effectiveness is coverage dependent, but lockdowns and social distancing limit NSP access and availability. The impact on NSP provision in England is explored using enhanced monitoring data | IJDP, UK

World Hepatitis Day - 28 July 2020

Worldwide, 290 million people are living with viral hepatitis unaware. Without finding the undiagnosed and linking them to care, millions will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost. On World Hepatitis Day, 28 July, we call on people from across the world to take action and raise awareness to find the “missing millions” | WHA, UK

HRB reports continued demand for alcohol treatment

The latest figures from the HRB show 53,200 cases were treated for problem alcohol use in Ireland between 2013 and 2019. A total of 7,546 cases were treated in 2019, a slight increase from 7,464 in 2018 | HRB, Ireland

Cannabidiol for the treatment of cannabis use disorder: a phase 2a, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, adaptive Bayesian trial

[Open access] A substantial and unmet clinical need exists for pharmacological treatment of cannabis use disorders. Cannabidiol could offer a novel treatment, but it is unclear which doses might be efficacious or safe. Therefore, we aimed to identify efficacious doses and eliminate inefficacious doses in a phase 2a trial using an adaptive Bayesian design | Lancet Psychiatry, UK

Injecting equipment provision in Scotland

This release by Public Health Scotland presents information on the provision of injecting equipment. This includes the number of outlets, attendances and the types of injecting equipment distributed to people who inject illicit drugs (including Novel Psychoactive Substances and Image and Performance Enhancing Drugs) in Scotland | ISD Scotland, UK

Young mum is first in Scotland to be prescribed cannabis

A young mum has become the first person in Scotland to be prescribed cannabis legally as part of new European study - and says it allows her to play with her kids and take a shower after years of chronic pain | Herald, UK

Charities pay pharmacies for paused supervised consumption services

UK charities Humankind and Change Grow Live have told C+D that they decided to continue paying the pharmacies who offer their supervised consumption service even if they were forced to pause it during the pandemic, to support them financially | Chemist and Druggist, UK

Minister Swann committed to full consultation on alcohol pricing

Health Minister Robin Swann has announced his commitment to a full consultation on Minimum Unit Pricing for Alcohol | Department of Health, Northerm Ireland, UK

The experience of people approaching later life in lockdown: The impact of COVID-19 on 50-70-year olds in England

In collaboration with Ipsos MORI, this report takes a look at the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of those aged 50-70 in England | Centre for Better Aging, UK

Over 1,100 children trafficked into UK drug trade, figures show

Drug charity says number of trafficked children rose sharply in 2019 from year earlier | Guardian, UK

Effects of messaging on public support for drug consumption rooms in scotland, UK

[Open access] There is evidence to suggest that medically supervised drug consumption rooms (DCRs) may form part of responses to reduce drug-related harm. Although DCRs have been established globally, they are perceived by some to be a controversial approach in the UK, and Government has repeatedly rejected proposals to establish one in Glasgow, Scotland. As public support is an important component of policy development and enactment, we sought to investigate the effects of different types of message framing on public support for DCR | IJDP, UK

Lifestyle changes could delay or prevent 40% of dementia cases – study

Addressing 12 factors such as excessive drinking and air pollution exposure may have significant effect, experts say | Guardian, UK