Weekly news - 5th June 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:

COVID-19: advice for smokers and vapers

Advice for people who smoke or vape during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak | PHE, UK

Medical use of cannabis

This briefing provides an overview on the recent change in the law and debate on medicinal cannabis products | House of Commons Library, UK

'Lockdown boredom led me to smoke more weed’

Like most of us at the beginning of lockdown, Reece had big plans about what he and his partner would do with the extra time | BBC, UK

EU Drug Markets — Impact of COVID-19

What effect is COVID-19 having on the drug market in the EU? This joint publication from the EMCDDA and Europol analyses the impact of the pandemic on the market for the main drug types (cannabis, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, NPS), including demand, production, trafficking and availability. It reports higher prices, local shortages and reduced purity for some drugs, while noting continued violence among suppliers and distributors. It also shows how organised crime groups remain active and resilient, by adapting transportation models, trafficking routes and concealment methods, even during the pandemic | EMCDDA and Europol, Portugal

Resources on COVID-19 and drug markets

The EMCDDA is producing a series of special reports and briefings on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on drug markets. COVID-19 and the related government responses are likely to precipitate impacts that have never been observed before and have therefore not been studied | EMCDDA, Portugal

Cannabis: high potency strains linked to greater chance of anxiety – new research

Cannabis is one of the most commonly used drugs in the world, though it’s only legal in a few places. Despite it’s popularity, there’s still a lot that researchers don’t know about how cannabis, including how it affects our mental health | Conversation, UK

DDN June 2020 out now

Innovative developments and impressive collaboration have characterised our sector’s response to the crisis. But what we also need to keep up with are the changes in the drugs market and regional trends that could tip the drug-related deaths crisis into further catastrophe. One of the trends identified by Release’s new drug monitoring network is increased use of benzodiazepines, so our cover story looks at how we can respond to this by developing urgent new pathways and treatment protocols | DDN, UK

Hepatitis C in England and the UK

Latest PHE hepatitis C virus (HCV) reports and supporting documents, for England and the UK. [Updated with 2020 dataset] | PHE, UK

How is the COVID-19 pandemic changing our use of illegal drugs? An overview of ongoing research

The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have substantially affected our use of legal and illegal drugs. In the UK, we have adapted to the closure of pubs and restaurants by purchasing considerably more alcohol in supermarkets and off-licences | SSA, UK

Half of British drinkers starting earlier in the day during Covid-19 crisis

Global Drug Survey finds big rises in binge drinking and poor health during lockdown | Guardian, UK [See also GDS report in International section]

Nearly a third of UK public drinking more alcohol than usual during the pandemic

Nearly a third of people (29%) are reporting that they have drunk more alcohol than they normally would, according to a major new study by the Policy Institute at King’s College London in partnership with Ipsos MORI | KCL, UK

Prevalence of problem drug use in Scotland: 2015/16 Estimates

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides a follow-up to previously published estimates of the prevalence of Problem Drug Use (PDU) in Scotland between April 2015 and March 2016. The original definition was limited to opioids and benzodiazepines. Using data collected for the original study, broader definitions of PDU have been constructed for Scotland based on the addition of substances such as cocaine (including crack cocaine), amphetamines (including amphetamine-type substances) and cannabis (including synthetic cannabinoids) | PHS, UK

‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ – A Youth Work Response to Gangs and Exploitation during COVID-19

Headline statistics show a fall in gang-activity and exploitation. However a new report from the National Youth Agency (NYA) shows that gangs have adapted to COVID-19, changing locations and grooming new recruits – hidden in plain sight of those in authority | NYA, UK

Global Drug Survey - Covid 19 special (PDF)

The Global Drug Survey (GDS) Special Edition on Covid-19 was developed as part of a global effort to better understand the impact of the pandemic on people’s lives with a specific focus on the use of alcohol and other drugs, mental health and relationships. In this report we highlight the most noteworthy preliminary findings halfway through data collection. A complete report based on all data collected until June 20, 2020 follows in July | GDS, UK

Altered States: Cannabis regulation in the US

Cannabis is now legal for adult non-medical use in 11 US states, but the details of how this works in practice are not widely understood. In this report, we explore how regulation compares across the states that have legalised and consider what lessons can be learnt for drug policy reform in future – especially how it can deliver better outcomes for public health and social justice | Transform, UK

Supporting the sector during COVID-19: Collective Voice re-launches “Making a Difference Together” Slack community

The systems we work in are large and complex, with lots of different organisations, each with their own approach, tools and priorities. Too often it can feel like we are trapped within our corner of that system and that collaboration with colleagues and peers across the field is simply too hard. Yet we are all united by a single goal – we want to work together to bring about positive change for people who have drug or alcohol problems | Collective Voice blog, UK

Link between anxiety and alcohol abuse identified

New research from the University of Aberdeen and the University of Edinburgh has identified how sections of DNA might contribute to the risk of alcohol abuse in men | University of Aberdeen, UK

Extending the reach of Needle Exchanges through postal delivery

Due to COVID-19, many services across Scotland are trialling a postal mailing service for Injecting Equipment Provision (IEP) | SDF, UK

EMCDDA technical report on the new psychoactive substance N,Ndiethyl- 2-[[4-(1-methylethoxy)phenyl]methyl]-5-nitro-1Hbenzimidazole- 1-ethanamine (isotonitazene)

The purpose of this technical report is to provide an analysis of the available information on N,N-diethyl-2-[[4-(1-methylethoxy)phenyl]methyl]-5-nitro-1H-benzimidazole-1-ethanamine (commonly known as isotonitazene), an opioid analgesic that has recently emerged on the drug market in Europe, to support a risk assessment of the substance that has been requested by the European Commission in accordance with Article 5c of Regulation (EC) No 1920/2006 (as amended) | EMCDDA, Portugal

New substance misuse commissioner forum established

Collective Voice is delighted that a new national forum for substance misuse commissioners in England is to be established, supported by the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Public Health | Collective Voice, UK

Why is England’s alcohol treatment caseload shrinking?

Is it because need for treatment is declining too, or have austerity-driven funding cuts made treatment less accessible? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Drink driving rises during lockdown despite closure of pubs and restaurants

[Free registration may be required] A rise in drinking at home - and quieter roads - may explain the "really concerning" increase | Telegraph, UK

New Poll Shows One Quarter of Young Adults Unaware that 
UK Guidance is to Avoid Alcohol in Pregnancy

In April-May 2020 NOFAS-UK (now the National Organisation for FASD) engaged OnePoll to conduct two surveys to test awareness of the risks of alcohol in pregnancy and to see if the general population knows the national scientific guidance | NOFAS-UK, UK

Coronavirus lockdown 'led to alcohol relapse'

A woman in alcoholism recovery has said the "lack of connection" caused by the coronavirus lockdown led to a relapse | BBC, UK

Two months into lockdown, what have we learned so far?

It has now been two months since the UK entered lockdown. During this time drug and alcohol treatment and recovery services have faced incredible challenges and tackled crucial questions to make sure services continue to meet people’s needs | Collective Voice, UK