Weekly news - 26th 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:

Coronavirus: Experts warn of 'post-lockdown drugs binge'

Experts have warned of a post-coronavirus illegal drugs binge as people get back into the habit. We spoke to users, police and policy figures to get an insight on the trade as it emerges from lockdown | BBC, UK

ABV levels in beer, cider and wine for the ‘in-home’ market

Review of typical alcohol by volume (ABV) levels in beer, cider and wine purchased for the ‘in-home’ market | PHE, UK

Government urged to end deadlock over medical cannabis prescriptions for severely epileptic children

Families left struggling to afford private medicines as access on NHS 'totally blocked' | Independent, UK

Medical cannabis in the UK: From principle to practice

[Open access] In the UK, medical cannabis was approved in November 2018, leading many patients to believe that the medicine would now be available on the NHS. Yet, to date, there have been only 12 NHS prescriptions and less than 60 prescriptions in total. In marked contrast, a recent patient survey by the Centre for Medical Cannabis (Couch, 2020) found 1.4 m people are using illicit cannabis for medical problems | Journal of Psychopharmacology, UK

Covid-19: how worried should smokers be? – podcast

With reports that there are lower rates of smokers being admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in France and trials to test whether nicotine patches can reduce the severity of infection, but also data showing that smokers are more likely to contract the disease and develop severe symptoms, what’s actually going here? | Guardian, UK

£105 million to keep rough sleepers safe and off the streets during coronavirus pandemic

The additional £105 million will be used to support rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness into tenancies of their own, including through help with deposits for accommodation, and securing thousands of alternative rooms already available and ready for use, such as student accommodation | Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, HM Treasury, The Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, and The Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, UK

EMCDDA Trendspotter briefing: impact of COVID-19 on patterns of drug use and drug-related harms in Europe

Since the start of 2020, European countries have been experiencing an unprecedented public health threat with the emergence of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). In order to investigate the effects and implications of this pandemic for people who use drugs in Europe, the EMCDDA instigated a mixed-method trendspotter study to investigate the current situation. This briefing provides a snapshot of the state of play with respect to the impact of COVID-19 on drug consumption patterns and drug-related harms during the early stages of the pandemic | EMCDDA, Portugal

Circular 001/2020: Epidyolex scheduling, (SI) 2020 No. 559

The amendment places a cannabis-based medicine ‘Epidyolex’ under Schedule 5 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 | Home Office, UK

Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services

Guidance for keeping workers and customers safe in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services | Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, UK

Research report YouGov / Portman Group survey on alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 lockdown (PDF)

The Portman Group commissioned YouGov to conduct the first UK-wide survey to measure how much consumers are drinking since the imposition of lockdown measures on 23 March 2020 by the UK Government in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 | Portman Group, UK

An urgent impetus for action: safe inhalation interventions to reduce COVID-19 transmission and fatality risk among people who smoke crack cocaine in the United Kingdom

[Open access] This commentary draws on scoping review and mixed method empirical evidence to argue for provision of safe crack inhalation equipment in the UK, with commensurate legal reform | IJDP, UK

Support. Don't Punish. A global advocacy campaign calling for drug policies based on health and human rights - 26th June

This year has made it crystal clear why ending the “war on drugs” cannot be delayed any longer. Communities around the world, already targeted by punishment-centred drug policies, are bearing the brunt of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and repressive responses to it. Around the 26 June, we will mobilise in the thousands to stand in solidarity and offer sustainable and effective alternatives that advance the health and wellbeing of all, with decriminalisation and harm reduction at their core | Support. Don't Punish, UK

World Drug Report 2020

Presented in six separate booklets, the World Drug Report 2020 provides a wealth of information and analysis to support the international community in implementing operational recommendations on a number of commitments made by Member States, including the recommendations contained in the outcome document of the special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem, held in 2016 | UNODC, Austria

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia, 2018–19

In 2018–19, 1,283 publicly funded alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment services provided just under 220,000 treatment episodes to an estimated 137,000 clients. The four most common drugs that led clients to seek treatment for their own drug use were alcohol (36% of all treatment episodes), amphetamines (28%), cannabis (20%) and heroin (5%). Almost two-thirds (64%) of all clients receiving treatment were male, and the median age of clients was 34 years | AIHW, Australia

Pot, pills and the pandemic: how coronavirus is changing the way we use drugs

There’s no question COVID-19 has changed many aspects of our lives. As drug researchers, we are interested in how the pandemic has affected illicit drug use in Australia | Conversation, Australia