Weekly news - 27th March 2020

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In date order, Monday to Friday:

Coronavirus resources

Note from PHE

Drug and alcohol treatment staff are included in the definition, released by the government of key workers whose children can – if they cannot be kept safe at home – continue to attend school.

If there are problems obtaining supplies of essential personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitising gel, you can call the NHS supply disruption number: 0800 915 9964.

PHE is working with DHSC and others to try to mitigate the impact of community pharmacy policy changes and closures, which are restricting or ending the availability of supervised consumption of OST. Most services already have contingency plans to move people off supervised consumption but these plans now need to be accelerated.

Treatment and recovery services – and COVID-19

Regularly updated page collating guidance and resources on the virus relating to people who use drugs and services | Collective Voice, UK

Useful coronavirus (COVID-19) links

Here is a list of links to information about coronavirus including national guidance, information for treatment services, harm reduction advice for people who use drugs, online courses and news and opinion | SSA, UK

Coronavirus advice

In light of the current situation we thought it would be useful to collate as much information, advice, and useful resources as possible | DDN, UK



In date order, Monday to Friday

COVID-19 Guidance for key worker parents

The government has published guidance for schools, colleges and local authorities on maintaining educational provision during the COVID-19 epidemic. This means that children of designated “key workers” will be allowed to continue attending school. If you are encountering issues with your school over the key worker designation then please get in touch with us. We are drafting a template letter for you to use | Collective Voice, UK

ACMD public evidence gathering: request for written evidence

Forms for members of the public to provide written evidence on young people’s drug use and naloxone provision | ACMD, UK

Routine inspections suspended in response to coronavirus outbreak

We have written to all registered health and social care providers about how we are adapting our regulatory approach in response to the coronavirus outbreak | CQC, UK

Coronavirus: Uncharted Waters

The coronavirus outbreak is transforming almost every aspect of our society at dizzying speed. DDN looks at the impact so far on treatment services and their vulnerable client groups | DDN, UK

‘Service as usual’ during the COVID-19 outbreak?

In response to the global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, UK governments are imploring citizens to ‘stay at home’ and ‘avoid all non-essential contact’. However, if the spirit of the advice is for us all to reduce opportunities to contract and transmit the virus, what happens to services that typically require people to leave their house on a regular (sometimes daily) basis? | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

Policing a pandemic: The challenges of maintaining law and order during the Coronavirus response (PDF)

The impact of the coronavirus crisis on crime and law and order will be profound but likely short term. The consequences of extremely high ‘surge’ demand on the health service alongside drastic government induced measures will shake up all social norms, resulting in a significant shock to the economy and high levels of disruption combined with pressure on families and local communities. This will increase demands on the already overstretched police and other emergency services | Policy Exchange, UK

Release and Transform’s Submission to Treasury Committee Enquiry on Government’s coronavirus financial package

Release and Transform are both charities working on issues that impact people who use drugs, including those who are drug dependent and those in treatment for this condition. This briefing has also been informed by clinical leads and experts from the drug treatment sector including Change Grow Live and Humankind. This submission is also supported by Harm Reduction International and Recovering Justice | Release, UK

Government announces £2.9bn for supporting vulnerable people

The Department of Health and Social Care and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have announced £2.9 billion of funding allocation for local authorities to support vulnerable people, including people who are homeless during the COVID-19 crisis. This funding is from the £500 billion COVID-19 fund announced in The Budget | MEAM, UK

Cabinet Office issues guidance on public procurement

The government has issued two policy notes on public procurement during the COVID-19 crisis that are highly relevant to substance misuse services. The guidance sets out important measures that can be taken by commissioning authorities to ensure vital services can continue without interruption, or be postponed where appropriate | Collective Voice, UK

COVID-19: Statements from the sector

Links to statements from those operating in the sector such as treatment services | Collective Voice, UK

COVID-19 – Information flyer for people who inject drugs

An information flyer has been designed which contains advice for people who inject drugs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak | SDF, UK

Risks from coronavirus (COVID-19) - advice to smokers from Dr Nick Hopkinson - video

With medical experts increasingly advising people who smoke that they may face increased risks from the coronavirus (COVID-19), Dr Nick Hopkinson gives his advice for smokers to quit as soon as they possibly can | NHS, UK

Off-licences added to essential businesses list by UK government

Other shops that sell alcohol, including within breweries, can stay open during Covid-19 crisis | Guardian, UK

COVID-19 and people who use drugs

The situation regarding responses to the COVID-19 outbreak is rapidly evolving. Up-to-date information can be found in the guidelines prepared by national public health sources and the regular updates from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) | EMCDDA, Portugal

COVID-19 prevention and control among people who use drugs

All people have the right to health, even in countries under lockdown or where a state of emergency has been declared. This includes access to life-saving HIV harm reduction services and programmes in the community, as well as health care services in prisons | UNODC, Switzerland