Weekly news - 1st May 2020

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In date order, Monday to Friday:

Coronavirus frequently updated resources

Treatment and recovery services – and COVID-19 |Collective Voice

Society for the Study of Addiction useful coronavirus links | SSA

DDN coronavirus advice links |DDN

COVID-19 and smoking: resources, research and news | BMJ

Coronavirus: information and advice hub - alcohol | Alcohol Change UK


In date order, Monday to Friday:

COVID-19: Testing available for substance misuse treatment organisations

The government has released guidance on the strategy for testing for COVID-19. The guidance makes clear that testing capacity is being built gradually in a phased approach. Nevertheless, the guidance states that testing is available for: … voluntary sector organisations providing substance misuse treatment and domestic abuse support” | Collective Voice, UK

COVID-19 Information Hub

SDF has carried out significant work since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic with the aim of supporting services who support people who use drugs. This includes the provision of information, guidance, resources, webinars and more. Please use this selection of links to access information and resources useful to service providers and for people who use drugs | SDF

Online tool shows COVID-19 service delivery updates for people in Scotland who use drugs

People across Scotland can stay up to date with local drug treatment and pharmacy service changes during the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to a new online tool | SDF, UK

Shoppers swap clothes for alcohol amid record sales drop

UK retail sales fell a record 5.1% in March as many stores shut up shop in the face of the coronavirus lockdown | BBC, UK

COVID-19: Emergency legislation to enable supply of controlled drugs

Letter from the Home Secretary to the Chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs | ACMD, UK

BBC News - Delivering Opioid Substitution Treatment in Edinburgh during COVID-19 - 27/04/20 - video

Innovations in Edinburgh to hand deliver opioid substitution treatment OST to vulnerable patients who are isolating - Dr John Budd explains in this BBC News piece | BBC, UK

No 5. Substance misuse - Changing Lives - video

Discusses emergency support and provision for those experiencing substance misuse problems | MEAM, UK

Working with people who use drugs and who are homeless - SDF COVID-19 Webinar - video

COVID-19 and the lockdown present particular challenges for people affected by homelessness and substance use and services working with them. SDF's second free COVID-19 webinar included speakers from across Scotland describing local services responses from which other areas may learn and improve their service provision to a high risk vulnerable group | SDF, UK

Withdrawal: What to expect when you stop taking certain drugs

With the current COVID-19 pandemic you might find that your supply has been interrupted, causing you to experience involuntary withdrawal. Read this new guide to find out more about withdrawal and what you can do to stay safe | Drugs and me / With Are With You, UK

My working week: 'I worry about giving a drug user a week's worth of methadone'

The coronavirus pandemic has affected drug and alcohol services and those we are trying to help | Guardian, UK

'A lot of people have relapsed’: isolation has been a mixed blessing for drug addicts

'People can’t find other things to distract them so they turn back to drugs,’ says one young man who left rehab as the country locked down | Guardian, UK

Coronavirus: Medical cannabis access eased amid lockdown

Patients have begun receiving medical cannabis through the post, as the coronavirus pandemic has left them unable to access the drug any other way | BBC, UK

Street tablet use in Ireland: A Trendspotter study on use, markets, and harms (PDF)

In the Republic of Ireland, converging signals of the ongoing non-medical use of pharmaceuticals (‘street tablets’) among clients of community-based, drug harm reduction service agencies in Dublin were noted in 2018. These included significant levels of street tablet use among service clients, an increase in the prevalence of pregabalin in drug-related deaths data since 2015, and reports of online purchasing of tablets for the Irish market. To understand these recent trends, the present study was deemed necessary | Anna Lifey Drug Project, Ireland

EMCDDA initial report on the new psychoactive substance N,N-diethyl-2-[[4-(1-methylethoxy)phenyl]methyl]-5-nitro-1H-benzimidazole-1-ethanamine (isotonitazene)

Isotonitazene is a synthetic opioid analgesic monitored by the EMCDDA as a new psychoactive substance through the European Union Early Warning System since 2019. Based on potential public health risks, an initial report has been prepared and submitted to the Commission and the Member States, in accordance with Article 5b of Regulation (EC) No 1920/2006 (as amended) | EMCDDA, Portugal

Public health messaging and harm reduction in the time of COVID-19

We are concerned that the current public health messaging might be leaving out an important at-risk population: people who use drugs, including beverage and non-beverage alcohol, and in particular, individuals who are marginalised and street entrenched | The Lancet, UK

Novel benzodiazepines: prevalence and harms in the UK

This report examines the evidence of prevalence and harms in the UK of several novel benzodiazepines and provides advice to the government | ACMD, UK

COVID-19 and drug markets - week 4 update

As lockdown continues for many, and moves into week four in the UK, we have completed the week four summary of our drug markets and COVID-19 survey | Crew, UK

Update on new legislation relating to controlled drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic

Three temporary emergency measures have been introduced by the UK Government into legislation (The Misuse of Drugs (Coronavirus) (Amendments Relating to the Supply of Controlled Drugs During a Pandemic etc.) Regulations 2020) | General Pharmaceutical Council, UK

The Misuse of Drugs (Coronavirus) (Amendments Relating to the Supply of Controlled Drugs During a Pandemic etc.) Regulations 2020

On April 29th, the Government is laying the Misuse of Drugs (Coronavirus) (Amendments Relating to the Supply of Controlled Drugs During a Pandemic etc.) Regulations 2020 (‘the 2020 Regulations’) in the House. These regulations enable emergency supply of controlled drugs during a pandemic and will come into force on 30 April 2020 | They work for you, UK

Coronavirus: Home secretary urged to do more to relax drug rules to help ease end-of-life suffering

On Tuesday the health secretary, Matt Hancock, announced staff in care homes and hospices would be allowed to “re-use” controlled drugs such as morphine and midazolam, with medication prescribed for one patient used for another where there is an immediate need. But the Home Office today confirmed to The Independent that it had no plans to extend the rules to the care of patients in their own homes | Independent, UK

COVID-19 surveys on substance misuse and related issues

A number of organisations have issued surveys to gather information from across different support services and individuals to assess the impact of COVID-19. We have listed some of the surveys relevant to the substance misuse sector below, and will continue to update this list as other surveys are launched | Collective Voice blog, UK

Sharon Cox: How are we assisting our most disadvantaged during Covid-19?

New collaborations between drug and alcohol services and homeless charities provide some hope, says Sharon Cox | BMJ Opinion, UK

Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: World-leading public health law

The Government today released the full and final Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill that New Zealanders will be voting for at the referendum on 19 September | NZDF, New Zealand