We welcome suggestions and contributions from our readers. Send your material to Rob Calder, Addiction News Editor, Addiction, National Addiction Centre PO48, 4 Windsor Walk, London SE5 8AF. Fax +44 (0)20 7848 5966; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Bibliography on COVID-19 and Addiction
This downloadable document lists articles found in PubMed from searches on 14 September 2020 involving addiction-related topics and COVID-19. It is updated weekly and all publications prior to August 2020 have been removed. The headings and search phrases are provided and results are organised into 1) research reports, 2) reviews and 3) editorials, commentaries, and letters. Download the document here: /files/download/documents/14 Sep Covid-19 bibliography.docx
There is an older document showing search results from 1 January to 31 August 2020 available here: /files/download/documents/Jan to Aug 2020 Covid-19 bibliography.docx
Please note that the next bibliography will not be posted until 28 September.
Armenia reports rise in alcohol poisoning
According to the Armenian Ministry of Health, 46 people were admitted to hospital for methanol alcohol poisoning between 31 August and 11 September 2020, of whom 21 died. The government has warned members of the public against purchasing alcohol from non-commercial suppliers.
Tobacco prices increase by up to 71% in Egypt
Eastern Tobacco Company, Egypt’s largest cigarette producer, has announced an increase in the price of its tobacco products. The company reviews its prices every 3 months and has announced an increase of between 25% and 71% for cigarette and cigar products sold in Egypt.
Vaping increases while smoking decreases among young people in Australia
A report from the Australian National Drug Strategy Household Survey highlights that, while rates of vaping among young adults have increased, rates of smoking have decreased. The survey, based on over 22,000 people aged 14 and over, found that 3.7% of teenagers and 10.7% of people in their 20s smoked daily in 2019. Smoking prevalence in Australia has dropped more than 50% since 2001.
Hong Kong’s first cannabidiol (CBD) café
The first cannabidiol (CBD) café is due to open in Hong Kong in October 2020. The café will sell a range of CBD products including CBD-infused drinks and CBD oils. Customers are expected to include parents of children with epilepsy or cerebral palsy and people who have difficulty sleeping. Products containing THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) remain illegal in Hong Kong.
Vaping down among young people in the US
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported a decline in vaping prevalence among young people in 2020. The announcement follows 2 years of increases in youth vaping prevalence in the US. According to a federal report, 1.8 million fewer US teenagers currently vape in 2020 than currently vaped in 2019. This includes reductions in vaping of 28% to 20% among high school students between 2019 and 2020, and 11% to 5% among middle school students over the same period.
Increased demand for medical cannabis in Luxembourg
Four hundred and forty-one patients in Luxembourg were prescribed medical cannabis during the first 8 months of 2020, exceeding the overall total of 415 recorded in 2019. Luxembourg’s Health Minister Paulette Lenert said that despite the complex processes involved with importing medical cannabis, their current supply is adequate for the increased demand.
Thailand bans online alcohol sales
Following guidance from the National Alcoholic Beverage Policy Committee, Thailand’s government has banned online sales of alcohol. The ban has been implemented to address difficulties monitoring and controlling when consumers buy alcohol. Alcohol sales in Thailand are banned between 2pm and 5pm and between midnight and 11am.
Global Drug Survey reports decline in young people’s alcohol use during COVID-19 lock-down
Almost 40% of young people who responded to the Global Drug Survey said they had used less alcohol during lock-down. The report was based on over 55,000 respondents across 11 countries including Australia, United Kingdom and the United States. Despite previous concerns about increased alcohol consumption, the report suggests a more mixed response to COVID-19 lock-down measures.
Drug-related offences down in Cambodia
The National Authority for Combatting Drugs (NACD) in Cambodia has reported a drop in drug-related offences. Between January and August 2020, the number of recorded offences associated with illicit substances was around 14,000 compared with over 15,000 recorded in the same period in 2019. Offences include distributing, storing and trafficking illicit substances.
UK’s alcohol consumption down during COVID-19 lock-down
Despite an increase in supermarket alcohol sales, the total volume of alcohol sold in the UK during COVID-19 lock-down almost halved, decreasing from 2bn to 1.3bn litres according to data from Nielsen. The drop in sales has been attributed to the closure of pubs and restaurants.
Estonian region of Harju restricts alcohol sales to prevent COVID-19 transmission
The head of the North Prefecture of the Police and Border Guard board (PPA) has announced a ban on alcoholic beverage sales between 11pm and 6am in several counties in south-eastern Estonia, including Harju. The ban is intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and applies to off-licences, bars and restaurants.
Sales of medical cannabis in British Columbia at record high
Legal cannabis retailers across British Columbia have reported record sales for 6 consecutive months. Statistics Canada revealed a seven-fold increase in sales between June 2019 and January 2020, rising from CA$4,230,000 (approx. US$3,208,253) in revenue to CA$29,393,000 (approx. US$22,293,000). The increase in sales has been attributed to growth among private retailers and a reduction in illicit supplies.
Drug seizures/arrests increase by over 1,000% in Nigeria
The Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics has reported that the annual number of drug seizures and arrests increased from 9,831 in 2018 to 621,035 in 2019. The report also highlighted that the quantity of drugs seized increased from 163,684kg to 612,547kg over the same period. The highest number of drug-related cases were reported in the North Central region of Nigeria.
Pubs in Ireland under longest COVID-19 lock-down in Europe
According to the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI), pubs in Ireland have endured the longest COVID-19 related lock-down in Europe. They claim that pubs in Ireland have lost half a year of trade and face permanent loss of jobs and businesses. DIGI has asked the government to provide a support package including excise tax reduction to minimise the impact.
California state bans flavoured tobacco products
The California Assembly has approved a ban on sales of flavoured tobacco product. The new legislation banning fruit and menthol flavoured products has been implemented to deter adolescents from smoking and vaping.
UK alcohol labelling ‘failing consumers’
A report by Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) claims that less than 70% of labels on alcoholic beverages contain essential information, such as the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) alcohol guidelines, that allows consumers to make informed choices. The report found that nearly a quarter of labels contain misleading health information including out-of-date drinking guidelines.
Australia’s health regulator confirms ban on heated tobacco products
Australia’s health regulator has confirmed a ban on heated tobacco products (HTPs). The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced the formal decision, rejecting claims that HTPs offer a safer alternative to smoking. The TGA said that maintaining the current scheduling for HTPs was necessary to protect the public against the potential harms from recreational use of nicotine replacement products.
Wholesale tobacco sales drop by a quarter in Zimbabwe
Tobacco production in Zimbabwe has been hit by low rainfall resulting in a 23.5% drop in sales. Tobacco is the second biggest foreign currency product in Zimbabwe, with tobacco auctions regularly leading to improved foreign exchange rates. The tobacco industry is still recovering from drought and cyclones in 2019 which affected all Zimbabwean agriculture.
World Health Organisation (WHO) funds smoking cessation initiative in Jordan
Jordan has become the first country to receive funding and assistance from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to help reduce smoking prevalence. Jordan has the world’s highest smoking prevalence, with more than 8 in 10 Jordanian men estimated to be daily smokers. The new smoking cessation scheme will provide smokers with access to Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTs) and a digital health worker to provide personalised support.