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Bibliography on COVID-19 and Addiction
This downloadable document lists articles found in PubMed from searches on 19 October 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/19 Oct Covid-19 bibliography.docx
There is an older document showing search results from 1 January to 31 August 2020 here:/files/download/documents/Jan to Aug 2020 Covid-19 bibliography.docx
Vermont becomes 11th US state to legalise cannabis sales
The Governor of Vermont, Phil Scott, has announced that a bill to legalise cannabis sales will now be put into effect. The decision to pass this legislation will make Vermont the 11th US state to allow cannabis products to be distributed and sold. The new bill will also introduce a tax and regulation system allowing companies to commercialise cannabis products. Cannabis possession and cultivation are already legal in Vermont.
Rise in alcohol-induced deaths in the US
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol-induced deaths among individuals aged 25 and over increased by 43% from 10.7 per 100,000 in 2006 to 15.3 per 100,000 in 2018. Among men, rates were stable between 2000 and 2005 before increasing by 34% between 2005 and 2018. Among women, rates increased by 76% between 2000 and 2018. Overall, rates of alcohol-induced deaths in the US were higher for men than for women.
Drop in vaping prevalence among young people in Wales
According to the 2019 Student Health and Wellbeing Survey, the proportion of young people in Wales who had tried vaping products decreased from 25% in 2017 to 22% in 2019. The proportion of young people who regularly vaped also decreased from 3.3% to 2.5%. The same survey data also suggested that whilst vaping had declined, the steady drop in smoking among young people in Wales appeared to have stalled.
France to distribute free medical cannabis for research study in 2021
Up to 3,000 patients in France will be invited to participate in a 2021 study that will supply medical cannabis free of charge. A decree published by the government outlined the details of a research study that will last for two years. Participating doctors will be provided with a list of conditions that warrant a cannabis prescription, along with the specific procedures that must be followed.
Israel cuts price of medical cannabis and opens export market
Israel’s Health Minister and Deputy Health Minister have implemented a subsidy program to reduce the cost of medical cannabis and allow producers to export cannabis products until the end of 2020. The change is intended to enable greater access to medical cannabis for patients and will promote domestic cultivation projects.
Record numbers in England stop smoking during COVID-19 lock-down
The COVID-19 lock-down saw the highest numbers of people in England quitting smoking since the indoor smoking ban was introduced in 2007, according to data from the Smoking Toolkit Study. Almost 650,000 smokers in England quit in the 12 months to August 2020, compared with 307,000 over the same period to August 2019.
New Zealand extends new cannabis product-assessment rules
Implementation of new cannabis product-assessment regulations in New Zealand has been postponed from October 2020 to March 2021. The regulations will require importers, manufacturers and suppliers of medical cannabis to confirm that their products meet new minimum quality standards before they reach the market. Difficulties in providing evidence to the Medicinal Cannabis Agency (MCA), have resulted in the new rules being postponed to prevent disruption to medical cannabis supplies.
Macau government consults public on proposed new legal drinking age
A draft law proposing a minimum age of 18 for alcohol purchase and consumption is under public consultation in Macau. There is currently no legal minimum drinking age in Macau. The new regulation aims to reduce alcohol consumption among young people. Restrictions on advertising and sales promotions have also been proposed.
Kenya bans ‘LYFT’ nicotine pouches
The Kenyan government has demanded the deregistration of nicotine pouches known as LYFT. The Health Cabinet Secretary has warned that registering and licensing LYFT products is now illegal and conflicts with the provisions of the Pharmacy and Poisons Act CAP 224. LYFT products have become increasingly popular in Kenya since their introduction into the market in 2019.
Increase in cocaine overdose deaths in the US
There were 14,666 deaths from cocaine overdose in the US in 2018, representing 4.5 per 100,000 population (age adjusted rate). This almost tripled since 2013 when the rate was 1.6 per 100,000 population. Cocaine overdose deaths were more common among men than among women, increasing from 2.1 in 2009 to 6.4 in 2018 compared with 0.7 in 2009 to 2.6 in 2018. The highest level of overdose from cocaine was seen among people aged 35 to 44. The highest rates were found for overdose deaths that involved cocaine with opioids.
Walmart ordered to hand over internal files in opioid case
A US judge has told Walmart Inc. that it must hand over internal files relating to claims by investors that Walmart failed in its oversight of opioid painkiller sales. The trial in Ohio is related to alleged failures by Walmart board members to recognise ‘red flags’ relating to high levels of opioid sales. Walmart has rejected the claims.
Record number of medical cannabis patients in Australia
The number of patients approved for medical cannabis in Australia during September 2020 was 18% higher than in the previous month, with more than 6,000 patients accessing treatment. The total number of patients who have received unapproved medical cannabis products through Australia’s Special Access Scheme is now estimated to be 67,000. Approved products, such as Sativex, are not included in these figures.
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) adds recreational drugs to banned substances list
In August 2020, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced that it would no longer implement two-year bans for athletes who tested positive for recreational drugs. Last week, WADA released a revised list of drugs that included cocaine, heroin, MDMA, and THC as substances of abuse, rather than as performance-enhancing substances, meaning that athletes will face a ban of 1 to 3 months if they test positive for those substances.
Philippine police killings increase during COVID-19 lock-down
Figures from the Philippine government show that 46 people were killed by police anti-drug operations in August 2020. The average number of killings per month has increased during the COVID-19 lock-down. Previously, around 26 people per month were killed in anti-drug operations, but this has increased to an average of 39 over the past four months.
Sweden, UK, Ireland and Finland have highest rates of drug-related deaths in the EU
A report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has highlighted Sweden as having the highest level of drug-related deaths in the EU. In 2018, Sweden registered 81 drug-related deaths per 1 million citizens aged 15 to 64. The EU average is 22.3 deaths per 1 million citizens. The UK had the second highest level of drug related deaths, with Ireland and Finland equal third.
Kenya allows alcohol sales in bars and restaurants as COVID-19 lock-down eases
The Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, has announced that bars and restaurants are to re-open, having been previously closed to prevent transmission of COVID-19. Bars have been closed since March, although many used a loophole that allowed premises selling food to stay open. This loophole was closed in July when all restaurants were ordered to close. Kenya has also pushed back the national curfew from 9pm to 11pm.
Georgians spend $8,000 per day on crypto-market drug transactions
The Caucus Research Resource Center-Georgia (CRRC) has reported that, between February and August 2020, online illicit drug sales in Georgia amounted to $1.5m, averaging $8,000 per day. The report also estimated that, every day, illicit drugs worth around $35,000 are placed in secret locations in the country’s three major cities. Most drug sales in Georgia related to cannabis cocaine and MDMA, with cannabis accounting for over 50% of transactions.
Bangladesh forms drug testing institution
The Bangladesh government plans to create an independent organisation to carry out drug tests across the country. The drug tests will mostly be used for higher education admissions and in the transport sector. Students will be tested before admission to higher education and again before any final exams. Transport workers will be tested before, during and after long journeys. The tests will be called ‘special health examinations’ to avoid potential stigma associated with drug testing.
Nigeria to ban alcohol sachet production by 2024
Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has announced that it will eliminate production and sales of alcohol sachets by 2023/2024. Alcohol sachets contain small amounts of spirit drinks such as rum or whisky, they are typically 25ml and containing 40% alcohol or above. The process will be implemented in stages, with alcohol sachet producers initially being encouraged to reduce the alcohol concentration of their products. A full ban on production and sales of the small quantity, high alcohol products will be implemented in early 2024.