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or

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.  

Bhutan expands tobacco sales following lift of ban to prevent COVID-19

Bhutan recently lifted its ban on tobacco sales to prevent COVID-19 transmission through cross-border smuggling. Since then it has expanded the number of outlets permitted to sell tobacco to prevent overcrowding at retail outlets. The expansion comes after customers overwhelmed the new official tobacco outlet as soon as it opened with people queuing from 5am and more than 800 people arriving to purchase tobacco.

Source: https://kuenselonline.com/identified-outlets-in-zones-to-sell-tobacco-products/

Thailand seals Myanmar border to prevent drug trafficking and COVID-19 transmission

Thailand’s deputy Prime Minister, Prawit Wongsuwan, has announced that the border between Thailand and Myanmar will be sealed to prevent drug trafficking and the spread of COVID-19. The government is concerned that the economic difficulties caused by COVID-19 have encouraged greater numbers of people to smuggle illicit drugs across the border.

Source: https://menafn.com/1100807020/Thailand-seals-border-with-Myanmar-to-stem-Covid-19-drug-trafficking

Chemical maker halts Mexican sales of chemical used to produce heroin

US chemical company Avantor has stopped selling acetic anhydride in Mexico following a Bloomberg report on the chemical’s use in converting opium to heroin. Avantor’s acetic anhydride has been found at illegal drug lab busts since 2010 and is readily available in Mexico where there are few effective regulations for monitoring unusual purchases or reporting missing stock. The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) says that Mexico is the primary source for heroin imported to the US.

Source: https://www.inquirer.com/columnists/heroin-mexico-avantor-gupta-drugs-20200918.html

Mexico fentanyl seizures quadruple during COVID-19 lock-down

Seizures of fentanyl in Mexico between January and September 2020 were 465% higher than during the same period in 2019. This increase saw the total quantity of seized methamphetamines increase from around 200kg to 1,000kg. Mexican officials have attributed the increased drug seizures to better security measures as well as to low levels of international travel during the COVID-19 lock-down, making illicit drug shipments easier to detect. 

Source: https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/mexico-sees-fentanyl-seizures-quadruple-denies-making-drug-73097063

UK financial watchdog sets out cannabis company listing process

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has outlined the process whereby cannabis companies could become listed in the UK without breaching rules on processing proceeds from illegal drug use. Increasing numbers of cannabis companies are now listed in Europe following legalisation in Canada and many US states; however, cannabis is still illegal in the UK. The new rules are now out for public consultation.

Source: https://www.heraldscotland.com/business_hq/18732047.uk-watchdog-opens-door-cannabis-companies-millions-still-furlough-three-women-running-become-first-female-head-wto/

Spot fines for people using drugs at music festivals in Australia saves court money

The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) has reported that, between January and June 2019, 300 fines were issued for illicit drug use at Australian music festivals. The fines of up to AUS$400 were predominantly issued for ecstasy possession with smaller numbers issued for cocaine and amphetamine possession. NDARC also reported that the fines diverted those people from the criminal justice system and saved the justice system up to AUS$194,000 whilst raising AUD$120,000 in revenue.

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/drug-on-the-spot-fines-save-justice-system-thousands-of-dollars-20200910-p55uhp.html

New York State charges Johnson & Johnson over opioid marketing

New York State has filed civil charges against Johnson & Johnson and its affiliate Janssen Pharmaceuticals for insurance fraud. The charges allege that the companies understated the risks and addiction potential of opioid prescriptions to doctors and to elderly patients. The hearing will begin on 25 January 2021.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-johnson-johnson-new-york-opioids/johnson-johnson-charged-by-new-york-with-civil-insurance-fraud-over-opioid-claims-idUSKBN2682HF

UK duty free limits on alcohol and tobacco due to change in January 2021

When the UK leaves the European Union (EU) in January 2021, people travelling from the EU to the UK will no longer be allowed to carry unlimited quantities of duty-free alcohol and tobacco. The new rules will limit travellers to 42 litres of beer, 18 litres of still wine, and either 4 litres of spirits or 9 litres of sparkling wine as well as 200 cigarettes or 250g of loose tobacco.

Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/duty-free-airport-uk-cigarettes-alcohol-vat-prices-tobacco-allowance-refunds-b445457.html

Canadian province of British Columbia to prescribe pharmaceutical alternatives to illicit drugs

British Columbia has announced a new programme whereby pharmaceutical alternatives to illicit drugs will be prescribed by nurses to people who use drugs who are at risk of overdose. The alternatives are set to include smokable and injectable options. The initiative follows a rise in opioid overdoses in British Columbia resulting in over 900 deaths between January and September 2020.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/16/british-columbia-opioids-safer-supply-drugs-canada

Global tobacco trade loses 8% during COVID-19

Data and analytics company GlobalData has reported that sales of tobacco products in 2020 will be at least 8% below where they would have been without the COVID-19 pandemic. The decline in sales is expected to cost the tobacco industry an estimated $56bn. The projected loss is likely to be higher for cigarettes than for other forms of tobacco at 11%. Global declines in smoking have been attributed to people quitting smoking because of respiratory health concerns related to COVID-19.

Source: https://www.verdict.co.uk/cigarette-sales-covid/

Germany publishes online gambling regulations

Germany will implement new online gambling regulations in July 2021. The regulations will allow licenced gambling companies to run online slot machines and sports betting. Slot machines will have a maximum stake of €1 per spin and a minimum spin time of 5 seconds. Sports ‘bets at stake’ will be limited to final score and next scorer only. Between September 2020 and the introduction of the new regulations, online roulette and blackjack will be banned, and the maximum losses per player from online betting will be limited to €1,000.

Source: https://news.tunf.com/germany-approves-online-casino-games/000113

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.

Source: https://apa.az/en/cis-countries-news/Alcohol-poisoning-death-toll-in-Armenia-reaches-21-330192

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.

Source: http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/379492/Egypt/Politics-/Egypt%E2%80%99s-leading-cigarette-manufacturer-increases-s.aspx

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.

Source: https://www.vapingpost.com/2020/09/08/australia-vaping-amongst-teens-increases-as-smoking-decreases/

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.

Source: https://www.huffsnpuffs.com/hong-kongs-first-cbd-cafe-to-be-fully-operational-from-october-2020/

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.

Sources: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/national-survey-shows-encouraging-decline-overall-youth-e-cigarette-use-concerning-uptick-use

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6937e1.htm

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.

Source: https://mjbizdaily.com/more-patients-receive-cannabis-prescriptions-in-luxembourg/

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.

Source: http://www.chiangraitimes.com/economy-business/thailand-bans-selling-alcoholic-beverages-via-online-ecommerce/

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.

Source: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-09-survey-young-people-alcohol-lockdown.html