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Schweiz. Wegen Corona: Heroinabhängige können sieben Dosen aufs Mal mitnehmen

Der Bundesrat lockert wegen der Pandemie die Bestimmungen des Betäubungsmittelgesetzes. Schwerstsüchtige erhalten die Wochendosis nun auf ein Mal und müssen nicht mehr täglich vorsprechen. (Luzerner Zeitung, Schweiz, 25.09.2020


Kanada. B.C. moves to dramatically increase access to safe alternatives to illicit drugs

(…) “We know the pandemic has only made the street drug supply in B.C. more toxic than ever, putting people who use drugs at extremely high risk for overdose,” Dr. Henry said in a statement. “Giving physicians and nurse practitioners the ability to prescribe safer pharmaceutical alternatives has been critical to saving lives and linking more people to treatment and other health and social services.” (The Globe and Mail, Kanada, 17.09.2020)


Economics: The impact of banning alcohol during Covid-19

Some countries have experimented with alcohol prohibition during the pandemic to keep hospitals emptier. What was the impact? (BBC, 20.09.2020)


COVID-19 and Substance Use Disorders: Recommendations to a Comprehensive Healthcare Response. An International Society of Addiction Medicine Practice and Policy Interest Group Position Paper. 

Farhoudian A, Baldacchino A, Clark N, et al.

Basic Clin Neurosci. 2020;11(2):133-150. doi:10.32598/bcn.11.covid19.1


Philippinen. Alarm over drug-related killings in Manila during Covid-19 (Video)

There’s alarm in the Philippines over an escalation in shadowy killings during the pandemic in a suburb of the capital, Manila. (BBC, 11.09.2020, Video, 02:28)


USA. „Raus mit der Wahrheit oder Rücktritt!“ US-Medscape-Chef Eric Topol ist entsetzt über die Corona-Entscheidungen des FDA-Chefs

Dr. Eric J. Topol , Editor-in-Chief von Medscape, ist einer der 10 am häufigsten zitierten Forscher in der Medizin und schreibt oft über neue Technologien im Gesundheitswesen. In einem offenen Brief wendet er sich aktuell an Dr. Stephen Michael Hahn , United States Commissioner Food and Drugs und Leiter der US-Arzneimittelbehörde Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Seine Kritik über das unwissenschaftliche und unehrliche Vorgehen von Hahn wurde von vielen US-Medien aufgegriffen und heizt de Diskussionen um das Vorpreschen bei Therapien und Impfungen gegen COVID-19 an. (MedScape, USA, 04.09.2020)


USA. How the Pandemic Defeated America - A virus has brought the world’s most powerful country to its knees.

(...) Today, the U.S. spends just 2.5 percent of its gigantic health-care budget on public health. Underfunded health departments were already struggling to deal with opioid addiction, climbing obesity rates, contaminated water, and easily preventable diseases. Last year saw the most measles cases since 1992. In 2018, the U.S. had 115,000 cases of syphilis and 580,000 cases of gonorrhea—numbers not seen in almost three decades. It has 1.7 million cases of chlamydia, the highest number ever recorded. (The Atlantic, September Issue, 04.08.2020)


WHO. 172 countries and multiple candidate vaccines engaged in COVID-19 vaccine Global Access Facility

172 economies are now engaged in discussions to potentially participate in COVAX, a global initiative aimed at working with vaccine manufacturers to provide countries worldwide equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, once they are licensed and approved. COVAX currently has the world’s largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio - including nine candidate vaccines, with a further nine under evaluation and conversations underway with other mayor producers. (WHO, Schweiz, 24.08.2020)


USA. IV Painkillers Pinched in Opioid Crackdown, Hospitals Warn DEA (1)

Intravenous painkillers are running short during the pandemic in part because of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s opioid production restrictions, one of the biggest hospital policy groups in the U.S. said. (Bloomberg Law, USA, 22.07.2020)

USA. IV Painkillers Pinched in Opioid Crackdown, Hospitals Warn DEA (1)

COVID-19 report: Interruption and Innovation

The report has an overview of disruptions and responses to prevention, treatment and care for key populations at risk for HIV, TB and viral hepatitis due to Covid-19 in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. (AFEW International - AIDS Foundation East-West, 05.062020)

COVID-19 report: Interruption and Innovation

How has COVID-19 affected some of the most vulnerable people in society? (Video)
The video highlights some of the best and worst developments in policies and service provision and asks what we can learn from the COVID-19 crisis. (LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science, UK, 03.07.2020, Video, 07:00)

How has COVID-19 affected some of the most vulnerable people in society? (Video)

Care during COVID-19: Drug use, harm reduction, and intimacy during a global pandemic

Allison Schlosser, Shana Harris

International Journal of Drug Policy, Available online 30 July 2020, 102896, doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102896


COVID-19 - Enacting a ‘new normal’ for people who use drugs

Judy Chang, Jake Agliata, Mauro Guarinieri

International Journal of Drug Policy, Available online 3 July 2020, 102832, doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102832


WHO sieht keine Rückkehr zur Normalität in absehbarer Zukunft

Genf – Die Weltgesundheitsorganisation WHO sieht in absehbarer Zukunft „keine Rückkehr zur Normalität“. Zu viele Länder seien im Umgang mit der Coronapandemie auf dem falschen Weg, sagte WHO-Chef Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus bei einer Online-Pressekonferenz gestern. (aerzteblatt.de, 14.07.2020)


USA. The CDC has always been an apolitical island. That’s left it defenseless against Trump

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the country’s top public health agency, is being kicked around by the White House. And it doesn’t have much power to kick back. (Stat, USA, 13.07.2020)


EMCDDA and Europol join EU institutions in dialogue on the impact of COVID-19 on the world drug situation 

On the occasion of International day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking, the EMCDDA and Europol are joining representatives of the EU institutions today in providing the European perspective on the impact of COVID-19 on the world drug situation. The panel discussion will conclude a special event of the United Nations’ Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) and is co-sponsored by the European Union and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)(1). (EMCDDA, Lissabon, 26.06.2020)


Compulsory drug detention and rehabilitation centres in Asia and the Pacific in the context of COVID-19 

Against the backdrop of COVID-19, recalling the 2012 Joint Statement on compulsory drug detention and rehabilitation centres1 and the 2020 Joint Statement on COVID-19
in prisons and other closed settings2, United Nations entities urgently appeal to Member States to permanently close compulsory drug detention and rehabilitation centres and implement voluntary, evidence-informed and rights-based health and social services in the community as an important measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 and to facilitate the recovery and reintegration of those in the centres back into their families and communities. (UNODC, WHO, ILO, WFP, UNAIDS u.a., 01.06.2020)


USA. Post-coronavirus pandemic, methadone should be just as easy to get

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, addiction medicine has been transformed and expanded. The reforms must remain after the emergency ends. (Boston Globe, USA, 24.05.2020)


USA. Federal Government Approves Methadone Deliveries During Pandemic

New York City launched a methadone delivery program last month so that patients won't have to leave home during the pandemic to get their next dose. Methadone, a highly regulated medication for opioid addiction, has to be taken every day, otherwise patients risk a painful withdrawal. (npr – National Public Radio, USA, 27.05.2020)


Ärzteschaft. COVID-19 und Klima: Die Krise als Chance begreifen

Berlin – Weltweit fordern Ärzte gemeinsam mit anderen Gesundheits­berufen die Sicherung der essenziellen Lebensgrundlagen auf dem Planeten. 350 Gesundheitsorganisati­onen, die nach eigenen Angaben rund 40 Millionen Beschäftigte der Gesundheitssysteme in 90 Ländern vertreten, haben dazu einen Brief an die Regierungschefs der 20 reichsten Industrienationen (G20) unterschrieben. (aerzteblatt.de, 27.05.2020)


Europa. Where are the ECDC and the EU-wide responses in the COVID-19 pandemic?

Jordana, Jacint et al.

The Lancet, Volume 0, Issue 0 


Will the Pandemic Lead to Better Treatment for Drug Users?

Harm-reduction advocates hope new emergency rules for medication-assisted treatment will foster broader reforms after the Covid-19 crisis. (The Nation, USA, 06.05.2020)


Can a virus undermine human rights?

Nay, Olivier

The Lancet Public Health, Volume 5, Issue 5, e238 - e239 


Russland. Russian NGO Accused of “Narco-Propaganda” Over COVID-19 Advocacy For People Who Use Drugs

The Andrey Rylkov Foundation has closed its website amidst government accusations of “narco-propaganda”. The following statement outlines ongoing threats faced by the  foundation and calls for support to continue to make essential live-saving health and human rights services available to people who use drugs. (Talkin Drugs, UK, 21.04.2020)


Global call to action for inclusion of migrants and refugees in the COVID-19 response

Orcutt, Miriam et al.

The Lancet, Volume 0, Issue 0 



The COVID-19 crisis has, very quickly, highlighted a range of critical risks faced by both people who use drugs problematically and the providers of substance use services. Many in the drug policy and harm reduction community have moved swiftly to propose ways to address these issues in both the short and medium term. It has been encouraging to see that the UNODC has also sought to very clearly assert the needs and rights of people who are facing both an acute health risk and the additional effects of stigma and marginalisation.

As part of this effort, Transform and Release submitted a joint response to a call from the Treasury Committee to advise on how dedicated COVID-19 funding might best be spent. 

This briefing summarises that response, and sets out some of the interventions we think are needed to help alleviate the risks. It can be read alongside our recent blogs which discuss specific issues and principles in more detail. (Transform / Release, UK, 09.04.2020)


Time to let non-violent drug offenders out of jail 

Outdated criminal and correctional laws are threatening the lives of over 1.6 million people incarcerated for non-violent offences. Countries are failing to meet their basic needs and rights. They are also depriving societies of a vital workforce. By releasing people incarcerated for non-violent offences in order to control the Covid-19 pandemic in prisons, authorities in very different parts of the world are implicitly admitting that the drug sentences were unnecessarily harsh and disproportionate, and that many incarcerated people could have lived through better alternatives than prison to pay their duty to society -- if any. (Bangkok Post, Thailand, 18,04.2020)


The doctors facing deportation while fighting coronavirus (Audio)

The Take explores the hardships many non-white doctors in the US and in the UK are facing while on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. (Al Jazeera, 17.04.2020, Podcast, 18:45) https://www.aljazeera.com/podcasts/thetake/2020/04/doctors-facing-deportation-fighting-coronavirus-200417141705958.html

USA. Vast Coalition Issues Demands for Far-Reaching MAT Reform

Harm reduction organizations, providers, experts and advocates from across the US are calling on government agencies to eliminate the notoriously burdensome restrictions imposed on medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder—a move they say would mitigate the dual crises of overdose and coronavirus. (Filter, USA, 16.04.2020)