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Russland. Russian Drug Users Describe Life and Trends During the Pandemic

Drug use is globally interconnected. Just thinking of the routes illegal drugs take up to the point of consumption—from being grown or synthesized in producer countries, refined and produced in secondary locations, then often smuggled across borders and oceans—often makes you wonder, as a drug user, about people elsewhere in the world, doing pretty much what you’re doing.

While the desire for different substances and their effects is near-universal, cultural and policy landscapes vary greatly, which was one reason we wished to present Russian drug users’ experiences to Filter’s readers. (Filter, USA, 15.09.2020)


Continuing increased access to buprenorphine in the United States via telemedicine after COVID-19

Davis CS, Samuels EA. 

[published online ahead of print, 2020 Aug 15]. Int J Drug Policy. 2020;102905. doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102905


Low Barrier Tele-Buprenorphine in the Time of COVID-19: A Case Report. 

Harris M, Johnson S, Mackin S, Saitz R, Walley AY, Taylor JL. 

J Addict Med. 2020;14(4):e136-e138. doi:10.1097/ADM.0000000000000682


Opioid substitution therapy with buprenorphine-naloxone during COVID-19 outbreak in India: Sharing our experience and interim standard operating procedure. 

Basu D, Ghosh A, Subodh BN, Mattoo SK. 

Indian J Psychiatry. 2020;62(3):322-326. doi:10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_295_20


Early Effects of COVID-19 on Programs Providing Medications for Opioid Use Disorder in Jails and Prisons 

Bandara S, Kennedy-Hendricks A, Merritt S, Barry CL, Saloner B. 

[published online ahead of print, 2020 Aug 27]. J Addict Med. 2020;10.1097/ADM.0000000000000718. doi:10.1097/ADM.0000000000000718



USA. Addiction treatment shrinks during the pandemic, leaving people with nowhere to turn 

COVID-19 has overshadowed the U.S. opioid crisis, but that doesn’t mean opioid addiction has gone away. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid crisis has gotten worse. Drug overdose death rates rose 13% in the first half of 2020. COVID-19 threatens to dismantle an already frayed addiction treatment system, creating a crisis on top of a crisis. (Conversation, USA, 03.09.2020)


USA. 'A Pandemic Upon an Epidemic.' Syringe Services Struggle to Provide Care to Those Battling Drug Addiction Amid COVID-19

Americans who struggle with drug addiction have turned to syringe services programs (SSPs) for decades—not only to exchange used needles for clean ones but also as a first step towards treatment. Avoiding reusing needles reduces the risk of contracting infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis C. But the coronavirus pandemic has made it more difficult for participants to get clean needles as sites shut down or reduce their operating hours. (Time, 19.08.2020)


IDPC. COVID-19 Stories of Substance (Australien, Mexiko und Kanada)


Kenia und USA. Addiction during a pandemic (Audio)

How two men fought their addictions during lockdown. (BBC OS Conversations, UK, 17.08.2020, Audio, 11:06)

Kenia und USA. Addiction during a pandemic (Audio)

USA. How the Pandemic Hit People Who Use Drugs, in Their Own Words

In some ways, the coronavirus pandemic has hit marginalized people who use drugs the hardest. Harm reduction facilities have been forced to drastically cut back their hours, reducing access to sterile supplies. Quarantine drove people to use more, and to use alone. Global supply-chain disruptions left many getting their drugs from unfamiliar sources. Fewer people on the street means fewer opportunities—and drastically fewer safe opportunities—to earn money through selling drugs or sex work. Social distancing makes it harder for communities of marginalized drug users to do what they have always done best: take care of each other. (Filter, USA, 13.08.2020)

USA. How the Pandemic Hit People Who Use Drugs, in Their Own Words


Schweiz. Diaphin-Mitgaben: Zweite Umfrage in HeGeBe-Zentren gestartet

Eine Sonderregelung des BAGs erlaubte während der Coronakrise mehr Mitgaben von Diaphin. Nun startet die Arud eine zweite Befragungsrunde zu den diesbezüglichen Erfahrungen, an der sich möglichst  weitere Zentren beteiligen sollen. Die Laufzeit für Einschlüsse ist bis Ende August. (ARUD, Schweiz, 07.07.2020)

Schweiz. Diaphin-Mitgaben: Zweite Umfrage in HeGeBe-Zentren gestartet

UK. Hotel homeless helped to address addictions by London-wide health programme  

Rough sleepers housed in hotels during Covid-19 are getting support for drug and alcohol addiction issues through a pioneering London-wide project


Kanada. Overdose response accelerates with treatment, prevention supports

More people in B.C. will have access to life-saving overdose prevention, treatment and supports.

These supports are part of the $10.5 million in funding that will accelerate the response to an increasingly toxic illicit drug supply due to COVID-19.

“There have been devastating consequences for people who use substances during dual public health emergencies,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. (British Columbia Government News, Kanada, 04.08.2020)

Kanada. Overdose response accelerates with treatment, prevention supports

A national model of remote care for assessing and providing opioid agonist treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic: a report. 

Crowley, D., Delargy, I. 

Harm Reduct J 17, 49 (2020). doi.org/10.1186/s12954-020-00394-z

A national model of remote care for assessing and providing opioid agonist treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic: a report.

Irland. Caring for opioid drug users during the COVID-19 pandemic – a commentary on the Irish experience

Authors: Crowley D., and Cullen W.


Irish OAT services have implemented the following measures: reduced supervision requirements, increased the use of virtual patient care, streamlined assessment and induction processes to remove barriers to OAT access, provided home delivery of medications, increased access to naloxone and overdose programmes, targeted health and social interventions for the homeless and reduced our prison population. For now, non-essential services including drug and blood-borne virus screening and hepatitis C treatment have been postponed. Planning and review of Irish OAT services is ongoing so that further adaptations can be implemented as challenges emerge.

Heroin Addiction and Related Clinical Problems, Published Ahead of Print, June 12, 2020


The Escalation of the Opioid Epidemic Due to COVID-19 and Resulting Lessons About Treatment Alternatives

Marcelina Jasmine Silva, DO; and Zakary Kelly, MBA

Factors worsening the opioid epidemic during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic provide valuable insight for strategy change where we have historically suffered great loss, bodily and financially.

Am J Manag Care. 2020;26(7):e202-e204.  doi.org/10.37765/ajmc.2020.43386


USA. Amid Pandemic, Virginia Hospital's Opioid Overdoses Up Nearly 10-Fold

Opioid overdoses have shot up by almost 10-fold at a Virginia ED since March, a new report finds. The report provides more evidence that the coronavirus pandemic is sparking a severe medical crisis among illicit drug users.


According to the report, opioid overdoses at the VCU Medical Center in Richmond, Va., grew from an average of six a month from February to December 2019 to 50, 57, and 63 in March, April, and May 2020. Of the 171 cases in the later time frame, the average age was 44 years, 72% were male, and 82% were African American. (Medscape, 07.07.2020)

USA. Amid Pandemic, Virginia Hospital's Opioid Overdoses Up Nearly 10-Fold


USA. Extended Methadone Take-homes During COVID: Nothing But Success

Since March, when the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) relaxed rules for methadone take-homes to decrease exposure to the coronavirus, opioid treatment programs (OTPs) have been exercising this unprecedented freedom. Specifically, SAMHSA said March 16 that all states with declared states of emergency may request blanket exemption (from SAMHSA) for all stable patients to receive 28 days of take-home doses of methadone, and up to 14 days for “patients who are less stable but who the OTP believes can safely handle” those take-homes. For states without a declared emergency, each individual OTP may request blanket exemptions. (ATF – Addiction Treatment Forum, USA, 08.07.2020)


Kanada. Pandemic leads to rise in Canada fatal drug overdoses

(…) The Ontario coroner estimates fatal overdoses have shot up by 25 percent in the last three months. In British Columbia, deaths increased by 40 percent over the same period last year. (MedicalXpress, USA, 28.06.2020)


TAKING BACK WHAT’S OURS! – Episode 1. The Netherlands, Belgium and France

Drugreporter and INPUD presents the first episode of a 10 chapter long series documenting how people who use drugs around the world have organised and formed collectives and unions to protect and defend the health and human rights of their community. The first episode uncovers he history of the movement in the Netherlands, and how it inspired activists in Belgium and France. (Drug Reporter, Ungarn, 06.07.2020)


COVID-19: a multifaceted threat to refugee camps

Burki, Talha

The Lancet Microbe, Volume 1, Issue 3, e110 


USA. Coronavirus cases trickle into addiction treatment centers; some workers worry 

State posts names of addiction treatment, methadone, mental health facilities with COVID-19 cases online. (Orange County Register, USA, 25.06.2020)


USA. 'Opioid overdoses are skyrocketing': as Covid-19 sweeps across US an old epidemic returns 

The pandemic is creating the social conditions – no jobs, isolation, despair – that helped enable the opioid crisis to emerge in the first place. Now it’s back. (The Guardian, UK, 09.07.2020)


USA. As opioids flooded tribal lands across the U.S., overdose deaths skyrocketed

In Oklahoma, with 38 Native American tribes, the deluge of pain pills rivaled hard-hit Appalachia. (Washington Post, 29.06.2020)


Irland. Saving Lives in the time of COVID-19 

Case Study of Harm Reduction, Homelessness and Drug Use in Dublin, Ireland 

July, 2020 

Austin O’Carroll, Tony Duffin and John Collins 


Kanada, Downtown Eastside march for safe supply of drugs to take place Tuesday

With last month being the deadliest for drug overdoses in years with more than 170 dead in the city, Vancouver activists rallied and marched through the Downtown Eastside, the epicenter of hard drug use in the city, to demand access to a safe supply of drugs for users. While acknowledging federal and provincial government efforts to ease access to such drugs, lockdowns related to the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in interruptions to the drug supply and led to the local manufacture of substitutes cut with more dangerous and toxic ingredients. The rally was led by the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU). (The Province, Kanada, 23.06.2020)


INPUD. COVID-19 Survey Report 1: Health & Rights of People who Use Drugs in a COVID-19 Environment

The data presented below (…) is a brief overview and summary of initial data from the first 3 weeks of the online survey, collected between the 8th May - 31st May 2020 across all six languages of the survey. Data analysis was conducted using automatically generated Survey Monkey data summary reports for the quantitative results and a qualitative thematic analysis approach to identify the key themes within each language version and the collated data set. Data collection is ongoing and further data analysis and reports will be produced in due course. This data report is designed to provide a brief overview of the data collected and some of the key emerging issues. For this reason, not all available data is included in the analysis below. (INPUD - The International Network of People who Use Drugs, 01.07.2020) 


EMCDDA Trendspotter briefing: impact of COVID-19 on patterns of drug use and drug-related harms in Europe

(June 2020) Since the start of 2020, European countries have been experiencing an unprecedented public health threat with the emergence of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). In order to investigate the effects and implications of this pandemic for people who use drugs in Europe, the EMCDDA instigated a mixed-method trendspotter study to investigate the current situation. This briefing provides a snapshot of the state of play with respect to the impact of COVID-19 on drug consumption patterns and drug-related harms during the early stages of the pandemic. (EMCDDA, Juni 2020)


UK. Supervised Dispensing after COVID-19

Following the relaxations to the way in which opiate substitute treatment has been subscribed and delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic - as a sector we now have a challenge:

“How do we incorporate the lessons learned from the changes to supervised dispensary during the pandemic?  And can we move towards a fully risk based, individualised dispensing system?” (NHS Substance Misuse Provider Alliance blog, UK, Juni 2020)


USA (Arizona). How Stavros 24-7 Clinics Handle the Pandemic

When the pandemic hit the epicenter of New York City in mid-March, Nicholas Stavros’ 24-7 clinics across the country were already preparing. “We got in front of this right away,” said Mr. Stavros, CEO of Community Medical Services (CMS), based in Scottsdale, Arizona. (atforum.com, USA, 27.05.2020)