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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)


EMCDDA. Neueste Informationen der EMCDDA über die Auswirkungen von COVID-19 auf Drogenkonsumierende und die Drogenhilfe  25. 3. 2020 (Update 1)  https://www.emcdda.europa.eu/system/files/publications/12879/EMCDDA%20Covid-19%20update_1_23032020_DE.pdf

Challenges and Similarities in HIV, COVID-19 Crises: A Q&A with Anthony FauciM.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease

Am J Manag Care. 2020;26(7):In Press


Case 21-2020: A 66-Year-Old Homeless Man with Covid-19

Gaeta JM, De Las Nueces D, Munson DG, Barocas JA, Walsh KE.

[published online ahead of print, 2020 Jun 24]. N Engl J Med. 2020;10.1056/NEJMcpc2002421. doi:10.1056/NEJMcpc2002421



Stigma during the COVID-19 pandemic

Bagcchi, Sanjeet

The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Volume 20, Issue 7, 782 


COVID-19 testing and patients in mental health facilities

Benson, Nicole M et al.

The Lancet Psychiatry, Volume 0, Issue 0


Addressing the public mental health challenge of COVID-19 Campion,

Jonathan et al.

The Lancet Psychiatry, Volume 0, Issue 0 


Optimizing Medication Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder During COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2).

Leppla IE, Gross MS.

J Addict Med. 2020 May 14. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000678.


Does intranasal naloxone administration increase the risk of 2019 coronavirus disease transmission?

Leong YC, Verbeek PR. 

CJEM. 2020 May 12:1-2. doi: 10.1017/cem.2020.395.


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 May 20. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000682.


Switching opioid-dependent patients in substitution treatment from racemic methadone, levomethadone and buprenorphine to slow-release oral morphine: Analysis of the switching process in routine care

Cinzia Baschirotto, Kirsten Lehmann, Silke Kuhn, Jens Reimer, Uwe Verthein

Journal of Pharmacological Sciences, 2020, Journal of Pharmacological Sciences, Available online 12 June 2020


Australien. Pregabalin use found to be relatively common among people who regularly inject drugs

The use of pregabalin, a medicine for neuropathic pain, is relatively common among a sample of people who regularly inject drugs (PWID) in Australia, a new study by researchers at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), UNSW Sydney has found. 

In a sample of 905 participants from the 2018 Illicit Drug Reporting System, it was identified that 25 per cent of PWID reported using pregabalin in the previous six months.

Lead author, Dr Rachel Sutherland said; “10 per cent of the sample reported using pregabalin that was prescribed to them, while 15 per cent reported using pregabalin that was not prescribed to them.” (ndarc - National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Australien, 17.06.2020)


DZSKJ - Newsletter 38 - Wissenschaft für die Praxis

UKE-Hamburg, Deutsches Zentrum für Suchtfragen im Kindes- und Jugendalter


Positive Allosteric Modulation of CB1 Cannabinoid Receptor Signaling Enhances Morphine Antinociception and Attenuates Morphine Tolerance Without Enhancing Morphine-Induced Dependence or Reward. 

Slivicki RA, Iyer V, Mali SS, et al. 

Front Mol Neurosci. 2020;13:54. Published 2020 Apr 28. doi:10.3389/fnmol.2020.00054



Cullen JM, Cascella M. Physiology, 

In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020.


New directions in the treatment of opioid withdrawal

Srivastava, A Benjamin et al.

The Lancet, Volume 395, Issue 10241, 1938 - 1948 



The Accessibility of Opioid Agonist Treatment and Its Forced Discontinuation in Swiss Prisons-Attitudes, Perceptions and Experiences of Defense Lawyers in Dealing With Detained Persons Using Opioids. 

Buadze A, Baggio S, Schleifer R, et al. 

Front Psychiatry. 2020;11:395. Published 2020 May 14. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00395


Kampman KM. The treatment of cocaine use disorder. 

Kampman KM. 

Sci Adv. 2019;5(10):eaax1532. Published 2019 Oct 16. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aax1532


A Cross-Sectional and Prospective Comparison of Medicinal Cannabis Users and Controls on Self-Reported Health

Nicolas J. Schlienz, Ryan Scalsky, Erin L. Martin, Heather Jackson, Joel Munson, Justin C. Strickland, Marcel O. Bonn-Miller, Mallory Loflin, and Ryan Vandrey

Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research 0 0:0


Heroin-induced headache in female heroin addicts. 

Li L, Yu S. 

J Int Med Res. 2020;48(6):300060520925353. doi:10.1177/0300060520925353


When is an abscess more than an abscess? Syringe services programs and the harm reduction safety-net: a case report.

Castillo, M., Ginoza, M.E.C., Bartholomew, T.S. et al. 

Harm Reduct J 17, 34 (2020). doi.org/10.1186/s12954-020-00381-4


Risk factors of infective endocarditis in persons who inject drugs.

Shah, M., Wong, R., Ball, L. et al. 

Harm Reduct J 17, 35 (2020). doi.org/10.1186/s12954-020-00378-z


Impact of overdose prevention sites during a public health emergency in Victoria, Canada.

Pauly B, Wallace B, Pagan F, et al. 

PLoS One. 2020;15(5):e0229208. Published 2020 May 21. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0229208


USA. Treatment of Stimulant Use Disorders

This guide supports health care providers, systems, and communities seeking to treat stimulant use disorders. It describes relevant research findings, examines best practices, identifies knowledge gaps and implementation challenges, and offers useful resources. (SAMHSA - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, USA, Juni 2020)


Medications for opioid use disorder among pregnant women referred by criminal justice agencies before and after Medicaid expansion: A retrospective study of admissions to treatment centers in the United States.

Winkelman TNA, Ford BR, Shlafer RJ, McWilliams A, Admon LK, Patrick SW (2020) 

PLoS Med 17(5): e1003119. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003119


Predictors of Overdose Death Among High-Risk Emergency Department Patients With Substance-Related Encounters: A Data Linkage Cohort Study.

Krawczyk N, Eisenberg M, Schneider KE, et al. 

Ann Emerg Med. 2020;75(1):1‐12. doi:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2019.07.014


Regional Differences in the Drugs Most Frequently Involved in Drug Overdose Deaths: United States, 2017. 

Hedegaard H, Bastian BA, Trinidad JP, Spencer MR, Warner M. 

Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2019;68(12):1‐16. 


Heroin Adulterated with the Novel Synthetic Cannabinoid, 5F-MDMB-PINACA: A Case Series. 

Ershad M, Dela Cruz M, Mostafa A, Khalid MM, Arnold R, Hamilton R. 

Clin Pract Cases Emerg Med. 2020;4(2):121‐125. Published 2020 Apr 23. doi:10.5811/cpcem.2020.2.45060


EMCDDA technical report on the new psychoactive substance N,Ndiethyl- 2-[[4-(1-methylethoxy)phenyl]methyl]-5-nitro-1Hbenzimidazole- 1-ethanamine (isotonitazene)


The purpose of this technical report is to provide an analysis of the available information on N,N-diethyl-2-[[4-(1-methylethoxy)phenyl]methyl]-5-nitro-1H-benzimidazole-1-ethanamine (commonly known as isotonitazene), an opioid analgesic that has recently emerged on the drug market in Europe, to support a risk assessment of the substance that has been requested by the European Commission in accordance with Article 5c of Regulation (EC) No 1920/2006 (as amended). (EMCDDA, Lissabon, Juni 2020)