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Home > Rapid review on coronavirus/COVID-19: policies, actions and resources related to drug and alcohol addiction across IIMHL and IIDL countries.

Appleton, Steve, ed. Peters, Janet . (2020) Rapid review on coronavirus/COVID-19: policies, actions and resources related to drug and alcohol addiction across IIMHL and IIDL countries. New Zealand: International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership. 28 p.

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This briefing provides a broad overview of alcohol and other drug addiction policies, action, services and resources across IIMHL and IIDL countries. Under each country the issues that have been raised by their respective Governments or in the media are particularly highlighted.

Top takeaways
• In general most international agencies and countries focus on mental health issues and alcohol problems as part of their COVID-19 responses (e.g. to the concerns provoked by the nature of the pandemic). There has been less focus on drug use in the COVID-19 world. Although it could be argued that many mental health solutions could also assist people who use drugs too.
• Some countries see people who use drugs and alcohol as a clear risk group for COVID-19 (e.g. Irelandiii). Others do not.
• Most countries have a huge amount of public information and harm reduction material for users and many research articles regarding drug use in the COVID-19 environmentiv
• Most countries want drug use treated as a health issue rather than a justice issue. “The war on drugs has not worked” is often quoted.
• Drug use differs across countries. For example Australia and New Zealand have a big methamphetamine problem, while the US has an opioid crisis.
• As result of the pandemic, many countries are worried that the use of opioids such as fentanyl will rise if other drugs become harder to get.
• During this challenging time, innovations have been made in some countries.
Examples include :
o E-support has thrived - all countries have various degrees of online harm reduction and counselling services now as a result of COVID-19.
o Scotland has an up-to-date excel spreadsheet of every drug and alcohol service available in the country, with daily changes made as things change in the COVID-19 environment.
o The COVID-19 pandemic has strengthened collaboration among Government and non-governmental organisations (NGO) services in some countries; e.g. Scotland.
o The Provincial Health Services Authority in Canada has expanded the role of the Provincial Overdose Mobile Response Team to looking after frontline staff in distress.


Item Type
Evidence resource
Drug Type
Alcohol or other drugs in general
Intervention Type
AOD disorder harm reduction
Date
May 2020
Pages
28 p.
Publisher
International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership
Place of Publication
New Zealand
EndNote

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