Drink and Drugs News DDN May 2020 (1) | Page 5

News DDN EVERY DAY All the news, updated daily www.drinkanddrugsnews.com Regular drinkers consuming more during lockdown A lmost 20 per cent of daily drinkers are consuming more alcohol during the coronavirus lockdown, according to research commissioned by Alcohol Change UK. However, while more than a fifth of drinkers overall are now drinking more often, one in three are either drinking less frequently or have stopped completely, with the lockdown changing the way people drink ‘at both ends of the scale’. The survey, of more than 2,000 people, suggests that 14m UK adults are either drinking less often or not at all, while just under 9m are drinking more frequently. Almost 40 per cent of current or past drinkers said they were taking steps to manage their drinking. People who were already drinking the least are more likely to have reduced their consumption – almost half who drank once a week or less have cut down or stopped, compared to 27 per cent of those who drank between two and six times a week and 17 per cent of daily drinkers. ‘Worryingly’, 18 per cent of daily drinkers are now drinking more, it states. Around 7 per cent of respondents also said they were living in a household where drinking – either their own or someone else’s – had worsened tensions, rising to 14 per cent of those living with children. The figures supported what Adfam had ‘been hearing from families,’ said its chief executive Vivienne Evans. ‘Family and household members are largely unrecognised victims of the harm alcohol can cause.’ ‘This is the most extensive research yet into drinking during lockdown and it shows that this unprecedented period is having a significant impact on the way the UK drinks,’ said Alcohol Change UK chief executive Dr Richard Piper. ‘More than one in five of us are finding ourselves drinking more frequently in lockdown; many of us use alcohol as our go-to stress reliever, and in this very stressful time it’s not surprising that we might find ourselves reaching for a drink more often. But at the same time people across the UK are rising to the challenge by taking steps to manage our drinking. More than a third of us are putting in GAMES DELAYED ‘This is the most extensive research yet into drinking during lockdown.’ DR RICHARD PIPER place ways to keep our drinking in hand, ranging from taking drink-free days to using online support groups. We want to come out of lockdown as mentally and physically healthy as we possibly can, and managing our drinking is an important part of that.’ Drug market movements London rough sleepers housed in hotels RELEASE is setting up a network of people to shed light on COVID-19’s effect on the UK drugs market and wants to hear from people who use or supply drugs on issues such as whether there are more adulterated drugs, if new substances are appearing, and whether prices have gone up. ‘Like many commodities, the drugs market is likely to suffer from stockpiling and shortages,’ says the charity. ‘These are just some of the questions we are interested in, but any information you have on the market is welcomed. The purpose of this learning is to ensure we can share the most accurate harm reduction messages, signpost people to the right harm reduction interventions and to treatment if that is what they want.’ Visit www.release.org.uk/ coronavirus-drug-purchases-impact-survey or use the confidential phone line or email address on the website. MORE THAN 1,000 HOMELESS PEOPLE in London are self- isolating in hotels and other locations during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the mayor’s office. City Hall has been working with the government and charities to block-book rooms across hotel chains including Best Western, Travelodge, InterContinental and Accor. Specialist rough sleeper support is being overseen by St Mungo’s, while Change Grow Live, Turning Point and Phoenix Futures are providing substance misuse support. Anyone developing symptoms of COVID-19 will be referred to a specialist facility in a hotel in east London. The operation is being funded by a £10.5m grant from the mayor and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government. The government had previously written to all local authorities instructing them to find emergency accommodation for rough sleepers by the end of March (DDN, April, page 4). WWW.DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS.COM Local News This year’s Recovery Games will be delayed until August 2021, the organisers have announced. ‘The safety of the hundreds of competitors, spectators and everyone involved in putting the event together is our main priority,’ said senior day programme lead at Aspire, Neil Firbank. ‘We will be back in 2021 with an exciting new look and activities.’ LOCAL UPDATES The Blue Light project has published an update on dependent drinkers during the coronavirus outbreak, based on conversations with providers around the country. Details at https://alcoholchange. org.uk/blog/2020/covid- 19-supporting-the-most- vulnerable-drinkers CAPITAL SERVICE WDP has teamed up with InPost to offer its Capital Card users essential items via 24/7 contact-free locker delivery across locations in London and Cheshire. 'It is testament to the tireless efforts of our Capital Card team who thought outside the box to get the best for our service users under lockdown,' said WDP chair Yasmin Batliwala. MAY 2020 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • 5