What impact will COVID-19 have on drug markets and users?

Josh Torrance (PhD student and Assistant Teacher, School for Policy Studies)

Much of this research is based on personal emails and conversations with the police and other agencies. As such, not all of the facts presented are referenceable.

Covid-19 will present a major challenge to both drug users and drug treatment agencies over the coming months. There are 320,000 problematic drug users in the UK, many of whom have weaker immune systems than the general public – and therefore a diminished chance of recovery from the virus. People who inject drugs and street homeless communities are at particular risk; viral infections spread quickly through these populations. On the face of it, the pandemic might seem like a fantastic opportunity for problematic users to become drug-free, but the reality is much more complex.

A used needle left on grass.

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Using evidence to advise public health decision makers: an insider’s view

This blog post reviews a recent seminar hosted by the MRC IEU, PolicyBristol and the Bristol Population Health Science Institute.

Public health is one of the most contested policy areas. It brings together ethical and political issues and evidence on what works, and affects us all as citizens.

Researchers produce evidence and decision-makers receive advice – but how does evidence become advice and who are the players who take research findings and present advice to politicians and budget-holders?

We were pleased to welcome a diverse audience of around 75 multidisciplinary academics, policymakers and practitioners to hear our seminar speakers give a range of insider perspectives on linking academic research with national and local decisions on what to choose, fund and implement.

In this blog post we summarise the seminar, including links to the slides and event recording. Continue reading

General Election 2019: a commentary

The Conservative party won an historic election victory last night, winning a majority at  the expense of Labour. But what does this election result mean? Some of the University of Bristol’s politics scholars comment below.

Professor Mark Wickham-Jones
Professor of Political Science

“More than anything else, this election is a decisive refutation of the Labour Party. In 2015 it lost its base in Scotland; in 2019 voters across its traditional heartlands in England rejected the party resulting a catastrophic loss of seats. How will the party’s left-wing membership react to such a reversal?

“It is hard to see how Labour can rebuild a winning coalition amongst the electorate in the short term. The outcome gives Boris Johnson’s Conservatives the opportunity to forge a decisive base amongst voters. The task for Labour over the next decade, not just the next general election, is Herculean.”

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