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* Experts fear potential for further increase in prescribing rates and addiction levels as COVID measures take their toll
* New UK poll shows that 23% of people either started taking or increased substance use due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
* Global Recovery Initiatives Foundation and Amy Winehouse Foundation join forces on SNO BABIES film to support UK recovery

London, UK, 29th September 2020 - Opioid prescribing* 'hotspots' revealed today as new 2019/20 data analysed for the Global Recovery Initiatives Foundation shows that prescriptions of these addictive painkillers were double the national average. These include areas in the North-East - County Durham, Cleveland, Tyne And Wear and Northumberland.

The analysis uncovered a worrying reverse from previous declining rates despite an increase in government regulation. At a national level there was a 1% increase in opioid prescribing during the COVID-19 lockdown period (March to June 2020 vs the same period in 2019) across the UK. Some areas saw a more dramatic shift - in Greater London and Nottinghamshire for example, the lockdown period resulted in a 4% increase in opioid prescriptions.

This has prompted experts to speculate that COVID-19 lockdown measures could increase overall prescription and general drug use, particularly in prescribing hotspots. New data from a UK poll also shows 23% of people either started taking or increased substance use (such as prescription drugs like as opioids, alcohol and illegal drugs such as cocaine) due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The poll which surveyed 2,081 people across the UK highlights that managing stress (48%), having reduced access to usual support networks (27%) and loneliness due to isolation (25%) since the outbreak are the main drivers for this shift in behaviour.

"As the areas in the North of England which already have a high prescribing rates go into further lockdown, we are concerned that this will lead to further increase in prescribing rates due to lack of access to pain management services. Over the years we have seen the number of drug-related deaths rise and the last thing we want is for more people to be unnecessarily reliant on these drugs in the long-term, said Jan Brown, CEO, Global Recovery Initiatives Foundation. In this growing epidemic, we need to increase education, encourage dialogue, and support addiction and recovery services, especially evidence-based services, that could mean the difference between life and death for those who struggle with substance use."

In support of Recovery Month, GRI and the Amy Winehouse Foundation have partnered with Better Noise Films for the launch of new film SNO BABIES on 29th September 2020. SNO BABIES tells a gripping and emotive story about the grim realities of addiction and the triumph and challenges of recovery from substance use disorders. Proceeds from the sale of the film and the SNO BABIES film soundtrack (estimated to be approximately £40,000) in the UK will go directly towards funding Amy Winehouse Foundation's support services for people in early recovery from substance use disorders. These much-needed support services are especially vital now as local authorities have less funding to tackle addiction.

Mitch Winehouse, Co-Founder of Amy Winehouse Foundation: "We know from personal experience the devastation and heartbreak that addiction can bring. Since setting up the Amy Winehouse Foundation in our daughter's memory nine years ago, we have learnt so much about this condition. We have also learnt that recovery is possible, and people can go on to live wonderful and fulfilling lives. We've made it our mission to work with people in recovery and to support young people who are struggling with the same sorts of issues as Amy and we're delighted that Better Noise Films is helping us do that with the release of SNO BABIES. We encourage people to watch the film to help fund recovery services whilst learning more about the dangers of opioid addiction."

"Addiction is a disease of isolation - it's when you believe you are alone, stigmatised and hopeless. Then you become extremely vulnerable and at risk.. Lockdown attempted to isolate us all physically and emotionally and that can be very dangerous for recovery and mental health. Thanks to the Amy Winehouse Foundation I was supported and stayed connected during these difficult times with a continuous feel of safety and community," said Jacqueline Roberts - Resident at Amy's Place (Amy's Place is Amy Winehouse Foundation's recovery housing programme for young women).

3,459 new adult cases of people addicted to opiates sought treatment in April 2020, up 20% from 2,947 in the same month last year. There were 4,359 drug-related deaths in England and Wales in 2018 - the highest on record.

SNO BABIES will be available to watch via rental/purchase on Amazon Prime and Apple TV, iTunes, Google Play Movies, NOW TV/ Fandango and VUDU. The trailer for SNO BABIES can be found at and a link to the soundtrack on all platforms here:

About the Amy Winehouse Foundation

Following Amy's untimely death in 2011, the Winehouse family set up the Amy Winehouse Foundation to support, inform and inspire vulnerable and disadvantaged young people. Today, through their range of projects, they work with thousands of young people both in the UK and abroad. The charity has three core areas of focus:

* To inform and educate young people about the effects of drug & alcohol misuse.

* To provide support for those most vulnerable, those at high risk of misuse or disadvantaged through circumstance. To support the personal development of disadvantaged children and young people through music.

* Amy Winehouse Foundation (a charity registered in England and Wales with registration number 1143740) will receive all profits obtained in the UK by 11-7 Recording Corp. (doing business as Better Noise Music), estimated to be approximately £40,000 in total.

About the Global Recovery Initiatives Foundation (GRI)

The Global Recovery Initiatives Foundation (GRI) is a foundation dedicated to funding organizations that provide support services for people in early recovery from substance use disorders (SUD). While recovery is the longest part of the journey and the most critical to ensuring an individual's continued remission from a SUD, it is the least funded. In addition to the stigma that surrounds SUD, many myths abound. Among them is that people do not stay recovered when in fact there are large number of people who have succeeded: There are currently 22 million people living in the U.S. in long-term recovery. GRI supports evidence-based programs that have demonstrated success in: Lowering reuse rates; Reducing the stigma around substance use disorder; and Creating greater access to services and opportunities for people in recovery.

About Better Noise Films

Better Noise Films (BNF), a Better Noise Entertainment company (BNE), is led by entertainment industry pioneer, Allen Kovac (CEO) and COO Dan Lieblein (Cinecom, October Films, and USA Films). Better Noise Films develops feature films, unique programming and other original content. Along with Better Noise Music, Dan Waite (MD UK and Europe) a leading global independent record label, Better Noise Films serves as an emerging platform for delivering top quality content that engages audiences, develops artists and builds the Better Noise Entertainment company brand. Better Noise Films first 2 releases, SNO BABIES is released 29th of September and THE RETALIATORS is due Spring 2020.


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Notes to editors

* Opioid Prescribing Data Analysis - Methodology

* GP practice level prescribing data (items prescribed) for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland was extracted from the Wilmington Healthcare database for the following BNF Paragraphs: * Opioid analgesics (4.7.2) * Opioid dependence (4.10.3) * Prescribing data incorporates BNF Paragraph code, enabling Wilmington Healthcare to isolate prescribing data for specific BNF paragraph codes provided to us by the client.

* Items prescribed reflects the number of items requested by a prescription form. For example, a prescription form may list two items as so: * 'Warfarin 1mg tablets 84 tablet' * 'Warfarin 3mg tablets 56 tablet' * Prescribing data (number of items prescribed) was aggregated to the GP practice level using unique identifiers in the prescribing data that allows Wilmington to map it precisely to GP practice, which was subsequently aggregated to the town and county level using publicly available GP practice address data.

* Patient population data at the GP practice level for the home nations is published across a variety of sources and was aggregated to town and county level using GP practice address data published alongside the practice level patient population data.

* Having aggregated both the number of items prescribed and the size of the patient population at the town and county level, the number of items prescribed per 10,000 was calculated by direct comparison of prescribing data and patient population data at the town and county levels.

* Items prescribed per 10,000 at the national level was calculated by aggregating prescribing data and patient population data at the town level.

* Additional metrics (national average, % difference to the national average, % change year on year, decile) have been calculated.

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