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Alcohol & other drug issues in the media
Topics being covered in the media that are of interest to us
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Just like a winery tour, but with bongs (Aus/USA)

Just like a winery tour, but with bongs (Aus/USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
WEED, ganja, pot, hooch, the chronic, the sticky icky, sweet mary-jane, hippie lettuce, bud, skunk, the herb, wacky tobaccy, buddha, the devil’s weed.
ReGenUC's insight:

It's probably unrealistic to expect a detailed analysis of cannabis policy from this show, but the article does at least identify a couple of issues: 1. the potential for intoxication from passive smoking in confined spaces, and 2. don't use plastic smoking implements. See our cannabis fact sheet for more harm reduction info: http://www.regen.org.au/resources/drug-factsheets. 

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South Africa set to raise alcohol drinking age limit to 21

South Africa set to raise alcohol drinking age limit to 21 | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
SA may raise its drinking age & hold beverage companies liable for unlicensed trade in their products, a step to reduce the cost and impact of alcohol abuse
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Street knowledge needed to temper alarmist approach to ice and other drug trends (Vic)

Street knowledge needed to temper alarmist approach to ice and other drug trends (Vic) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Department of Health research suggests the use of ice may be declining, but anecdotal reports make worrying reading.
ReGenUC's insight:

We've published the following letter in response to this piece on Saturday:


Ice dependence not a death sentence


John Silvester concludes ‘Street knowledge needed in war against ice’ (23/05/15) with a quote from a father of a young man who had become dependent on methamphetamine: ‘The best thing you can do is think that he is already dead’. 

 

The belief that there is nothing that can be done for people who are methamphetamine dependent is understandable, but misguided.  There are effective treatment options available and there is much that family members, friends and service providers can do to reduce the immediate impacts of someone’s methamphetamine use and support longer term recovery.

 

Dependence on methamphetamine, alcohol or any other drug is not a death sentence.  Its impacts on individuals, families and the wider community are significant, but recovery does happen.  This is a message that is conspicuously absent from the Federal Government’s current tv campaign. We need to challenge messages of despair and encourage those directly affected that there is cause for hope, that change is possible.


Laurence Alvis

CEO, UnitngCare ReGen


It's been published under a different title ('hope for ice addicts') here: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/the-age-letters/infrastructure-building-more-roads-to-nowhere-not-the-answer-20150524-gh8fja.html 

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Shock and awe ice campaigns a turn off: research

The government has launched a hard-hitting anti-ice campaign despite its own research warning that such advertising is ineffective.
ReGenUC's insight:

More of today's Age coverage, citing Penington's John Ryan.  Here's what we had to say earlier this week: http://sco.lt/7aXiNd.

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Don't believe the hype, teens are drinking less than they used to (Aus)

Don't believe the hype, teens are drinking less than they used to (Aus) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Ask your friends and colleagues about young Australians and alcohol and I bet they’ll say something about a generation out of control or a binge-drinking epidemic.
ReGenUC's insight:

By Michael Livingston and Amy Pennay, linking Aus data to a global pattern of decline in drinking by young people.

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Ahead of Sentencing, Ulbricht Defense Argues Silk Road Made Drug Use Safer (USA)

Ahead of Sentencing, Ulbricht Defense Argues Silk Road Made Drug Use Safer (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Just two weeks before his sentencing, Ross Ulbricht's defense has asked a judge to consider the ethical benefits of Silk Road’s organized, non-violent drug sales.
ReGenUC's insight:

Many people who have used Silk Road would agree. The product review features and not having to make street purchases are clear benefits for consumers.

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Heroin users to be given antidote (Ireland)

Heroin users to be given antidote (Ireland) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Heroin addicts, their friends, and immediate relations are to be provided with a series of measures, including an antidote to the Class A drug, in an effort to prevent deaths from overdosing.
ReGenUC's insight:

Good to see increased access to naloxone.

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Abbott government defends almost identical anti-ice TV ads (Aus)

Abbott government defends almost identical anti-ice TV ads (Aus) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
TV ad criticised for similarity to 2007 version, with health academic arguing ‘running the same campaign over and over again ... doesn’t work’
ReGenUC's insight:

No indication of what evidence the Govt has for the 'success' of the previous campaign. Generally the main impacts of this sort of campaign are to alienate those engaged in the target behaviour, terrify those who aren't and make the Govt appear to be 'doing something'. None of those count as success in our estimation.  Here's what we said on this issue yesterday: http://sco.lt/7aXiNd. See also the original story identifying the repetition: http://sco.lt/6Hh72n. 

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Australia’s ice ‘epidemic’: ‘service cuts, scare campaigns, stigma not the answer to complex issue’ (Aus)

Australia’s ice ‘epidemic’: ‘service cuts, scare campaigns, stigma not the answer to complex issue’  (Aus) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
The Federal Coalition last week announced it was launching a new advertising campaign aimed at educating families and the broader community about the dangers of the drug ice, or crystal methamphetamine. Health Minister Sussan Ley said it would assist the National Ice Taskforce, announced last month by the Prime Minister. See its key points in [...]
ReGenUC's insight:

Our response to the Federal Govt's response to methamphetamine use in Aus.  FYI, we think they can do better.

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Meet flakka, the drug police say is making people run around nude and have sex with trees (USA)

But how dangerous is it, really?
ReGenUC's insight:

A great piece by German Lopez on the power of sensationalist media coverage to distort community perceptions of drug related harm (particularly in relation to emerging drug types) and create public pressure for non-evidence based drug policy.

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MildGreen Initiative's curator insight, May 21, 5:14 AM

Flakka!, if these so called informed enough to have an opinion folk were to be honest with themselves and the wider public they would have to admit, its prevalence and harms are consequence of, a thus a direct product of prohibition.

It's the rules, stooped! 

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NZ doctors want ban on booze to teens

NEW Zealand doctors want all teens banned from buying alcoholic drinks at the pub and pregnant women routinely warned not to let any booze pass their lips.
ReGenUC's insight:

Other recommendations include increased taxation of alcohol, expanded treatment programs and bans of marketing at sporting or cultural events.

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Substance abuse risk not greater in those using medical marijuana with prescribed opioids (USA)

Among people who use medical cannabis for chronic pain, those who also take prescription pain medications are not at increased risk for serious alcohol and other drug involvement, according to a study in the May issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
ReGenUC's insight:

Potential dependence is a clear risk for people using any medication for pain management. It's important to avoid focussing too much on the type of drug, rather than the dependence itself, it's impacts and how to manage (or overcome) them.

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Fall in public order offences linked to fewer late bars (Ireland)

Fall in public order offences linked to fewer late bars (Ireland) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Drop in special exemption orders allowing alcohol until early hours saw fewer crimes
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'Cocaine didn't seem to do me any physical harm': Stephen Fry (UK)

'Cocaine didn't seem to do me any physical harm': Stephen Fry (UK) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
The comedian said his habit hurt his career, but not his health.
ReGenUC's insight:

It's good to see Stephen Fry challenging common preconceptions about drug use. Our current national scare campaign on methamphetamines is a reminder of the risk to public health of simplistic and hyperbolic messaging about the dangers associated with drug use. If we are to respond effectively to the potential harms, we need to have a realistic discussion about the reasons why people use, how it can affect their lives and what can be done to reduce the harm to them, their families and the wider community. For the record, there are physical harms that can result from cocaine use.  Permanent damage to the septum (and the need for subsequent reconstructive surgery) is a common issue with people who are cocaine dependent.

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NT Government’s Select Committee on ‘ice’ hears of the impact the drug is having on the Territory

NT Government’s Select Committee on ‘ice’ hears of the impact the drug is having on the Territory | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
DOCTORS, lawyers, teachers, school kids, Inpex workers and juvenile prisoners are using ice, while authorities struggle to deal with the impact the insidious drug is having.
ReGenUC's insight:

Good to see content from submissions from treatment providers to the committee included in this article.

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The long-running war on drugs has failed: we need to legalise now (Aus)

The long-running war on drugs has failed: we need to legalise now (Aus) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it

The war on drugs has filled our jails, enriched the worst among us, wasted police resources and blotted up millions of dollars that could have been far better ...

ReGenUC's insight:
Michael Coulter makes the case for drug law reform. Great to see reference to Carl Hart's work in increasing understanding of the many drivers of drug dependence.
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Leaked government research suggests drop in ice use (Aus)

Leaked government research suggests drop in ice use (Aus) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Confidential federal government research suggests a decline in the use of the drug ice, in contrast to recent warnings of an "ice epidemic" by senior politicians and police.
ReGenUC's insight:

Great to see this on the front page of the Age, and further coverage questioning the current fear-based tv campaign (http://sco.lt/7BbjI9).  Perhaps the evidence (as opposed to the 'epidemic' rhetoric) is finally starting to gain some traction in the public debate.

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The case for taking drugs at work (Aus/USA)

The case for taking drugs at work (Aus/USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Plenty of people are on the gear at the office. Does this give them an unfair advantage?
ReGenUC's insight:

The role of workplace pressures in driving alcohol and other drug use is well recognised. The finance industry (together with construction, transport and sex work) is recognised for its high prevalence of methamphetamine use. This article raises some questions but some serious issues are ignored. There's no mention of emerging dependence as having any impact on workers' productivity and competence to perform their jobs safely, let alone the impacts on their personal wellbeing. As anyone with an awareness of the impacts of stimulant use (or basic physics) knows: what goes up, must come down. One question not asked here is what responsibilities employers have for their employee's wellbeing in creating workplace cultures where AOD use is expected?

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To an absent friend: Dry NSW Blues State of Origin camp worth a toast

To an absent friend: Dry NSW Blues State of Origin camp worth a toast | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Here's a sobering thought: not one NSW player has had one single drink since coming into camp.*
ReGenUC's insight:

Not drinking the product, but still advertising it.

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Ths small island exploiting a legal loophole in order to grow cannabis (Aus)

Ths small island exploiting a legal loophole in order to grow cannabis (Aus) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
A company on a tiny island off the coast of Australia is exploiting a unique legal loophole that may allow it to grow and export up to ten tonnes of cannabis.
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Clearing the cigarette smoke haze (Vic)

Clearing the cigarette smoke haze (Vic) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
SMOKING rates in Australia have been steadily declining for the past 30 years.
ReGenUC's insight:

...but tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death.

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'Hard-hitting new anti-ice ad' an identical remake of 2007 ad (Aus)

'Hard-hitting new anti-ice ad' an identical remake of 2007 ad (Aus) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
A hard-hitting new advertising campaign video warning of the dangers of the drug ice is a scene-for-scene remake of a 2007 ad.
ReGenUC's insight:

Now we know why this ad seemed so familiar. Our concern about the current tv campaign is more with the content of the messages, rather than their repetitiveness. As we've said previously, this sort of purely fear-driven campaign will achieve very little in terms of behaviour change and will only serve to further stigmatise many people (individuals and family members) who are already vulnerable and in need of support. We'll be publishing an article on this subject shortly on the Croakey health blog.

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Ice driving organised crime in Australia

ICE is now one of the main drivers of organised crime in Australia.
ReGenUC's insight:

While illicit drug markets are so profitable, it is inevitable that criminal organisations will be involved. Removing their motivation to be involved in drug production and trafficking is one argument for drug law reform.

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Largest U.S. needle exchange tries free meth pipes in Seattle

Largest U.S. needle exchange tries free meth pipes in Seattle | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
SEATTLE (Reuters) - Occasional crystal meth smoker Richard Russell ambles up to a church storage garage in a Seattle alley and a recovering drug addict hands him two brand new meth pipes, no questions
ReGenUC's insight:

A sensible measure which will no doubt be met with misinformed community outrage.

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Home-brew heroin: soon anyone will be able to make illegal drugs

Home-brew heroin: soon anyone will be able to make illegal drugs | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
In a few years, people could be using modified yeast to make drugs such as heroin and cocaine as easily as brewing beer. The impact on drug traffickers could be huge
ReGenUC's insight:

Obvious implications here for harm reduction, treatment and drug policy.

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