Alcohol & other drug issues in the media
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West Africa: Finding a Fix - the Rise of Drug Trafficking and Usage

The rise of powerful and wealthy organised crime syndicates now illicitly trafficking narcotics across West Africa has thrown yet another poison into the 'toxic brew' of threats plaguing the region. The rise in drug trafficking, including an increase in local drug production and consumption, is fast becoming a major challenge in the pursuit of peace, stability and security.

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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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Spirits Industry on Offensive Over Health Warnings

Spirits Industry on Offensive Over Health Warnings | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
The alcoholic-drinks industry is waging a multimillion-dollar battle to confront a rapid shift in global government policy based on new research warning that even moderate drinking may be linked to possible cancer risks. Photo: Getty Images.
ReGenUC's insight:

Expect a wave of industry sponsored research claiming health benefits from alcohol consumption and associated 'Big Alcohol' advocacy. What we'd expect to see is the same sort of approach used by Big Tobacco and climate change deniers: pump out counter claims (evidence based, or not) to muddy public debate and create the impression that experts aren't clear about the nature of the problem, or what to do about it. Given our concerns about declining editorial standards in mainstream media (http://sco.lt/5aHsnJ), we'd expect this industry advocacy to receive a lot of unquestioning coverage. 

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Most drug users stop without help, so long as they’re not poor (USA)

Most addicts just stop using in time, without needing costly treatment. Why do some people walk away while others can’t?
ReGenUC's insight:

Highlighting the role disadvantage plays in contributing to problematic AOD use and obstructing people's efforts to change.

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This is why schools don't want to talk about drugs (Vic)

This is why schools don't want to talk about drugs (Vic) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
There's always a school that parents shun because it has a perceived drug problem.
ReGenUC's insight:

Another example of the impact stigma has on stifling informed public discussion and making it harder for those affected to get the support they need.

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Researchers question DrinkWise objectives

Researchers from a Perth university have questioned the objectives of DrinkWise, an independent not-for-profit organisation funded by the alcohol industry.
ReGenUC's insight:

These findings should come as a surprise to no-one. DrinkWise provides the equivalent of 'GreenWash' for the alcohol sector. Their past 'how to drink properly' campaign is a great example: http://sco.lt/6jykNd.

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Deputy chief magistrate Jelena Popovic calls for Victoria to rethink crime

Deputy chief magistrate Jelena Popovic calls for Victoria to rethink crime | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Victoria spends 25 times more to jail prisoners for a year than it does to fund community-based services to help would-be prisoners rebuild their lives.

ReGenUC's insight:

Ms Popovic calls for greater focus on justice reinvestment to address causal factors for offending e.g. AOD dependence, homelessness, education, employment...

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Liverpool community members express unease with plans for Australia's first ice inhalation room (NSW)

Liverpool community members express unease with plans for Australia's first ice inhalation room (NSW) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it

A plan to place Australia's first ice inhalation room in Liverpool, in Sydney's south-west, has received a cool reception from local businesses and residents at the first community meeting on the proposal.

ReGenUC's insight:

The usual fears and myths raised by community members and local businesses in opposition to the proposal provide a good indicator of the challenges when advocating for evidence based responses to AOD use.  The 'honeypot effect' has been repeatedly shown to be a myth (but a very resilient one), as have the notion that such centres will increase local crime. Nice work by Matt, Alex and Marianne to keep putting the evidence forward.

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Ice scourge strikes schools (Vic)

Ice scourge strikes schools (Vic) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
The devastating impact of the drug ice has hit Victorian schools, with agencies fielding calls from desperate principals wanting help.
ReGenUC's insight:

If someone you care about is struggling with the impacts of metahmphetamine (or other drug) use, our free services can help. We work with individuals and families to reduce immediate harms, develop integrated treatment plans and support affected family members. Give us a call to discuss your options (1800 700 514) or see our website for more info on our family services (http://www.regen.org.au/treatment-support/family-services) or methamphetamine education programs for individuals and family members (http://www.regen.org.au/education-training/client-courses).

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We love our gritty city laneways ... until they're a bit too gritty (Vic)

We love our gritty city laneways ... until they're a bit too gritty (Vic) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
The world's most liveable city apparently – not for the growing number of those without shelter.
ReGenUC's insight:

Nice response by Meg Mundell to Monday's focus on the presence of homeless people in Hosier Lane: http://sco.lt/8rqppB.

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New drug target could prevent tolerance and addiction to opioids, neuroscience study finds (USA)

New drug target could prevent tolerance and addiction to opioids, neuroscience study finds (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Researchers have identified a brain mechanism that could be a drug target to help prevent tolerance and addiction to opioid pain medication, such as morphine, according to a study by Georgia State University and Emory University.
ReGenUC's insight:

Researchers target immune response to release of cytokines to reduce necessary dosage of opioids.

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Killings soar in the Philippines amid President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-drugs crackdown

Killings soar in the Philippines amid President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-drugs crackdown | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
More than 1,700 Filipinos have been killed in seven weeks since Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte pledged to wipe-out his country's illegal drugs trade.
ReGenUC's insight:

New figures emerge during senate hearings into the wave of extrajudicial executions resulting from President Dutuerte's policies. The national police chief says: "I admit many are dying but our campaign, now… we have momentum." How many will die when they hit top speed?

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VICE Asks: What Are The Ethics of Getting High? (Aus) - video

Taking drugs isn't a fringe activity, it's one of the most common illegal things we do. But in our eagerness to either celebrate or criticise drugs, we often sweep the ethics aside.
ReGenUC's insight:

Video footage of the recent panel discussion run by VICE and the Ethics Centre.

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Australian cigarettes to cost more; Smokers Down Under filling government coffers with taxes

Australian cigarettes to cost more; Smokers Down Under filling government coffers with taxes | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Aussie smokers are helping the government to fill up tax coffers. Cigarettes in Australia already cost a bomb and they are set to become more expensive. Currently, a cigarette contributes 53.7 cents to the Federal Government. In another five years, this figure will go up to 80 cents per cigarette, thanks to a series of planned tax increases.
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After 14 Years Undercover, Ex-Cop Reveals He Only Made Drug Gangs 'Nastier And Nastier' (UK)

After 14 Years Undercover, Ex-Cop Reveals He Only Made Drug Gangs 'Nastier And Nastier' (UK) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
'I only caused harm'.
ReGenUC's insight:

Neil Woods (now chairman of LEAP UK) on the futility of the war on drugs and the need for drug law reform.

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Experts say stronger MDMA and ecstasy is causing 'more mental issues' (UK)

Experts say stronger MDMA and ecstasy is causing 'more mental issues' (UK) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it

There's a warning that increasingly strong ecstasy and MDMA is causing the biggest risk to users' mental health in decades.

ReGenUC's insight:

Highlighting the increased risks for people using ecstasy recreationally, and the need for harm reduction services like drug checking at festivals.

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Trial of cannabis withdrawal spray sativex popular with middleaged pothead dads (NSW)

Trial of cannabis withdrawal spray sativex popular with middleaged pothead dads (NSW) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
New father Tristin Jones*, 35, has smoked marijuana for so long that it was the only way he felt normal.
ReGenUC's insight:

Unfortunately, the headline for this article contributes to the very stigma Mr Jones says he wishes to avoid. However, the article (featuring Nick Lintzeris) itself provides a good account of the Sativex trial and its impact for a couple of participants.

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Phantom policies fly before NT poll

Phantom policies fly before NT poll | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
As the Northern Territory election inches closer, both sides of politics have taken to accusing one another of scare campaigns over policies they say they have no intention of implementing.
ReGenUC's insight:

When AOD policy becomes a stick for beating your political opponents, we're all worse off. Hopefully, whoever forms the new NT Govt will introduce sensible, evidence based measures.

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Stanford University is banning spirits on campus following Brock Turner sexual assault case (USA)

Stanford University is banning spirits on campus following Brock Turner sexual assault case (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
The policy change has led to accusations that the university is providing an excuse for sexual assault.
ReGenUC's insight:

Critics suggest removing spirits (in isolation) will not prevent future assaults. Without addressing the underlying causes (including men's attitudes towards women), they are probably right.

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Healthy Harold called up to teach dangers of ice (Vic)

Healthy Harold called up to teach dangers of ice (Vic) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
The Life Education van is updating its repertoire to teach primary school students about the dangers of the drug ice.
ReGenUC's insight:

Whoever is providing AOD education in our schools, the key is that the information provided is credible, evidence based and provides children and parents with information about where to seek professional help. See yesterday's related coverage: http://sco.lt/9KKge9

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Designer death: new killer drugs to flood local market (Vic)

Designer death: new killer drugs to flood local market (Vic) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Australia is set to be flooded with new strains of deadly synthetic designer drugs with new versions entering the market virtually on a daily basis according t
ReGenUC's insight:

As with today's other Age story (http://sco.lt/9KKge9), this one gets a bit hysterical about the scale and severity of risks.  The emergence of increasingly potent synthetics is a genuine cause for concern. Their reduced volume makes them easier to traffick and their potency increases overdose risks in the context of uncertain concentrations in illicit products. One factor that is regularly ignored in discussion of how to respond to new and emerging psychoactives is the role that current drug policy has played (and continues to play) in driving demand for drugs that are not detected by current testing regimes or covered by local legislation. Legislative bans will only ever be playing catch up, in response to identified new substances. They will not prevent their production. We need a greater focus on harm reduction (including drug checking services) and treatment services for people (and families) experiencing related harms.

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Pub drunks set to face no-go zones (Tas)

Pub drunks set to face no-go zones (Tas) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
DRUNKS can be banned from pubs, clubs and entertainment precincts under tough new laws from next week.
ReGenUC's insight:

Tas Hotels Association taking pre-emptive measures to keep lockouts, restricted trading hours at bay?

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Tourists warned about drink spiking on our favourite party island (Aus/Indonesia)

Tourists warned about drink spiking on our favourite party island (Aus/Indonesia) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
FOR many Aussies, a trip to Bali is a rite of passage. Just six hours from Sydney, the call of cheap beer, massages, idyllic surf breaks and raucous partying is something all of us heed to eventually.
ReGenUC's insight:

It's important to remember that most cases of alcohol poisoning in Indonesia result from the substitution of locally produced bootleg alcohol. Whether this would be reduced by Indonesia's proposed alcohol ban (http://sco.lt/8mrJ9F) in Bali remains to be seen.

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Ramen surpasses cigarettes as most valuable commodity in US prisons

Ramen surpasses cigarettes as most valuable commodity in US prisons | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Ramen noodles are supplanting tobacco as the most valuable commodity among prisoners in the US, according to a study released on Monday.
ReGenUC's insight:

Not so much an indicator in improvements in public health, but more of an indictment of the quality of care provided for people in US prisons. Cost-cutting sees prisoners (and their families) increasingly forced to provide for basic provisions. 

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Qld's premier says alcohol laws are working

Qld's premier says alcohol laws are working | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the state's controversial liquor licensing laws are working.
ReGenUC's insight:

(Very) early data indicates the state's new laws are having an impact on alcohol related violence.

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Warning after spate of SA heroin deaths

A health warning has been issued by the South Australian government after a spate of heroin-related deaths in recent weeks.
ReGenUC's insight:

A little more detail on the recent overdose fatalities in SA: 8 from heroin, 2 from fentanyl.

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A Look Inside Cape Town’s Only Harm Reduction Project

A Look Inside Cape Town’s Only Harm Reduction Project | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Last month, I was lucky enough to take part in the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) in Durban, South Africa.
ReGenUC's insight:

Nice piece by Ivan Varentsov on the work of the Step Up project, run by the TB/HIV Care Association.

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