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Combination of 6 comprehensive measures to prevent spread of hepatitis C (USA)

UC San Francisco researchers are recommending a combination of six comprehensive measures to prevent the spread of hepatitis C, in an effort to address the more than 31,000 young people they estimate may be newly infected with the virus each year...
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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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The war on drugs has failed, illicit drug use is a social and health issue not a criminal issue

The war on drugs has failed, illicit drug use is a social and health issue not a criminal issue | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
MIKE Bruce’s article, A Losing Battle (The Sunday Mail, 24/5) prosecutes the argument well why Australia’s policy on illicit drugs needs to change.
ReGenUC's insight:

By former AFP Commissioner (now Australia 21 Director) Mick Palmer, providing another powerful voice from within law enforcement on the limitations of policing in dealing with AOD related harms.  People in Mr Palmer's position have the capacity to shift public attitudes towards drug policy.  It's great to see him continuing his efforts to inform public debate and increase awareness of the need for a greater focus on treatment (as opposed to punishment) to reduce AOD related harm and save lives.

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Govt to cut $8m from drug programs (Aus)

IT'S been revealed the federal government has slashed $8 million from drug treatment and prevention programs at the same time it's established a national task force into the drug ice.
ReGenUC's insight:

Senator Di Natale  highlights the obvious contradiction in Federal Govt rhetoric on methamphetamines and its actions on the funding of treatment services.

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Don’t ignore ice drug’s chilling grip on country Victoria

ASK any parent from country Victoria about their greatest fears for their children and you will almost certainly hear the word “ice” . No, they’re not worried about them catching a cold. They’re worried their kids might fall to the drug that has gripped rural areas and outer suburbs. A drug sold by outlaw bikies known to prey on vulnerable teenagers. 

ReGenUC's insight:

This sort of stuff is not helpful. Seeking an informed public debate about the impacts of methamphetamine use does not mean minimising the very real harms experienced by many Australians, in regional, rural and urban areas. It means looking at the evidence and responding to what it tells us. What we know is that there is no 'epidemic', but a shift in previous patterns of amphetamine use towards Ice. We know that there is a common experience of rapid escalation of harms amongst some people who use it (and their families). What we also know is that many people are able to use Ice without experiencing anywhere near that level of harm. This drug does pose genunine challenges for our communities but, if we're to develop effective responses, we need to dispense with the hyperbole and deal with the evidence. FYI, our submission to the National Ice Taskforce is here: http://regen.org.au/images/stories/Advocacy/ReGen_National_Ice_Taskforce_submission_v1.0.pdf.

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Asia’s war on meth has failed; now it’s time to look at the alternatives | Asian Correspondent

Asia’s war on meth has failed; now it’s time to look at the alternatives | Asian Correspondent | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
An unprecedented rise in methamphetamine trafficking is fuelling a new epidemic across Asia and Oceania, warns a new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), published Tuesday.
ReGenUC's insight:
Patrick Tibke looks to Aus examples, citing Marianne Jauncey and Matt Noffs.
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Violence down as lockout law bites (NSW)

Violence down as lockout law bites (NSW) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
THERE has been a whopping 39 per cent fall in the number of violent incidents at venues on the government’s “violent venues” list in the wake of the introduction of lockout laws — the lowest number of incidents since the list system was introduced in 2008.
ReGenUC's insight:

More evidence for the effectiveness of lockouts in reducing alcohol related violence.

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Ban on legal highs would technically cover alcohol, cigarettes and coffee (UK)

Ban on legal highs would technically cover alcohol, cigarettes and coffee (UK) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
New bill proposes banning all psychoactive substances then expressly permitting use of government-approved drugs
ReGenUC's insight:

Highlighting the difficulty of coming up with an effective legislative response to synthetics.  We've seen the limitations of 'catch up' legislation in Australia, where bills are amended to include new substances as (or, practically, well after) they emerge. As this article points out, a blanket ban approach will always include other drug types and result in vague legislation that is difficult to enforce. See also Addaction's response: http://www.addaction.org.uk/news.asp?itemid=3798&itemTitle=Addaction+statement+on+Psychoactive+Substances+Bill&section=80&sectionTitle=News&postComment=NO. 

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You see a pregnant woman smoking. What do you do? (Aus)

There are few things that are truly shocking any more — but I witnessed one of them this week when I saw a heavily pregnant woman smoking in the street.
ReGenUC's insight:

What's interesting about this article is Jonathon Moran's wrestling with his own assumptions. AOD use during pregnancy is a complex issue so it's good to see examples of people grappling with the complexities, not simply reaching into the bin of usual stereotypes. If only more people would do the same.

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Youth mental health service Headspace 'facing funding crisis' (Aus)

Youth mental health service Headspace 'facing funding crisis' (Aus) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Young people will be turned away from clinics of popular youth mental health service Headspace because funding has been frozen, experts warn.
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Police Minister moves to block legal challenges by drunk, drugged drivers (Vic)

Police Minister moves to block legal challenges by drunk, drugged drivers (Vic) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Police Minister Wade Noonan has moved to block more than 1100 alcohol or drug affected drivers from mounting legal challenges to their penalties, after it was revealed that hundreds of police officers had performed the tests without authorisation.
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Children risking lives in dangerous 'paracetamol challenge' craze (UK)

Children risking lives in dangerous 'paracetamol challenge' craze (UK) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it

hildren are risking their lives by taking part in a dangerous new social media craze called the paracetamol challenge, police have warned. The trend involves youngsters being dared to take "excessive amounts" of the painkiller on Facebook and Instagram.


ReGenUC's insight:
There are clear risks (including overdose) associated with overuse of paracetamol. Hopefully, this fad will run its course quickly and no one will be seriously hurt in the process. Here are the Royal Children's Hospital guidelines on managing paracetamol overdoses: http://www.rch.org.au/clinicalguide/guideline_index/Paracetamol_Poisoning/ 
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Marijuana prices: Map shows average pot prices in each US state

Marijuana prices: Map shows average pot prices in each US state | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Where can you buy the cheapest marijuana in the US? Not surprisingly, the cheapest pot in the US can be found in the states where it is legal to use it recreationally.
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DEA approves first drug trial of ecstasy to treat anxiety and depression (USA)

DEA approves first drug trial of ecstasy to treat anxiety and depression (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
MDMA was outlawed by the United States in 1985. Since then it has gone underground, ...
ReGenUC's insight:

Part of the growing movement to utilise the therapeutic potential of various illicit drugs. See today's related post on magic mushrooms.

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Illicit use of prescription drugs a bigger problem than ice in rural areas (NSW)

Illicit use of prescription drugs a bigger problem than ice in rural areas (NSW) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
A social work researcher says more people are dying in rural areas from fentanyl overdoses than in the city.
ReGenUC's insight:

Good to see more examples of evidence cutting through the hyperbole about methamphetamine use in regional/rural areas. Methamphetamine harms are real, and need to be addressed. They also need to be seen in perspective. Thanks to Lyndon Community for informing public debate.

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Silk Road successors (USA)

Silk Road successors (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Closing down the web’s biggest drug shop has simply cleared the way for competitorsROSS ULBRICHT, better known by his online pseudonym, “Dread Pirate Roberts”,...
ReGenUC's insight:

The Economist's infographic effectively shows the rise of alternative retailers since Silk Road's closure. Where there is demand, there will always be supply.

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Drug dealers come in from cold

Drug dealers come in from cold | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Drug dealers don’t like the cold, with street deals less likely to ­occur in winter.
ReGenUC's insight:
mX isn't usually the greatest source for informed AOD coverage, but this piece cites some interesting NDLERF findings, including more evidence on the shift to Ice use from other forms of amphetamines. Good too to see space given to QNADA's calls for ongoing harm reduction.
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Naltrexone treatment jail first for WA drug addict inmates - Perth Now

Naltrexone treatment jail first for WA drug addict inmates - Perth Now | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
DRUG addicts in WA prisons are to be surgically implanted with blocker pellets to cure their cravings in an Australian-first.
ReGenUC's insight:
Dr O'Neill is a long term advocate for the use of Naltrexone implants. They can have clear benefits for some people but we'd caution against their widespread adoption. In isolation from behavioural interventions and ongoing supports for recovery, they do not provide a 'cure' for opioid dependence.
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What it’s like to be a fly on the wall at a FIFO mining operation (Aus)

What it’s like to be a fly on the wall at a FIFO mining operation (Aus) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
THE Queensland parliamentary inquiry into FIFO (fly in fly out) work has begun and already submissions are being made on the impact of and issues facing FIFO workforces.
ReGenUC's insight:

Interesting piece by Xavier Toby, particularly his presentation of the contrasting 'types' of AOD issues for FIFO workers. One is well recognised, those who start, or escalate, AOD use to cope with the stresses of the lifestyle. The other much less so: those who use FIFO as a version of 'doing a geographical' to remove themselves from their regular (high risk) environments as a way of avoiding use. It would be interesting to know how many FIFO workers fit into that category, and how effective this approach is for them. We'd suspect that it would be moving from one high risk environment to another, without the benefits of a support network.

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US prisoners forced to withdraw from methadone less likely to seek community treatment: Lancet study

US prisoners forced to withdraw from methadone less likely to seek community treatment: Lancet study | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it

A study published today in The Lancet by US researchers and NDARC NHMRC postdoctoral fellow Dr Sarah Larney has provided further evidence for the effectiveness of methadone maintenance treatment in prisons.

ReGenUC's insight:

Study finds people exiting prison on methadone are seven times more likely to engage with treatment services. Currently 90% of people on pharmacotherapy are forced to discontinue while in prison.

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Why are so many British Columbians overdosing on their meds?

Why are so many British Columbians overdosing on their meds? | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Three hundred and forty eight British Columbians died of drug overdoses in 2013, and illicit drug users are not the only victims. One-fifth of those overdose deaths were people taking their painkiller medications as prescribed. In some regions of the province, more are dying of painkiller drug overdose than in motor-vehicle accidents.
ReGenUC's insight:

Jordan Westfall highlights the need for targetted harm reduction interventions for people using prescription opioids to prevent overdose.

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Meth Trafficking Has Exploded Throughout Asia Despite Hardline Laws

Economic growth and increasingly interlinked markets have allowed both methamphetamine and the chemicals used in its production to flow across the Pacific region.
ReGenUC's insight:

Samuel Oakford on the ineffectiveness of drug policies that place too much emphasis on law enforcement. As former Vic Police Commissioner (now head of Australia's National Ice Taskforce) Ken Lay has said: 'we can't arrest our way out of this problem'.

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Reports Document Widespread Abuse in Caribbean Drug Treatment Centers

Reports Document Widespread Abuse in Caribbean Drug Treatment Centers | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it

Recent studies on drug treatment facilities in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic reveal a litany of abuse carried out in the name of rehabilitation, a practice that violates human rights and is sadly all to common in the region.

ReGenUC's insight:

Sadly, such practice is common, not just in the Caribbean, but in many regions around the world. Shining a light on bad practice is essential to shift attitudes towards AOD treatment (and the people who participate in it) and create political and social support for evidence based treatment models and drug policy.

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SA Government launches campaign to stop violence against health workers

A NEW statewide strategy to prevent violence against health workers will start with a graphic social media video featuring a paramedic being attacked while trying to work on a badly injured patient.
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Dairy factory worker Nicholas Murnane banned from Victorian licensed premises for two years

Dairy factory worker Nicholas Murnane banned from Victorian licensed premises for two years | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Nicholas Murnane is not allowed to drink in any pub in Victoria. Or at a restaurant, the Grand Final, the Australian Open Tennis, the races ....
ReGenUC's insight:

We don't usually post crime reporting, but this is the first time we can recall this measure being used.

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Magic mushrooms should be used to treat mental health problems, psychiatrist says (UK)

Magic mushrooms should be used to treat mental health problems, psychiatrist says (UK) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Leading psychiatrist calls for lifting of bars on LSD and magic mushrooms so they can be used in clinical trials to treat common mental health problems
ReGenUC's insight:

See today's related post on use of MDMA to treat anxiety and depression: http://sco.lt/4ve0Wn. 

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Task force flags long-term ice funding (Aus)

FINDING a solution to Australia's problem with the drug ice is likely to put a long-term dent in government coffers, a task force chief says.
ReGenUC's insight:

Encouraging signs from taskforce head Ken Lay. We hope the Federal Govt is listening.

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