There is a potential for significant harm in Australia if we don't have adequate systems in place to monitor our drug markets and respond rapidly when specific dangers are detected.
Nice response by Stephen Bright and Monica Barratt on the latest round of media hysteria, making a clear call for evidence based (as opposed to fear driven) responses to actual harm. You can see our comments on recent coverage here: http://sco.lt/9KqrMv,http://sco.lt/8jZEjB.
Alert: Naloxone isn't working on several recent ODs, which leads health officials to believe that stronger opioids are in heroin.
It's important to note that it's the dosage of naloxone given that is the issue, not its effectiveness. The story highlights the overdose risks associated with these powerful synthetic opioids, and the importance of not using alone.
Members of historically disempowered and stigmatized groups (e.g., women, people of color, members of the LGBT community, religious minorities, etc.) have long been subjected to overt aggression from the dominant cultures in which they are nested.
William White highlights the daily micro-aggressions, insults and invalidations experienced by people affected by AOD dependence, including those perpetrated by people within the recovery movement. He's looking for more examples, if you have experiences to share. See the bottom of the article for details.
A new survey of US doctors reveals they are frequently discussing electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) with patients in a clinical setting. A substantial proportion of physicians also recommend e-cigs to their patients who smoke despite some controversy around the devices.
US study shows doctors recognise the harm reduction benefits associated with vaping over regular cigarettes.
Mwananyamala is one of two hospitals in Dar es Salaam that now make methadone available as treatment for addiction. Methadone maintenance treatment is regarded by WHO as the most effective therapy for heroin users, and methadone was added to WHO’s model essential medicines list in 2005. In combination with psychosocial support, it can help to reduce addiction to opioids such as heroin, prevent infection with HIV and other diseases transmitted by sharing needles, and reduce the criminal behaviour that often accompanies illicit drug use.
More evidence of the effectiveness of pharmacotherapies in preventing harm and supporting recovery.
AN urgent campaign to promote the lifesaving qualities of overdose reversal drug naloxone has been called for in the wake of data showing a surge of accidental deaths linked to prescription painkillers.
Good to see public attention being drawn to the impacts of the withdrawal of naloxone minijets (the most accessible, affordable option currently available) from the Australian market. This will also be addressed at tomorrow's CREIDU colloqium. For more details (or to register) see the website: https://www.burnet.edu.au/events/200_creidu_colloquium Thanks to VAADA for making the content of this article available from behind the NewsLtd paywall.
The public backlash against the homeless fails to understand the problem's causes, explains Sam Biondo.
Great response by VAADA's Sam Biondo to last week's demonisation (http://sco.lt/8rqppB) of people who are homeless. He rightly challenges our society's propsensity to 'blame the victim', rather than address the structural and social factors driving homelessness (and related issues).
New data obtained by the Herald Sun reveals a surge in deaths among older Australians, with almost eight in 10 accidental overdose deaths now men and women aged 30-59. The figures challenge the traditional image of drug deaths being young people overdosing on illegal drugs in inner city drug hot spots.
This shift in the demographics of overdose is likely due to two factors: 1. Our over-reliance on opioid painkillers, particularly amongst older people; & 2. an ageing cohort of people who are long-term users of heroin and other opioids. We need targetted policy and service responses to the needs of both groups. Sally Finn's suggestion is a good one: doctors should be prescribing naloxone for anyone on high doses of opioids. One thing is clear from the data: overdose prevention is a mainstream issue. Thanks to VAADA for bringing the content of this article (and the accompanying editorial) out from behind the NewsLtd paywall.
A five-year-old kindergarten girl is the latest victim of Philippines President Duterte's war on drugs.
The sad reality is that the death of one five-year-old will probably be a greater cause of public outrage than the killings of nearly 2,000 adults under President Duterte's brutal policies. The stigmatisation of (& subsequent lack of public compassion for) people involved with illicit drugs is a global phenomenon, driven by misconceptions, ignorance and political opportunism. All lives have value, regardless of age or life events. Our challenge is to get people to look beyond the stereotypes to see the people behind them, and realise they they're just like the rest of us.
A city task force endorsed the idea of safe consumption facilities, which would allow addicts to take drugs without fear of being arrested.
Often, it is only the public recognition of a 'crisis' that enables the introduction of evidence based harm reduction measures (such as medically supervised injecting centres or drug consumption rooms) that would ordinarily spark community outrage. See this recent post on the public response to a proposed methamphetamine inhalation centre in Liverpool: http://sco.lt/6tUXJ3.
Cincinnati has become the latest American city to be hit by a huge wave of heroin overdoses in a single night, recording 20 mostly in a three-hour period. No-one died on Tuesday night and the victims were revived with Narcan, the anti-opiate medication that has become a frontline defence in the war on drugs. Authorities in the city say they have launched an investigation into whether the overdoses were connected, and whether a contaminated or super-strong consignment of heroin was to blame.
More evidence for the importance of getting naloxone into the hands of those most likely to first encounter overdose: peers & family members.
Schools must not impose zero-tolerance policies. Expulsion marginalises and ostracises, and renders desperate parents helpless.
This is a powerful and passionate response to recent coverage of reported methamphetamine use within school communities. It speaks straight to the heart of the issue: all those affected are people, with challenges and great opportunities, but their stigmatisation makes it more difficult to seek help. This mother's case also highlights how it increases families' vulnerability to unrealistic marketing claims by for-profit services. This mother's account highlights the need for a greater focus by schools on students' welfare (see this related piece: http://sco.lt/7Ew5q5) and the great capacity families have to support their loved ones through challenging times.
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