Alcohol & other drug issues in the media
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Never give in on drugs fight (Vic)

THE numbers are staggering. More than seven tonnes of illicit drugs and their precursors. More than 2.5 tonnes of crystal methamphetamine, or ice, both here and in China.

ReGenUC's insight:

Today's Herald Sun editorial. After some encouraging signs of a recent shift in the way the paper frames drug policy issues (with sustained support for the establishment of a MSIC in Melbourne), the paper has returned to type here, focussing on the size of police seizures, rather than the abundant evidence demonstrating the limited effectiveness of supply reduction measures. As in so many editorials before it, instead of recognising the failure of law enforcement to prevent supply, or affect demand for illicit drugs, the paper simply calls for more of the same. This is a failure of journalistic principles and a failure of leadership, with the Federal Govt continuing to frame drug policy as a criminal, rather than a health issue. We need genuine policy change, not more of the same damaging, ineffective (but politically popular) policy. Thanks to VAADA for making the content of the article available from behind the News Ltd paywall.

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Alcohol & other drug issues in the media
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Dr David Caldicott slams State Government over Port Phillip Council pill-testing trial bid (Vic)

Dr David Caldicott slams State Government over Port Phillip Council pill-testing trial bid (Vic) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
A LEADING drug expert has slammed the State Government as cowards for scotching a Melbourne councils bid to trial pill-testing machines at popular venues and festivals.
ReGenUC's insight:

Dr Caldicott gives Police Minister Neville an 'F' for the Andrews Govt's refusal to allow drug checking services to prevent overdose deaths at public events. See this related coverage on the similar response from the ACT Govt: http://sco.lt/9HVdpZ, http://sco.lt/7ybOb3

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Canberra Times Letters to the Editor: Inaction on drugs

Canberra Times Letters to the Editor: Inaction on drugs | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it

Maybe it's my age but I found reports of last year's Groovin the Moo music festival repulsive ("Security guards accused of mocking sick revellers" April 29, 2016 p6).

ReGenUC's insight:

FFDLR's Bill Bush responds (it's the fourth letter) to last week's announcement that the ACT Govt will block drug checking services in the territory. See also David Caldicott's response to the Victorian Govt's similar decision: http://sco.lt/6aoOW1 

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Health Canada to allow more access to prescription heroin to curb opioid crisis

Health Canada to allow more access to prescription heroin to curb opioid crisis | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Health Canada's proposal to loosen regulations on importing prescription-grade heroin to treat opioid addiction is being hailed as a crucial step to reducing fentanyl-fuelled deaths across the country.
ReGenUC's insight:

Heroin Assisted Therapy will only ever be appropriate for a very small proportion of people who are opioid dependent (and for whom other treatment options are ineffective), but it's good to see access barriers to what can be a life-saving intervention removed.

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A March for Science in Addiction Treatment and Drug Policy (USA)

A March for Science in Addiction Treatment and Drug Policy (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
If America wants to solve the overdose crisis, policymakers need to listen to real scientists, not so-called experts whose primary qualification is that they beat their own addiction.
ReGenUC's insight:

Great to see public support for evidence based drug policy. We need to call out political leaders who refuse to recognise the evidence and help created an informed public debate to build support for effective (but politically unpopular) measures.

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Methadone may reduce need for opioids after surgery (USA)

Patients undergoing spinal fusion surgery who are treated with methadone during the procedure require significantly less intravenous and oral opioids to manage postoperative pain, reports a new study published in the May issue of Anesthesiology, the peer-reviewed medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA).
ReGenUC's insight:

US study indicates potential impacts on development of post-operative chronic pain.

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Alcohol ruling drives Indian bar-goers round bends

Alcohol ruling drives Indian bar-goers round bends | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Business owners walk a fine line in ingenious efforts to skirt supreme court ban on sale of alcohol within 500 metres of highways
ReGenUC's insight:

Yet another example of the limitations of supply control measures in preventing consumption.

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Campaigners call for digital cannabis market (UK)

Campaigners call for digital cannabis market (UK) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Pro-drug legislation think tank Volte Face says that an online-only market place will cut out dealers and make millions in tax.
ReGenUC's insight:

You can see the Volteface report here: http://volteface.me/publications/green-screen/. See also this interview with the report's author, Mike Power: https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/why-britains-legal-cannabis-market-should-be-online-only

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Charge Rodrigo Duterte with mass murder, lawyer tells The Hague (Philippines)

Charge Rodrigo Duterte with mass murder, lawyer tells The Hague (Philippines) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
A Filipino lawyer asked the International Criminal Court to charge the Philippine President with mass murder and crimes against humanity in the killings o
ReGenUC's insight:

More evidence of the growing domestic opposition to President Duterte's brutal drug policies. See also recent coverage of charges being brought against police by victims' families: http://sco.lt/5YwAPh

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The street with no taps: ground zero for Melbourne's new heroin crisis

The street with no taps: ground zero for Melbourne's new heroin crisis | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Vicki Howard bears the scars of life in a street overrun by heroin addicts.
ReGenUC's insight:

Highlighting the impacts of public injecting on North Richmond residents and the multiple reasons a MSIC is needed to reduce potential harm for all those currently affected.

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SA frees up use of medicinal cannabis

The South Australian government has moved to make it easier for doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis to patients.
ReGenUC's insight:

Doctors no longer require approval to prescribe, but formal authorisation for use of more than 2 months still  needed.

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Police arrest 20 on drug charges but infuriate nightclub owners (Vic)

The launch of Operation Safenight over the weekend saw dozens of police officers swarm entertainment precincts in Melbourne's south.
ReGenUC's insight:

Coverage of the weekend's sniffer dog action in Chapel St. Supt Green says, 'We're not here to arrest our way out of community problems', but this is all such 'crackdowns' offer. Such operations may prevent some use in particular locations, but will do little or nothing to address community-wide issues. We need more than this from our political leaders. We need sustained, evidence based responses, not quick, headline grabbing, methods that give the appearance of action being taken but do nothing to reduce use or potential harm.

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New report halves the number of people infected with hepatitis C worldwide

New report halves the number of people infected with hepatitis C worldwide | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Imprecise tests led researchers to estimate that as many as 150 million were living with the virus
ReGenUC's insight:

The WHO report attributes the drop in numbers, not to new treatments, but more accurate screening.

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My overdose went viral - and it saved my life (USA)

My overdose went viral - and it saved my life (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
A WOMAN whose overdose went viral last month said the negative publicity she received from it has actually given her a second chance at life.
ReGenUC's insight:

It's great Ms Henry has started taking steps towards recovery, but there is abundant evidence demonstrating that piling stigma and shame on a person is not an effective strategy in getting them to seek help. While videos like this one generate lots of interest and may have some warning effect, they generally do more harm than good to those directly affected. The story also highlights the growing risks associated with synthetic opioids (such as fentanyl) becoming increasingly present in illicit drug supplies.

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More older Australians are drinking booze in a risky way

More older Australians are drinking booze in a risky way | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Older Australians are more likely to drink alcohol at levels putting their long-term health at risk according to new research by La Trobe University.
ReGenUC's insight:

Citing a new La Trobe Uni study, on the 28% of people who drink over 80% of the alcohol consumed in Australia (and experience most of the related harm).

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Canada and eight US states have done it. Why can't NSW legalise cannabis?

Canada and eight US states have done it. Why can't NSW legalise cannabis? | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it

Some big news has come out of North America and it has nothing to do with Trump. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has introduced legislation that will legalise and regulate cannabis use in Canada. This would make Canada the second country the world (after Uruguay) to legalise adult use of cannabis. This comes off the heels of some ground-breaking reforms that took place in November last year when California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada all voted to legalise and regulate  cannabis use, joining Colorado, Alaska, Washington and Oregon. One in five Americans now live in a state where adult use of cannabis is legal or is in the process of being made legal. So why has the debate barely even begun in Australia?

ReGenUC's insight:

NSW MP Mehreen Faruqi makes the case for Australian drug law reform.

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The Opioid Epidemic, the Border Wall, and Trump's Magical Thinking (USA)

The Opioid Epidemic, the Border Wall, and Trump's Magical Thinking (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
President Trump’s confounding approach to drug policy.
ReGenUC's insight:
Conor Friedersdorf on some of the major flaws in President Trump's stated drug policy positions. See today's related coverage: http://sco.lt/81JcKfhttp://sco.lt/5497VR

 

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Why not decriminalize drug use? VP urges gov’t to study Portugal move (Philippines)

Why not decriminalize drug use? VP urges gov’t to study Portugal move (Philippines) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Is decriminalizing drug use the better alternative to killing drug addicts?
ReGenUC's insight:

Well, this is unexpected. Is this an indicator of the growth in domestic opposition to President Duterte's brutal drug policies? It will be interesting to see how he responds. See today's related coverage of the call for the President to be indicted for mass murder in The Hague: http://sco.lt/6jpvub 

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'Alarmingly high' risk of death for people with opioid use disorder in general medical care (USA)

Almost one-fifth of patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) in a large healthcare system died during a four-year follow-up period, reports a new study.

ReGenUC's insight:

One potential contributing factor not addressed here is the role systemic barriers to people having access to opioid replacement therapies, which have been consistently shown to reduce mortality amongst people who are opioid dependent.

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New plan to legalise and tax cannabis launches in Switzerland

New plan to legalise and tax cannabis launches in Switzerland | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
A new plan to legalise cannabis has launched in Switzerland, marking the country's second push for the change within a decade. The new initiative proposes that both cannabis production and consumption for personal use should be made legal. It recommends that its sale should be regulated and taxed by the government. A referendum in 2008 aiming to make the drug legal for everyone failed, but those proposals did not suggest the government would be able to collect tax on it.
ReGenUC's insight:

The move will legalise cannabis sales in four cities. See today's related posts from Aus (http://sco.lt/8UKHEf) and the UK (http://sco.lt/79Vo2L). 

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The New Drug Wars Are Looking At The Wrong Enemy (USA)

The New Drug Wars Are Looking At The Wrong Enemy (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
A border wall, no matter how tall, will not stop the drug problem in America
ReGenUC's insight:

Stacey Leasca considers some of the biggest flaws in President Trumps stated drug policy positions.

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Councillor wants investigation of links between liquor outlet numbers and family violence in Kingston (Vic)

Councillor wants investigation of links between liquor outlet numbers and family violence in Kingston (Vic) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
A KINGSTON councillor has called for an investigation into the links between liquor outlets in the municipality and family violence.
ReGenUC's insight:

Citing Peter Miller's 2016 study that indicated a direct link between local retail alcohol outlet density and incidence of family violence. For more info, check out FARE Australia's resources: http://sco.lt/6Pp9pB

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Boozing not done by halves/Police powerless to shut down licensed venues (Vic)

MORE than half of the alcohol consumed by Australians is drunk outside safe guidelines, a study has shown. / 

POLICE say they are powerless to shut down pubs and nightclubs awash with drugs, and simply have to watch dancing drug dens party on.

ReGenUC's insight:

VAADA has collected a few of the weekend's Victorian AOD coverage here, that were otherwise only available behind the News Ltd paywall.

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Scrutiny needed in WA trucking industry amid 'dangerous stimulant culture' claims

Scrutiny needed in WA trucking industry amid 'dangerous stimulant culture' claims | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
It has been alleged some Perth drivers have been forced to complete long-haul runs without a mandatory break in a bid to cut down on delivery times.
ReGenUC's insight:

Union highlights the role workplace pressures play in driving stimulant use in industries where workers are required to undertake long hours. It's important to remember that this doesn't only occur in the transport industry.

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WA's meth crisis in the spotlight after state wins appeal of drug lord's 'soft' sentence

WA's meth crisis in the spotlight after state wins appeal of drug lord's 'soft' sentence | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Sentencing laws for methamphetamine dealers have been labelled "insufficient" by WA's new attorney general after state prosecutors successfull
ReGenUC's insight:

A continuation of the 'tough on drugs' rhetoric that was a major feature of the recent WA election campaign. See John Silvester's piece on the failings of this sort of policy approach: http://sco.lt/8no5IX.

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NT's alcohol rehab program 'has no long-term health impacts'

NT's alcohol rehab program 'has no long-term health impacts' | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
The NT spent $18 million last year treating alcoholics with a mandatory rehabilitation program that a new report says has had little impact.
ReGenUC's insight:

Evaluators highlight the significant flaws in the program's model as well as it's lack of effectiveness.

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