Alcohol & other drug issues in the media
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Historic survey to shed light on drug use (Aus)

Historic survey to shed light on drug use (Aus) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Drug and alcohol treatments are on the rise in Australia, new research shows, but little real-time information is available about what drugs mainstream Australia is using, and how and why.
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Alcohol & other drug issues in the media
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Historic step towards FASD screening for young detainees (ACT)

Shadow Minister for Families, Youth and Community Services Elizabeth Kikkert calls on the government to implement FASD screening for detainees at Canberra’s Bimberi Youth Detention Centre

ReGenUC's insight:

Drink Tank post on the speech delivered by Ms Kikkert, calling for screening to identify FASD amongst young people in detention and the provision of appropriate supports.

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Last year’s record opium production in Afghanistan threatens sustainable development, latest survey reveals

Last year’s record opium production in Afghanistan threatens sustainable development, latest survey reveals | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
In 2017, opium cultivation in Afghanistan reached a record high with an estimated 328,000 hectares, up 63 per cent compared with 201,000 hectares in 2016. According to the latest survey report released today by UNODC, last year’s record levels of production has led to unprecedented levels of potential heroin production. From the 2017 opium harvest, some 550-900 tons of heroin of export quality can be produced.
ReGenUC's insight:

UNODC report highlights local and regional impacts of last year's record opium production. See today's related post on the shift from heroin to methamphetamine production in the Mekong region: http://sco.lt/5OqGf3

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NZ Alcohol Beverages Council says education is the answer, not labels

NZ Alcohol Beverages Council says education is the answer, not labels | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Alcohol industry group says call for mandatory labelling on alcohol won't work.
ReGenUC's insight:

The latest example of alcohol industry efforts to undermine public health measures that are likely to impact on industry profits.

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Prisoners are more prone to drug use and psychosis (Ireland)

Prisoners are more prone to drug use and psychosis (Ireland) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it

Rates of psychosis, substance misuse, and homelessness are “significantly higher” among Irish prisoners than among the general population.

ReGenUC's insight:

Study highlights complexity of needs (typically including homelessness, mental health and AOD issues) amongst people entering prison, and the need for appropriate levels of treatment and support (in prison and the community) to reduce reoffending.

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Drug addicts in Scotland 'waiting up to six months' for treatment

Drug addicts in Scotland 'waiting up to six months' for treatment | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Experts say more people with drug and alcohol problems should be fast-tracked for treatment.
ReGenUC's insight:

Highlighting the need for change to treatment and policy systems. See yesterday's post on Scottish calls for a shift away from a punishment-focussed policy model so that drug use can be treated as a health issue, rather than a criminal one: http://sco.lt/6HYQuv

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The road to Australia's first pill testing trial

The road to Australia's first pill testing trial | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
For a long time the public has been ahead of politicians in knowing that we need to take a different approach to drug use—a health-focused approach that makes keeping our …
ReGenUC's insight:

ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury reflects on the various challenges faced in the campaign to establish Australia's first major festival pill testing pilot. See yesterday's related coverage: http://sco.lt/9EIJCD

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NT looks at creating marijuana industry

NT looks at creating marijuana industry | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Marijuana for recreational use could be decriminalised and legally grown for medicinal and industrial purposes in moves that would make the Northern Territory the most pot-friendly place in Australia.
ReGenUC's insight:

NT Parliamentary Committee to consider decriminalisation of all drugs as Chief Minister Michael Gunner calls for a health-based approach. If you have access behind the Australian's paywall, there's more coverage here: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/nt-has-high-hopes-for-drug-decriminalising/news-story/932cad8ed617611d135a8afc68e60b73?csp=0070620ab9a134f50556a53ad7144171

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Outrage as sniffer dogs to be sent into South Australian high schools to scour classrooms for drugs

Outrage as sniffer dogs to be sent into South Australian high schools to scour classrooms for drugs | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Students bringing illicit drugs into South Australian high schools have been warned they could soon be sniffed out by detection dogs.
ReGenUC's insight:

This Daily Mail article isn't the most coherent, but it reflects on recent responses to last week's announcement by the SA Premier Steven Marshalll that he intends to implement his election promise: http://sco.lt/6Ux04n. Perhaps the most concerning element of this story is the Premier's apparent admission that there is no evidence that illicit drug use in SA schools is a significant issue and that the role of sending in the drug detection dogs is to see if there is a problem (see the cited Triple J report: http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/9777068). 

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How A Former Heroin Addict Helps Others Avoid Overdosing (USA)

How A Former Heroin Addict Helps Others Avoid Overdosing (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
This week, ‘Morning Shift’ talks to people on the frontlines of the opioid crisis in Chicago. One of them is “Ponytail Steve.”
ReGenUC's insight:

Nice example of the life-saving harm reduction work done by peers. See today's related post on calls for the establishment of supervised injecting facilities in Chicago: http://sco.lt/6LkI8P

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Report: workplace substance-use policies could help Canadians and employers

In an effort to bring awareness to workplace practices and regulations in preparation for 2018’s legalization of cannabis, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction has published a report that reveals not enough Canadian companies have instituted comprehensive substance-use policies, and those that are in existence inadequately help struggling employees. The report reviewed 800 … Continued

ReGenUC's insight:

Report highlights need for employers to develop suitable policies to help employees seek support and improve workplace safety/productivity.

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Inpatient opioid use and insufficient weaning pre-discharge may increase outpatient opioid prescriptions (USA)

Inpatient opioid use and insufficient weaning pre-discharge may increase outpatient opioid prescriptions (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Patients who receive an opioid for most of their hospital stay and patients who are still taking an opioid within 12 hours of being discharged from the hospital appear more likely to fill a prescription for opioids within 90 days of leaving the hospital, according to new research presented at the ATS 2018 International Conference.
ReGenUC's insight:

Study highlights post-discharge impacts of hospital prescribing practice on opioid naive patients.

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Parents buying teenage children alcohol with a meal to be banned in Victoria 

Parents buying teenage children alcohol with a meal to be banned in Victoria  | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Parents will soon be unable to buy their teenager a beer or a glass of wine with their restaurant dinner in Victoria, as the Andrews Government moves to ban the practice.
ReGenUC's insight:

With broad support (with the apparent exception of the IPA), the bill is still to face a vote in the Upper House, but appears likely to pass.

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Drinking in pregnancy: how should the guidance work? (UK)

Drinking in pregnancy: how should the guidance work? (UK) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
How should advice on alcohol and pregnancy be communicated? This seems like a simple question, but a new study has found that the reality is more complex.
ReGenUC's insight:

Alcohol Research UK's James Nicholls reflects on the complexities of developing effective, evidence based guidelines on alcohol consumption during pregnancy, following a new report by Alcohol Concern Cymru (see the full report here: https://www.alcoholconcern.org.uk/public-health-alcohol-guidance-for-expectant-mothers).

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Drugs policy will not change or progress as long as Government refuses to acknowledge the need for change (UK)

Drugs policy will not change or progress as long as Government refuses to acknowledge the need for change (UK) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it

Perhaps emblematic of current Westminster drugs policy is the recent response from the Home Office to the Government’s own advisory committee bluntly refusing to contemplate the introduction of safe injecting environments for the most damaging drug use (1).

ReGenUC's insight:

Response to a recent call for drug law reform by the Royal College of Physicians, warning of the public health impacts of the May Govt's continued refusal to consider alternative policy models. See yesterday's related post on calls for change to Scottish drug policy, to allow drug use to be treated as a health issue, not a criminal one: http://sco.lt/6HYQuv

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‘Alarming levels’ of methamphetamine trafficking in Asia’s Mekong, UN warns

‘Alarming levels’ of methamphetamine trafficking in Asia’s Mekong, UN warns | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Organized crime groups in Asia’s Mekong region have intensified the production and trafficking of highly-addictive methamphetamine, extending the illegal trade into countries such as Australia, Japan and New Zealand, senior drug policy leaders warned on Monday at a United Nations-backed regional conference. 
ReGenUC's insight:

UNODC highlights the shift from heroin to methamphetamine production in the region and its impact on target markets.

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She said she’d free them from addiction. She turned them into her personal servants (USA)

She said she’d free them from addiction. She turned them into her personal servants (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
“It’s like slavery,” said one rehab participant, “like we were on the plantation.”
ReGenUC's insight:

Another example of unethical and exploitative practice by for-profit providers and the need for greater regulation of private treatment services. If you have complaints about your experience with a Victorian service, the Health Complaints Commissioner would like to hear from you: https://hcc.vic.gov.au/news/125-concerns-about-drug-alcohol-services

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Africa’s First Medical Cannabis Dispensary Opening in South Africa

Africa’s First Medical Cannabis Dispensary Opening in South Africa | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
In a milestone moment, the first legal medical cannabis dispensary in the African continent is about to open.
ReGenUC's insight:

Zimbabwe and Lesotho have also taken recent steps towards enabling production and consumption of medicinal cannabis products.

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Queensland needs real-time prescription monitoring 'urgently', coroner says, amid opioid deaths 

Queensland needs real-time prescription monitoring 'urgently', coroner says, amid opioid deaths  | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
A prescription monitoring system to prevent doctor shopping in Queensland is needed urgently within the next two years, rather than the state waiting for a national scheme to come online, an inquest into four opioid deaths finds.
ReGenUC's insight:

Qld AMA warns of a 'tidal wave' of prescription drug overdose deaths in the state. See today's related coverage of a NSW coronial inquest where prescription medications were the chief contributors to an overdose death: http://sco.lt/54tQo5.  

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Alissa Campbell died with a toxic cocktail of drugs in her system (NSW)

Alissa Campbell died with a toxic cocktail of drugs in her system (NSW) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
The family home was “awash with prescription medication and some steroids”, a coronial inquest has heard.
ReGenUC's insight:

Coronial inquest hears Ms Campbell's death was mainly due high levels of codeine and the anti-depressant doxepin, but that other opiods, benzos and anti-depressants were also present. See today's related coverage of a Qld coroner calling for the introduction of real-time prescription monitoring in the state: http://sco.lt/7qdFOz

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Cannabis—it matters how young you start (Canada)

Cannabis—it matters how young you start (Canada) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Canadian researchers find that boys who start smoking pot before 15 are much more likely to have a drug problem at 28 than those who start at 15 or after.
ReGenUC's insight:

There are some obvious implications here for prevention, or delaying of young people's initiation into cannabis use. See also yesterday's post on US research showing some impacts (including increased risk of dependence) from increasing frequency of cannabis as the first drug used by young people (now level with tobacco at around 9%): http://sco.lt/8NDJs9

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Minor drug users 'should not be charged' (Scotland)

Minor drug users 'should not be charged' (Scotland) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
A Scottish government adviser says people caught with small amounts of drugs should no longer be prosecuted.
ReGenUC's insight:

Scottish political leaders, police and policy advisors call for a shift away from law-enforcement in the upcoming drug strategy. The May Govt (which has authority over drug policy) has made it clear that it is unlikely to change.

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Public bathrooms become clandestine epicenter of opioid crisis (USA)

Public bathrooms become clandestine epicenter of opioid crisis (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Public bathrooms have become a clandestine epicenter of the opioid crisis, serving as the setting for numerous fatal heroin overdoses and close calls. Some say the best way to combat the problem is to create government-sanctioned facilities where users can consume drugs under medical supervision.
ReGenUC's insight:

Highlighting the lack of supervised injecting facilities in the US and the role it plays in increasing risk for those involved. See today's related post on peer naloxone distrubution in Chicago: http://sco.lt/94LkLh

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Despite Legalization, Marijuana Black Market Hides In Plain Sight (USA)

Despite Legalization, Marijuana Black Market Hides In Plain Sight (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Washington state legalized recreational pot in 2012, but the black market lives on. Pot grown legally leaks into illegal markets, while networks of illegal producers pretend they're licensed.
ReGenUC's insight:

A reminder that legalisation does not resolve all concerns with (or demand for) illicit cannabis. What we've seen in the States (and elsewhere) is the persistence of illicit markets.

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FDA approves non-opioid treatment for opioid withdrawal (USA)

FDA approves non-opioid treatment for opioid withdrawal (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
(HealthDay)—Lucemyra (lofexidine hydrochloride) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat symptoms of opioid withdrawal.
ReGenUC's insight:

'The agency stressed that Lucemyra is not specifically approved for Opioid Use Disorder, and the drug's use shouldn't extend beyond 14 days. Lucemyra's side effects could include hypotension, bradycardia, sleepiness, and dizziness. Less common reactions could include fainting and abnormal heart rhythms. The drug has not been evaluated in people under age 17, the FDA said. The agency added that it's requiring 15 additional studies in both people and animals to evaluate factors such as longer-term use and the drug's effects on the liver.'

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What is the future of pill testing in Australia?

What is the future of pill testing in Australia? | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Australia’s first pill-testing trial in the ACT was hailed a success. Guardian Australia’s Katharine Murphy talks to Leader of the ACT Greens, Shane Rattenbury, on how the trial worked, the resistance among many groups and the future of testing
ReGenUC's insight:

(26 min podcast) The Guardian's Katherine Murphy discusses the ACT's support for evidence based harm reduction with Shane Rattenbury following the Grovvin the Moo pilot. See yesterday's related Sunday Age editorial calling on other jurisdictions to support similar measures: http://sco.lt/9EIJCD

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