Alcohol & other drug issues in the media
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High time we looked beyond the drug stereotypes (Aus)

A clearer picture of the extent of drug use can improve policies and minimise harm.
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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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Saving our lives while losing their own – the rise of narcotics use among paramedics (NSW)

Saving our lives while losing their own – the rise of narcotics use among paramedics (NSW) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Kim Jenkins knows the man in the security camera footage is her dad, but his behaviour is far from recognisable.
ReGenUC's insight:

Another example of the potential impacts of high stress jobs and ready access to a range of medications. The use of fentanyl (and other drugs) by paramedics to cope with the impacts of their work has been recognised as a concern for some time, but is an issue for the wider health sector and many other industries where people feel the need to use drugs just in order to be able to do their job.

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Australian grandmother Maria Exposto sentenced to death in Malaysia

Australian grandmother Maria Exposto sentenced to death in Malaysia | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Australian grandmother Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto, 54, has been found guilty of drug trafficking and sentenced to death in Malaysia.
ReGenUC's insight:

Ms Exposto still has appeal options available to her. See HRI's recent report on the global use of the death penalty for drug offences: http://sco.lt/5c0HxZ

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Smoking shock treatment failing to make people quit the habit, survey finds (Qld)

Smoking shock treatment failing to make people quit the habit, survey finds (Qld) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
A survey of 900 Queenslanders reveals pictures of gangrenous feet and rotting teeth on cigarette packets are no longer shocking enough to prompt people to quit the habit.
ReGenUC's insight:

A JCU study finds that current health warning messages may be losing their effectiveness, highlighting need for ongoing development of new measures.

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In helping smokers quit, cash is king, e-cigarettes strike out (USA)

In helping smokers quit, cash is king, e-cigarettes strike out (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Free smoking cessation aids, such as nicotine patches and chewing gum, are a staple of many corporate wellness programs aimed at encouraging employees to kick the habit. But, new research shows that merely offering such aid
ReGenUC's insight:

US study appears to focus only on cessation. We need more research into the role e-cigarettes can play in reducing harm amongst people who do not want to quit smoking.

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'Unprecedented' surge in cheap, high-purity heroin expected from Afghanistan, UN warns

'Unprecedented' surge in cheap, high-purity heroin expected from Afghanistan, UN warns | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
An unprecedented surge of high quality and low cost Afghan heroin is bound for the world’s streets after the country’s opium crop jumped two thirds to record levels, the United Nations has warned.
ReGenUC's insight:

See this week's related coverage of the UNODC data on opium production in Afghanistan and its impacts on the sustainability of economic development initiatives (http://sco.lt/843dVh) and of the implications of the shift towards synthetic opioids for illicit markets: http://sco.lt/60dfRx

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People with family history of alcoholism release more dopamine in expectation of alcohol: A new study in Biological Psychiatry (USA)

People with a family history of alcohol use disorder (AUD) release more dopamine in the brain's main reward center in response to the expectation of alcohol than people diagnosed with the disorder, or healthy people without any family history of AUD, reports a new study.
ReGenUC's insight:

US research provides a reminder of the complex array of factors that can contribute to drug dependence.

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In the addiction battle, is forced rehab the solution? (USA)

In the addiction battle, is forced rehab the solution? (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it

QUINCY, Mass. — The last thing Lizabeth Loud, a month from giving birth, wanted was to be forced into treatment for her heroin and prescription painkiller addiction.
But her mother saw no other choice, and sought a judge's order to have her committed
ReGenUC's insight:

Highlighting the increased use of involuntary commitment in the US, in spite of the general lack of evidence for its effectiveness. We've seen similar pressures in Aus in recent years, with increasingly regular calls by politicians and community members for increased powers to force people into treatment.

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How fentanyl could alter global drug policy

How fentanyl could alter global drug policy | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Most opioids traded on the black market depend on a plant for their raw material. Fentanyl can be created from chemicals in a laboratory.
ReGenUC's insight:

Keith Humphreys considers the likely impacts of a global shift to synthetic opioid production for illicit markets on criminal organisations and supply reduction models.

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Chemsex linked with increased diagnoses of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (UK)

Chemsex -- the use of crystallized methamphetamine, mephedrone, γ-hydroxybutyrate or γ-butyrolactone and to a lesser extent cocaine and ketamine to facilitate sex -- has emerged as a new phenomenon in the UK and across Europe among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM).
ReGenUC's insight:

This isn't just an issue for men who have sex with men. Intoxication (from the use of any drug) can increase risky sexual behaviour. Harm reduction is key.

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Blame middle class for drug-related violence, says police leader (UK)

Blame middle class for drug-related violence, says police leader (UK) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Police Federation’s Simon Kempton says prohibition is failing and calls for new policy
ReGenUC's insight:

Simon Kempton says affluent customers bigger driver of drug related harms than people who use in public, calls for end to the UK's prohibitionist policy model.

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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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'Clusters' of risky habits put high school students at risk (NSW)

'Clusters' of risky habits put high school students at risk (NSW) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Australian teenagers who harbour “risk clusters” of the so-called “big six” unhealthy behaviours are at greater risk of mental health problems.
ReGenUC's insight:

Citing Katrina Champion and Maree Teeson on NDARC's work identifying the impacts of alcohol, tobacco, nutrition, inactivity, screen time and poor sleep on young people's mental health.  

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Australia smoking ban: The 'nanny state' rule that deserves to be applauded

Australia smoking ban: The 'nanny state' rule that deserves to be applauded | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Australia: we love banning things. We must have more bans on things than almost any other country on the planet.
ReGenUC's insight:

Travel writer Ben Groundwater compares the quality of life impacts of our tobacco policies to those in a selection of other countries.

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Deadly Chinese Fentanyl Is Creating a New Era of Drug Kingpins (USA)

Deadly Chinese Fentanyl Is Creating a New Era of Drug Kingpins (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
The opioid’s potency has transformed the global trafficking — and policing — of narcotics.
ReGenUC's insight:

This article focuses on the US impacts of the production and trafficking of Chinese fentanyl. See yesterday's related post on the likely impacts for criminal organisations and global drug policy makers of the shift towards synthetic opioid production for illicit markets: http://sco.lt/60dfRx 

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An Opioid Popularised by a Nazi Doctor Is Ravaging Africa

An Opioid Popularised by a Nazi Doctor Is Ravaging Africa | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
The former director of the drug enforcement agency in Nigeria estimated in 2016 that seven in ten boys were abusing drugs like tramadol.
ReGenUC's insight:

Booming supplies of tramadol and severely limited access to treatment services and naloxone playing key roles in Africa's overdose crisis.

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Cut out alcohol and processed meat like bacon to help prevent cancer, experts say (UK)

Cut out alcohol and processed meat like bacon to help prevent cancer, experts say (UK) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Experts have urged people to completely cut alcohol from their diets to help prevent cancer, as well as sugary drinks, fast food, processed foods and processed meats like bacon.  Drinking alcohol "cannot be justified for other health reasons", it was warned, as a new report highlights "strong evidence" the habit is the cause of many cancers. The call comes as part of a string of recommendations on health and lifestyle choices which have been dubbed "a blueprint to beat cancer".
ReGenUC's insight:

You can see the World Cancer Research Fund report here: https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/about. It provides a ‏ clear response to common alcohol industry claims: consumption of their products 'cannot be justified for other health reasons'.

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The HIV Crisis in Russia

The HIV Crisis in Russia | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Russia is experiencing an ever-growing number of reported HIV cases since the breakup of the Soviet Union. An estimated 1.5 million HIV cases are accompanied by a general decline in the Russian population that is expected to continue over the next several decades. A diminished population will directly affect Russia’s army, its military capabilities, and its economy, and thus its ability to position itself as a world power.
ReGenUC's insight:

This is what happens when governments block access to evidence based harm reduction and treatment services. 

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Women need better information about drinking in pregnancy (UK)

Is telling pregnant women to simply abstain really the best advice?
ReGenUC's insight:

Heather Trickey & Rachel Brown discuss the implications of their recent study of how information about alcohol consumption in pregnancy is provided and received. They argue for providing women with more information but allowing them to decide how much they want to receive in order to feel confident in the advice provided. See this related discussion: http://sco.lt/86pG9x

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Rudy Giuliani won deal for OxyContin maker to continue sales of drug behind opioid deaths (USA)

Rudy Giuliani won deal for OxyContin maker to continue sales of drug behind opioid deaths (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
The US government secured a criminal conviction against Purdue Pharma in the mid-2000s but failed to curb sales of the drug after Giuliani reached a deal to avoid a bar on Purdue doing business
ReGenUC's insight:

Another example of the political and industrial drivers of the US opioid crisis.

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America's Rich and Powerful Have Permission Slips to Get High

America's Rich and Powerful Have Permission Slips to Get High | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
From politicians to business executives, America's drug policy is set up to give recreational access to (white) people with status and money—and screw everyone else.
ReGenUC's insight:

Extended piece by Maia Szalavitz on the widespread use of psychoactive drugs in the workplace (often to help people perform, or cope with the physical demands of their job) and the inequality of responses to it, depending on what job you do and where you do it.

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Benefit sanctions found to be ineffective and damaging (UK)

Benefit sanctions found to be ineffective and damaging (UK) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Study concludes that punishing claimants triggers profoundly negative outcomes
ReGenUC's insight:

Five-year study of the sort of punitive measures being pushed by the Turnbull Govt finds that, 'the controversial policy of docking benefits as punishment for alleged failures to comply with jobcentre rules has been little short of disastrous'. It also found that the small number of cases where people did move into employment were not due to penalties, but to isolated cases of people actually being provided with personalised support, and that those who were unable to meet the new compliance requirements remove themselves from the welfare system, moving not into work but 'survival crime'.

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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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