Alcohol & other drug issues in the media
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Home Office rules out giving drug addicts ‘shooting galleries’ (UK)

Proposals to allow addicts to take drugs on the NHS, in rooms commonly known as heroin “shooting galleries”, were ruled out by the Government last night after strong criticism from politicians and campaigners.
ReGenUC's insight:

Another victory for politics over evidence based policy.

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Alcohol & other drug issues in the media
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Advocacy Under Threat as NFPs Engage in Self-Silencing (Aus)

Advocacy Under Threat as NFPs Engage in Self-Silencing (Aus) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Australian charities are self-silencing for fear of risking their financial security or attracting political retribution, according to a new report.
ReGenUC's insight:

Pro Bono Australia report highlights the extent to which Aus Not For Profits are losing their voice due to fears about being punished  by Government for speaking out, and the threat this poses to our democracy. You can see the Civil Voices report here: https://civilvoices.com.au/

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Opioids bring a terrifying electro-cerebral silence you should avoid at any cost (USA)

Opioids bring a terrifying electro-cerebral silence you should avoid at any cost (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
We are electrical beings. There lies the horror of how opioids shut us down.
ReGenUC's insight:

Sandra Block brings a neurologist's perspective (& a novellist's craft) to a consideration of the impacts of opioid use.

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Supplements Claiming to Ease Opioid Addiction Come Under Scrutiny (USA)

Supplements Claiming to Ease Opioid Addiction Come Under Scrutiny (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Advocacy groups and the F.D.A. have warned that companies are capitalizing on the epidemic by offering unproven remedies.
ReGenUC's insight:

Owner of NutraCore Health Products says he has no scientific evidence for the claimed effectiveness of his products and will not be conducting any research to provide any.

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Nevada, Nebraska seeking to use fentanyl for executions

Nevada, Nebraska seeking to use fentanyl for executions | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Two states want to take a drug from an addict’s needle and add it to an executioner’s arsenal.
ReGenUC's insight:

While the ethics (and effectiveness) of the death penalty are highly contestable, execution by opioid overdose would certainly be less complicated and less painful than current methods.

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More than a quarter of Canberra's prisoners prescribed methadone

More than a quarter of Canberra's prisoners prescribed methadone | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
More than a qaurter of the ACT's adult prisoners take methadone.
ReGenUC's insight:

ATODA's Carrie Fowlie notes that higher rates of methadone prescriptions could be evidence of more accessible prison treatment, and the need for increased resources for other treatment options across the ACT's health and justice systems.

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How Uruguay made legal highs work

How Uruguay made legal highs work | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
The South American country’s move to full legalisation of cannabis has so far proved a success, especially for its 17,391 users
ReGenUC's insight:

There's mostly anecdotal evidence cited here, but the article refers to the Govt allowing increased THC content in authorised products (from 2% up to 9%) in response to consumer feedback. Low prices for authorised products (and corresponding low profit margins for retailers) has meant that the 17k registered users can only make purchases in 12 pharmacies.

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Michael Moore reflects on 10 years as Public Health Association of Australia CEO

Michael Moore reflects on 10 years as Public Health Association of Australia CEO | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Former independent MLA Michael Moore steps down as CEO of Public Health Association Australia
ReGenUC's insight:

Moore says public health researchers need to understand that health is a political issue and the range of forces shaping public policy.

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The 'drop dead' drug terrorising North America linked to 10 deaths in Melbourne

The 'drop dead' drug terrorising North America linked to 10 deaths in Melbourne | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
A string of deaths in Melbourne believed linked to a drug fuelling the worst opioid crisis in US history.
ReGenUC's insight:

The front page headline in the print version of today's Age reads: 'Drop dead drug hits city'. It's important to emphasise that the clusters of fentanyl overdose deaths referred to here are from 2015. While there is evidence of importation of fentanyl into Australia (from police and customs seizures), there is little recent indication that illicit fentanyl is present within street drug markets. The consensus opinion at the recent APSAD conference was that, what fentanyl was being used in Australia was from diverted patches, not imported powder. However, the overdose risk is very real and it probably is a question of 'when, not if' imports will become more prevalent. Getting naloxone into as many hands as possible will be a key strategy for ensuring that people are able to save lives when it does.

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ACOSS urges Senate to dump cashless welfare card program (Aus)

ACOSS urges Senate to dump cashless welfare card program (Aus) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Australian Council of Social Service says ‘unacceptable’ program is ‘making people’s lives more difficult’
ReGenUC's insight:

We've seen the Senate successfully block the Turnbull Govt's punitive welfare drug testing measures. Hopefully, we can rely on the crossbenchers (together with Labor and the Greens) to see off the cashless welfare card program which has not reduced AOD use and, in many cases, has increased the level of harm experienced within already vulnerable communities.

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The hidden health crisis of the opioid epidemic (USA)

The hidden health crisis of the opioid epidemic (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it

The American epidemic of opioid abuse is finally getting the attention it warrants. While policy solutions continue to be inadequate, the decision by President Trump to declare a national opioid emergency has helped to increase discussion about the problem and how the country can solve it. But the conversation also needs to address a dangerous – and largely ignored – interconnected public health crisis wreaking havoc among young Americans.

ReGenUC's insight:

Deep seated opposition to evidence based harm reduction measures in the US has played a significant role in the emerging Hep C crisis. See today's related post on opposition to supervised injecting facilities: http://sco.lt/82zbtp 

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Nicotine withdrawal affects the brain's cognitive systems, researchers find (USA)

Nicotine withdrawal affects the brain's cognitive systems, researchers find (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Most attempts to stop smoking are unsuccessful in the long term, even with smoking cessation methods such as nicotine replacement therapy. Penn State researchers are looking at how reward processing and working memory ma
ReGenUC's insight:

The findings help improve our understanding of how to best manage nicotine withdrawal and of the factors that contribute to lapse and relapse.

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Myanmar's opium crop plummets, but no victory over Asia's narco-boom: U.N.

Myanmar's opium crop plummets, but no victory over Asia's narco-boom: U.N. | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
A "dramatic" drop in opium cultivation in Myanmar underscored a regional boom in demand for illegal synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine, which many Asian countries are struggling to combat, a senior U.N. official said on Wednesday.
ReGenUC's insight:

UNODC says drop coincides with booming demand for methamphetamine & synthetic opioids like fentanyl. You can see the Myanmar Opium Survey here: https://www.unodc.org/documents/southeastasiaandpacific/Publications/2017/Myanmar_Opium_Survey_2017_web.pdf 

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Recreational drug users not what we think (Aus)

A researcher has been investigating why Australians are among the top users of illegal drugs in the world -- and has uncovered some revealing new facts about the motivations of recreational drug users.

ReGenUC's insight:

A James Cook & Griffith University study confirms what anyone familiar with non-dependent drug use already knows: 

'recreational drug users used drugs because they valued the benefits that specific drugs seemed to offer while considering the risks to be manageable, worthwhile and/or minimal.' The study identified two important drivers they believe lead people to take up recreational drug use: social networking and performance enhancement. It also highlights the need for Governments to reconsider their reliance on scare tactics in public health campaigns on illicit drugs.

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One-third of Australian cancer deaths are potentially preventable, study says

One-third of Australian cancer deaths are potentially preventable, study says | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Tobacco was identified as the modifiable factor with the greatest room for improvement, accounting for 23 per cent of all cancer deaths.
ReGenUC's insight:

In spite of the significant progress in reducing tobacco related harm, these findings show we still have a long way to go. In second place were dietary factors, which were responsible for 5% of cancer deaths.

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Brain scans may reveal most effective anti-drug messages (USA)

What if you could look into the brains of potential drug abusers and see what messages would be most likely to persuade them to 'just say no?' That's the ultimate goal of researchers whose new study scanned the brains of people while they watched anti-drug public service announcements.
ReGenUC's insight:

...or you could just provide credible, evidence based information to help people make informed decisions.

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Death by disdain: the fate of drug users in Russian-occupied territories

Death by disdain: the fate of drug users in Russian-occupied territories | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
With replacement therapy now illegal, drug users in Russian-occupied Crimea and the self-proclaimed republics of the Donbas are finding it hard to survive.
ReGenUC's insight:

More on the impacts of ideologically-driven Russian drug policies on the lives of people who are opioid dependent and public health. 

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Bill Shorten commits to $53m plan to 'make HIV history' in Australia

Bill Shorten commits to $53m plan to 'make HIV history' in Australia | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
People at high risk of HIV would be given cheap access to a breakthrough preventative medicine under a federal Labor plan to make Australia the first natio
ReGenUC's insight:

Labor commits $53 million to expanding state trials of PrEP, pending its inclusion in the PBS.

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Few options for drug users in Broken Hill seeking rehabilitation (Aus)

Few options for drug users in Broken Hill seeking rehabilitation (Aus) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
For Broken Hill resident and Indigenous woman Julie Philp, getting her brother help with his addiction meant leaving him isolated and away from his family.
ReGenUC's insight:

An example of the limitations of treatment accessibility in regional and remote communities, and the role providers' practice can play in creating additional barriers for people who have to travel to undertake treatment.

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Dying to get clean: is ibogaine the answer to heroin addiction? (UK)

Dying to get clean: is ibogaine the answer to heroin addiction? (UK) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Ibogaine is a drug harvested from the roots of a plant found in Gabon. When all else fails, some heroin addicts have used it to conquer their cravings. But is it effective and are the serious risks it carries worth it? Alex Hannaford reports
ReGenUC's insight:

Extended piece on people's experiences using ibogaine and some of the risks associated with it, the most serious of which includes death (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16698188). 

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Scientists develop breathalyser test for drugs (Sweden)

Scientists develop breathalyser test for drugs (Sweden) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it

Drug tests could soon be carried out in the same way as those for alcohol: with a simple breathalyser sample. Swedish scientists have developed new technology that detects tiny quantities of drugs in a person’s breath. 

ReGenUC's insight:

Methaoone is the only drug mentioned here but (assuming this approach is feasible with other drug types) it has obvious implications for future roadside drug testing. 

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Corporate lobby in clover, charities SLAPPED (Aus)

Corporate lobby in clover, charities SLAPPED (Aus) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Flawed ban won’t prevent Big alcohol from buying favourable policy outcomes
ReGenUC's insight:

Michael West on the restrictions new foreign donation laws will have on charities' capacity to advocate for policy change, while the alcohol industry (along with other industries) will continue to influence policy outcomes with political donations.

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Dozens of drug-related arrests at Subsonic Music Festivals stuns authorities (NSW)

Dozens of drug-related arrests at Subsonic Music Festivals stuns authorities (NSW) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
More than 130 people attending a mid-north coast bush rage are either facing drug charges or were given formal cautions for possession following police crackdown.
ReGenUC's insight:

Yet another indicator of the limitations of criminal justice measures in preventing illicit drug use.  While there are legitimate concerns about safety, police would resources would be more effectively spent focussing on drink and drug driving by festival goers. Onsite harm reduction services (such as pill testing) would be a more effective investment in keeping people safe at the event.

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The pastor and ex-addict fighting to give drug users a safe place to get high (USA)

The pastor and ex-addict fighting to give drug users a safe place to get high (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
The head of a leading needle-exchange program, has teamed with a pastor to combat overdoses in Washington state – but the pair face strong opposition from some corners
ReGenUC's insight:

An encouraging story of the type of alliance that can build community and political support for evidence based policy reform, and a sobering indicator of the barriers to be overcome. See today's related post on the impact of US opposition to harm reduction measures on Hep C transmission: http://sco.lt/78vYf3

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This Is Not the Way to Stop People Taking Drugs (UK)

This Is Not the Way to Stop People Taking Drugs (UK) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Lincolnshire Police have a new anti-drugs operation that's dangerous, expensive and pointless.
ReGenUC's insight:

Henry Fisher points out some of the flaws in Lincolnshire police plans to swab the hands of nightclub patrons for traces of illicit drugs. As well as promoting ritual handwashing, it's also possible this move will prove a boon for glove retailers.

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Short-staffed and no support for rural pharmacies offering methadone (Canada)

Short-staffed and no support for rural pharmacies offering methadone (Canada) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Rural community pharmacists have concerns about offering methadone treatment in their clinics and many pointed to staffing challenges and lack of support as barriers.
ReGenUC's insight:

Reducing the access barriers created by daily dosing requirements could be one of the most significant benefits of the new buprenorphine depot products: http://sco.lt/4hqw3V.

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