Alcohol & other drug issues in the media
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'Quitting cold turkey' can lead to mental decline, shows study (USA)

Can quitting drugs without treatment trigger a decline in mental health? That appears to be the case in an animal model of morphine addiction.
ReGenUC's insight:

Highlighting the importance of managed withdrawal, particularly with pharmacotherapies.

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Alcohol & other drug issues in the media
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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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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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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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Surge in young Americans using marijuana as first drug

Surge in young Americans using marijuana as first drug | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Proportion of young people who tried cigarettes as their first drug fell over the same period, US study says
ReGenUC's insight:

National study finds increase for cannabis (from 4% to 8%), decrease for tobacco (from 21% to 9%) and no change for alcohol (30%) amongst young people from 2004-13. The article cites Renee Johnson on the need for improved drug education to help young people make informed decisions about cannabis use. The study also found that those who used cannabis first were more likely to be current heavy/dependent users.

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Evidence supports more pill testing (Aus)

Evidence supports more pill testing (Aus) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it

The trial of pill testing at a recent music festival in Canberra was declared ‘‘a great success’’ by ACT police chief Justine Saunders. Testing illicit substances for life-threatening impurities has long helped harm minimisation elsewhere, but the trial was unprecedented in Australia.

ReGenUC's insight:

Yesterday's Sunday Age editorial calls for other jurisdictions to follow the ACT's lead in allowing drug checking initiatives, and show greater support for other evidence based harm reduction measures. See today's related post with Katherine Murphy discussing the Groovin the Moo pilot with ACT Greens Leader Shane Rattenbury: http://sco.lt/6yvGKX

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The Rights of People Who Use Drugs: An Interview With INPUD’s Judy Chang (Aus)

The Rights of People Who Use Drugs: An Interview With INPUD’s Judy Chang (Aus) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
People who use drugs are now organising and calling for an end to the human rights violations that have been perpetrated against them as part of the war on drugs.
ReGenUC's insight:

An extended piece from Paul Gregoire on stigma, drug policy and the work of INPUD to improve global respect for the human rights of people who use drugs. See yesterday's post from the Philippines for an example of the extent of the challenge: http://sco.lt/8CIscr

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Philip Morris device knows a lot about your smoking habit (USA)

Philip Morris device knows a lot about your smoking habit (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Philip Morris' iQOS device can collect user data. A teardown analysis shows this could give the tobacco giant remarkable insight into people's smoking habits.
ReGenUC's insight:

Philip Morris says the data gathering is only used for fixing product malfunctions. This is unlikely to be the case.

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Young French people's 'risky' thirst for alcohol revealed in new study

Young French people's 'risky' thirst for alcohol revealed in new study | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
A new study by the French government has revealed that many French people particularly among the younger generation have a dangerous drinking habit.
ReGenUC's insight:

National study finds a third of men under 35 drink at levels that put them at risk of long-term harm. It also finds that people working in sales or businesses where they have daily interaction with the public are the most likely to drink at a risky level.

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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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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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Punjab to crack whip on private drug rehabilitation centres (India)

Punjab to crack whip on private drug rehabilitation centres (India) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Despite being monitored by the Punjab and Haryana high court, many private drug de-addiction and rehabilitation centres in Punjab seem to be continuin
ReGenUC's insight:

The Victorian Health Complaints Commissioner is currently investigating examples of unethical and exploitative practice by for-profit rehab services in the state. For more information: https://hcc.vic.gov.au/news/125-report-your-concerns-about-drug-alcohol-services

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Achtung, it's official: Beer is not beneficial, German court rules

Achtung, it's official: Beer is not beneficial, German court rules | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Beer cannot be marketed as beneficial, a German top court ruled after a consumer rights group sued a brewery over ads that suggested beer had health benefits.
ReGenUC's insight:

Following a 2012 ruling that the same word 'bekoemmmlich' (roughly translates as 'wholesome') could not be used to market wine.

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GHB : 1 in 5 Pass out each year (& women are more at risk than men) 

GHB : 1 in 5 Pass out each year (& women are more at risk than men)  | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it

GHB (and the closely related GBL and 1.4 butane-diol) have been part of the drugs scene in many Western countries since the 1980s. Perceived us being more commonly (but not exclusively) used by gay men, GHB has prosocial (mood elevating and disinhibiting – a bit like alcohol) and sexual promoting and enhancing effects. It’s big on the chemsex scene in many cities.

ReGenUC's insight:

Adam Winstock considers 2018 Global Drug Survey findings on GHB use and their implications for harm reduction.

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Is Sweden's zero-tolerance approach to drugs a failing model?

Is Sweden's zero-tolerance approach to drugs a failing model? | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Sweden is accustomed to being praised for its forward-thinking approach, but there's one area where many feel it lies behind the curve. The country's "zero tolerance" policy towards drugs is an increasingly isolated one compared to its neighbours, and has even been subject to criticism from the UN. The Local's Sweden In Focus series looks at why Sweden takes such a hard-line stance on drugs, what the consequences are, and if it will ever change.
ReGenUC's insight:

Lee Roden considers the need for changes to Sweden's long term resistance to harm reduction to address the country's high rate of overdose deaths.

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