Alcohol & other drug issues in the media
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SA Liberals push for three strikes and no rehab for drug offenders

SA Liberals push for three strikes and no rehab for drug offenders | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
DRUG users would be prevented from repeatedly choosing counselling to avoid court, under a three-strikes policy foreshadowed by the Liberals in State Parliament.
ReGenUC's insight:

Good grief. More of the usual 'tough on crime' tripe: pandering to community stereotypes with policy proposals that would only make things worse.  Diversion programs have been shown to be effective, but they seem to be a popular target for political outrage in SA.

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Alcohol & other drug issues in the media
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Drug and alcohol abusers face tighter pension test (Aus)

The federal government will resurrect an attempt to strike a rule from the disability support pension that allows drug and ­alcohol addicts to qualify for income support based solely on their substance abuse.

The Australian understands ­Social Services Minister Dan Tehan intends to reintroduce the measure that was blocked in the Senate last year. It would render about 450 people a year ineligible for the $814-a-fortnight payment as part of a broader plan to tackle ­addiction.

A report by the Parliamentary Budget Office released on Tuesday revealed the disability support pension is shrinking in the ­medium term but people with psychological conditions, for whom substance misuse is often linked, represent the single largest cohort of new recipients of the payment. These new DSP ­entrants are much younger on­ ­average and could stay on the pension for more than 20 years.

Previously unpublished data shows a parallel attempt to ­encourage welfare recipients to seek help is already having a ­dramatic effect with almost 260 jobseekers choosing to enter drug and alcohol rehabilitation or treatment instead of looking for work.

The regime, which began on January 1, allows the most “work ready” jobseekers in streams A and B — typically on the dole or youth allowance — to get treatment as part of their job plan and in lieu of looking for work.

Those in Stream C, typically on the DSP, have already been ­allowed to choose this option and there are more than 520 welfare recipients in treatment.

“If a drug or alcohol problem is a barrier to getting a job then we want people to address that problem,” Mr Tehan said.

“It is fantastic that so many welfare recipients have taken up the opportunity to get treatment and address their drug or alcohol problem. As part of the Welfare Reform Bill, income support recipients won’t be able to use drug or alcohol use as an excuse for not meeting their mutual ­obligation requirements.

“The government has also ­allocated an additional $10m to provide extra treatment support as part of its drug-testing trial.”

Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon said more people were seeking help for mental health problems, including through the DSP, ­because the stigma was lifting.

“But I think we are seeing an ­increased burden in society more generally and a greater demand for services,” he said.

Dr Gannon said general practitioners made complex and difficult decisions when assessing people for the disability pension. Under the impairment ­tables used to assess disability, people with mental health conditions are judged by several criteria: can they concentrate effectively, look after themselves, or form and hold relationships? Do they leave home for social or other engagements?

“It is difficult because one of the best things you can do for a mental health problem is work and have a job,” Dr Gannon said. “The truth is that medical practitioners make value judgments and difficult ­decisions in grey areas every day. They would never leave a vulnerable person without support but you could even make a judgment that approving the DSP could be harmful for them.’’

ReGenUC's insight:

No mention here of what the Govt's approach will be once people have completed treatment, or what the impacts of increased demand for services will have on an already overstretched and under resourced treatment sector. Apologies for posting the full article here, but it's otherwise behind the NewsLtd paywall.

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Call for mandatory alcohol interlocks in vans, lorries and buses across the EU

Call for mandatory alcohol interlocks in vans, lorries and buses across the EU | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it

The EU should require alcohol interlocks to be fitted in all new professional vehicles and retrofitted to cars used by repeat drink-driving offenders. 

ReGenUC's insight:

European Transport Safety Council report calls for increased enforcement and introduction of rehab programs to reduce the 5,000 drink driving deaths that occur in the EU each year.

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Netherlands becoming a narco-state, warn Dutch police

Netherlands becoming a narco-state, warn Dutch police | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Officers say many victims do not report incidents and organised gangs have a free rein
ReGenUC's insight:

Police cite growing power of criminal organisations. No mention here of one policy option that could be effective in removing such organisations from drug production and supply networks: drug law reform.

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China seeks better Hepatitis C treatment

China increased its pace of development of new treatments for Hepatitis C in support of the World Health Organization goal of eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030.

ReGenUC's insight:

Director of Chinese Society of Hepatology notes that there were 240,000 new HCV diagnoses in 2017 and hopes that new treatments will soon be covered by health insurance.

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Heavy drinking could directly cause dementia (UK) - video

Heavy drinking triples the risk of developing dementia and the majority of diagnosed cases are related to alcohol intake, research has revealed. Six in 10 cases diagnosed before the age of 65 have been linked to excessive alcohol consumption.

ReGenUC's insight:

Short news item on new study published in the Lancet. For more info, see: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(18)30031-8/fulltext

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Drug and alcohol withdrawal service to help Townsville people beat addiction

Drug and alcohol withdrawal service to help Townsville people beat addiction | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
TOWNSVILLEs first residential drug and alcohol withdrawal service has officially launched, offering a safe and supportive environment for people to break free of addictive substances.
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WA considers new vaping laws with hefty fines

WA considers new vaping laws with hefty fines | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
THOUSANDS of West Australians are risking hefty fines by using nicotine electronic cigarettes as the State Government moves to tighten laws that could outlaw vaping as much as smoking.
ReGenUC's insight:

More legal barriers to people seeking to reduce tobacco-related harm. Meanwhile, Public Health England's latest review of evidence recommends vaping as a harm reduction method: http://sco.lt/5gjsS9

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End of the dry: Melbourne's only alcohol-free zone now teems with licensed venues

End of the dry: Melbourne's only alcohol-free zone now teems with licensed venues | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Locals say the area is dry in name only as dozens of food venues are granted liquor licences and wine bars open for the first time.
ReGenUC's insight:

Vic Commission for Gambling & Liquor Regulation data shows there are 143 current liquor licences operating within the designated dry zone, up from 42 in 2010.

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Former drug user Leslie Chandler: ‘I had many overdoses and near-death experiences’ (UK)

Former drug user Leslie Chandler: ‘I had many overdoses and near-death experiences’ (UK) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Leslie Chandler, a former heroin and crack cocaine user who is now clean, studying at university and volunteers for the drug and alcohol charity Addaction, and Scotland's Minister for Health, Aileen Campbell, discuss drugs.
ReGenUC's insight:

Leslie provides a terriffic example of the importance of overdose prevention and harm reduction methods that help keep people alive (and the ongoing need to challenged stigma). The first half of this video also considers some of the particular overdose risks in Dundee (which leads the UK in overdose death numbers:https://www.channel4.com/news/scotlands-drug-deaths-crisis) and the need for a holistic response that addresses the social and structural determinants of health.

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"Harder Than Heroin": Synthetic Cannabinoids in New Zealand

"Harder Than Heroin": Synthetic Cannabinoids in New Zealand | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
As Kiwis continue to die, addicts like Tammara struggle to access the help they need.
ReGenUC's insight:

Extended VICE piece on the impacts of synthetic cannabis products on the physical and mental health of those affected.

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Australia Federal Police prevent more than 300kg of ice worth $270m arriving in South Australia

Australia Federal Police prevent more than 300kg of ice worth $270m arriving in South Australia | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
POLICE have busted a record 313kg methamphetamine importing racket, stripping about 270 million worth of the destructive drug from South Australian streets.
ReGenUC's insight:

We don't usually post this sort of story, but at least it's good to see it citing SANDAS' Michael White on the limited impact of police seizures on overall supply. See today's related coverage of the Tas Govt's 'tough on drugs' election pledge: http://sco.lt/5sc73B

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Odyssey supports call for regional drug facility (Vic)

Odyssey supports call for regional drug facility (Vic) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
DR STEFAN Gruenert, psychologist and CEO of Odyssey House Victoria is encouraging the Sunraysia community to continue its discussion about the need for a residential drug and alcohol facility, saying the community as a whole could “benefit greatly” from it.
ReGenUC's insight:

Citing Nicole Lee's needs analysis for AOD services in the region.

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Commissioner investigates drug & alcohol services (Vic)

Commissioner investigates drug & alcohol services (Vic) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it

The HCC has announced an investigation into the private drug and alcohol sector while a banned drug addiction counsellor has been charged with allegedly practising in Victoria.

ReGenUC's insight:

HCC reports on first use of her powers to target unethical or unsafe practice within the AOD treatment sector.

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Teens partake in mass drug overdose at school (Qld) - video

Teens partake in mass drug overdose at school (Qld) - video | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Seven boys have been taken to hospital in a critical condition.
ReGenUC's insight:

The Gold Coast overdose gets the Sunrise treatment. At least they had the always sensible Monica Barratt involved to keep discussion on track. See today's related coverage citing Michael Farrell on the very limited use of Phenibut in Australia: http://sco.lt/6xILuj

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ACT's opioid guidelines review complete, more than five years after due date

ACT's opioid guidelines review complete, more than five years after due date | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Health minister Meegan Fitzharris has finally updated the ACT's opioid treatment guidelines, more than five years after a review of the guidelines was due to begin.
ReGenUC's insight:

ACT guidelines now aligned with other jurisdictions, including greater oversight of take-away methadone doses.

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Phenibut: Russian anti-anxiety drug named in Gold Coast overdose

Phenibut: Russian anti-anxiety drug named in Gold Coast overdose | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
THE drug named as linked to the Gold Coast “overdose” that led to seven people being taken to hospital is a sedative most commonly used in Russia, according to media reports.
ReGenUC's insight:

Citing NDARC's Michael Farrell on the limited evidence of phenibut use in Australia. See today's related coverage, featuring Monica Barratt: http://sco.lt/4nAsxF

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Chronic heavy drinking leads to serious risk of dementia, study warns 

Chronic heavy drinking leads to serious risk of dementia, study warns  | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Questions also raised for moderate drinkers of alcohol about their social habit
ReGenUC's insight:

Study included data on more than 1 million French people diagnosed with dementia. Alcohol use disorders were associated with three times the risk of all types of dementia. You can see the Lancet editorial here:  http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(18)30031-8/fulltext

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Humans ‘evolving gene’ that may stop us drinking alcohol (USA)

Humans ‘evolving gene’ that may stop us drinking alcohol (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Humans may be developing a gene that results in an “adverse physical response” to drinking alcohol, according to new research. Scientists believe people have begun evolving so they find it so unpleasant it could stop our species from drinking in the future.
ReGenUC's insight:

Researchers find genetic variations emerging in five populations, in different continents, making them unlikely to be solely due to genetic inheritance.

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Prescription drug addiction Australia: Paul Denys tells his story

Prescription drug addiction Australia: Paul Denys tells his story | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it

PAUL was fit and young when his life changed for the worse. The addiction he suffered started innocently - and is Australia’s most prolific silent killer.

ReGenUC's insight:

Citing ScriptWise's Bee Mohamed and NDARC's Michael Farrell on the need for a greater focus on licit drug dependence.

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GPs prescribing cannabis could be just what the doctor ordered (Aus)

GPs prescribing cannabis could be just what the doctor ordered (Aus) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
If GPs are entrusted to prescribe opiates and benzodiazepines, why not medicinal cannabis products
ReGenUC's insight:

Prof Iain McGregor responds to concerns with the recent RACP release.

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Four years from the lockout laws, what’s the state of Sydney night-life?

Four years from the lockout laws, what’s the state of Sydney night-life? | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
AT 1.30am on the February 24 in 2014, the state governments controversial lockout laws fell on Sydneys night-life — and four years on, their consequences are still reverberating around the inner city.
ReGenUC's insight:

In the lead up to Mardi Gras, this article considers some of the impacts, the current state of play and potential future policy directions.

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Creating a smokefree NHS: how e-cigarettes can help (UK)

Creating a smokefree NHS: how e-cigarettes can help (UK) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
The official blog of Public Health England, providing insight and commentary on all aspects of public health, including health protection, health improvement, wellbeing, data and knowledge
ReGenUC's insight:

See today's related coverage of the WA Govt's moves to increase penalties for e-cigarette use: http://sco.lt/8sCALp

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Study shows letting kids taste alcohol is a risky behavior (USA)

Study shows letting kids taste alcohol is a risky behavior (USA) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Parents who allow their young children to occasionally sip and taste alcohol may be contributing to an increased risk for alcohol use and related problems when those kids reach late adolescence, according to a new study b
ReGenUC's insight:

More evidence of the benefits from delaying young people's initiation into alcohol consumption. See related Aus research: http://sco.lt/7cwTo1

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‘War on ice’: Liberals pledge more resources for police (Tas)

‘War on ice’: Liberals pledge more resources for police (Tas) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Specialist investigators and more drug dogs are part of a Liberal Party plan to crack down on drug trafficking.
ReGenUC's insight:

Following a very well-trodden path, Premier Hodgman promises a 'tough on drugs' approach in his election platform. While it's usually a successful political strategy, law enforcement is not the most effective way to spend public funds on addressing drug related harm. See today's related drug seizure coverage from SA (http://sco.lt/8U7Jxp) or this post from NZ: http://sco.lt/7kpTZR

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Methamphetamine set to overtake cannabis as biggest drug burden on our court system (NZ)

Methamphetamine set to overtake cannabis as biggest drug burden on our court system (NZ) | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
Number of meth cases appearing before our courts is set to overtake cannabis for the first time.
ReGenUC's insight:

Citing NZ Drug Foundation's Ross Bell on the need to provide alternatives to law and order models to enable sustainable change.

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