Alcohol & other drug issues in the media
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Alcohol is destroying us: Four Australians share their stories

Alcohol is destroying us: Four Australians share their stories | Alcohol & other drug issues in the media | Scoop.it
LIKES a drink, or drinks too much? Whether it’s an indifferent attitude to the excess consumption of alcohol, or our ignorance when it comes to the effect it has on our bodies, Australia’s most socially accepted drug is indeed destroying lives.
ReGenUC's insight:

Citing data from the recent VicHealth, Turning Point, Eastern Health & FARE Australia report: http://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/Publications/Alcohol-Misuse/Alcohols-burden-of-disease-in-Australia.aspx

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Alcohol & other drug issues in the media
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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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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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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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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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