What is 'Substance Use'?

In the context of ISSUP’s work the term “substance use” is complex. The following tries to summarise both what “substance use” is, and some of the issues that surround the term. “Substance” is a term generally used to refer to the use of a range of substances, often referred to as “drugs”. “Substances” include all psychoactive substances (those chemical substances that change brain function and which can result in alterations to perception, mood, consciousness and/or

A Serious Matter: Laughing Gas Prompts Review of UK’s Psychoactive Substances Act

Introduced in 2016, The Psychoactive Substances Act is designed to deal with the influx of new drugs often labelled ‘legal highs’. The Act bans any substance that "by stimulating or depressing the person’s central nervous system… affects the person’s mental functioning or emotional state." It exempts substances such as tobacco or nicotine-based products, alcohol, caffeine, as well as medical products as defined in the 2012 Human Medicines Regulations. Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is regularly

Worrying Substance Use Trends among over 50s

In 2011, the Royal College of Psychiatrists advised that over 50s should not exceed more than 11 units of alcohol a week, compared with 14 for the rest of the adult population, due to age-related physiological and metabolic changes. Since then, voices of concern among substance use professionals have only grown louder following the recent release of figures which seem to indicate that alcohol and drug consumption among the over 50s is increasing globally. In

Job Opportunity: Consultant for the Pan American Journal of Public Health

The Pan American Journal of Public Health is currently looking for a Consultant to work in the editorial office at Washington, D.C., supporting editorial tasks related to the implementation of new editorial features, translation requests, special issues or supplements, the journal website, the peer-review process, metrics analysis, and graphic layout analysis. Mandatory skills Proficiency in English and Spanish; advanced knowledge of Portuguese or French would be an asset; Competence in editorial processes, including the management

Evidence Lacking on Benefits of Cannabis for Treating Chronic Pain or PTSD

By Kelly Young Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Jaye Elizabeth Hefner, MD Evidence is limited on the benefits of cannabis use for treating chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to two reviews in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The review on chronic pain included 75 studies that examined the potential benefits and harms of cannabis use. There was low-strength evidence that cannabis could help ease neuropathic pain in some patients, based

Call for Papers: Ensure Healthy Development for All Youth through the Power of Prevention

The Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research (JSSWR) announces a special issue dedicated to the prevention of behavioural health problems in children and youth. This JSSWR special issue will feature empirical manuscripts addressing effective prevention practice and policy—specifically through intervention research, dissemination and implementation research, and methodological innovations. Scope and Topics of Interest Papers in this issue are intended to demonstrate progress in "Unleashing the Power of Prevention" through testing the efficacy

N.E. Fentanyl Deaths 'Like No Other Epidemic' - Boston Globe

Mexican cartels are delivering vast quantities of the inexpensive and powerful synthetic drug fentanyl to New England, causing the highest rate of fentanyl-related deaths in the nation while creating a plague that the area’s top drug enforcement official describes as “like no other epidemic” he’s ever seen. It’s a pipeline that often begins in China, winds through Mexico, and flows into distribution cities such as Lawrence and Springfield, according to Michael J. Ferguson, the special

UK Health Professionals Call for Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol in England

Senior health professionals are calling for Westminster to introduce minimum unit pricing of alcohol and clampdown on drinks advertising in England. They claim that within the next five years up to 63,000 people across the country will die as a result of liver problems linked to heavy alcohol consumption. Liver disease claims around 12,000 lives a year in England. This number has risen by 400% since 1970. In 2012, a ruling appeared to have paved

ISSUP at the 22nd Annual National Institute on Drug Abuse International Forum

The 22nd Annual National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) International Forum was held in Montreal, Canada from June 16th – 19th, 2017. The meeting was co-sponsored by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) and followed by a joint NIDA International Forum/College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) poster session. The opening of the International Forum was chaired by NIDA’s International Programme Director, Steven W. Gust, and included a welcome address by CCSA’s

Should you Recommend Acupuncture to Patients with Substance Use Disorders?

Acupuncture is an ancient therapeutic tool known to be the core of traditional Chinese medicine. Two theories suggest positive outcomes in patients treated with acupuncture: The oxidative stress reduction theory states that a “large body of evidences demonstrated that acupuncture has [an] antioxidative effect in various diseases, but the exact mechanism remains unclear.” The neurophysiological theory states that “acupuncture stimulation can facilitate the release of certain neuropeptides in the CNS, eliciting profound physiological effects and

Funding Initiatives in the Field of Drug Policy: Call for Proposals

The Justice Programme for the period 2014 to 2020 established by Regulation (EU) No 1382/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council on 17 December 2013, and in particular Art. 4 and 6(1), outlines as a specific objective the support of initiatives in the field of drugs policy as regards judicial cooperation and crime prevention aspects closely linked to the general objective of the Programme, in so far as they are not covered by

ISSUP Staff in the Spotlight: Joanna Travis-Roberts

What do you enjoy most about working for ISSUP? That's a tricky question, because there are so many different elements to my work. I love presenting ISSUP and meeting people who are using and benefiting from our outputs, I always find their opinion insightful. I think we have a great team and our staff meetings are very creative and productive, especially when we’re putting our heads together to develop ideas or solve a problem. What

Moving Thailand’s Mountain of Alcohol-Related Harm

Few low- and middle-income countries have done so much to protect their citizens from alcohol-related harms, but Thailand still faces challenges. Apiradee Treerutkuarkul reports. Today Thailand is one of the few developing countries with laws and policies aimed at preventing alcohol-related problems, such as liver disease, cancers and alcohol dependence as well as road crashes, poverty, violence and crime. Read more...

European Masters in Drug and Alcohol Studies

The European Masters in Drug and Alcohol Studies is designed to stimulate reflection and debate on crucial topics in substance use and misuse from a multi-disciplinary, European and cross-national perspective. It is run jointly by four universities: Universidad Miguel Hernandez de Elche (Alicante, Spain), Aarhus University (Denmark), Middlesex University (London, UK) and Università del Piemonte Orientale (Novara, Italy). Students will have access to a group of European teachers and students and opportunities to study in

ISSUP’s Board of Directors Meet in Prague

Last week ISSUP’s Board of Directors travelled to Prague to hold their annual board meeting. Several representatives of ISSUP’s international observers, including INL, Colombo Plan and CICAD joined the board members for their meeting. The meeting offered a chance to reflect on the organisation’s achievements so far as well as to consider and evaluate its future objectives. ISSUP’s Executive Director, Jeff Lee and ISSUP’s Deputy Executive Director, Joanna Travis-Roberts provided an extensive update on ISSUP’s

WHO Forum on Alcohol, Drugs and Addictive Behaviours

26-28 June 2017 WHO HQ, Geneva, Switzerland To mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the World Health Organization (WHO) Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse is holding a three-day global forum event on alcohol, drugs and addictive behaviours. Its aim is to bolster public health initiatives in these areas by increasing collaboration and strengthening partnerships among relevant organisations, networks and institutions. As well as providing an opportunity to develop relationships

Fact Sheet: International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

Introduced by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 42/112 of December 1987 and observed annually since 1988, today marks the 29th International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. What is it? The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking serves as an expression of the United Nation’s determination to reinforce strong action and collaboration as the means to achieve a global society free from drug abuse. Its observance is supported by individuals, communications

How to Implement Effective School-Based Drug Education

The United Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) outlines a number of methods that can be adopted by schools to increase the effectiveness of their drug education programmes. These include: Using interactive methods Using trained personnel Structuring programmes as a series of sessions that incorporate ‘refresher’ elements Looking to shape ideas about the risks associated with substance use Providing opportunities to learn and use personal and social skills On the flip side, according to UNODC

Technical Consultation on Updating the Prevention Standards

Gilberto Gerra, Chief of the Drug Prevention and Health Branch at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), opens the meeting on the "Technical consultation on updating the prevention standards" at UNODC headquarters in Vienna. Jeff Lee, Executive Director of ISSUP, is attending this important meeting along with invited representatives from around the world. The two day meeting will address how to build on the UNODC international Prevention Standards produced in 2015 and

ISSUP at the Society for Prevention Research Annual Meeting

Last week Joanna Travis-Roberts, ISSUP's Deputy Executive Director, and Livia Edegger, ISSUP’s Communications and Research Manager, attended the Annual Meeting of the Society for Prevention Research (SPR) in Washington, D.C. Prior to the conference, Joanna and Livia participated in the International Networking Forum, where exciting opportunities to collaborate in the area of communications were discussed. Members of SPR’s International Committee warmly welcomed the idea of ISSUP helping to enhance communications between SPR and the international

More Treatments on Deck for Alcohol Use Disorder

Thirteen years have passed since the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last approved a new medication to help the nation’s millions of people with alcohol use disorder (AUD) stop or moderate their drinking. Only 3 such formulations exist, and 1, disulfiram, dates to the Prohibition era. Known commercially as Antabuse and introduced in 1923, it makes people memorably ill if they ingest alcohol, but it doesn’t stop the cravings. The other 2, naltrexone and

Free Harvard Medical School E-Courses on Opioid Addiction for Beginners to Healthcare Professionals

Opioid addiction is a major problem in the US. In this way, Harvard Medical School (HMS) has introduced a new online course entitled OpioidX: The Opioid Crisis in America. OpioidX is the first free, comprehensive educational programme on the opioid epidemic. More specifically, it is designed to offer an evidence-based view of the opioid crisis and challenge preconceptions with the goal of reducing the stigma attached to opioid addiction, treatment and recovery. The emphasis is

Britain and the Booze: New Stats Reveal a Fall in Alcohol Consumption Nationwide

British people love an alcoholic beverage or two (or three, or four), so the stereotype goes. New statistics from the Office for National Statistics, however, suggest a decrease in levels of alcohol consumption across the country. The survey found of those asked that a little under 60% had had an alcohol drink in the past week. This is the lowest recording since the survey began in 2005. Most surprising is the fact that young people