Drug Misuse Prevention: Targeted Interventions

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has released guidelines that cover targeted interventions to prevent misuse of drugs, including illegal drugs, ‘legal highs’ and prescription-only medicines. It aims to prevent or delay harmful use of drugs in children, young people and adults who are most likely to start using drugs or who are already experimenting or using drugs occasionally. The guidance is aimed at health and social care professionals, commissioners and providers,

Synthetic Drugs on the Rise in Afghanistan

Seizures of methamphetamine have increased in Afghanistan, according to a new report from the United Nations drug and crime agency. It also suggests that the drug is being produced inside the country. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has concluded that “there are strong indications that methamphetamine use is establishing itself among opiate users, which are already one of the most vulnerable parts of Afghan society.” This new evidence suggests synthetic drugs are

US Pediatricians Warn of Rising Risks to Youth from Loosening Marijuana Laws

New American Academy of Pediatrics report calls on doctors to help protect patients’ developing brains and bodies from the health harms of marijuana amid increased legalisation The AAP urges pediatricians screen adolescents and preteens for substance use, offering interventions and treatment referrals and motivational reinforcement techniques to abstain and resist peer pressure. Read more...

The Punjabi Problem: Drug Use in One of India’s Wealthiest Regions

According to the BBC , a recent government-conducted investigation suggests that more than 860,000 young men (15 – 35) in the Punjab region of India take drugs. This is three times the national average. Heroin is used by 53% of all addicts, while opium and synthetic drugs including crystal meth are also preferred. The BBC claims one estimate indicates that as much as two thirds of Punjabi families house at least one drug addict. Tarn

Thousands Die without Access to Alcohol Treatment

The BBC reports that almost 8,000 high-risk drinkers died from alcohol-related causes in Wales, UK between 2005 – 2014 without having received treatment for alcohol addiction. This is despite repeated hospital and A&E admissions for as much as 94% of those who eventually died. An alcohol treatment assessment was recorded for less than a quarter and one third were under the age of 50. As well as service inadequacies, Public Health Wales claims that this

Vacancy: Project Support Specialist, Tobacco Control (Grade: P2)

Vacancy: Project Support Specialist, Tobacco Control (Grade: P2) The Unit of Risk Factors and Nutrition at the Department of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health has opened a vacancy for a Project Support Specialist, Tobacco Control (Grade: P2) Type and duration of contract: Short term professional – Limited duration: 2 years. Duty station: Washington, DC (availability to report to duty station within 4 weeks of being selected) Application deadline: February 28 at 12.00 pm (US Eastern

Plans for a Smoke-Free Finland Gather Pace

Finland plans to cut consumption of tobacco products - in any form – to less than 2% among adults by 2040. As is the case with many industrialised countries, Finland’s smoking rates have decreased in recent years as a result of various public health measures. However, 2017 sees the introduction of comprehensive, stricter regulations rolled out across the country, tackling tobacco use from every angle. These include: A hike in sellers-fees for vendors of tobacco.

New Online Training for Practitioners, Peer Mentors and Service Managers

This new platform allows substance misuse, probation and prison services to upskill their workforces in a scalable and consistent way, and optimise their use of the digital behaviour change programme Breaking Free . Service providers can now train managers and large numbers of practitioners, peer mentors and volunteers of all experience levels via a series of modules that highlight the most effective ways to implement Computer-Assisted Therapy. Using narration and video demonstrations, these modules draw

Healthy Nightlife Toolbox - Resources for Creating Safer Nightlife Settings

The Healthy Nightlife Toolbox (HNT) is an international initiative that focuses on the reduction of harm from alcohol and drug use among young people. The Healthy Nightlife Toolbox collects and provides information on evidence-based interventions targeted at drug and alcohol use and related problems in nightlife settings. The Healthy Nightlife Toolbox is a website designed for local, regional and national policy makers and prevention workers, to help reduce harm from alcohol and drug use in

Free Resource for Evaluating Drug Prevention and Treatment Interventions

The Evaluation Instruments Bank (EIB) is an online database of freely available resources for evaluating drug prevention and treatment programmes and initiatives. You can search the archive by type of intervention (treatment or prevention), by type of evaluation (needs and planning, mediating and risk factors, process and outcome), by target group (children, adolescents, adults, special groups and settings) or by specific topics. What is 'evaluation' in the context of drug-related interventions? Evaluation refers to any

Treating Alcohol Addiction with Positive Relationships

A ‘therapeutic alliance’, or in other words, a positive and trusting relationship between counsellor and patient, could be the key to successful treatment of alcohol addiction, according to a new study. Patients who reported a more positive relationship with their counsellor consumed fewer drinks and indulged in fewer days of heavy drinking between counselling sessions than those whose relationship was less positive. The lead author of the study claims that further research into what factors

Healthier Alternatives and Natural Highs: The Success of the Icelandic Model

Photo credit: Over the past two decades, Iceland has seen teenage smoking, drinking and drug use dramatically decrease. This is partly because of state-funded initiatives which look to promote healthier alternatives, or ‘natural highs’, such as sport, family-orientated activities and cultural provisions. Despite the clear benefits of such nationally coordinated programmes, some reports suggest that the implementation of something similar in other Western countries is unlikely. Reasons for this include a mentality of short-termism,

Alcohol Switches the Brain into 'Starvation Mode'

Alcohol has a very high calorie content. Experts, therefore, have long been confused as to why people often eat more after having consumed alcoholic drinks. New scientific tests show spikes in electrical activity in the brains of mice when exposed to alcohol, concluding that the substance “switches the brain into starvation mode, increasing hunger and appetite”. What is true for mice, however, is not always true for humans. As such we do not know for

A Sip as a Kid, Alcohol Problems as an Adult?

Introducing children to alcohol by way of their parents allowing them sips or tasters of their own drinks is typically viewed as the presiding method used in European countries. Published in the journal Psychological Medicine , a new investigation has aimed to explore the impact of the so-called ‘European model' on a child’s drinking habits. It concluded that children whose parents give them sips of alcoholic drinks are more likely to be drinking full serves

Revealed: The Global Cost of Smoking

Smoking and its related harms cost the world more than $1 trillion and claim the lives of around 6 million people each year, according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Cancer Institute. $1 trillion exceeds the global tax revenue accumulated from tobacco sales. This figure is estimated to be around $270 billion and, of that sum, less than $1 billion is invested in tobacco control. Experts suggest that

Alcohol Advertising Linked to Youth Drinking

Health researchers worldwide have provided new evidence suggesting that alcohol advertising is often aggressive, reaching children, and is linked with youth drinking. The Australian organisation, t he National Alliance for Action on Alcohol , argues these findings prove that self-regulation by the alcohol industry has failed. Michael More, the alliance co-chair, comments “the takeaway from this research is that marketing of alcohol is out of control” and that a sensible new approach “would start with

Suicide and Substance Abuse

New research has found a significant link between suicide risk and simultaneous cocaine and alcohol consumption. The study examined the drug-taking habits of 874 participants hospitalised for displaying suicidal tendencies, ranging from suicidal thoughts to attempts to take their own life. Of the 874 participants, 298 abused alcohol, 72 used cocaine and 41 indulged in both. 195 attempted suicide at least once following their hospitalisation. The likelihood of subsequent attempts at taking one’s own life

EMCDDA Updates on Best Practice

A new European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) Best Practice report will be published in early 2017. It will take an in-depth look at substance use prevention in Europe. The report's stated aim is "not to rate countries' performances, but to propose a means of comparing and analysing national or regional approaches to prevention and to give the reader an overview of the components and people that play a role in how

UTC and UPC in Paraguay

En un acto que se llevó a cabo en la sede de la Facultad de Filosofía de la Universidad Católica “Nuestra Señora de la Asunción”, el Rector de la citada Universidad y el Ministro de la SENAD dieron lugar a la firma de un convenio de cooperación técnica interinstitucional. El convenio tiene por objeto emprender esfuerzos conjuntos, armonizar políticas y ejecutar programas en materias de educación preventiva universal en el uso indebido de drogas y

Purple Drank: The New Drug of Choice for French Teenagers?

A news item currently trending in the French press concerns the alarming increase in consumption amongst French teenagers of a drink most commonly known as ‘purple drank’, but also referred to as ‘lean’ or ‘sizzurp’. Le Monde first reported this new drug habit in 2014 and since then, it seems, the problem has only worsened. Popularised by US rap artists in the 1990s, most notably DJ Screw, purple drank is a mixture of cough syrup

Canadian Quits

The latest Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Survey (2015) reports a decrease in the number of smokers nationwide. Click here to view the full set of results (available in both English and French).

The World's Biggest Drug Survey

This year's Global Drug Survey (GDS) was launched last week. The GDS is the world's largest online survey about drugs and drug use. Last year's survey was completed by over 100,000 respondents. GDS is an independent drug use data mapping agency based in London. The GDS takes about 20 minutes to complete, is anonymised and confidential. It includes optional personal analysis of your responses, comparisons with other people in similar situations, and interesting targeted advice.

Smoking and DNA Changes

Analyses have found a direct link between the number of cigarettes smoked during one's lifetime and the number of mutations in tumour DNA. Commenting on these findings, Prof. Sir Mike Stratton from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute notes that: "The more mutations there are, the higher the chance that these will occur in the key genes that we call cancer genes, which convert a normal cell into a cancer cell." Click here to read the

Fentanyl Deaths Rise as Curbing Supply Proves Difficult

The November 2016 data chart of overdoses in Massachusetts shows a climbing blue line labeled “fentanyl”. Boston's National Public Radio station reports via article and audio clip on some of the challenges faced by law enforcement and international diplomats in controlling the spread of fentanyl. The report from the Massachussetts Department of Health is also included.