Higher Taxes Needed to Lower Smoking Rates in South Asia

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New research published in The British Medical Journal supports the need to increase taxes on tobacco products in South Asia, suggesting that doing so could reduce consumption by at least 1/3 and, in turn, avoid around 35 - 45 million premature deaths. Previous research has shown raising taxes on tobacco products to be the most effective way of lowering smoking rates and putting people off from starting.

Global Smoking Rates on Decline Thanks to Demand-Reduction Measures

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New research published in The Lancet Public Health suggests that global smoking rates have decreased by 2.5% following the introduction of the global tobacco control treaty. The treaty obligates the 180 countries committed to it to implement evidence-based policies which include 5 key measures:

Do Surgical Procedures Increase the Risk of Opioid Dependence?

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A new study has found that having surgery may expose patients to a higher risk of developing long-term opioid dependence. According to the investigation, around 6% of people who had not taken opioids prior to their operation but were prescribed the drugs as pain-relief afterwards were still receiving them 3-6 months later. This window is much wider than what is normal for post-operation recovery. People who had been smokers, alcoholics or had

Can We ‘Switch Off’ Our Need to Drink Alcohol?

Publication Date

New research by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) may lead to the development of personalised treatments for alcohol dependence. The study evaluated how people’s responses in the brain differ to various therapeutic treatments. The findings will be published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Marijuana Linked to Cardiovascular Problems

Publication Date

Marijuana use may increase the risk of stroke and heart failure.

This was concluded to be the case even after accounting for demographic and lifestyle risk factors, as well as other health conditions.

The new findings on the potential cardiovascular effects of marijuana appear at a time when the drug could soon very well become legal for medicinal or recreational use in more than half of US states.

Should Opioid Dependent Patients Receive Immediate Access to Medical Treatment?

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New research supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has found through a comparison of treatment approaches for opioid dependence that, in an emergency setting, combining the medication buprenorphine with on-going care is more effective than referring patients to centres for addiction, with or without a brief intervention.

Estimation of National, Regional and Global Prevalence of Alcohol Use during Pregnancy and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Popova S, Lange S, Probst C, Gmel G, Rehm J. Estimation of national, regional, and global prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy and fetal alcohol syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Glob Health 2016
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Alcohol use during pregnancy is the direct cause of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). We aimed to estimate the prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy and FAS in the general population and, by linking these two indicators, estimate the number of pregnant women that consumed alcohol during pregnancy per one case of FAS.

Could LSD Have a Role in New Therapeutic Treatments?

Publication Date

New research published in the journal Translational Psychiatry has found that LSD reduces activity in the region of the brain responsible for negative emotions such as fear.

The researchers call this the drug’s ‘de-frightening effect’ and argue that it may be significant for future investigations into LSD’s therapeutic potential.

Smoke-free Implementation in Colombia: Monitoring, Outside Funding and Business Support

Uang, R., Crosbie, E., & Glantz, S. (2017). Smokefree implementation in Colombia: Monitoring, outside funding, and business support. Salud Pública de México, 59(2), 128-136. doi:
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Objective: To analyze successful national smoke-free policy implementation in Colombia, a middle income country.

Materials and methods: Key informants at the national and local levels were interviewed and news sources and government ministry resolutions were reviewed.

The Comparative Effectiveness of Outpatient Treatment for Adolescent Substance Abuse: A Meta-Analysis

Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 44 (2013) 145–158
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Multi-prong therapies centred on the family emerge as probably the most effective in this comprehensive and careful synthesis of the results of trials of non-residential programmes for substance using teenagers - but do the outcomes warrant the extra costs?

Effectiveness Bank Analysis: Mandatory Assessment for Arrestees Does Not Cut Crime

Tim McSweeney, Caitlin Hughes & Alison Ritter (2016): The impact of compliance with a compulsory model of drug diversion on treatment engagement and reoffending, Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, DOI: 10.1080/09687637.2016.1219695
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Further evidence from England that the ‘Tough Choices’ schemes which force people arrested for certain offences to be tested for heroin or cocaine use and if positive to be assessed for treatment do not pay back in terms of treatment engagement or crime reduction.

The 'Tough Choices' Policy:

The Growing Need to Address the Use of New Psychoactive Substances

Publication Date

A recent paper published in the International Journal of Drug Policy addresses the current health responses to new psychoactive substances (NPS), highlighting key issues to inform the planning and implementation of adequate responses in the future. From it the following key points can be gained:

Quality of Behavioural Drug Treatment Implementation Dictates its Success

Publication Date

Contingency management (CM) is a widely used behavioural therapy for substance use disorders. It offers material rewards for attending sessions and adhering to prescribed medication courses, amongst other positive behaviours.

A study recently published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment examines the link between practitioner capability to deliver the intended CM programme and session outcomes.

Preventing and Treating Tobacco Use among Canadian Youth

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The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care has issued a new evidence-based guideline for combatting tobacco use by children and young adults aged 5 – 18, suggesting that physicians ought to have a more active role in the prevention and treatment.

A summary of the task force’s recommendations can be found below:

Public Health Strategies to Prevent Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: CDC Grand Rounds

Ko JY, Wolicki S, Barfield WD, et al. (2017). CDC Grand Rounds: Public Health Strategies to Prevent Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep; 66: 242–245. DOI:
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Public Health Burden of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a drug withdrawal syndrome that most commonly occurs in infants after in utero exposure to opioids, although other substances have also been associated with the syndrome (1).

Is There a Link Between a Father's Environment and Drug Tolerance in Children?

Publication Date

A new study published in the  journal eLife suggest that a father’s nicotine use could have an effect on children’s risk of some diseases. The investigation found that the offspring of mice routinely exposed to nicotine developed chemical resistances.

The results provide a potential framework for looking at how information about a father’s historical environmental exposure can be passed on to future generations.

Please note that the content provided within the Knowledge Share section of the ISSUP website does not necessarily reflect the views of ISSUP. It is provided to inform discussion of key issues in the field with a view to encouraging evidence based, high quality and ethical policy and practice