News of substance – drugs in the worldwide news

1. (USA) – Pot Potency Peril. “According to federal drug czar John Walters, the marijuana available in the United States is better than ever. Well, that’s not quite the way he put it, but it’s closer to the truth. Last week, as part of its ongoing effort to convince baby boomers that today’s “Pot 2.0” is much more dangerous than the stuff they smoked when they were young, Walters’ Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced that “levels of THC — the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana — have reached the highest-ever amounts since scientific analysis of the drug began in the late 1970s.”

2. The Vancouver Sun (Canada) – A home for a drug pillar orphan. “Strange as it may sound, British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Ian Pitfield’s decision concerning Insite could spell the end of harm reduction as a separate modality for addressing substance abuse in Vancouver. Stranger still, that could prove beneficial for both the city and for people struggling with drug addiction. Pitfield held that the possession and trafficking sections of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) are unjustifiable infringements of Insite users’ rights under s. 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees “the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”

3. The Peninsula (Qatar) – Ministry organises anti-drug campaign. “Qatar joined the world in observing World Drugs Prevention Day yesterday with an exhibition organized by the Permanent Committee on Drugs and Alcohol Affairs of the Ministry of Interior. Staff Major-General Saad bin Jassem Al Khulaifi, Director of General Security, formally opened the exhibition at the Villaggio mall.”

4. VietNamNet – Vietnam launches crackdown on drug abuse. “A national campaign was launched in Hanoi on June 17 to encourage the entire community to engage in preventing drug abuse, help drug users quit the habit, and reduce the rate of relapsed addicts. The drive is seen as one of the country’s practical approaches to tackling drug abuse in the country, comes in response to the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking which falls on June 26.”

5. – Psychological Trait in Boys Could Be Indicator of Drug Abuse Risks. “A psychological trait known as neurobehavioral disinhibition found in boys aged 10 to 12 could be a screening tool for those who will develop substance abuse disorders by age 19 as well as predict criminal activity, violent behavior and injuries. Neurobehavioral disinhibition symptoms include a decrease in behavior control, modulation of emotion and higher-level thought.
The study examined 278 boys when they were between 10 and 12 years old and again evaluated when they were 16 and 19 years old. For those boys who had the neurobehavioral disinhibition trait at age 10 or 12, were significantly more likely to have substance abuse problems by age 19. The trait was also a strong predictor of a a history of arrests, violent behavior, and concussive injury.”

6. Times of Oman – Seminar discusses steps against drug abuse.”Hussein bin Ali Al Hilali, prosecutor-general, opened the second national seminar on anti-narcotics at Crowne Plaza Hotel yesterday. The seminar, organised by the National Committee for Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, was held as part of the Sultanate’s celebration of World Anti-Narcotic Day under the theme ‘Protection against drugs is the responsibility of all’. In a statement to reporters, Al Hilali said the “Sultanate’s joining the world in marking the occasion, which falls on June 26 each year, mirrors the great interest shown by the Sultanate’s government in such issues which affect society, both citizens and expatriates”. The slogan of the celebration for this year adds a new dimension to the international efforts to limit and eradicate the problems of drug abuse. The Sultanate has undertaken strenuous efforts to combat the drug and psychotropic substances issues which have become more common recently.”

7. Science Daily – Popular Stimulant’s Role In Brain Function Deterioration Is Cause For Concern, According To Researchers. “Concerned by the growing numbers of people using stimulant medications such as methylphenidate (MP)–either legally or illegally–to improve attention and focus, researchers used positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with the radiotracer fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) to assess the effects of the drug on brain function in the normal human brain.”

8. – ‘Choosing to use’ drug booklet scrapped. “Health service booklet that tells teenagers what to do if they choose to experiment with drugs will be scrapped. The booklet, aimed at high school students in years 9 and 10, was produced by the Sydney West Area Health Service. The Choosing to use … but wanna keep your head together? booklet suggests young people should not experiment until they are over 18, know their family medical history and “use only small amounts and not too often”.

9. Science Daily – ‘Hazardous Drinking’ May Be A New ‘Check Stop’ On The Way To Alcohol Dependence. “Current diagnostic guides divide alcohol-use disorders into two categories: alcohol abuse/harmful use and alcohol dependence. Some researchers and clinicians believe this is insufficient, that there should be a third, preceding diagnosis known as “hazardous drinking,” defined as drinking more than guidelines recommend. A Finnish study has found that hazardous drinking is quite common.”