News of substance – drugs in the worldwide news

1. Associated Press – NY prohibits smoking in addiction recovery centers. “Many drug addicts, problem gamblers and alcoholics may find it harder to kick their habits in New York now that the state has become the first in the country to ban smoking at all recovery centers. Some addicts say losing the tobacco crutch could keep them from getting clean and sober, or from trying at all.”

2. The Globe and Mail (Canada) – Substance abuse analyst takes questions. “The use of illegal drugs is a serious health and social problem in Canada,” Rebecca Jesseman, a research and policy analyst with the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, writes today in her Comment Page article Beyond harm reduction Ms. Jesseman argues that Globe columnist Margaret Wente’s recent four-column series “demonstrated that ‘harm reduction’ has become a polarizing term that divides those with a common interest — the reduction of harm associated with drug use.”

3. The Washington Post (USA) – Family Meals Can Help Teen Girls Avoid Drugs, Alcohol. “Eating meals together as a family can reduce a teen girl’s risk of turning to alcohol or drugs, a new study suggests. In families who ate at least five meals a week together, the teen girls were much less likely to drink alcohol, or smoke marijuana or cigarettes five years later, said study author Marla Eisenberg, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School.”

4. Sydney Morning Herald – Heath was probably an addict, expert says. “Heath Ledger’s drug intake before his death indicated it was likely he was an addict, America’s best known addiction expert says. Dr Drew Pinsky also says disgraced AFL star Ben Cousins should not play football at any level until he completes substance abuse treatment. The Los Angeles-based Dr Pinsky said Ledger’s drug consumption was not a secret in Hollywood.”

5. The Mercury (Tasmania) – New study rejects economic benefits. “GAMBLING in Tasmania is not a substantial contributor to economic or jobs growth, a major study has found. And it said there was a link between serious crime and substance abuse and problem gambling. The long-awaited Social and Economic Impact Study into Gambling in Tasmania was made public yesterday.”

6. The Scotsman (UK) – Drug abuse linked to Scotland’s higher rate of deaths. “DRUG abuse is to blame for much of Scotland’s higher death rate compared with the rest of the UK, researchers said yesterday. Mortality rates in Scotland have long been the highest is the UK, with the gap between the nations growing. In 1981, mortality was 12 per cent higher in Scotland than in England and Wales. By 2001, the figure was 15 per cent higher.”

7. USA Today – Drug addiction soars in Mexico. “Carlos Antonio López started using crack at age 11 to kill the pain of his mother’s death. “I started with marijuana, but after a while it didn’t fill me up anymore,” he says. “Then I started on crack. You get obsessed, you can’t think about anything else.” Now 18, López is in his sixth stint in rehab.”

8. Yemen Observer (Yemen) – Drugs threaten Yemen First drug addicts’ sanatorium in Yemen. “Life Makers Organization, a non government organization (NGO), has revealed a project to establishing the first sanatorium to treat drug addicts in Yemen. “During the last months, we worked to prepare a study for establishing such sanatorium for drug addicts. We also aimed to train a group of specialists in Egypt to be well skilled in dealing with addicts. Another team of young people will be also trained to educate others of hazards resulting from abusing with drugs or being addicts,” said Nabil al-Sadi, Head of the Life Makers Organization.”

9. New York Times (USA) – Russia Scorns Methadone for Heroin Addiction. “The conference seemed innocuous enough: a Moscow hotel, slide shows and several dozen doctors and specialists gathered to discuss how to treat heroin addiction. But then members of a Kremlin youth group called the Young Guard arrived, crowding the hotel’s entrance and denouncing the participants as criminals and paid agents of the West. The focus of their outrage was methadone, a drug prescribed by doctors around the world to wean addicts from heroin. A synthetic form of opium, methadone is central to a therapy endorsed by the United Nations and 55 countries, including the United States.”

10. The Guardian (UK) – Drug users risk benefit cuts. “The unemployed will be forced to declare drug or heavy drinking habits when they apply for benefits and will have payments cut if they give misleading answers, under government proposals which were announced yesterday. Probation officers, prison staff and the police will also be asked to share with Jobcentres any information they have about individuals’ habits so that those deemed to have problem habits can be identified and compelled to seek treatment if necessary. Those who conceal drug use, or refuse to co-operate with treatment, face benefit cuts.”