News of substance – drugs in the worldwide news

1. Bristol News (UK) – Drug addiction care boost. “New drug care guidance has been welcomed by Weston MP John Penrose, who has long campaigned for better drug treatment. Mr Penrose set up the Cleaner Weston Campaign in 2004 to tackle drug problems in the town, which contains several rehabilitation centres.The campaign called for a number of changes including new accreditation and inspection schemes to ensure rehabs provide high quality treatment. He also wants addicts’ care to be paid by the agency which referred them to a particular rehab, rather than leaving local tax payers to foot the bill. He also says addicts should be provided with effective follow-up care, so they are not abandoned after initial treatment.”

2. ScienceDaily (USA) – Could Brain Abnormality Predict Drug Addiction? “Scientists at The University of Nottingham are to use MRI technology to discover whether abnormalities in the decision-making part of the brain could make some people more likely to become addicted to drugs. In a three-year study, funded with £360,000 from the Medical Research Council, Dr Lee Hogarth in the University’s School of Psychology will study the impact that an abnormal frontal cortex can have in people’s risk of becoming dependant upon drugs such as tobacco, alcohol, cannabis or heroin.”

3. The Guardian (UK) – Drug policies just make addiction worse. “To most people looking at my life from the outside, I seemed to have a pretty perfect existence. Two beautiful daughters, now aged 18 and 21, my husband a finance director on a good salary and for me an interesting career designing interiors for historical buildings. We lived in a beautiful Georgian property in Brighton overlooking the sea – picture perfect! Yet when I sat next to people at dinner parties and was asked what my children did, my answer shattered that picture.”

4. The Nation (Pakistan) – Two million youth in Karachi drug addicts. “In Karachi some 2million youth and children are the risk of drug addiction, as prevalence of drug addiction in very high in this mega city, said a Karachi-based NGO working on the issues of street children and youth. Rana Asif Habib, President of Initiator Human Development Foundation, talking to PPI on Saturday, said the major portion of Pakistani population is consisted of youth and children and they are highly exposed to smoking and drugs. He feared some 100million people in Pakistan might be at the risk of smoking and other types of addiction.”

5. Reuters (International) – Fighting fire with fire. “It sounds counterintuitive, but a Canadian study released this week showed that giving heroin to addicts may help them stop using the drug in the future. The North American Opiate Medication Initiative (NAOMI) is the first trial of its kind in North America, and therefore the first on the continent to show that heroin-assisted therapy — providing chronic heroin addicts with controlled dosages of the drug in a medical setting — can help chronic addicts when other treatments like methadone therapy or abstinence programs haven’t.”

6. Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt) – A question of habit. “For Isis, a recovering drug addict, reading 1/4 Gram was like reading her own story, even though she didn’t fit into the mould of any of the characters. She found reading the novel was a very intense and distinctive experience. It was familiar, evocative and at times painful and frustrating, just like the life of any addict. “It tackles the addiction problem from the addict’s point of view,” she says. 1/4 Gram is based on a true story from the heart of a recovered heroin addict written in colloquial, easy to read Arabic. Author Essam Youssef examines the way heroin abuse ripped through Egyptian society in the 1980s, and shows the effects a mere quarter of a gram had on the lives of a group of friends. It is a thrilling story of pleasure, adventure and good times and the pain and suffering that come as the price.”

7. Associated Press (International) – McCormick tells all about `Brady,’ drug addiction. “Fans of “The Brady Bunch” know Maureen McCormick as Marcia Brady, the wholesome older sister on the classic sitcom about a blended family. But in her new memoir, “Here’s the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice,” the actress writes of her romance with TV sibling Barry Williams, who played Greg Brady, dates with Michael Jackson and Steve Martin, and her many addictions. Things became hot and heavy while McCormick and Williams were filming episodes in Hawaii.”

8. The Economist (UK) – Treatment on a plate. “PEOPLE are programmed for addiction. Their brains are designed so that actions vital for propagating their genes—such as eating and having sex—are highly rewarding. Those reward pathways can, however, be subverted by external chemicals (in other words, drugs) and by certain sorts of behaviour such as gambling. In recent years, neuroscientists have begun to understand how these reward pathways work and, in particular, the role played by message-carrying molecules called neurotransmitters.”

9. Scientific American (USA) – Reaping a Sad Harvest: A “Narcotic Farm” That Tried to Grow Recovery. “From 1935 to 1975, just about everyone busted for drugs in the U.S. was sent to the United States Narcotic Farm outside Lexington, Ky. Equal parts federal prison, treatment center, research laboratory and farm, this controversial institution was designed not only to rehabilitate addicts, but to discover a cure for drug addiction.”

10. AlterNet (USA) – To Jail or Not Jail for Drug Relapse? “It may or may not surprise you that a majority of Americans support treatment instead of incarceration for people struggling with drug addiction. That’s the good news. What you may not know is that there is a raging battle within the treatment community and society at large about how much carrot vs. stick we should use to help people who need treatment. There are two major flashpoints that divide treatment advocates and the public: 1) the need to hold sanctions or the threat of jail over someone’s head in getting them to comply with treatment and 2) the need for total abstinence for people in treatment and recovery.”