Category Archives: AOD in the news

News of substance – drugs in the worldwide news

1. Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) – Dating someone with an addiction. “They say love is like a drug, able to provide so much tantalising pleasure that when it exits from your life you’re bound to suffer from drug-withdrawal-like symptoms. Or so I expounded on yesterday’s blog. So why then are so many people these days obsessed with having to add a mood-enhancing stimulant into their loved-up picture?”

2. Jamaica Observer (Jamaica) – Getting help for drug addiction. “THE Association of Friends and Families of Substance Abusers (AFAFOSA), a not-for-profit body which was formed in 2003 and was re-launched earlier this year, is working to improve the lives of addicts like Roland Green, Fitzroy Brown, Kevin, Bruce, Max and ‘Munchie’.”

3. The Telegraph (UK) – Women and drug addiction. “The most shocking thing about the modern drug user? That she could be someone like you. Anna Moore talks to three ‘ordinary’ women about their struggles with addiction. Andrea Mackenzie 57, a divorced mother of three from Newquay, was first prescribed valium for back pain as a trainee teacher in 1969. She became addicted and continued to take it for almost 40 years.”

4. The National (United Arab Emirates) – Bestseller lays bare drug abuse in Egypt. “The bestselling book Quarter Gram, which is now in its eleventh print run and is being made into a film about the lives of six drug addicts from Cairo’s upper class, touches upon an epidemic in Egyptian society. Based on a true story, narrator Salah recounts his story and that of his five friends – Mido, Zoni, Rico, Bono and Lol – growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, as their experimentation with drugs descends into full-blown addiction.”

5. London Free Press (Canada) – Help now available for gaming addicts. “Canada’s first support group for addicted online gamers will launch tomorrow in London. Non-existent a decade ago, online gaming has more than 16 million people worldwide submerging themselves in a virtual world — sometimes for as long as 10 hours straight, said Brad Dorrance, founder of the London chapter of On-Line Gamers Anonymous, which started in the U.S.”

6. The Daily Breeze (USA) – PROP. 5 would help addicts recover. “Old arguments over treatment vs. punishment for drug addicts willing to try tough, rigorous recovery work have been shot down by reason, common sense and demonstrated successes, but in some minds, a judgmental hangover lingers. Still, a mind-set persists that it’s a moral failing and sin – not the sickness of spirit and body the medical profession long ago recognized – and needs to be punished. This hampers humane approaches to problem-solving.”

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.”

News of substance – drugs in the worldwide news

1. London Times (UK) – Song of the year: 2006 Amy Winehouse – Rehab. “During a break in recording in New York in 2006, Amy Winehouse and her producer, Mark Ronson, took a stroll. In the course of this, the singer recounted to Ronson attempts by her then managers to persuade her to seek treatment for her addiction problems. When she described her response — “They tried to make me go to rehab; I said, ‘No, no, no’” — Ronson remarked that the phrase sounded like a lyric. Within minutes, the pair were back in the studio, working it up into a song. Winehouse initially set it to a bluesy shuffle, before Ronson suggested upping the pace and injecting the chord sequences of both the Beatles and classic 1960s girl-group soul into the sound picture. Days later, they were recording the song with the Dap Kings, a crack Brooklyn vintage-soul band.”

2. Arkansas Matters (USA) – Bailout Plan Has Mental Illness Insurance Provisions. “A $700 billion financial bailout plan contains legislation that also benefits Americans with mental illnesses and addiction problems. Contained in the package is a measure that boosts insurance coverage for the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction as well as coverage for mental illness.”

3. BBC News (UK) – ‘People doing drugs is really bad’. “Eleven-year-old Ellie Stevens thinks drugs are disgusting and cannot understand why anyone would want to take them. She suffered a campaign of abuse and intimidation after her mother, Marie, took a stand and decided to keep her daughter away from those who might draw her into substance abuse.”

4. Tampa Bay Online (USA) – Breaking The Cycle Of Child Abuse. “Kids get hurt all the time”. Between the soccer matches, bicycle tumbles and wrestling mishaps, most children have an assortment of cuts and bruises. It’s part of growing up. What’s not natural are cigarette burns on the hands, welts across the backside, a child’s explicit understanding of sexuality. “Child abuse” is a broad tern applied to the physical and emotional mistreatment of children under the age of 18. But the root cause of abuse and the long-term effects on its victims make this crime unlike any other, experts say.”

5. Ironton Tribune (USA) – Wal-Mart should not support idea of alcohol sales. “The residents of Burlington will make a decision this fall to allow or not allow the local Wal-Mart to sell alcohol in its store. I know that Wal-Mart has been a great help in the local economic structure of the township. Wal-Mart has been very good at helping local agencies as well at the local churches and they do purchase products from the Burlington store. Wal-Mart has made many positive effects upon the local area. But all the good you do will not justify intentions of selling alcohol within the local store.”

6. BBC News (UK) – Parents ‘under drugs suspicion’. “One in five children thinks their parents have tried drugs and one in 10 believes they still take them, a survey in England and Scotland suggests. Some 90% of the 500 teenagers polled by charity Addaction said they were “against” drugs, but one in 10 thought celebrities made drugs seem “cool”.”

7. The News-Press (USA) – Dr. Morrow: You will never conquer addiction with pixie dust. “There are addictions to drugs, addictions to alcohol, and addictions to food and sex. The fallout from these illnesses, when they strike an individual or a family, is devastating. Health and happiness are at stake, not to mention the crazy consequences from someone like a drunk driver. Children to the third generation are affected emotionally when a family has been made dysfunctional by an addicted adult. Although it is hard to measure the emotional and financial cost, our community clearly suffers in quality, like a beautiful painting that has been defaced. Sometimes it’s in the news; sometimes it stays undercover, hidden but chewing away at the core, and waiting to blow up.”

8. The Mail on Sunday (UK) – ‘He has a disease, just like cancer’: David Hasselhoff’s wife reveals how his wild drinking wrecked their marriage. “Slumped in front of an empty minibar in an anonymous hotel room, David Hasselhoff somehow managed to concentrate for long enough to phone home. ‘I’m drunk and I think I’m dying,’ the veteran star of Baywatch and Knight Rider slurred to his wife. Then the line went dead.”

News of substance – drugs in the worldwide news

1. Deutsche Welle (Germany) – EU Aims to Fight Drug Use with New Action Plan. “With a brand new drug-free campaign, the European Union hopes to keep young people substance free — and improve cooperation between the bloc’s member states. Two million people in the European Union are dependent on drugs and roughly 7,500 die every year as a consequence of their addiction – statistics which are reason enough for the EU to fight drug consumption and the spread of drugs.”

2. The Sun Daily (Malaysia) – Film competition on beating drug dependency. “THERE are some 250,000 registered drug addicts in Malaysia today. But Dr Steven Chow, president of Addiction Medicine Association of Malaysia, said this is only the tip of the iceberg. According to him, only one in four drug addicts are detected and the emergence of newer designer drugs in the social scene means the numbers could have increased.”

3. (Canada) – Researcher condemns Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s war on drugs. ”
When retired SFU psychology professor Bruce Alexander starts thinking about Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s $63.8-million National Anti-Drug Strategy, he “goes ballistic”. The policy promotes cracking down on illicit drugs, mandatory minimum sentences, media messages to youth, increasing abstinence-based treatment capacity, and funding more police officers. In other words, a classic drug-prohibition stance—one the Conservatives are repeating heading into the October 14 election.”

4. Metro (Canada) – Tackling ‘sex addiction’. “I wonder how David Duchovny’s doing in rehab. As you no doubt know by now, the former X Files star and husband of actress Téa Leoni checked himself into rehab for “sexual addiction” at the end of August. No word on how he’s doing but you have to wonder. When one goes into rehab for alcohol or drug addiction, they don’t generally let you bring in a flask or a joint or two for when the temptation gets to be too much. But, what do they do when a so-called sex addict feels the urge. Keep his hands tied behind his back? Frankly, the whole idea of “sex addiction” is problematic.”

5. New York Times (USA) – Addiction Doesn’t Discriminate? Wrong. “We’ve heard it before. “Drug abuse is an equal opportunity destroyer.” “Drug addiction is a bipartisan illness.” “Addiction does not discriminate; it doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, famous or unknown, a man or woman, or even a child.” The phrase “addiction doesn’t care” is not meant to remind us that addiction casts a long shadow — everyone knows that. Rather, it is supposed to suggest that any individual, no matter who, is vulnerable to the ravages of drugs and alcohol.”

6. The Daily Times (Pakistan) – Students highlight hazards of drug abuse. “In connection with International Day against Drug Abuse, the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) in collaboration with Iqra University organised a painting competition titled ‘Say no to drugs’ at university campus here on Thursday. Ambassador of Italy Vincenzo Prati was the chief guest on the occasion. Dr Jamil Ahmed, Dean Iqra University, and Anwar Hafeez, ANF director, were also present on the occasion.”

7. Newsday (USA) – Survey: Drug use among older adults hits all-time peak. “Drug use among older adults in the United States has hit its highest point ever, according to data from the federal government’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health. In the government’s latest report – reflecting drug use in 2007 – 1 in 20 Americans ages 50 to 59 told researchers they had used illicit drugs in the last month. More than one-half of these older users still like their street drugs, including marijuana and cocaine.”

8. Medical News Today (USA) – National Institute On Drug Abuse Unveils “Innovations” In Addiction Research. “The first annual NIDA Notes “Innovations” issue, released today, features examples of benchmark NIDA research advances that have profound implications for addiction science. Highlights include deep brain exploration made possible by new optical technologies; remote control of animal behavior in real time; and novel approaches to pain treatment. Articles in this issue shed light on mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases and will explore the role of memory in addictive behavior. ”

9. AlterNet (USA) – It’s Time for the Federal Government to Abandon the Drug War. “As both a U.S. Attorney and Member of Congress, I defended drug prohibition. But it has become increasingly clear to me, after much study, that our current strategy has not worked and will not work. The other candidates for president prefer not to address this issue, but ignoring the failure of existing policy exhibits both a poverty of thought and an absence of political courage. The federal government must turn the decision on drug policy back to the states and the citizens themselves.”

News of substance – drugs in the worldwide news

1. Detroit Lakes Tribune (USA) – Report: 12 percent of American Indian deaths alcohol-related. “In the first-ever national survey of its kind, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that almost 12 percent of the deaths among American Indians are alcohol-related — more than three times the rate in the general U.S. population. The CDC report, released Thursday, also found that the greatest number of alcohol-related deaths among Indians occurred in the Indian Health Service’s Northern Plains region, which stretches from Montana to Michigan and includes North Dakota and Minnesota. There was no breakdown by state or tribe.”

2. Nyngan Observer (Australia) – Website to help beat drug problems. “A major new website has been set up by the Australian National Council on Drugs to inspire women and men across Australia who are battling problems with drugs or alcohol to realise that problems can be beaten.
The website, located at, is designed to highlight that when it comes to drug and alcohol problems, treatment works. The ANCD highlights that thousands of Australians are currently in treatment programs and that treatment can make a world of difference.”

3. The Morning Sun (USA) – Opinion: Random rules vs true respect. “When my brother, sister and I get together for a meal, one of us invariably recites a line from our childhood visits to our grandparents on my father’s side. Both grandma and grandpa would regularly chastise us when we ate meat. “Don’t stab your meat,” one of them would say, which was always followed by a lecture on what poor manners it was. According to them, you squeezed your fork tines down onto your meat when cutting it with a knife, and then lifted it to your mouth.”

4. The Australian – Nice sentiment but no message. “North Melbourne’s Michael Firrito thought he got a bum decision from an umpire last weekend. The defender raised a finger in anger in the direction of the umpire. He was subsequently fined $1200 for this obscene gesture. Firrito knew he was doomed and accepted his guilt so the fine was reduced to $900. The AFL punished the footballer because it knows and believes in two things fervently. One, a warning must be sent to the broad community that umpires need to be respected no matter what the circumstances. Two, the AFL and football of all codes and their players are the most powerful messengers available to reach this nation’s youth. That’s why Firrito is short $900. And it is also why the AFL’s revamped illicit drug policy announced yesterday is as dangerous and worthless as its predecessor. The AFL commission and its executive simply cannot get the balance of player welfare and public interest right. It might not even understand that it must.”

5. Miadhu (Maldives) – Anni says a TV ad not enough to curb drug abuse. “MDP Presidential Candidate Mohamed Nasheed (Anni) has said that a song, a slogan and a television advertisement is not enough to curb drug abuse in Maldives. Anni said this while speaking at a press conference held yesterday at S. Feydhoo to reveal his policies to close all doors for drugs. Anni said that an MDP lead government would give priority to do some work beneficial in curbing drugs abuse.”

6. The Arkansas Traveler (USA) – Drinking: an option for adults of any age. “”It’s time to rethink the drinking age,” proclaim the 129 signatories of the Amethyst Initiative petition. These petitioners are not eager-to-drink 18-year-olds. They are well-educated and presumably conscientious administrators, including the presidents of Duke, Dartmouth and Johns Hopkins. Nor is the Amethyst Initiative a sloppy student movement with a trippy title. It’s a thoughtful, concerned campaign that began when a group of college presidents “discovered a common desire to reopen public debate over the drinking age,” according to the Amethyst Initiative Web site.”

7. Drug War Chronicle – Europe: Scottish Heroin Crackdown Sparks Violent Crime Increase. “In an object lesson on the unintended consequences of drug prohibition enforcement, police in Dundee have admitted that their crackdown on heroin has led to an increase in violent crime. Police called it “an unfortunate side effect” of the crackdown, which they qualified as a success. Tayside Police undertook Operation Waterloo earlier this year in an effort to target drug dealers and users in the Hilltown and Maryfield areas of Dundee. Assistant Chief Constable Clive Murray told the Tayside Joint Police Board 39 people had been arrested, and there was anecdotal evidence of price increases and disruption of the heroin market.”

8. The Courier Mail (Australia) – Queenslanders addicted to drink and drugs. “TENS of thousands of Queenslanders drink at least once a day and thousands more smoke marijuana, a report out today reveals. Despite warnings about drug and alcohol abuse, the 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey has found many Australians still drink to risky levels. Canberra will use the report to back its stand on increasing taxes for alcopops to curb binge drinking among teenagers.”

9. Los Angeles Times (USA) – Opioids — we love them. Or need them. “Opioids such as Vicodin, OxyContin and morphine are used to treat pain — with which Americans are apparently sorely afflicted. More than 10 million of them take the drugs, researchers at Boston University have found, with 4 million people consuming the medications at least five days a week. The researchers report that regular use of the drugs, which pose something of an addiction risk, rose with age, fell with education level and was more common among women and whites. Their work, published in the Aug. 31 issue of the journal Pain, also found that use was more prevalent in the south central portion of the country. “

The ADF and AFL

A press release from the ADF:

The Australian Drug Foundation (ADF) today spoke out at the Australian Football League’s (AFL) press conference in support of the AFL’s illicit drug policy.

‘The AFL’s illicit drug policy is one of the most rigorous drug policies in sport internationally, and we praise their commitment to the health and welfare of their players’ said ADF Chief Executive John Rogerson. ‘We’re pleased to see them take steps to continue to develop a culture which support players, parents and other members of the community to reduce the likelihood of drug problems’.

‘The reality is this is a tough issue, and the AFL is one of only three sports in Australia to seriously tackle illicit drug use. They have gone above and beyond the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code, and their players, and the community will benefit as a result’.

Mr Rogerson urged parents to use the publicity around the AFL drugs policy to discuss drug issues with their children.

‘Children are always watching and listening to what is going on around them. This is a great opportunity to check in with them about what they think about drugs, why they think people use them, what they know about the damage that can be done to careers and personal lives by drug use’

‘We know that having a strong relationship with an adult is a key protective factor for preventing a young person from developing a drug problem. This is the time to make sure that communication channels are open between you and your kids’

Parents who want more information about drugs, or tips for starting these conversations can go to or call 1300 85 85 84 to request a copy of ‘Young people and drugs: what parents need to know’.

What are your thoughts? I wold have thought a little more info on what the actually policy is may have been helpful given the emphatic endorsement….

News of substance – drugs in the worldwide news

1. The Independent (UK) – Ian Oliver: Legalising drugs would only make matters worse. “Recently, A great deal of media attention has been focused on a call for the legalisation of drugs by a former civil servant who was responsible for the Cabinet’s anti-drug unit. In The Independent last week, Julian Critchley said that legalisation would be “less harmful than the current strategy” and that an “overwhelming majority of professionals in the field” agree with that view.”

2. Dallas Morning News – Sober Dorm helps college students stay the course on recovery. “Maggie Howard, a strikingly pretty college junior as fresh-faced and sweet as a spring daffodil, is accustomed to the polite dismay new acquaintances often exhibit when she mentions casually that she does not drink alcohol. She can see the little gears spinning in their heads: But she looks so cool! She’s so cute! What is she, a religious nut?”

3. Desert Dispatch – From drug addict to doctor. “The walls of John Smethers’ Barstow house are lined with antique Civil War history books, volumes from psychologist Carl Jung, copies of his own recently published book on the psychology of drug addicts, and his greatest source of pride, a doctorate degree from Pacifica Graduate Institute. It’s not the typical setting of a recovered drug addict with a pages-long rap sheet.”

4. The Daily Mail – How doctors are turning millions of us INTO addicts. “Gina Loxam was feeling a bit low, so she went to see her GP and was prescribed the anti-depressant, Seroxat.
Ten years later, she is still on the drug because the severe mood swings, headaches, fatigue and weight gain she suffers when she tries to come off are unbearable.”

5. CBC (Canada) – Clement questions MDs who favour safe injection sites. “Federal Health Minister Tony Clement says ethical concerns raised by supervised injection sites for drug addicts are “profoundly disturbing,” and he questions doctors who support the practice. “Is it ethical for health-care professionals to support the administration of drugs that are of unknown substance, or purity or potency — drugs that cannot otherwise be legally prescribed?” Clement said Monday in a speech at the Canadian Medical Association’s annual meeting in Montreal.”

6. NEWSInferno (USA) – Methadone Overdose a Growing Problem. “Once mainly used to treat heroin addiction, Methadone is being prescribed by family doctors, osteopaths, and nurse practitioners for some types of severe pain. Methadone, a synthetic form of opium, is powerful, cheap, and long lasting. Unfortunately, while it has helped millions, methadone is also widely abused and poorly prescribed by physicians. Because of this, methadone is now the fastest growing cause of narcotic deaths, is implicated in more than twice as many deaths as heroin, and is equaling or exceeding OxyContin and Vicodin in negative responses.”

7. Punjab Newsline (India) – Seizure of Intoxicants: Morcha asks Punjab BSP chief to quit. “After recovery of a huge quantity of intoxicating drugs was seized from the chemist shop of state president of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Avtar Singh Karimpuri in Hoshiarpur , the Bahujan Samaj Morcha Monday asked the party chief to quit his post on moral grounds.”

8. Fierce Healthcare (USA) – FDA may urge training to dispense narcotics. “The FDA is considering making a recommendation that doctors get special education to prescribe strong narcotics, despite the fact that it has no power to enforce such a proposal. FDA officials say they’re most concerned about high-potency, long-acting narcotics like methadone, fentanyl and some forms of oxycodone. In particular, they’ve noted that a mix of methadone and fentanyl patches has been associated with patient deaths and injuries from doctor misprescribing or accidental patient misuse.”

9. Blast Magazine – The new stoner…you. “Sitting up against a mound of pillows legs stretched over a deep blue comforter Mike and his girlfriend are like any other couple studying on a Sunday afternoon. She is frustrated that she hasn’t mastered her Italian flash cards and keeps repeating verb conjugations. Their feet are flirtatiously entangled while Mike stares intently into a large history notebook. With a slam of a flash card she gives Mike a frustrated look and he intuitively reaches for a blue box that’s sitting on the nightstand. He pulls out a blue and green swirled pipe followed by a bag of marijuana. A smile crosses Mike’s face as he fills the pipe and passes it to his girlfriend. She lights it, breaths in deeply and the room fills with a thin fog of smoke.”

10. LA Times (USA) – Pro: Marijuana use for chronic pain and nausea. “Medical marijuana use has a history stretching back thousands of years. In prebiblical times, the plant was used as medicinal tea in China, a stress antidote in India and a pain- reliever for earaches, childbirth and more throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa.”

News of substance – drugs in the worldwide news

1. Maui News (USA) – Partnership taps felons as mentors. “Big Brothers Big Sisters of Maui County launched Tuesday a new anti-drug campaign shaped through partnerships with a national organization and local programs working with former drug addicts and families dealing with substance abuse. The group received an endorsement from Mayor Charmaine Tavares and commitments from its three partners – the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Maui Economic Opportunity Inc.’s Being Empowered and Safe Together Reintegration Program, better known as BEST, and the Institute for Family Enrichment.”

2. Newswise (USA) – Medicinal Marijuana Effective for Neuropathic Pain in HIV. “n a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to assess the impact of smoked medical cannabis, or marijuana, on the neuropathic pain associated with HIV, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine found that reported pain relief was greater with cannabis than with a placebo. The study, sponsored by the University of California Center for Medical Cannabis Research (CMCR) based at UC San Diego, will be published on line, August 6 in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.”

3. Total Catholic (UK) – Priest: alcohol abuse must be tackled. “In a week that saw new powers come into force that allow Gardaí to target alcohol sales and public drinking, a Limerick priest has said the issues which are driving young people to abuse alcohol must be urgently addressed. Fr Joe Young, chaplain to the Brothers of Charity Services in Limerick, said he “welcomed with open arms” the new laws, which mean off-licences will not be able to sell alcohol after 10pm.”

4. EurekAlert (USA) – Post-partum suicide attempt risks studied. “Although maternal suicide after giving birth is a relatively rare occurrence, suicide attempts often have long-lasting effects on the family and the infant. In a study published in the August 2008 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, researchers compared two populations of mothers and found that a history of psychiatric disorders or substance abuse was a strong predictor of post-partum suicide attempts.”

5. Waterford Today (Ireland) – Solvents: The Facts. “Solvents are substances which are inhaled. Solvents are sniffed from a cloth, sleeve or plastic bag or sprayed directly into mouth (this is the most dangerous way of taking them as it can lead to instant death). Other names include aerosols, gases, glues, nail varnish, thinners, cleaning and degreasing agents.”

6. iol (South Africa) – Tobacco public hearings for North West. “The North West legislature will hold public hearings on the bill for the prevention of and treatment for tobacco abuse later this month. In a statement on Wednesday, the legislature said the North provincial Portfolio Committee on Health and Social Development would be conducting public hearings across the province from August 18 to 21.”

7. The Daily Times (USA) – Drug screenings: Are they really legal? “Are drug screens legal? Recently, I overheard a conversation at a meeting where two people were discussing the legality of pre-employment drug screens. Are they legal? Yes. Are they necessary? Absolutely. Pre-screening or background checks are necessary to make sure that you, the employer, make the right decision for your business.”

8. Times-West Virginian (USA) – More teens using hallucinogenic salvia. “A sage-like herb that triggers intense hallucinogenic trips is a new drug of choice among the country’s teenagers. It’s a drug you don’t need to buy covertly off the street. Salvia divinorum can be purchased legally online or at smoke shops in most states, including West Virginia. ”

9. Scoop (New Zealand) – The FDA Guerillas of Wonky DrugWonks – Part I. “Former Bush Administration officials have formed a pharmaceutical industry guerilla group called the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, described on its website as “a non-partisan, non-profit educational charity,” and a “new vital force in health care policy.” However, for all intents and purposes, the mission of CMPI front group is to promote back-door efforts at tort reform, including pushing complete drug maker immunity through federal preemption, to pump out rapid-response propaganda on the internet to deflate scandals involving the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA, and to discredit anyone who would dares to criticize the industry or the FDA.”

10. (USA) – Inland parents respond to influx of home drug-testing kits. “All it takes to know whether your child has been using drugs in the past 90 days — from marijuana to methamphetamine to prescription medications — is a lock of hair and an overnight mailer, according to one San Diego company. Thanks to home drug-test kits, which are for sale online and promise results within a few days, it is getting easier for parents who want to test their teenagers. And, unlike the urine tests available in drug stores, the manufacturers say hair-follicle tests are cheat-proof.”

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.”

News of substance – drugs in the worldwide news

1. New Kerala (India) – Sex counselling during drug addiction program may help cut HIV transmission. “A study conducted by experts from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) suggests that sexual behaviour counselling during drug addiction treatment may help cut risky sexual behaviour among people who are at risk of being infected by HIV.”

2. (USA) – End counties’ addiction to jails. “Kentucky’s local governments have a drug problem. They’re addicted to the money they get for keeping inmates for the state. But the cost of operating county jails that also overflow with local prisoners is breaking them. The futility of locking up addicts and drug abusers is evident in the financial crisis besieging many Kentucky counties, where a drug or alcohol problem is a big reason most prisoners are behind bars. In some counties, half of the general fund goes into operating the jail, diverting money from road repairs, public safety and other county services. It’s so bad that county officials are considering suing the state for more money for jails.”

3. The Aurora (Canada) – Not recommended for children. “Monster, Rock Star, Red Bull. Energy drinks, no matter what the brand, are all the rage these days, but one local mom wants storeowners to stop selling the drinks to kids. Corinne Young, a mother of two boys – one nine year old and one 19 year old, said she knows stores are within their right to sell the caffeinated drinks, but she feels they have a moral obligation to keep the beverages away from children.”

4. Press Information Bureau (India) – Government sets up National Consultative Committee on De-Addiction and Rehabilitation. “The Government has decided to set up a consultative mechanism at the national level by constituting a National Consultative Committee on De-addiction and Rehabilitation (NCCDR). It would advise Central and State Governments on issues connected with drug demand reduction, especially education/awareness building, de-addiction and rehabilitation.”

5. The Bradenton Herald (USA) – Substance abuse isn’t just for addicts. “Whether we like it or not, the reality of today is that alcohol and drugs are everywhere. Whether you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol/drugs, it is safe to say that drugs and alcohol at one time or another have affected us all. Often, in cases of addiction, the pursuit to obtain the substance(s), legal or not, is undeniable and controls an individual’s very existence.”

6. The Huffington Post (USA) – The Failure of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. “As an insider in the nation’s war against drugs, I spent almost fifteen years in the executive office of the President. Eleven of these years were in the Office of National Drug Control Policy where I served four of the nation’s so-called drug czars preparing the federal drug control budget, writing many of the national drug control strategies, and conducting performance measurement and analysis of the efficacy of those strategies.”

7. AlterNet (USA) – Jim Hightower on Pot — Sharing His Thoughts on Pot, That Is. “Myth: There is no scientific evidence proving marijuana’s therapeutic qualities. Reality: In a White House-commissioned 1999 report, the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine declared that “nausea, appetite loss, pain, and anxiety are all afflictions of wasting and all can be mitigated by marijuana.”

8. Chicago Daily Herald (USA) – Genes may play role in nicotine addiction in teens. “Genes may determine which teen smokers get hooked for life, according to a study that could shed new light on treating and preventing tobacco addiction. Young, white smokers with certain gene mutations who pick up the habit before age 17 are up to five times more likely to struggle with a lifelong nicotine addiction than their peers who don’t have the DNA variants, researchers said. The study, by University of Utah and University of Wisconsin scientists, appeared in the journal Public Library of Science.”

9. The Press Democrat (USA) – Meditation as therapy. “The patient sat with his eyes closed, submerged in the rhythm of his own breathing, and after a while noticed that he was thinking about his troubled relationship with his father. “I was able to be there, present for the pain,” he said when the meditation session ended. “To just let it be what it was, without thinking it through.”