Tag Archives: binge drinking

News of substance – drugs in the worldwide news

1. Ottawa Citizen – Recognize Internet addiction as a mental illness, MD urges. “Compulsive e-mailing and text messaging could soon become classified as an official brain illness.
An editorial in this month’s issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry says Internet addiction — including “excessive gaming, sexual pre-occupations and e-mail/text messaging” — is a common compulsive-impulsive disorder that should be added to psychiatry’s official guidebook of mental disorders.”

2. The Scotsman – Methadone: ‘Too many use it as part of their drugs routine’. “THE Conservative’s Holyrood justice spokesman Bill Aitken is no stranger to controversy and his plain-spoken attack on the methadone programme has re-ignited the debate about how best to tackle Scotland’s appalling epidemic of drug addiction.
The debate about the effectiveness of the methadone programme has raged since its inception and there has always been opposition to the principle of handing out free opium-based drugs like methadone to addicts. But there is much in the basis of the scheme to commend it, not least that it has the potential to place those on the programme outwith the reach of criminals.”

3. Idaho Press-Tribune – Overcoming addiction behind bars. “A “professional dope fiend” for years, Daniel Brown says he got out of that life to help people who are in the same situation he faced. Now a drug and alcohol rehabilitation specialist, he’s part of what he calls an “innovative” treatment model at the South Idaho Correctional Institution.”

4. The Sunday Herald (UK) – Valium Nation. “It gained notoriety in the 1960s as mother’s little helper” … but now Valium is Scotland’s hidden drugs scourge, affecting thousands from all sectors of society. An investigation by the Sunday Herald has revealed a shocking picture of the scale of use of powerful tranquillisers known as benzodiazepines. Those abusing the drug range from heroin addicts to middle-class cocaine users, while others have unwittingly become hooked for decades after being prescribed the medication by doctors.”

5. Thaindian News – Police up in arms against drugs menace: Punjab Information Minister. “Expressing his concern over the drug addiction among youth, Punjab Information and Public Relations Minister Bikram Singh Majithia on Sunday said that the State Police is doing everything to make Punjab a drug-free state.
Though people talk about the menace, but no one seems to be prepared to come forward and check it, said Majithia while addressing a gathering after watching the play called “Armaan” at the Guru Nanak Dev University here.”

6. Science Daily – Emotional ‘Bummer’ Of Cocaine Addiction Mimicked In Animals. “Cocaine addicts often suffer a downward emotional spiral that is a key to their craving and chronic relapse. While researchers have developed animal models of the reward of cocaine, they have not been able to model this emotional impact, until now.”

7. The Herald Sun – Kevin Rudd’s plan to break gambling addiction. “Automatic teller machines will be banned in pokie venues in Victoria from 2012 in a war on problem gambling, Premier John Brumby has announced. Victoria will become the first Australian state to ban the ATMs from the floor of pokies venues.”

8. Bloomberg – Binge Drinking by Australia’s Youth Sparks Rudd Reform Campaign. “With 48 cans of beer in the back and a bumper sticker that says “Rum — So Much More Than a Breakfast Food,” Tom Dalfer headed to a remote Australian town last month with one purpose: to get as drunk as possible. The mechanic made the 750-mile trip to Trundle (population 370), to attend a Bachelors-and-Spinsters ball — a black-tie rite of passage for Australia’s rural youth.”

9. TV NZ – Alarm over binge drinking. “Drinking problems are rife on both sides of the Tasman and Australia is tackling the issue by targeting teens while NZ authorities insist it’s not just about the youngsters. One in 10 under-age drinkers binge every week in Australia, figures that mirror New Zealand’s binge drinking culture.”

10. The Irish Independent – Is Amy really the poster girl for drug abuse? “As if Amy Winehouse didn’t have enough problems, she has now been condemned by the United Nations. Speaking out against “coke-snorting fashionistas”, UN drug tsar Antonio Maria Costa described Winehouse as “the poster girl for drug abuse”.”

Kevin Rudd’s binge drinking obsession

I thought the write up on Crikey summed up the issue perfectly:

“Bernard Keane writes:

Booze. Gambling. P-rn. It’s everywhere, at epidemic levels, apparently, but luckily our politicians are on the case, ready to shake their heads in dismay and demand tougher regulation of stuff that’s nobody else’s business.

Even under the crusty conservatives of the Coalition, it’s hard to recall a moral panic being whipped up as fervently as Kevin Rudd, Steve Fielding and Nick Xenophon are managing at the moment.

Rudd is claiming binge drinking is a “worsening epidemic” that is “getting out of hand” and needs to be urgently addressed. Steve Fielding, best known for using his PC in Parliament House to Google for p-rn, also thinks it’s a “huge” and “growing” problem, and has got up a Senate committee to consider his private member’s bill to restrict alcohol advertising.

But as Richard Farmer pointed out yesterday, there’s no evidence for any of this. Indeed, in historical terms the early twenty-first century is probably one of the most sober periods in western history in the last five hundred years. But you won’t hear any of that in the mainstream media’s reporting – inevitably replete with footage of inebriated teenagers – of Rudd’s dire warnings.

With a similar lack of interest in evidence, Minister for Zeroes and Ones Stephen Conroy has been busy trying to get Labor’s plan to regulate the internet up and running via ISP-level filtering to block child p-rn and “violent websites”. Conroy’s plan, which makes the previous Government’s unworkable Netalert program for PC-level filters look benign, should do wonders for Australia’s already quicksilver broadband speeds. But according to the Minister, the only people opposed to it are kiddy fiddlers.

And incoming senator Nick Xenophon isn’t waiting until July to get stuck into gambling (or, as it should be known, taxation for innumerates), pushing for a new set of restrictions on poker machines and gambling venues. Not to be outdone, Steve Fielding wants to impose a tax on them too.

All this is music to the ears of pressure groups and lobbyists who rely on public funding. Leading the charge on binge drinking was Professor Margaret Hamilton from the National Council on Drugs, an anti-drug body established and funded by the Howard Government and currently headed by former Liberal senator John Herron. According to Hamilton, the mere act of having a drink on a Friday evening sends the wrong signal to Australia’s youth. Daryl Smeaton of the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation – of which anti-gambling campaigner Tim Costello is a director — also backed Rudd’s binge drinking warning.

These people doubtless do fine work in addressing the impact of alcohol abuse (however defined) or gambling addiction, but are also beneficiaries of the funding that will inevitably flow from Government efforts to be seen to Do Something. They have a vested interest in encouraging state interventionism in their chosen fields.

Then again the media also has an interest in hyping social problems. Drunken teenagers and gambling addicts make for great copy. Everyone loves a moral panic”.