Government urged to tackle ‘passive drinking’ – UK Politics, UK – The Independent

Government urged to tackle ‘passive drinking’ – UK Politics, UK – The Independent.

The Government must tackle the damaging effects of “passive drinking” and give communities greater influence over licensing laws, campaigners said today.

Too many areas are “plagued by shouting, vomiting, fights, urination and other rowdy behaviour” and lax licensing controls must be reformed in favour of simpler laws which give communities greater influence, they said.

Interpol Targets Online Drug Sales

Seized stanozolol tablets.

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International operation combats the illegal online supply of counterfeit medicines

Press release from the; UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

Forty-five countries across the globe have taken part in an international enforcement operation targeting the online sale of counterfeit and illegal medicines to raise awareness of the dangers of buying medicines online.

Operation Pangea III ran between 5 – 12 October and resulted in 76 people either arrested or placed under investigation across the globe.

The operation is the largest internet-based enforcement action of its kind to date and involved IMPACT, the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the Permanent Forum of International Pharmaceutical Crime (PFIPC) and the Heads of Medicines Agencies Working Group of Enforcement Officers (HMA WGEO).

Coordinated by INTERPOL and carried out with the assistance of police, customs and national medicines regulators, the global operation targeted the three main components abused in the illegal website trade – the Internet Service Provider (ISP), the electronic payment system and the delivery service.

Internationally, 267,855 packages were inspected by regulators and customs resulting in the seizure of 1,014,043 illicit and counterfeit pills worth an estimated £1.62 million ($2,598,163 (US)).

During the operation, internet monitoring revealed 694 websites potentially engaged in illegal activity including offering controlled or Prescription Only Drugs.

The public will be advised through global awareness campaigns that purchasing medicines from unregulated websites significantly increases the risks of obtaining counterfeit, sub-standard and dangerous products.

The types of medicines the MHRA found included those for erectile dysfunction, weight loss, pain relief, human growth hormone, antidepressants and steroids.

MHRA Head of Enforcement, Mick Deats, said that what often looked like a professional online pharmacy could turn out to be an illicit website selling fake or illegal medication.

“These websites often look like the real deal, but if they don’t carry the internet pharmacy logo of the General Pharmaceutical Council and have a ‘bricks and mortar’ address, then they are often dealing illegally.

“This week we have recovered a range of different medicines being supplied with no prescription and stored in unacceptable conditions by persons unqualified to dispense medicines. An illegal supplier might be good at setting up a website, but that does not make them a pharmacist.

“The dangers of purchasing medicines from an unregulated source are that you just don’t know what you are taking,” he said. “The dosages could be either too high or too low, contain no pharmaceutical ingredient or a totally different ingredient to that stated.

“Illegal suppliers have no quality control or standards to abide by and people who purchase medicine from these sources will never know where the tablets they are putting in their mouths have actually originated from or what they contain. If customers could see the filthy conditions in which some of these medicines were being transported, stored and handled, they wouldn’t touch them,” he added.

“This international operation is the best way to deal with an international problem and is a great example of the collaboration needed to tackle this type of crime.

“Partnering with law enforcement as well as working with industry, payment providers and other stakeholders has proved to be a successful approach in disrupting criminal activity while raising public awareness to this issue.

“We will continue to use all powers at our disposal to take action against those engaged in this illicit activity and confiscate the proceeds of their crimes.”

Further information about purchasing medicines safely online can be found on the MHRA website: Risks of buying medicines over the internet

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See also

Anthrax & Heroin Users

Anthrax 1 There have been 15 cases of Anthrax with 7 deaths reported in Heroin users across Scotland. This was reported in a press release by Health Protection Scotland on 22nd January 2010.

Dr Colin Ramsay, Consultant Epidemiologist at Health Protection Scotland, said:

“Heroin users all across Scotland need to be aware of the risk that their supply may be contaminated. They should seek medical advice urgently if they experience signs of infection such as redness and swelling of an infection site or high fever. I would urge all drug users to stop using heroin immediately and contact local drug services for support.

In addition, any users who continue to inject heroin are strongly recommended not to re-use filters, but to use a fresh filter each time they are used. Users who do not currently use filters are reminded of the current harm reduction policy to do so, however they must ensure these are discarded after each use. Use of filters will not make heroin safe or remove all traces of anthrax contamination so the best advice remains not to use heroin by any method.”

What is anthrax?

Anthrax is a very rare but serious bacterial infection caused by the organism Bacillus anthracis. The disease occurs most often in wild and domestic animals in Asia, Africa and parts of Europe; humans are rarely infected. The organism can exist as spores that allow survival in the environment, e.g. in soil, for many years.

How has anthrax been affecting drug users in Scotland?

There is an ongoing outbreak of anthrax in heroin users in Scotland. Since December 2009, a significant number of heroin users have been found to have anthrax infection. Sadly, a number of these people have died. It is thought that they contracted anthrax from taking heroin contaminated by anthrax spores.

What are the symptoms?

Early identification of anthrax can be difficult as the initial symptoms are similar to other illnesses.

Symptoms vary according to the route of infection:

Anthrax in drug users

Drug users may become infected with anthrax when heroin or the cutting agent mixed with heroin has become contaminated with anthrax spores. This could be a source of infection if injected, smoked or snorted. The clinical presentation is likely to vary according to the way in which the heroin is taken and might include:

  • Swelling and redness at an injection site, which may or may not be painful
  • Abscess or ulcer at an injection site often with marked swelling (oedema)
  • Septicaemia (blood poisoning)
  • Meningitis
  • Symptoms of inhalational anthrax; symptoms begin with a flu-like illness (fever, headache, muscle aches and non-productive cough) followed by severe respiratory difficulties and shock 2-6 days later. Untreated disease is usually fatal, and treatment must be given as soon as possible to reduce mortality.

Cutaneous Anthrax Can anthrax be treated?

Cutaneous anthrax can be readily treated and cured with antibiotics. Mortality is often high with inhalation and gastrointestinal anthrax, since successful treatment depends on early recognition of the disease.

Prompt treatment with antibiotics and, where appropriate, surgery is important in the management of anthrax related to drug use.

How is anthrax spread?

A person can get anthrax if they inject, inhale, ingest or come into direct physical contact (touching) with the spores from the bacteria. These spores can be found in the soil or in contaminated drugs. It is extremely rare for anthrax to spread from person-to-person. Airborne transmission from one person to another does not occur; there have been one or two reports of spread from skin anthrax but this is very, very rare.

How do drug users become infected with anthrax?

Heroin or the cutting agent mixed with heroin may become contaminated with anthrax spores from the environment. This could be a source of infection if injected, smoked, or snorted.

More information is available at;

Female Professionals & Heavy Drinking

Two businesswomen uid 1279144 Study: Female Professionals More Likely to Be Problem Drinkers

Research Summary

A new study from Europe finds that highly educated professional women are the heaviest and most frequent female drinkers, Politics Daily reported.

Researchers at the University of Lancaster in England found that heavy drinking among women in the U.K. and Denmark was more prevalent among those with higher household incomes. Women in managerial and professional occupations drank the most frequently and engaged in more binge drinking, researchers said.

Experts said that advertising aimed at women, the "wine culture" that developed in the economic boom of the 2000s, and bans on public smoking that drove more drinking in private all may have contributed to the trend. Prevention messages that have encouraged "civilized" drinking at home, aimed at curbing public partying by young and working-class citizens in the U.K., may have unintentionally reinforced unhealthy drinking habits by more affluent women, researchers added.

The findings were published in the December 2009 issue of the Probation Journal.

From; Join Together Online

New Alcohol Guidelines Welcomed

Doctor with stethoscope around her neck uid 1272908

Nurses welcome new alcohol guidelines

The British Royal College of Nursing today (17th December 2009) welcomed the launch of new guidance for parents, children and young people on alcohol consumption, published by the Chief Medical Officer.

Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN, said:

“Both in A&E departments and in classrooms nurses see the devastating effects alcohol is having on young people everyday – it is damaging not just their health but also their education, development and general wellbeing. It is vital that adults and children understand the serious short and long-term harm that alcohol can cause.

“We welcome the news that the Government is publishing guidance for parents and children on alcohol. However, we are calling on all political parties to repair the nation’s turbulent relationship with alcohol. We need stronger regulation of the labelling, sale and advertising of alcoholic drinks as well as widespread education campaigns. We simply cannot continue down a road where more and more children are being rushed to A&E as a result of binge drinking, and increasing numbers of people in their twenties are dying as a result of alcohol related illnesses.”


Teens & Alcohol Shops

Alcohol Shops Affect Teen Drinking

Alcohol outlets lead to specific problems among youth and young adults

Alcohol research has clearly demonstrated a connection between alcohol outlets and alcohol-related problems.

A new study focuses on the effects of alcohol outlets on underage youth and young adults.

Findings show that alcohol-related injuries among underage youth and young adults are shaped by the density and types of alcohol outlets in neighbourhoods.

Prior studies have not only demonstrated a clear connection between alcohol outlets and alcohol-related problems, they have also shown that certain types of outlets are associated with different types of problem outcomes. A new study shows that a particular group, underage youth and young adults, have specific problems – injury accidents, traffic crashes, and assaults that are related to specific types of alcohol outlets – off-premise outlets, bars and restaurants.

Results will be published in the March 2010 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

“Over the past four decades, public health researchers have come to recognize that although most drinkers safely purchase and enjoy alcohol from alcohol outlets, these places are also associated with serious alcohol-related problems among young people and adults,” said Paul J. Gruenewald, senior research scientist at the Prevention Research Center and corresponding author for the study.

“In the early studies, researchers believed associations were due to increased alcohol consumption related to higher alcohol outlet densities,” added Richard Scribner, D’Angelo Professor of Alcohol Research at the LSU School of Public Health. “However, as the research area has matured, the relations appear to be far more complex. It seems that alcohol outlets represent an important social institution within a neighbourhood. As a result, their effects are not limited to merely the consequences of the sale of alcohol.”

For this study, researchers obtained non-public hospital discharge data from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, including residential zip code and patient age for all patients discharged. Ninety-nine percent of the injury records were successfully mapped to zip codes. Population demographics, place characteristics, and data related to alcohol outlets were also collected from various sources, and modelled in relation to two age groups: underage youth between 18 and 20 years of age, and of-age young adults 21 to 29 years of age.

“Greater numbers of off-premise outlets such as take-out establishments were associated with greater injuries from accidents, assaults, and traffic crashes for both underage and of-age young adults,” said Gruenewald. “But only among of-age young adults were greater number of restaurants related to traffic crash injuries and greater numbers of bars related to assault injuries. These findings confirm previous observations that drinking at bars may be a particular risk for aggression and alcohol-related assaults while drinking at restaurants may be a particular risk for drunken driving and alcohol-related traffic crashes. The findings also confirm prior studies that indicate underage risks are uniquely associated with off-premise establishments.”

“In other words,” said Scribner, “the pattern of alcohol-related injuries among underage youth and young adults is not random; their occurrence is shaped by the density and type of alcohol outlets in a neighbourhood. For example, when young adults reach the minimum legal drinking age, they begin legally drinking in bars where events such as bar fights are relatively common, and more likely when the density of bars increases. A little more complex is the strong association between an increasing density of off-premise outlets such as convenience stores and liquor stores, and higher rates of all injury outcomes among both underage youth and young adults. The authors indicate this association may be related to broader social factors where the concentration of these types of alcohol outlets in a neighbourhood influences the social networks of both youth and young adults by reinforcing high-risk drinking practices. Clearly this type of research can help to develop informed policy in areas where high rates of youth injuries are considered a problem.”

The key message, said both Gruenewald and Scribner, is that a neighbourhood’s alcohol environment plays a role in regulating the risks that youth and young adults will be exposed to as they mature.

“From a prevention perspective, this represents an important refocusing of priorities, away from targeting the individual to targeting the community,” said Scribner. “This is hopeful because a community-based approach that addresses the over concentration of alcohol outlets in a neighbourhood where youth injuries are a problem is relatively easy compared with interventions targeting each youth individually.”

World Federation Against Drugs

worldfederationagainstdrugs The World Federation Against Drugs (WFAD) is a multilateral community of non-governmental organisations and individuals. Founded in 2009, the aim of WFAD is to work for a drug-free world. The members of the WFAD share a common concern that illicit drug use is undercutting traditional values and threatening the existence of stable families, communities, and government institutions throughout the world.

The work of the WFAD is built on the principles of universal fellowship and basic human and democratic rights. We believe that working for a drug-free World will promote peace and human development and dignity, democracy, tolerance, equality, freedom and justice.

WFAD welcomes all individuals and organisations which are campaigning to achieve a society free from the abuse of illicit drugs. The path to achieving this goal is long and beset by problems, which is why unrelenting efforts to gradually reduce drug abuse step by step are so important.

WFAD regards the non-medicinal use (abuse) of narcotic substances as a severe public health problem which results in major problems for society. At the same time, narcotics can have important medicinal uses and must therefore be available to the health services.