Legal Drugs Kill Far More Than Illegal

Legal drugs are killers Legal Drugs Kill Far More Than Illegal, Florida Says

From “Scarface” to “Miami Vice,” Florida’s drug problem has been portrayed as the story of a single narcotic: cocaine. But for Floridians, prescription drugs are increasingly a far more lethal habit.

An analysis of autopsies in 2007 released this week by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission found that the rate of deaths caused by prescription drugs was three times the rate of deaths caused by all illicit drugs combined.

Law enforcement officials said that the shift toward prescription-drug abuse, which began here about eight years ago, showed no sign of letting up and that the state must do more to control it.

“You have health care providers involved, you have doctor shoppers, and then there are crimes like robbing drug shipments,” said Jeff Beasley, a drug intelligence inspector for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which co-sponsored the study. “There is a multitude of ways to get these drugs, and that’s what makes things complicated.”

Full story at the New York Times

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Advertising, Alcohol and Adolescents

news_unilogo ‘Where alcohol is associated with relaxation, fun, humour, friendship and being ‘cool’, it is likely to have some influence’- study

The advertising of alcohol, the marketing of alcoholic products, peer pressure and parental influence all play a part in the level of alcohol consumption among young people.

These are the findings of a team of University of Leicester experts who have been investigating the effect of alcohol advertising on young people, which also indicate that advertising seems to be most effective in the case of alcopops and cider.

The study was funded by the Alcohol Education and Research Council.

Many teenagers experiment with alcohol. By the time they reach their mid teens, around one in two consume alcohol at least occasionally while increasing numbers drink to the point of drunkenness.

Professor Barrie Gunter carried out a study of alcohol advertising and young people’s drinking habits.

Their findings suggest that, while there is mixed evidence as to whether there is a direct link between volume of advertising and volume of alcohol consumption, there are links that can be made between advertising and teenage drinking.

Young people who start drinking alcohol are affected by a range of influences. These include whether their parents drink and pressures from their own peer group. Where social influences conflict, young people will tend to follow the influence most important to them. So, during the teenage years, if parents disapprove of drinking and friends encourage it, the likelihood is that young people will follow the example of their peer groups, not their parents.

Alcohol advertising helps young people become familiar with brands of alcohol, but it is less clear whether it induces them to start drinking in the first place.

On television, as with print journalism, where alcohol is associated with relaxation, fun, humour, friendship and being ‘cool’, it is likely to have some influence, while the use of celebrities, colour, popular music or sexual themes appeared to have a more limited effect.

Retail outlets such as supermarkets and news agents present alcohol promotions in an environment and at a level which will be accessible to young people. However, there was no proof that exposure to such alcohol advertising was as great an influence as the influence of parents and peer groups.

Curiously, young people who go to the cinema most frequently, and are therefore most exposed to the advertising of alcohol on film, were less likely to get drunk, possibly indicating that the type of person who goes to the movies is less likely to drink to excess.

Greater exposure to television advertising, however, did seem to relate directly to the increased chance of getting drunk, particularly in the case of cider and alcopops. There was no significant link between television advertising and most advertised brands of beer, wine or spirits.

Professor Gunter and his research team found that both television and print advertisements generally appeared to be compliant with the 2005 revised advertising codes of practice. Overall, the study found 40 violations, 25 of which occurred in 2003-04 and 15 in 2005-06.

The most common violations linked the advertised alcohol brand with the success of a social event such as a wedding or – more ambiguously – with some activity that could be dangerous if carried out under the influence of alcohol, such as swimming, diving and the use of dangerous machinery.

Full story at; University of Leicester

Recovery Focused Approach to Tackling Drug Use in Scotland

Scots flag Recovery Focused Approach to Tackling Drug Use in Scotland

Scotland’s first national drugs strategy The Road to Recovery: A New Approach to Tackling Scotland’s Drug Problem was launched on May 29, 2008. The Government believes that preventing drug use is more effective than treating established drug problems and that treatment services in Scotland should be based on the principle of recovery.

The key priorities are:

  • better prevention of drug problems, with improved life chances for children and young people
  • more people recovering from problem drug use
  • communities that are safer and stronger places to live and work
  • ensuring that children affected by parental substance use are safer
  • improving the effectiveness of delivery at a national and local level

The Government’s vision for how drug treatment services in Scotland should be delivered is based on the principle that recovery should be the explicit aim of all services providing treatment and rehabilitation for people with problem drug use.

‘Recovery’ is the principle that people suffering from problem drug use should receive support which does more than just reduce the immediate risks and harms of addiction. Individuals become active participants in their own care, moving forward in the hope and belief that they will get better.

What do we mean by recovery?

We mean a process through which an individual is enabled to move on from their problem drug use, towards a drug-free life as an active and contributing member of society. Recovery is most effective when service users’ needs and aspirations are placed at the centre of their care and treatment. There is no right or wrong way to recover.

The Road to Recovery sets out the Government’s vision of recovery as an achievable goal for people with problem drug use and the actions it intends to carry out to promote a shared understanding of how to promote and support recovery. These include establishing and supporting a ‘recovery network’, building the capacity of services which can help services users choose the treatment that is right for them, and ensuring that the principles of recovery are reflected in the reform of delivery arrangements and in training and workforce development programmes.

Child Abuse Causes Loss of Quality of Life

Abused angry boy with his fingers in his ears Child maltreatment victims lose two years of quality of life

Child maltreatment is associated with reductions in quality of life even decades later, according to a new University of Georgia study that finds that—on average—victims lose at least two years of quality of life.

Associate professor Phaedra Corso and her colleagues analyzed surveys of more than 6,000 people to assess the deficits in quality of life that victims suffer. Their results appear in the June issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

“We found that there are significant differences in health-related quality of life between people who were maltreated as children and those who were not,” Corso said, “and that holds across all age groups.”

Childhood maltreatment—which includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect—has been linked to an increased risk for ailments ranging from heart disease, obesity and diabetes to depression and anxiety. Corso said there are two reasons why.

First, childhood maltreatment increases the likelihood of unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, substance abuse and sexual promiscuity.

Secondly that repeated exposure to the stress caused by maltreatment alters brain circuits and hormonal systems, which puts victims at greater risk of chronic health problems.

The researchers found that 46 percent of people reported some form of maltreatment during childhood. Of those;

  • 26 percent reported physical abuse;
  • 21 percent reported sexual abuse;
  • 10 percent reported emotional abuse;
  • 14 percent reported emotional neglect; and
  • 9 percent reported physical neglect.

To assess reductions in quality of life, the team matched responses to a survey that assessed physical functioning, pain, cognitive functioning and social support with data from surveys that explicitly asked people how many years of life they would trade to be free of a given health condition. Throughout a lifetime, their responses translates to a loss of two years of quality-adjusted life expectancy.

“Every year gets diminished in some respect,” Corso said, “because the person who was maltreated has a lower quality of life than the person who wasn’t.”

“The long-term consequences of child maltreatment are very real and concerning. All children should have safe, stable and nurturing environments in which to grow and develop,” said Ileana Arias, director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “For children and adults to live to their full potential, we must support programs that stop child maltreatment before it ever begins and work to help those who have already experienced it.”

The researchers caution that the two-year reduction in quality of life undoubtedly underestimates the true impact of childhood maltreatment.

Children experience severe reductions in quality of life as maltreatment is occurring, and surveys of adults don’t account for those reductions.

“A lot of the time people don’t consider violence as a public health issue,” Corso said, “but there’s a body of evidence that exists now that shows long-term health impacts of childhood maltreatment.”

Full story at; Child Maltreatment

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What Are You Drinking?

People toasting with red wine How much alcohol? Few Drinkers Understand Alcohol Serving Units, Limits

British researchers say that drinkers often fail to understand how many units of alcohol are contained in the drinks they consume and don’t know the government’s daily recommended consumption limits, the BBC reported.

The U.K. Department of Health surveyed 1,429 drinkers and found that more than a third of those questioned did not know that the government recommends capping daily alcohol consumption at 2-3 units per day for women and 3-4 units daily for men.

Moreover, three-quarters of drinkers failed to realize that a large glass of wine contains three units of alcohol (most thought it contained two units).

“Glass sizes have grown larger and the strength of many wines and beers has increased, so it’s no wonder some of us have lost track of our alcohol consumption,” said Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo.

Researchers also found that 58 percent of drinkers did not realize that a double gin and tonic contained two units of alcohol, and that 35 percent did not know that a pint of beer contains more than two units of alcohol (a pint of some strong lagers actually equates to three units of alcohol).

The British government has launched a public-information campaign called Know Your Limits to try to educate drinkers about the alcohol contained in typical drinks as well as recommended daily limits. “We aim to give people the facts about how many units are in different drinks in a nonjudgmental way,” said Primarolo. “Then they can then make their own assessments about how much they want to drink in the future.”

From Join Together Online

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More Alcohol Shops means More Crime

Crime and alcohol shops Crime Rises with Alcohol Outlet Density

A new Australian study concludes that violence rose in Melbourne communities as the density of alcohol outlets increased, Medical News Today reported.

“The study found that, across Melbourne, the three types of outlets examined — hotel pubs, bars, and packaged bottle shops — all had positive relationships to assault rates,” said study author Michael Livingston of the Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre.

“In other words, increasing the density of these outlets in a suburb leads to increasing rates of violence in that suburb.

When these relationships were explored for specific types of suburbs, it was found that hotels and bars were the biggest drivers of violence in inner-city areas and packaged liquor outlets were more important in suburban areas.”

Every new hotel pub or on-premises liquor license issued in inner-city communities equated to an extra two nighttime assaults each year, the study found. ”

The results of this study don’t really point to particular communities being more at risk than others,” Livingston said. “Instead they suggest that different types of outlets are problematic in different areas.”

Livingston’s study focused on the period 1996 to 2005. “The literature shows that suburbs with more alcohol outlets experience more violence, but only a handful of papers have explored what happens within a suburb as outlet density changes,” he said.

The research will be published in the June 2008 issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

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Stress Relief Drinking

Men drink for stress relief Men More Likely to Drink for Stress Relief

Depressed men are more likely than women to crave alcohol and develop alcohol-related disorder, according to researchers at Yale University.

CBC News reported May 12 that the study of 54 healthy adult drinkers studied responses to stressful events such as relationship problems and job loss.

“Men’s tendency to crave alcohol when upset may be a learned behavior or may be related to known gender differences in reward pathways in the brain,” said researcher Tara Chaplin. “And this tendency may contribute to risk for alcohol-use disorders.”

The research study was published online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

From Join Together Online

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