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Genetic variants linked to risky behaviours, including substance abuse

Genetic variants linked to risky behaviours, including substance abuse

  • January 2019
  • Posted By Ben Craske
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A group of researchers, including participants from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, has identified 124 genetic variants related to an individual’s disposition to engage in risky behaviour. The researchers published a report on their studies in the journal Nature Genetics on 14 January. “Being willing to take risks is essential to

Smartphone app can detect opioid overdose

  • January 2019
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
Researchers at the University of Washington (UW) in the US have developed an app that allows a smartphone to detect when a person experiences an opioid overdose. Researchers have named the app Second Chance, and it accurately detects symptoms related to an opioid overdose by monitoring breathing patterns. The app then transmits an alert so

Hospitals introduce dedicated alcohol care teams under NHS plan

  • January 2019
  • Posted By Ben Craske
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The NHS plans to place dedicated alcohol care teams in 50 hospitals to assist alcohol abuse patients as part of a host of new long-term initiatives unveiled by the government. The new teams will be in areas with the highest incidence of alcohol-related admissions, providing treatment for patients experiencing alcohol-abuse issues, and support for their

Monkey dust seen as alternative to cocaine and heroin

  • January 2019
  • Posted By Ben Craske
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Drug addicts in Stoke-on-Trent may be choosing to use monkey dust because they cannot afford to buy cocaine or heroin, according to a report presented by the Stoke-on-Trent Health and Wellbeing Board to the City Council. The report said that the substance is available for as little as £2 per dose, making it attractive to

Rise of opioid deaths among US children and teens

  • January 2019
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
Almost 9,000 children and teens died from opioid overdoses during the past two decades, with the paediatric opioid-related death rate increasing by almost 300% during that period. The retrospective study was published on 28 December in JAMA Network Open, a publication of the American Medical Association. The researchers from the Department of Pediatrics, Yale School

Melbourne to test breathalyser-activated boom gates at car parks

  • December 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
Drivers will need to pass a breathalyser test before they can exit car parks at shopping centres under a proposed anti-drink driving campaign by the Australian state of Victoria. Known as an alco-gate, the new technology aims to reduce the number of fatal accidents on the state’s roadways. It was first tested in Sweden. If

One-in-seven would drink and drive if they felt ‘OK’

  • December 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
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One-in-seven UK drivers would get behind the wheel to drive home after consuming alcoholic beverages if they thought they were “close to the limit.” This is according to a new study by breathalyser firm, AlcoSense. The survey of 2,000 drivers showed that 14% of motorists would drive home after drinking several alcoholic beverages if they

More US teens are vaping

  • December 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
There has been a significant increase in e-cigarette use by US teenagers this year, according to a new report. A survey by researchers at the University of Michigan found that the percentage of students in the 12th grade who vaped nicotine increased from 11% in 2017 to 21% this year. Researchers noted that the increase

Dramatic increase in youngsters abusing benzodiazepines

  • December 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
Public Health England says that the number of youngsters receiving treatment for benzodiazepine abuse has dramatically increased over a year. Recently-released data showed that 315 people under the age of 18 received treatment from public services for abusing benzodiazepine in 2017 – an almost 200% increase from the 161 who received treatment in 2016. Of

Plaster of Paris and brown sugar sold as MDMA

  • December 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
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A combination of brown sugar and plaster of Paris has been sold as MDMA to festival-goers. This is according to tests conducted by The Loop, a pop-up drug-testing service founded in 2013 by Durham University. Festival-goers can take their drugs to the pop-up lab for testing without worrying about repercussions. People who have their drugs

Dorset Police launch Christmas drink and drug-driving campaign

  • December 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
Dorset Police have launched their yearly Christmas drive against drink and drug driving. It will remain in effect until New Year’s Day. During the campaign, police officers will conduct breath tests for all drivers involved in accidents regardless of whether officers think they have committed a drink-driving violation. Police officers will also test drivers they

Increase in hospitalisation of older Britons for drug abuse

  • December 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
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NHS hospitals have experienced a sharp increase in admissions of people aged 45 and above for the treatment of drug abuse, the health service reports. The latest data for England showed that hospital admissions for the age group for behavioural and mental disorders related to drug use have increased from 638 to 1,182 since 2007.

Scotland’s new drugs strategy focuses on public health

  • November 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
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Scotland has prepared its first drugs strategy in more than a decade. The report, titled Rights, Respect and Recovery, focuses on treating drug abuse as a public health problem rather than a criminal justice problem. Joe FitzPatrick, the country’s Public Health Minister, said he has combined the strategy for dealing with alcohol and drug abuse

More drug disposal boxes in Weymouth public toilets

  • November 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
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Extra disposal boxes for drug users could soon be available in public loos in Weymouth town centre. The borough council has already placed six ‘sharps’ boxes in public toilets, with expectations that they will authorise more. The boxes encourage drug users to safely dispose of needles and other items associated with drug use. At a

Scans reveal brain’s reaction when addicts think about drugs

  • November 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
A study in the journal Translational Psychiatry by US researchers showed that thinking about their drug of choice stimulated a region in the front of an addict’s brain linked to pleasure, and that non-invasive therapy could help break the cycle of addiction. Scientists from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) studied the brain scans

Letting teens drink at home can lead to addiction

  • November 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
Parents should not buy alcohol for teenagers or let them drink at home, according to a prominent addiction expert. Eamon Keenan, the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) national clinical lead on addiction, made the comment at the launch of the agency’s guide for parents on drugs and alcohol. He said although it might seem sensible

Incidence of child alcohol poisoning increases in Northern Ireland

  • November 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
Binge drinking has become a problem affecting young people in Northern Ireland. According to a report by the BBC, hospitals in Northern Ireland have admitted more than 300 children due to alcohol poisoning during the past six years. Admissions of people under the age of 18 have increased by almost 20% since 2013 even though

Study says US has highest drug overdose deaths

  • November 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
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With the drug overdose death rate increased by more than 200% since 2001, the US is now the world leader in the rate of these preventable deaths. A new study by researchers at the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) shows that the rate of drug-related deaths in the US now exceeds those in many other

Scottish motorists in north-east most likely to drink-drive

  • November 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
More motorists have been caught drink-driving in the north-east than in other regions of Scotland since the introduction of lower drink-driving limits. The latest government data showed that 1,377 drivers in Grampian were caught drink-driving from 5 December 2014 to 1 April of this year. During the same period, 988 drivers in the Highlands were

Idaho pilot offers low-level offenders’ treatment rather than incarceration

  • November 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
As part of the effort to overcome the opioid epidemic in the US state of Idaho, the state’s Department of Health and Welfare will fund a new pilot program in Boise, the state’s capital. The city’s police department will receive a grant for $100,000 (£76,600) to fund a program offering low-level offenders a chance to

Pennsylvania take-back drive collects thousands of pounds of drugs

  • November 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
The most recent drug take-back day in Bucks and Montgomery counties in the US state of Pennsylvania was a huge success, according to officials. After residents in Bucks County discarded a record quantity of unwanted drugs during the event, District Attorney Matthew Weintraub challenged other counties to beat his county’s performance and help reduce the

Drug abuse prevention program expands in Indiana schools

  • October 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
A pilot program that teaches high-school students the proper way to use prescription drugs and how to fight against the use of illegal drugs will be expanded into 18 more counties in the US state of Indiana. The 45-minute computer-based program, called the Prescription Drug Safety Network, will be available to students during the school

Trump signs opioids legislation into law

  • October 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
On 24 October, US President Donald Trump signed the far-ranging opioids legislation into law. The signing event at the White House concluded ‘a year of action’ by the Trump administration to fight the widespread opioid epidemic in the US. The new law includes steps aimed at increasing research to develop new drugs for managing pain

Drug addiction concern for US rural communities, study finds

  • October 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
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About 25% of rural Americans consider drug addiction to be the biggest problem facing their communities, according to a new survey. First-hand knowledge was one of the main drivers of the opinion. Almost 50% of the respondents said they knew a family member or friend who had battled opioid addiction. It was even more likely

Canada is the second country to legalise cannabis

  • October 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
Canada is now the second country in the world, after Uruguay, to make the possession and recreational use of cannabis legal. The action fulfils the promise made by the prime minister, Justin Trudeau, during his 2015 campaign. When making the promise, Trudeau argued that the century-old law that made the non-medical possession and use of

Amid addiction fears, Home Office announces clampdown on painkillers

  • October 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
The government is reclassifying two painkillers as concerns mount that people are misusing and becoming addicted to them. The drugs – gabapentin and pregabalin – are also used to treat anxiety and epilepsy. The Home Office’s announcement means that it will soon be against the law to possess the drugs without a prescription and that

Study says sugar increases aggression, smoking, and alcohol abuse

  • October 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
Children who eat and drink products containing too much sugar are more likely to be aggressive, to smoke, and consume alcohol to excess, according to a new study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine. Scientists at the Bar Ilan University in Israel evaluated 137,284 children aged 11, 13, or 15 years, who lived

Timed pill dispenser aims to halt drug abuse

  • October 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
A medical professional has come up with an innovative idea to help end prescription drug abuse. Afton Heitzenrater is a physician, working in Rochester General Hospital’s Emergency Room in the state of New York. She has witnessed the results of the opioid epidemic, seeing at least one case of an opioid overdose on every shift

Cannabis damages teen brains more than alcohol, study finds

  • October 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
According to a study of almost 4,000 teenagers, the long-term impact on comprehension from cannabis use depends on what age people begin to smoke it. Researchers at the University of Montreal published research in the American Journal of Psychiatry showing how smoking marijuana affects the development of the brain over time. They found that sustained

Study warns withdrawal from antidepressants has severe side-effects

  • October 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
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A new study has concluded that millions of people would suffer severe side-effects if they tried to stop using antidepressants. Published in the Journal of Addictive Behaviours, the study showed that seven million people in England in 2016/17 were using antidepressants on a regular basis. That number represents 16% of the adult population, which is

Brexit may hurt UK’s war on drugs

  • September 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
Researchers from the University of Cambridge warned that Brexit posed a ‘severe threat’ to the UK’s war on drugs. In a letter published in the British Medical Journal, the researchers said that Brexit would hurt the fight against organised crime by limiting the medical community’s access to Europe’s early warning systems, which inform them about

Additional deaths raise concerns about drug use at music festivals

  • September 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
Seven deaths from drug overdoses were reported at Hanoi’s Trip to the Moon music festival on 16 September, and two drug-related deaths occurred that same weekend at the Lost Lands music festival in Thornville, Ohio. During the previous week, drug overdoses caused the deaths of two individuals at Sydney’s Defqon. One music festival, with many

Opioid crisis grows for US seniors

  • September 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
Against the background of the ever-present opioid epidemic, two reports by the US government warn that more seniors are becoming addicted to prescription painkillers. Prepared by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the report revealed that millions of US seniors were filling prescriptions for multiple opioids at the same time, leading to hundreds

Oregon sues OxyContin manufacturer for misrepresentation

  • September 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
Ellen Rosenblum, the Attorney General of the US state of Oregon, has sued the manufacturer of OxyContin, claiming that the company misrepresented the drug’s benefits and risks and misled a state regulatory agency to increase its profits. OxyContin is a trade name for oxycodone hydrochloride. Bob Josephson, a spokesperson for Purdue Pharma, said that the

US teenage vaping declared an ‘epidemic’

  • September 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared that the use of e-cigarettes by teenagers has become an ‘epidemic’ and has threatened to impose huge fines on the manufacturers if they don’t develop plans to restrict sales of the devices to minors. The FDA said that, in 2017, more than two million US teenagers

Staffordshire Commissioner says stronger action needed on drugs

  • September 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
Matthew Ellis, the Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime, says he agrees with other police officials that the government should reclassify synthetic drugs, such as Spice and Monkey Dust, as Class A substances. Spice is a synthetic cannabinoid manufactured using chemical reactions of legal substances. It is currently classified as a Class

US peak for marijuana use by non-college young adults

  • September 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
The US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has published the results of its Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey of drug, alcohol and tobacco use in 2017. The survey data showed clear differences between trends in substance use for young adults in college and young adults in the same age group (19 to 22) who

Researchers say addiction-free opioids possible

  • September 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
A team of US researchers from Wake Forest University has tested an opioid that appears to stop pain in non-human primates without causing addiction. The results were published in Science Translational Medicine. While clinical trials on humans are still years away, the transferability of the results of opioid tests from non-human primates to humans has

New study links cannabis use to schizophrenia

  • August 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
The results of a new study, published in Nature Neuroscience, show a link between smoking cannabis and psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia. It is believed that this is the largest genetic evaluation of cannabis use to date. Researchers from Radboud University, in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, evaluated data collected from more than 180,000 individuals and found that

Random drug tests for New York school bus drivers

  • August 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation aimed at stopping school bus drivers from operating their vehicles under the influence, by mandating that all bus drivers in the state take part in a random substance screenings. The new law will take effect at the end of December 2018, making all school bus drivers

Marijuana and alcohol abuse cause premature brain ageing

  • August 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
  • 0 Comments
According to a new study by researchers in the US, smoking marijuana causes the brain to age on average by 2.8 years. The study also found that alcohol abuse caused accelerated ageing in the brain.  While the impact was not as severe as for marijuana use, alcohol use appeared to cause the brain to age

US illegal drug use could exceed official estimates

  • August 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
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According to a study by researchers at Kentucky’s Murray State University, illegal drug use in the US could exceed official estimates. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that more than 28 million people used illegal drugs in 2016, including 12 million who abused opioids. Bikram Subedi, the study’s lead investigator, said

Increasing drug abuse worries Nigeria’s Human Rights Commission

  • August 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
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Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has voiced concern about the increase in drug abuse and addiction in the country, stating that the combination of a weak government policy framework and a shortage of public healthcare facilities have made the situation worse. The NHRC noted that the worsening drug situation had often caused various types

UK pilot scheme to help offenders address substance abuse

  • August 2018
  • Posted By Ben Craske
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The UK plans to launch a pilot scheme to help offenders who have substance abuse, alcohol, and mental health issues to address the underlying factors contributing to their criminality. Officials will launch the pilot scheme in five areas throughout the country: Sefton, Plymouth, Northampton, Milton Keynes, and Birmingham. Health services and justice agencies will implement