DS Daily - 20th July 2009


Only 4% kick drugs in rehab

BRITAIN'S war against drugs is on the brink of collapse - with just FOUR per cent of addicts coming out of rehab drug-free. [News of the World, UK]

Third of drug addicts face wait of a year for treatment

A third of drug addicts who want help in Edinburgh have been waiting more than a year for treatment. Nationally, one-fifth of addicts face a wait of more than a year. [Scotland on Sunday, UK]

More Asian teens ‘using steroids’

A growing number of young Asians are using steroids to try and build up muscle and achieve the perfect body, according to drugs workers. [BBC, UK]

Rough sleeper figure ‘misleading’

Some London councils are using tactics to keep the official figure for rough sleepers misleadingly low, BBC News has learned. [BBC, UK]

Fields of Joy

Thanks to a morphine shortage, opium poppy growing in the UK is now all the rage. Opium poppies (Papaver somniferum) are becoming a lucrative crop for British farmers. I first saw them last year, shimmering in a field alongside the A35. [The Independent, UK]

Marijuana ‘does not make you aggressive’, Kercher trial told

The Meredith Kercher murder trial has heard an expert state that smoking cannabis does not make you aggressive. Toxicologist Dr Maurizio Taglialatela was asked to describe the effects of the drug after the jury heard how both Amanda Knox, 22, and Raffaele Sollecito, 25, had "smoked a joint" the night Meredith was murdered. [Scotland on Sunday, UK]

South Korea uses ‘cloned’ drug sniffing dogs

South Korea has put cloned dogs on patrol to sniff out drugs at customs. [The Independent, UK]

How supermarkets are fuelling the alcohol abuse epidemic among young adults

Mail investigation reveals how despite the epidemic of teenage binge drinking, supermarkets are STILL cynically selling alcohol at a fraction of the price of soft drinks. [Daily Mail, UK]

Brits abroad targeted with sensible drinking messages

The British Foreign Office have joined the list of organisations promoting sensible drinking messages to boozing Britons. The latest campaign targets British holiday makers in Greece, famed for their excess and alcohol-induced antics. [Alcohol Policy UK]

Milan to enforce teenage drink ban

Milan has banned the consumption and sale of alcohol to young teenagers in an effort to curb binge-drinking. In a country where for centuries wine has been part of local culture - and prohibition would be unthinkable - the ban has come as a shock. [BBC, UK]

Maintenance treatment with buprenorphine and naltrexone for heroin dependence in Malaysia: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

This unique randomised trial tested what would happen if detoxified opiate addicts were then maintained on a substitute drug, on an opiate-blocking medication, or simply counselled. The results led to the introduction of methadone prescribing programmes in Malaysia. [Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK]

Distributing foil from needle and syringe programmes (NSPs) to promote transitions from heroin injecting to chasing: an evaluation

British needle exchanges which piloted distribution of foil packs for smoking heroin found they were widely used and may have increased attendance and reduced the number of injections, lending weight to current attempts to legalise such provision. [Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK]

RCN campaigning shapes sharps agreement

An European-wide agreement between employers and trade unions to provide health care staff with better protection from needlestick injuries has today been signed in Brussels. Read the RCN publication Needlestick injuries. The point of prevention (PDF 1.44MB). [Royal College of Nursing, UK]

Americans of all incomes say they could not afford drug or alcohol treatment if they needed it [PDF]

Nearly half of U.S. adults say that they would not be able to afford alcohol or drug treatment if they or someone in their family needed it, according to a telephone survey conducted this past June [CESAR, USA]

Venezuela’s drug trafficking role is growing fast, US report says

A report for the U.S. Congress on drug smuggling through Venezuela concludes that corruption at high levels of President Hugo Chávez's government and state aid to Colombia's drug-trafficking guerrillas have made Venezuela a major launching pad for cocaine bound for the United States and Europe. [Washington Post, USA]

Drug dealing for Jesus: Mexico’s evangelical narcos

The La Familia gangsters, who had bought ads in newspapers and given an interview to a leading Mexican magazine, claim that although they traffic drugs, they protect their local community and purport to be devout Evangelical Christians. All members are disciplined to abstain from narcotics themselves and care for their homes and children, La Familia says. They are also made to study a special Bible authored by the gang's spiritual leader, Nazario Moreno, alias El Mas Loco, or "The Maddest One." [TIME, USA]

Stopping the spread of heroin [Video clip]

CNN's Ivan Watson joins U.S. Marines in Afghanistan to find and destroy chemicals used to process heroin. [CNN, USA]

The war on drugs and the politics of failure: from the Vietnam to the Afghan quagmire

In a recent interview, Richard Holbrooke, White House Special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan and a key architect of President Obama’s “surge” strategy, declared the War on Drugs in Afghanistan to be a failure. [History News Network, USA]

Do drug and alcohol treatment programmes work to cut recidivism?

Keith B. Richburg wrote that prisoners who receive treatment for drug and alcohol problems have a far lower rate of recidivism than prisoners who don't receive such treatment ["States Seek Less Costly Substitutes for Prison," front page, July 13]. The data he provided, however, were insufficient to reach that conclusion. [Washington Post, USA]

Marijuana is gateway for two drugs debates

Marijuana, the country’s most widely used illicit drug, is typically not thought to destroy lives. But at the same time, marijuana can be up to five times more potent than the cannabis of the 1970s. And this new more-potent pot and the growing support for legalization has led to an often angry debate over marijuana addiction. [New York Times, USA]

Censored on TV: why are some stations keeping pot in the closet?

Pot has lots of medicinal and financial benefits, but TV stations still do everything they can to avoid mentioning it. [AlterNet, USA]