DS Daily - 28th July 2009


Cannabis can cause psychosis in healthy people

A potent form of cannabis can cause healthy people to develop psychotic illnesses, a new British study has proved. Scientists at the Institute of Psychiatry in King's College London made the discovery after running tests on 22 healthy men, aged in their late 20s. [The Telegraph, UK]

Dear Tanya: my son is dealing drugs

I have always had a good relationship with my son, but now he is using and selling skunk. I can’t condone his behaviour. [The Times, UK]

Hooked podcast 8: cocaethylene

I often wonder how many drugs workers still don't really know about Cocaethylene, and of course the general public is still largely oblivious to its existence. Which is why we decided to dedicate an entire show to it. [Injecting Advice, UK]

The challenge is not becoming drug free but to develop a meaningful lifestyle

The professorial lecture series at Glyndr University is open to the public and has proved very popular. The lecture I gave, It’s Their Own Fault For Doing Drugs, was based upon 25 years working in the drugs field – initially as a probation officer and drugs worker before studying the issue as an academic. Drug use in society is a major concern. It is also fraught with contradictions and misunderstandings. Illicit drug-taking per se is seen as a deviant activity. Anyone taking an illicit drug (unlike legal drugs) is labelled and stigmatised. [Wales Online, UK]

Discrimination and human rights challenge to DoH and DWP

According to the APPG for Involuntary Tranquiliser Addiction: “The Department of Health systematically discriminates against involuntary tranquilliser addicts by refusing them medical treatment for their illness. It is an illness that the Heath Service has created, through over prescribing by doctors, by not enforcing guidelines and by poor regulation.” [Addiction Today, UK]

Consultation on children, young people and alcohol: summary of responses

On 29 January 2009, Children, Schools and Families Secretary Ed Balls, Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, and the Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, launched a three month public consultation on Children, Young People and Alcohol. The consultation covered the content and tone of the CMO Guidance and of our initial supporting Advice and Information to parents and young people. This England only consultation ran until  23 April 2009. This document summarises the responses to 8 specific consultation questions. [DCSF, UK]

Impact of alcohol consumption on young people: a review of reviews

This review of reviews relating to the impact of alcohol consumption on young people was undertaken between May and October 2008 by a research team based at the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University. The work was commissioned by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). [DCSF, UK]

Youngsters drinking dangerously

One in four young drinkers consumes dangerous quantities of alcohol every week, but the number of under-age drinkers is falling, a poll shows. A survey of 13,000 young people by the Trading Standards Institute found the number of teenagers who drank weekly fell from 50% in 2005 to 38% this year. [BBC, UK]

Brewer Molson Coors backs Scottish debate on minimum alcohol pricing

The Scottish government’s campaign against binge drinking has received a significant boost with the company that produces Britain’s biggest-selling lager calling for minimum pricing for alcohol to be investigated. [The Times, UK]

Coroner blames cut-price alcohol for soaring number of drink deaths

A coroner has hit out at Britain's binge-drinking culture after presiding over a run of inquests into alcohol-linked deaths.William Armstrong said alcohol is now a major public health problem. [Daily Mail, UK]

No alcohol disorder zones setup

Councils have not implemented any 'Alcohol Disorder Zones' (ADZs), a measure that allows local authorities to impose charges on licensed premises to pay for the costs of addressing alcohol-related problems. The 'polluter pays' type power has not been up taken by any councils since they were made statute over 12 months ago, as part of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006. [Alcohol Policy UK]

Brewery branded 'irresponsible' over launch of Britain's strongest beer

A brewery was branded "irresponsible" by health campaigners today after it launched what it claims is Britain's strongest beer, with an 18.2% alcohol content. Its creators claim the beer will help alleviate the country's irresponsible binge-drinking culture because it is so rich that people will consume less of it. [24 Dash, UK]

Community sentences with mental health treatment growing but a missed opportunity for most, says Sainsbury Centre

More Mental Health Treatment Requirements are being issued to offenders on community sentences than ever before. But they are still being given to fewer than one in 100 offenders in the community despite high levels of need for mental health care, Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health said today. [SCMH, UK]

Government sets out youth mental health service plans

The government has proposed plans to establish a youth mental health service in a consultation document outlining its vision for a new approach to mental health. The document, New Horizons, represents the Department of Health's vision for a higher quality mental health service, with an emphasis on early intervention and more personalised support. [CYP Now, UK]

The whole family approach to mental health

The latest guidance on treating parents with mental health problems suggests a whole family approach is the surest way to improve care and end stigma. Services for parents with enduring mental health needs must move away from focusing entirely or almost exclusively on the clinical treatment of the adult. [Health Service Journal, UK]

YOTs yet to sign up for database

Three youth offending teams (YOTs) are still yet to sign up for a new database just days before it is due to go live. The Youth Justice Board (YJB) is introducing the Youth Justice Management Information System (YJMIS) to streamline the way YOTs and the secure estate provide data. [CYP Now, UK]

Care applications at record-breaking levels

The number of applications for care proceedings made by councils in June is the highest figure ever recorded in a single month. Figures released by The Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass) show that there were 774 applications in June, compared to 627 the previous month. [CYP Now, UK]

Loose Reins on Nurses in Drug Abuse Program

California's drug diversion program for nurses is seriously troubled. [Mother Jones, USA]

Prescription drugs – keep out of the reach of teens

Covering the pediatric intensive care unit as an AHN, I have seen teens in critical condition due to ingesting prescription meds. Most recently, a shining high school valedictorian will never see his next phase of life. His bright future was suddenly brought to a screeching halt when he decided to go to a "pharma party." [Huffington Post, USA]

Citing risks, lawmakers seek to curb prescription drug commercials

In the 1980s, Nancy Reagan told Americans to “Just Say No” to recreational drugs. Now a handful of legislators are just saying no to TV commercials for prescription drugs. [New York Times, USA]

The drug czar’s high math: how phony stats about cocaine prices hide the truth about the war on drugs

John Walters had some data he wanted to make public, but he also had a credibility problem. Just two years earlier, in 2005, Walters, the country’s drug czar, had cited a hike in the price of cocaine as a battlefield victory in the war on drugs—only to see the price fall just as he was touting the increase. He was ridiculed in some quarters of the press; others decided to stop listening to him. [Reason, USA]

New strategy urged in Mexico

President Felipe Calderón is under growing pressure to overhaul a U.S.-backed anti-narcotics strategy that many political leaders and analysts said is failing amid spectacular drug cartel assaults against the government. [Washington Post, USA]

Mexico announces plan to test special drug courts

Mexico announced a pilot program Monday to have special courts handle cases involving addicted offenders who commit crimes while under the influence of drugs. The idea was praised by visiting U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, who noted "drug courts" can sentence people to rehabilitation programs instead of prison. [Washington Post, USA]

Drugs, abuse, children don’t mix: judge

A Victorian County Court judge has said drug addicts who abuse their children should lose care of them. After hearing a plea of guilty from a father who banged his two-year-old son’s head against a wooden paling, Judge Frances Hogan yesterday said such ‘‘grossly irresponsible’’ people would be punished. [The Age, Australia]