Drug Causes Mood Swings, Impulsive Behaviour, Montreal Research Shows
Users of cocaine and amphetamines are twice as likely to attempt
suicide than other people who inject drugs, a new study from the
Universite de Montreal has found.
The study, published in the Nov. 26 issue of the journal Drug and
Alcohol Dependence, followed the users of injectable drugs over a
seven-year period. The users answered questionnaires twice a year.
The study found that users of cocaine and amphetamines were roughly
twice as likely to attempt suicide than users of opiates,
sedative-hypnotics, cannabis and alcohol.
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WHILE MDS QUESTION IF MEDICAL MARIJUANA IS THE RIGHT PRESCRIPTION,
WINDSOR TO HOST CANNABIS CLINIC
Dr. Tony Hammer treats drug addicts and people seeking pain relief -
the latter sometimes feeding the former - but don't expect him to jump
aboard the medical marijuana bandwagon.
"I am utterly incapable of distinguishing between those who need it
and those who enjoy it," said Hammer. He's convinced most of the tens
of thousands of Canadians prescribed medical marijuana are instead
using it "recreationally."
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As a physician working on the front lines of addiction treatment and
research in Baltimore, I read Lisa Lowe's recent op-ed with great
interest but also with some perplexity ("Addiction services needed
more than statistics," Dec. 18).
I share Ms. Lowe's frustration with the difficulty that many patients
and families - especially those with private insurance - have
accessing affordable addiction treatment and transitional housing.
However, despite her impassioned advocacy for "evidence-based
best-practice therapies," Ms. Lowe's piece contains misleading and
frankly false information about effective addiction treatments.
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You can read this and say I'm just a dumb stoner and a drug addict,
but to be clear I'm far from stupid and I'm not addicted to anything.
I don't do drugs; I only smoke "cannabis," which isn't addictive.
I've known of the cure for addiction (ibogaine) since July 4, 1998,
when I first met Dana Beal of the "cures-not-wars" organization at a
legalize marijuana protest in Washington D.C. I admit when I first
heard Dana rail on and on about ibogaine I was skeptical. My thoughts
were, if there really were a cure for addictions it would be used
empathetically across America to save lives. Over the years I learned
[continues 927 words]
Legal Narcotics In A Liberal City
THE people queuing up at the Providence Crosstown Clinic are pioneers
of a sort. They are heroin addicts whose habits have resisted
conventional treatment. They hope to become the first in North America
to get their fixes legally as part of a treatment programme rather
than just for a clinical trial. "It's heroin that you know is good,"
says one addict waiting outside, who aspires to join the queue.
Some European countries, including Germany and Switzerland, prescribe
heroin for the most severe cases of addiction. Patients taking heroin
are less likely to use illicit drugs and drop out of treatment than
those who use methadone, a substitute. Vancouver's eagerness to follow
is not surprising. It has long had Canada's most liberal drug
policies, and it has a big problem. Addicts congregate in Downtown
Eastside, two derelict blocks right next to tourist attractions and
the financial district. In the late 1990s the city had the highest
rate of HIV infection outside sub-Saharan Africa.
[continues 293 words]
Young adults addicted to opiates like oxycodone and heroin may have
the best chance at long-term abstinence in residential treatment -
often known as rehab - programs, according to a recent study.
"Given evidence that outpatient treatment for opioid dependence in
young adults is not as effective as it is in older adults, we need
alternatives to protect this vulnerable population," said lead author
Dr. Zev Schuman-Olivier.
According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the most
commonly abused opiate drugs are heroin and methadone, although the
opiate painkillers morphine and oxycodone (Oxycontin) are also widely misused.
[continues 567 words]
Drug-use confessions by those in the public eye have a lot of power to
shape perceptions, writes SHONA CRAVEN
While most of us are well aware of how addictions shatter families and
blight communities, the addict - particularly the heroin addict -
remains an unfathomable "other".
And while great efforts have been made in recent years to change
public perceptions, that label retains an unmistakable moral, rather
than medical, dimension.
Any pity for a drug user with a wretched life is paired with a
confidence that such a life is the product of choices we ourselves
would never make.
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Would Make It Easier to Give Anti-Addiction Medication to Help Users
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) was in Toledo today to generate
support for a bill he's co-sponsoring that would make it easier to
give anti-addiction medication to help heroin users break their heroin habit.
The bill, still awaiting action in the Senate, would increase the
number of patients who would be able to get methadone medication to
help them break their drug habits in response to demand from opiate abuse.
[continues 259 words]
Long-Lost Promoter Of Vancouver's First Hippie Club Returns With
Stories, And Some Amazing Posters
The saying goes that if you can remember the '60s, you weren't really
Jerry Kruz knows this all too well. At 66, his memory of the parties,
concerts and happenings he took part in during the hippie era are a
But a marvellous thing happens when he looks back at his collection of
old psychedelic concert posters. The memories of the shows come
floating back, like a contact high.
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Doctor blames increasingly easy access to alcohol, which accounts for
10 times more medical costs than all other drugs combined
Hospital visits attributed to alcohol and drug abuse increased by 63
per cent in the Greater Vancouver area over just four years ending in
2013, and visits to St. Paul's Hospital in downtown Vancouver for
substance abuse increased by a whopping 89 per cent over the same
period, according to emergency room data.
And despite dire headlines about opioid addiction and IV drug use,
alcohol is driving most of the increase.
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STARTING THE WEEK of November 23, doctors will administer prescription
heroin to a select group of patients in Vancouver.
It will be the first time that heroin, or diacetylmorphine, is given
to patients anywhere in North America outside of an academic study.
"For this group, the addiction is so severe that no other treatment
has been effective," said David Byres, vice president of acute
clinical programs at Providence Health Care. "The goal is
The harm-reduction program will be run out of Providence Crosstown
Clinic in the Downtown Eastside. In a telephone interview, Byres
emphasized that heroin-assisted treatment is only recommended as an
appropriate intervention for individuals who have repeatedly failed
with traditional therapies such as methadone.
[continues 835 words]
North American first comes after more than a year of battles between
doctors and federal Health Minister
In a North American first, heroin addicts in Vancouver will soon
receive prescription heroin outside of a clinical trial.
Doctors at the Providence Crosstown Clinic received shipment of the
drug this week for 26 former trial participants and will begin
administering the drugs next week. In all, 120 severely addicted
people have received authorization from Health Canada to receive the
drugs; the rest are expected to get them soon.
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In the underground world of heroin, there is a legend of an African
root called iboga, or ibogaine, that can cure addiction. Those in the
depths of heroin use, often as a last resort, seek out the root,
which can be dangerous to use. Some go to Mexico or to Europe to take
it, as it is illegal here in the United States. It can be an
expensive trip for the user, and often one made in a moment of final
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Once largely relegated to Baltimore City, heroin use and its related
adverse consequences are spreading to every part of the state, and an
increasing number of Maryland's citizens are dying of heroin
overdoses. This shift reflects national trends showing a 74 percent
increase in heroin use from 2009 to 2012 and a doubling of heroin
overdose rates in 28 states sampled by the Centers for Disease
Control. After a sharp reduction in heroin overdose deaths from 2007
to 2010, Maryland heroin deaths have risen to mirror these increases,
reaching 464 deaths in 2013. In Baltimore City, conversely, the
number of heroin overdose deaths had declined from its peak in 1999
to a low of 76 in 2011 and has not risen as sharply as it has in
other parts of the state.
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The Central Baltimore Partnership, a federation of more than 60
organizations dedicated to the renaissance of Central Baltimore,
commends Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for forming a task force that
will spend the next nine months studying heroin and substance abuse
in Baltimore while developing new ideas about how the city can better
coordinate treatment options ("Mayor appoints task force to study
heroin, substance abuse," Oct. 14).
For the past year and a half, a CBP task force has been considering
similar issues in the Central Baltimore area. Known as the Saturation
of Metropolitan Service Agencies (SMSA) task force, it was formed to
address the high concentration of methadone clinics, drug treatment
facilities and other social services providers located in the
neighborhoods of Old Goucher, Charles North and Charles Village.
[continues 142 words]
IN OCTOBER 2013, Health Canada made a regulation change that banned
B.C. doctors from prescribing heroin to a small group of addicts.
The federal department did that after consulting only one scientific
report on the matter, according to documents released in response to a
freedom-of-information request. Furthermore, that one expert's opinion
is that prescription heroin, or diacetylmorphine, should remain an
available treatment option.
The document was prepared for Health Canada by Dr. Michael Lester, an
expert in opioid-dependence treatment and an assistant professor at
the University of Toronto. It describes prescription heroin as a
"pragmatic approach for people who do not significantly reduce their
intravenous diacetylmorphine use despite an adequate trial of
[continues 563 words]
Nanaimo residents living near Wisteria Lane showed city staff and
local politicians the progress that has been done to deter drug
addicts and prostitutes from using the alleyway as a safe haven.
The alley, which was given its name by the local homeowners, runs
immediately west of the 100-block of Nicol Street behind a row of
businesses and homes.
After collecting more than 70 dirty needles and watching drug deals
on a near daily basis, frustrated residents got together in July to
find a solution to the growing problem.
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Jail Break: A four-part series about recidivism in Ontario
Canada's jails are bursting at the seams. Federal and provincial
correctional facilities are struggling to meet the rising intake of
inmates, the result of federal government tough-on-crime legislation.
A Metroland East special report shows rehabilitation and treatment
programs have taken a backseat to the push for prison expansion. In
the first of a four-part series, we look at how prisoners are
struggling to find employment and addiction-treatment support.
[continues 2392 words]
The numbers are compelling. As Americans seek more relief from pain
and companies come up with ever-stronger drugs to ease discomfort, so
do mortality rates rise for the growing number of patients who use
opioid pain relievers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
estimates that 46 people a day die from opioid overdoses. More people
- - 16,000 or so - die from opioid misuse than from any illegal drugs
in any given year.
Opioids, psychoactive chemicals that resemble morphine or other
opiates in their pharmacological effects, are among the oldest
medicines mankind has used.
[continues 756 words]
Report Recommends Treating Drug Abuse as Public-Health Problem
MEXICO CITY--A commission composed mostly of former world leaders
will recommend Tuesday that governments move beyond legalizing
marijuana and decriminalize and regulate the use of most other
illegal drugs, including heroin and cocaine.
The international drug-control system is broken, says a report to be
released Tuesday in New York by the Global Commission on Drug Policy.
Governments should be allowed wide latitude to experiment with the
regulation of drugs, except for the most lethal, says the commission,
whose 21 members include former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul
Volcker, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, and former
presidents such as Brazil's Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Mexico's
Ernesto Zedillo and Colombia's Cesar Gaviria.
[continues 809 words]