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The Life Works Community Blog

Recent blog posts

new heroin lawsStarting in the 1980s, US states like Wisconsin began criminalising drug delivery. These new laws have been gaining traction recently in many states because they allow prosecutors to punish drug dealers for overdose deaths.

Dealers who sell heroin that kills a user can be charged with a drug related homicide and could face up to 25 years in prison in Wisconsin. Other states like Washington, Pennsylvania and Minnesota have also enacted similar laws to in an attempt to target dealers and stop drugs before they reach vulnerable users.

While many anti-drug campaigners and law enforcement officers praise these new laws, some people feel the new rules are too heavy handed. This is because the laws judge people by outcomes rather than an individual’s intent. In other words, drug dealers have no intention of killing their customers but they are still taking the blame when a customer dies.

Other people see these new laws as a way to possibly decriminalise drug users which could help them get treatment. If selling a drug were a crime but using was not, more people with addictions would be able to come forward for help without fear of repercussions.

By targeting dealers rather than users police are also hoping to crack down on higher level drug kingpins. The idea is that a low level dealer will be more likely to give up their upper level contacts in exchange for a plea deal if that dealer is facing serious prison time.

Dealers might also think twice about returning to dealing if they know their chosen profession could cost them a decade or more in prison.

Currently, these laws are used predominantly to target heroin dealers. This may be because heroin is one of the more deadly drugs or because of its high rate of addiction. Targeting heroin could also be part of a concerted effort to cut down crime in general.

A recent study found that heroin users committed more crimes than people using other drugs.

In any case, US lawmakers are hoping these new laws will help solve their heroin problem. 

To learn more about heroin, check out the Life Works Heroin Knowledge Centre.  

Tagged in: Drug Addiction

teens drugs alcohol smokingA recent study backed by the UK government shows that drinking and drug taking amongst 11-15 year olds has dropped substantially. In the past ten years, the number of children taking drugs or drinking has nearly halved.

The number of school children who have tried cannabis or other illegal drugs has dropped from 30% in 2003 to 16% in 2013. The number of school aged children who had consumed alcohol fell similarly. In 2003 25% of pupils had been drinking in the past week. By 2013, the number fell to just 9%.

heroin addictionResearch from the Home Office has found that the reduction in heroin and crack cocaine users is a key factor in fighting crime in the UK. This new information cites the boom of heroin addiction in the 80s and 90s as a major cause of the peak in crime in 1995.

Tagged in: heroin addiction

teen binge drinkingA Finnish study has found that teens who abuse alcohol are more likely to struggle in early adulthood. The study looked at over 3,000 twins. In each case, one twin drank to excess while the other did not.

Tagged in: alcohol abuse

alcohol and energy drinksA new study shows that consuming energy drinks with alcohol increase a person’s urge to drink. The study found that people who consumed a cocktails with energy drinks had a greater desire to keep drinking alcohol than someone drinking a cocktail without the added energy drink.

Tagged in: Alcohol Addiction

Posted by on in Depression

depression helpDepression is a debilitating illness that can affect anyone. For those suffering with depression, it may be difficult to focus at work, interact with friends or even get out of bed. This can be made worse when people around someone with depression do not understand the problem.

Tagged in: Depression

Posted by on in Drug Addiction

drug addiction treatment An award-winning Cambridge Neuroscientist is working to treat drug addiction by erasing memories. Barry Everitt is a Cambridge University Professor who is trying to develop new ways to block brain chemicals that illicit emotional memories.

This new research will not be a cure for drug addiction, nor will it damage conscious remembering.  An addict will still be able to remember taking drugs but the emotional feeling of need, also known as the compulsion will be gone.

Tagged in: Drug Addiction

alcohol and the heartSeveral years ago a widely reported study found that light to moderate alcohol consumption might actually provide some health benefits. These findings are now being called into question as a huge cooperative study has found even light drinking harms health.

The new study was conducted by 155 researchers from the UK, Europe, North America and Australia. It analysed data from 56 different studies and used information from more than 260,000 people.

Tagged in: Alcohol Addiction

doctor alcohol treatmentWhen patients visit their GPs the doctor often has a limited amount of time to spend with their patient. With this in mind, researchers from the University of Leicester have created a two question test to help doctors quickly identify patients who may be problem drinkers.

The two questions can be changed slightly to fit different situations but they boil down to:

Tagged in: Alcohol Addiction

Scottish cocaine useThe latest UN report has found the Scotland tops the world in cocaine use. A larger percentage of Scots use the drug than in any other country with one in 42 using the illicit drug.

For Comparison, one in 50 people in England and Wales use cocaine according to the report.

Tagged in: cocaine addiction

teen binge drinkingScientists can now tell which teens will struggle with binge drinking using a new test. This test uses 40 factors to predict which 14 year olds will binge drink when they are 16.

The test has shown an accuracy rate or 70% but it will need some refining before it can be put into common use.

alcohol sponsorship and drinkingAthletes who are sponsored by alcohol companies are at greater risk of dangerous drinking according to new research. Scientists at the University of Manchester and Mash University in Australia have found a link between heavy drinking in athletes and alcohol sponsorship.

Tagged in: Alcohol Addiction

foetal alcohol syndrome and binge drinkingNew figures for England show that cases of foetal alcohol syndrome have tripled since health authorities started tracking the condition 16 years ago. This has many worried that English mothers are not getting enough information on the dangers of drinking while pregnant.  

In 2012-2013 252 people were diagnosed with the condition. That is compared with 89 people in 1997-1998.

Tagged in: Binge Drinking

Posted by on in Drug Addiction

cocaine overdose vaccine For years cocaine overdose was something that could only be managed. Medications and care could treat the symptoms but other than managing altered mental status, heart rate and preventing seizures, little could be done until the drug wore off. Now though scientists have found an enzyme that could offer fast acting treatment for cocaine overdose.

The new treatment is an enzyme that was actually discovered around the roots of coca plants. This naturally occurring substance processes the active cocaine and, for lack of a better word, eats it.

Tagged in: cocaine addiction

Posted by on in Alcohol Addiction

alcohol abuseResearchers in the US have found that excessive alcohol use is the fourth largest cause of death in the country. Over a 4 year period, the researchers studied the number of alcohol related deaths and the amount of potential life lost. The goal was to understand the true cost of alcohol and gauge its harm on society.

Tagged in: Alcohol Addiction

Posted by on in Depression

depression Many people who suffer from depression go to therapy sessions or take some form of medication to combat the mental illness but doctors are now prescribing books to help those with depression recover. The NHS has given the green light for doctors to write prescriptions for a variety of self-help books.

This new treatment is called bibliotherapy and is the brainchild of a 1916 clergymen named Samuel Crothers. Crothers proposed the treatment as a joke but since then doctors, nurses and others have taken the idea far more seriously.

Tagged in: Depression

painkiller addictionA US study has found that prescription painkillers are responsible for more deaths than heroin and cocaine overdose combined. The study, from McGill University compared a number of different sources of drug information before coming to their conclusion.

They found that there were a number of reasons behind the increase in painkiller use. Nicholas King, of the Biomedical Ethics Unit in the Faculty of Medicine said, "We found evidence for at least 17 different determinants of increasing opioid-related mortality, mainly, dramatically increased prescription and sales of opioids; increased use of strong, long-acting opioids like Oxycontin and methadone; combined use of opioids and other (licit and illicit) drugs and alcohol; and social and demographic factors."

Tagged in: Drug Addiction

Posted by on in Drug Addiction

MDMA and healthUntil recently, many people believed that taking MDMA, also known as ecstasy or molly, in low to moderate dosages was safe. But new research is showing that even low dosages could affect the body’s ability to cool itself and, in some cases, prove fatal.

The research showed that MDMA disrupted rats ability to cool their body. When the rats were alone and in room temperature environments, they were ok. The problem came when the rats were in groups in warmer environments. Without the ability to loose extra heat, the researchers found that the resulting conditions could be fatal.

Tagged in: Drug Addiction

Posted by on in Drug Addiction

drug addiction vaccineThe drug treatment community may soon be rocked by a new weapon in the war on addiction. Vaccines for methamphetamine, nicotine, heroin and cocaine are all progressing and look to be a viable option in the future.

For many years addiction treatment had two options. There were different forms of talk therapy and drug treatments like methadone. Talk therapy is very effective but it requires people to stick with it for the therapy to work while methadone does not treat the underlying addiction and simply acts as a substitute for the drug.

Tagged in: Drug Addiction

Posted by on in Uncategorized

Medical-Marijuana-July-122011-21With so much news about cannabis lately it can be hard to keep up. Every other day there are stories outlining both positive and negative effects of cannabis and many of the old beliefs about the drug are being challenged. To help people better understand cannabis Life Works has put together a summary of the latest research.

Addiction Potential: Cannabis research has shown that the drug is addictive but it is not as addictive as nicotine, heroin or many other drugs. People who are most likely to become addicted are those who use daily or people who use when they are young. There is also some evidence that suggest cannabis can be a gateway drug but it is important to remember that this evidence also calls nicotine and alcohol gateway drugs.