Drug Laws Around The World

drug laws around the worldAs Britain’s future drug policy is currently being reviewed, there is a big divide amongst those who think they should be decriminalised and those who think they should remain illegal. From decriminalisation to death penalties, there are many different approaches to drug control all around the world but is there any one method that actually works?

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Drug Abuse Rampant Among Poor Street Children

Teenage Drug AbuseThe recent review and analysis of 50 substance abuse studies paints a bleak picture for poor children in 22 impoverished countries.

The research shows that for poor children who live on the street, substance abuse is very common and many become lifetime addicts. This is creating a huge problem for their health and the public health in general. The studies also indicate that substance abuse is preventing most of these children from finding employment or joining in with society.

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Benzo Fury May be Addictive to Humans

Legal HighsOne of the newer legal highs found on the market within the UK, “Benzo fury” has been found to be potentially dangerous. This particular substance is a stimulant that also possesses hallucinogenic properties.

Dr Jolanta Poacka-Juffry, working in tandem with Dr Collin Davidson recently reported that the legal high benzo fury may be dangerous to humans, largely due to one of its main ingredients. The combination of hallicunogenic and stimulating properties on the brain is a potent mix that may put users at severe risk.

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Will Giving Addicts Foil Really Help Harm Reduction

Free Foil for AddictsNew laws will soon allow harm reduction groups to offer free foil to drug users. This scheme, which is backed by The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), is designed to both reduce harm and encourage more users to go into treatment.

If the foil plan is successful, the ACMD believes it will have two positive outcomes. Addicts will interact with drug treatment centres which will encourage them to get help, and those any addict taking advantage of the foil offer will be less likely to use more dangerous and risky injection methods of drug use.

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Tailor Made Replacements May Help Cannabis Withdrawal

Cannabis WithdrawalNew synthetic drugs are currently undergoing research and testing that may help cannabis users wean themselves off the substance. With street cannabis growing increasingly strong for decades, these synthetic substances may aid heavy users in restoring much needed control to their lives.

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Warning for Cambridge Heroin Users

Heroin NeedlesA huge spike in heroin overdoses in Cambridge heroin has prompted health professionals to issue a warning for all users.

At least three overdoses in the last 12 hours were reported by police and ambulance crews. The three cases have also prompted a police investigation. Chief Inspector Chris Balmer said, “We are aware that three people have been taken ill after taking drugs in Cambridge. We would urge anyone who has any information about the supply of drugs in the city to call police. We would always advise against taking any drug, however if anyone is intending to take drugs we would urge them to ensure that there is someone nearby who can look after them should they fall ill.”

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Wolverhampton Launches Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Program

Substance AbuseThe problem of alcoholism and addiction to illegal substances has recently been given serious attention within Wolverhampton, with the launching of a new contract spanning three years initially, working with the charity Nacro.  Nacro is a charity heavily experienced in dealing with crime related to substance abuse, and hopes to be part of the push within the Borough to decrease the number of cases linked to substance abuse and addiction.

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Colombia to use Cannabis to Treat Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine SeizureBogota Colombia has a problem. They have 7,500 people addicted to cocaine who are turning areas of the city into dead zones where addicts mix with the cities other homeless. These users are hurting businesses and turning to crime to fund their habit. In an attempt to stop this, the cities government is planning to supply cocaine addicts with cannabis as a way to wean them off the cocaine.

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Tulisa Facing Charge Over Drug Fixing Allegations

Tulisa Contostavlos Drug DealSinger and former X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos may have some serious explaining to do after she was caught on hidden camera offering to set up a drug deal.

The Sun newspaper has said that one of its reporters has supplied video footage of Tulisa offering to provide cocaine, a class A drug during an undercover sting.

This has led to an investigation by the Major Crimes Unit of the evidence against Tulisa and her alleged supplier, rapper Mike GLC. The Sun is reporting that the investigation could lead to the arrest of both Tulisa and Mike within days.

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Heroin Users are Branching out into New Drugs

Heroin ProblemsRecently released research from the charity, Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI), shows 75% of heroin addicts in Dublin are also dependent on other drugs.

During a study at an MQI needle exchange, researchers found that half of heroin addicts shot up at least 6 times per week and two thirds of addicts were also using drugs like methadone, benzodiazepine tranquilisers, cannabis, alcohol, steroids and cocaine.

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Drew Barrymore: No option for her daughter to take the same path as she did, because she will be a supportive parent.

Drew Barrymore AddictionHollywood actress Drew Barrymore is known for her willingness to discuss her former drug addiction and now the ET star has vowed to take a similarly honest approach with her daughter, Olive.

In an emotional interview with US chat show heavyweight Oprah Winfrey, the new mother pledged to tell her four-month-old about the struggles she went through, including her well-documented substance abuse during her teens.

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Former Drug Addict Speaks about Past

b2ap3_thumbnail_drug-abuse.jpgFor individuals who have been affected by drug abuse, it may feel as if their is no escape from their demons as they become isolated from the goings on in the outside world and have no one to talk to about their issues.

Although the outcome of an addiction can end happily - with the person putting their life back together and not using drugs - or sadly, the individual succumbing to their dependency and passing away or having severe health issues, the reasons why people turn to drugs are often extremely different.

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Recreational cocaine use can raise risk of heart attack

There are a number of dangers associated with cocaine use. This infamous substance, which is used by many as a recreational drug, has a powerful effect on how the brain processes dopamine by stimulating the nervous system.

What many people do not realise is that, just as even a single cigarette can harm your health, even the occasional use of cocaine can be damaging. The latest study shows that people who use cocaine are more likely to have a higher risk of suffering from heart disease than non-users. Researchers at the University of Sydney looked at recreational users of the drug and found that even those who only dabbled occasionally had a greater likelihood of having cardiac abnormalities such as stiffer arteries, higher blood pressure and thicker cardiac muscle walls. All of these are related to a higher risk of a heart attack and were found even among young people and those who considered themselves to use the drug only occasionally. Lead researcher Dr Gemma Figtree, a cardiologist at the university, said in a statement: "We are repeatedly seeing young, otherwise fit individuals suffering massive heart attacks related to cocaine use. Despite being well-educated professionals, they have no knowledge of the health consequences of regularly using cocaine." She even described cocaine as "the perfect heart attack drug". Many people who use the drug would not consider themselves to be addicted. The Sydney study analysed a sample of participants who were on average in their mid-thirties and who reported using the drug at least once a month over the past year. For many, it is a routine part of a night out on the town, being that it is a powerful stimulant which can make you feel instantly more alert, confident and even quite euphoric. Physically, it raises your heart rate and temperature. However, experts note that these symptoms can be followed by long periods of feeling depressed and run down, a "comedown" or crash that can last for days. Not only is there this negative effect to deal with, the figures show that even the apparently upbeat side effects of cocaine bring their own risks, not only in medical terms but by making some users over-confident, aggressive and reckless. Of course, there is also the addictive aspect to worry about. The Sydney study showed that even monthly use can increase heart wall thickness by eight millimetres, higher systolic blood pressure and stiffening of the aortic arteries, even in users who are, to all appearances, healthy. Thicker blood vessels are associated with higher blood pressure and require the heart to work harder, thus increasing the risk of heart attacks and even strokes. At the moment, scientists are not sure why the drug has a stiffening effect on the blood vessels, and further research is needed on the subject. It is the first study to look at the prevalence of hypertension and cardiovascular stiffness in users of the drug and is also unusual in that it looked at occasional, social users rather than cocaine addicts.

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A New Meth Vaccine could Curb Addiction

A new drug has successfully protected rats at Scripps Research Institute from the effects of methamphetamine. While there is still plenty of testing to be done before the drug is ready for human consumption, If it is proven effective, it could revolutionise the treatment of meth addiction. Currently meth addiction effects an estimated 25 million people worldwide. Hardest hit are countries like the US, Australia and Canada. The scale of the problem is truly staggering. In the US alone, there are an estimated 400,000 users.

“This is an early-stage study, but its results are comparable to those for other drug vaccines that have then gone to clinical trials,” said Michael A. Taffe, an associate professor in TSRI’s addiction science group. It is especially important to create a vaccine for meth because of the nature of the drug. Meth is cheap to make and producers can get all the ingredients over the counter. This keeps prices down for users and allows suppliers to make the drug in large batches quickly. Meth is also more addictive than most other drugs including cocaine and heroin. This combination of low price and easy access has made meth a very difficult drug to fight. The new vaccine would make the struggle against meth much easier for addicts who are trying to quit. Rather than blocking receptors in the brain, this vaccine uses the body’s own defence system against the drug. The vaccine helps create antibodies that target meth so when the drug is used, the body destroys it before it ever reaches the brain. This means addicts will not be able to get high using meth which takes away the physical reward of using. It also blocks several side effects of meth including increased physical activity and the loss of the ability to regulate body temperature. “I think that this vaccine has all the right features to allow it to move forward in development,” said Kim Janda, the Ely R. Callaway, Jr. Professor of Chemistry and member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at TSRI. “It certainly works better than the other active vaccines for meth that have been reported so far.” If the drug makes it through clinical trials, it could be used everywhere from treatment centres to prisons. The drug is currently administered in 4 doses and protects people from the effects of meth for up to 12 weeks but scientists are confident they can make it last even longer. More importantly, the vaccine is cheap to produce which is important as many meth addicts cannot afford to pay for expensive treatments.

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Young Drug Users Ignore Addiction Risks

Young people in the UK are ignoring the threat of addiction and other health risks as they try illicit drugs. A new study has found that more than nine out of ten students who have tried drugs believe they are not addicted at all and that there is no danger of them becoming addicted. This is despite more than one third of students who have tried drugs having a negative experience.

In total, only 5% of students in the study believed that they might become addicted in the future. Aside from addictions, UK students are also ignoring the long term health risks that are associated with drug use. 39% of those in the study claimed to have had a bad trip, 28% said they had experienced paranoia while on drugs and 26% said their drug use had lowered their motivation. Other respondents reported anxiety and depression as a side effect of their drug use. Many commonly used drugs can have substantial negative side effects if they are used habitually. Cannabis has been linked to memory problems, teen brain development problems, lung cancer, schizophrenia and communication errors in the brain. Heroin can lead to hepatitis, Aids and a host of other health problems and prescription drug abuse has been linked to a variety of health concerns. These health problems become more likely the longer a person uses drugs but there can be problems the first time a person tries drugs. Chris Hudson, a spokesperson for drugs charity FRANK said, you don't have to be using drugs regularly for your health to be affected. Just using ecstasy once can raise the body's temperature, cause convulsions and heart problems. It's better not to take the risk." More importantly, when teens use drugs, they are risking more than their older colleagues. Young people’s brains are still forming in their teen years and drugs can interfere with this process. This makes young people’s cavalier attitude to drugs especially worrying as they have the most to lose.

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New synthetic mixes put recreational drug users at risk

drug addictionJust a couple of years ago, the UK became the cocaine capital of Europe as an increasing number of young people are trying the drug and getting addicted.

According to the EU's drug agency, nearly 15 per cent of Brits aged between 18 and 34-years-old have tried cocaine at least once and this number is rising.

However, it isn't just cocaine that young people are becoming addicted to.

New designer drugs keep emerging on a regular basis – remember Spice or Miaow Miaow, with the latter starting off as a legal high.

In fact, earlier this year student Alex Herriot died after taking a legal high at RockNess music festival.

He supposedly took Benzo Fury, an amphetamine that is sold online and over the counter.

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Society’s 'Invisible Addicts'

Alcohol addiction increasing in elderlySo a group of experts from the Royal College of Psychiatrics term the growing number of older people in the UK who develop a substance abuse. According to their report one third of those who experience alcohol problems do so later on in life and often in response to challenging circumstances such as bereavement, retirement, or feelings of loneliness and boredom.

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Drug Addiction Doesn't Discriminate - Neither does drug addiction rehab

Drug Addiction Doesn't Discriminate - Neither does drug addiction treatment“Addiction doesn’t discriminate – nor should society”

There appear to exist in society a belief that addicts are wretched types who deserve whatever ill befalls them. The covert message seems to be that if only addicts tried harder they would not have to battle with addiction. The truth of the matter is that addiction to drugs or alcohol does not discriminate but affects the rich and poor, and people of all ethnicities and any age.

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