SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

UK ARMY ‘LOSING A BATTALION A YEAR’ TO DRUGS

  1. Top of page
  2. UK ARMY ‘LOSING A BATTALION A YEAR’ TO DRUGS
  3. Reference
  4. RISE IN SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN SOMALI COMBATANTS
  5. Reference
  6. EXPERTS PREDICT LUNG CANCER RISK
  7. NOVA SCOTIA BANS SMOKING IN CARS WITH KIDS UNDER 19
  8. DECLINE IN SMOKING AND ILLICIT DRUG USE AMONG US YOUTH
  9. FINNS SEEK GUIDELINES FOR MEDICAL USE OF CANNABIS
  10. WHITEHALL ACCUSED OF DRUGS COVER-UP
  11. CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

The British army is losing the equivalent of nearly one battalion a year as a result of illicit drug use. Research into compulsory drugs testing of service personnel by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) identified a rise in positive tests from 517 individual cases in 2003 to 792 in 2005 (769 in 2006). Over the same period, there was a four-fold increase in soldiers testing positive for cocaine.

Unannounced compulsory drug testing is carried out across all three armed services and a dishonourable discharge is likely to occur after a positive test result. However, it remains unclear whether these figures reflect greater rates of illicit drug use, or simply higher rates of detection. Professor Sheila Bird, a scientist with the Medical Research Council who carried out the analysis for the RUSI Journal, said the government had refused to disclose ‘on grounds of cost’ whether there had been subtle changes in testing practices since 2003. More sensitive tests and more testing after weekends and home leave would ‘go a long way’ to accounting for the rise in positive tests for cocaine, she said. However, if there had been no changes in practice, the cocaine results could signal ‘a genuine change in soldiers' drug use during a period coincident with major operations’[1].

Commentators have suggested a number of possible reasons for the rise in the figures, including combat-related stress and illicit drug use being an effective way to get out of the army quickly. The RUSI report comes one month after 17 soldiers from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders were discharged after testing positive for drugs. The findings add fuel to the debate over recruitment and retention of service personnel at a time when the armed forces are fully stretched in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7142413.stm (accessed 8 January 2008)

RISE IN SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN SOMALI COMBATANTS

  1. Top of page
  2. UK ARMY ‘LOSING A BATTALION A YEAR’ TO DRUGS
  3. Reference
  4. RISE IN SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN SOMALI COMBATANTS
  5. Reference
  6. EXPERTS PREDICT LUNG CANCER RISK
  7. NOVA SCOTIA BANS SMOKING IN CARS WITH KIDS UNDER 19
  8. DECLINE IN SMOKING AND ILLICIT DRUG USE AMONG US YOUTH
  9. FINNS SEEK GUIDELINES FOR MEDICAL USE OF CANNABIS
  10. WHITEHALL ACCUSED OF DRUGS COVER-UP
  11. CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

A paper in PLoS Medicine reports an ‘alarming’ rise in drug-related problems amongst militia in southern and central Somalia, which has not been under the control of any type of government for more than a decade. The problems mainly relate to the use of khat, a plant whose leaves have been traditionally chewed as a stimulant. The leaves contain the amphetamine-like substance cathinone—a potent central nervous system stimulant that is dependence-producing and can induce psychotic symptoms such as paranoia. In addition, study participants drew attention to the consumption of other drugs such as cannabis. These alterations in patterns of drug use imply potential threats not only for the peace-building process in general, but also for the re-integration of former combatants.

The study was conducted by Michael Odenwald and colleagues from the University of Konstanz, Germany [1]. It was initiated following peace talks in 2003 as a part of the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration program in Somalia. Local interviewers conducted 8,723 interviews of armed personnel in convenience sample groups. They found that khat use is prevalent across the whole of the country: more than a third of respondents said they had used khat in the week prior to interview. In some regions of southern and central Somalia there was a unanimous perception amongst combatants of high consumption of multiple drugs, especially cannabis and psychoactive tablets, a fact not previously acknowledged. ‘The challenge facing Somalia and other conflict zones,’ say the authors, ‘is that it is young people who are most vulnerable to developmental insults, which can lead to long-lasting and, in some instances, permanent mental health and physical health problems. Yet it is these very people who are likely to be recruited for warfare and are active in conflict zones; specifically young men exposed to drug use and violence, who will then have the most difficulty adjusting to a life free of violence.’

EXPERTS PREDICT LUNG CANCER RISK

  1. Top of page
  2. UK ARMY ‘LOSING A BATTALION A YEAR’ TO DRUGS
  3. Reference
  4. RISE IN SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN SOMALI COMBATANTS
  5. Reference
  6. EXPERTS PREDICT LUNG CANCER RISK
  7. NOVA SCOTIA BANS SMOKING IN CARS WITH KIDS UNDER 19
  8. DECLINE IN SMOKING AND ILLICIT DRUG USE AMONG US YOUTH
  9. FINNS SEEK GUIDELINES FOR MEDICAL USE OF CANNABIS
  10. WHITEHALL ACCUSED OF DRUGS COVER-UP
  11. CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

Scientists at Liverpool University have pioneered a model which can predict the risk of a person developing lung cancer within a five-year period. Researchers at the Liverpool Lung Project (LLP) believe that about two-thirds of UK lung cancer cases could be pre-empted through a new screening programme. The LLP model distinguishes between high and low risk individuals regardless of age and smoking history, assessing those most likely to benefit from a future lung cancer screening programme, using participants' socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, medical history, family history of cancer, tobacco consumption and lifetime occupation.

John Field, professor of cancer studies at the University of Liverpool and director of the Roy Castle lung cancer research programme, stated that the risk of a smoker developing lung cancer in a five-year-period can be similar to that of a non-smoker who has other aggravating lifestyle factors such as a history of exposure to asbestos, a prior diagnosis of pneumonia or any form of cancer, or family history in a relative under 60-years old. The charity Cancer Research UK and the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine have supported the model's development.

NOVA SCOTIA BANS SMOKING IN CARS WITH KIDS UNDER 19

  1. Top of page
  2. UK ARMY ‘LOSING A BATTALION A YEAR’ TO DRUGS
  3. Reference
  4. RISE IN SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN SOMALI COMBATANTS
  5. Reference
  6. EXPERTS PREDICT LUNG CANCER RISK
  7. NOVA SCOTIA BANS SMOKING IN CARS WITH KIDS UNDER 19
  8. DECLINE IN SMOKING AND ILLICIT DRUG USE AMONG US YOUTH
  9. FINNS SEEK GUIDELINES FOR MEDICAL USE OF CANNABIS
  10. WHITEHALL ACCUSED OF DRUGS COVER-UP
  11. CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

ASH Daily News reports that Nova Scotia has become the first Canadian province to ban smoking in vehicles transporting children under the age of 19. The new law came into effect in January 2008. The penalty for infringement is a fine levied through a ticket system. Anti-smoking lobbyists hope that this measure will encourage similar laws to be adopted in provinces across the country.

The Canadian Cancer Society states that the level of second-hand smoke in vehicles can be higher than those found in smoky bars. They quote research to show that childhood exposure to second-hand smoke is linked to sudden infant death syndrome, ear infections, asthma and respiratory disease. Brian Day, president of the Canadian Medical Association, said ‘By banning smoking in cars carrying children, governments would be removing a substantial threat to the health of Canada's children.’

Link: http://tinyurl.com/2u97wt (accessed 8 January 2008)

DECLINE IN SMOKING AND ILLICIT DRUG USE AMONG US YOUTH

  1. Top of page
  2. UK ARMY ‘LOSING A BATTALION A YEAR’ TO DRUGS
  3. Reference
  4. RISE IN SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN SOMALI COMBATANTS
  5. Reference
  6. EXPERTS PREDICT LUNG CANCER RISK
  7. NOVA SCOTIA BANS SMOKING IN CARS WITH KIDS UNDER 19
  8. DECLINE IN SMOKING AND ILLICIT DRUG USE AMONG US YOUTH
  9. FINNS SEEK GUIDELINES FOR MEDICAL USE OF CANNABIS
  10. WHITEHALL ACCUSED OF DRUGS COVER-UP
  11. CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

The US Monitoring the Future survey has reported a significant decline in both smoking and illicit drug use in the past year, part of a downward trend for all measured age groups over the last decade. In addition, eighth graders showed a substantial long-term decline in past-year alcohol use, down to 31.8 per cent from a peak of 46.8 per cent in 1994. The Monitoring the Future project—now in its 33rd year—is an annual series of independent surveys of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders.

The 2007 results show that lifetime, past-month, and daily smoking rates among eighth graders have fallen in the past year. In particular, daily cigarette smoking dropped by one percentage point to 3 per cent, down from a 10.4 percent peak in 1996. Similarly, annual prevalence of cannabis use by eighth graders fell from 11.7 percent in 2006 to 10.3 percent in 2007 (compared with 18.3 per cent a decade earlier). Past-year marijuana use among 12th graders registered at 31.7 per cent (38.5 per cent in 1997). However, prescription drug abuse remained high, with no significant drop in non-medical use of most individual prescription drugs. 15.4 per cent of high school seniors reported non-medical use of at least one prescription medication within the past year. And data on binge drinking (consuming five or more drinks in a row during the last two weeks) have remained steady for all three grades.

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/91328.php (accessed 8 January 2008)

FINNS SEEK GUIDELINES FOR MEDICAL USE OF CANNABIS

  1. Top of page
  2. UK ARMY ‘LOSING A BATTALION A YEAR’ TO DRUGS
  3. Reference
  4. RISE IN SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN SOMALI COMBATANTS
  5. Reference
  6. EXPERTS PREDICT LUNG CANCER RISK
  7. NOVA SCOTIA BANS SMOKING IN CARS WITH KIDS UNDER 19
  8. DECLINE IN SMOKING AND ILLICIT DRUG USE AMONG US YOUTH
  9. FINNS SEEK GUIDELINES FOR MEDICAL USE OF CANNABIS
  10. WHITEHALL ACCUSED OF DRUGS COVER-UP
  11. CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

The Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health wants to clarify legislation so that prescribing cannabis to sufferers of chronic pain would no longer be automatically illegal. In Finland, cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes only in isolated cases, because of complicated legal issues and the sensitivity of the subject. Just over a year ago the National Agency for Medicines granted its first special permission for medical cannabis to a man suffering from chronic pain stemming from a back injury. Under the new plan, even after the changes, medical cannabis prescriptions would require the permission of the National Agency for Medicines.

Source: http://www.yle.fi/news/left/id77759.html (accessed 8 January 2008)

WHITEHALL ACCUSED OF DRUGS COVER-UP

  1. Top of page
  2. UK ARMY ‘LOSING A BATTALION A YEAR’ TO DRUGS
  3. Reference
  4. RISE IN SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN SOMALI COMBATANTS
  5. Reference
  6. EXPERTS PREDICT LUNG CANCER RISK
  7. NOVA SCOTIA BANS SMOKING IN CARS WITH KIDS UNDER 19
  8. DECLINE IN SMOKING AND ILLICIT DRUG USE AMONG US YOUTH
  9. FINNS SEEK GUIDELINES FOR MEDICAL USE OF CANNABIS
  10. WHITEHALL ACCUSED OF DRUGS COVER-UP
  11. CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

The Guardian newspaper reports that the UK Home Office has been accused of misusing its statistics on drugs in order to cover up failures in policy. The independent body responsible for providing and assessing government statistics—the Statistics Commission—has asked the Home Office to ‘carefully consider’ its handling of the figures.

In July 2007 the Home Office released a consultation paper, Drugs: Our Community, Your Say. It contained a section called ‘key facts and evidence’ in the annexe which, critics say, put a positive gloss on the government's policies. Danny Kushlick, director of the campaigning Transform Drug Policy Foundation, complained to the Statistics Commission that statistics indicating that the government had failed to achieve its targets were obscured. The chairman of the commission, Professor David Rhind, accepted many of Kushlick's points and asked the Home Office for an explanation.

‘We think that most people would expect it [the annexe to the document] to provide a balanced presentation of the relevant statistical and other evidence,’ Professor Rhind said in a letter to Sir David Normington, permanent secretary at the Home Office. Rhind added that ‘issues of public trust in official statistics’ have recently been under question in parliament. He suggested that the Home Office should ‘carefully consider’ the criticisms. A Home Office spokeswoman said they stood by the statistics ‘which are an accurate reflection of current progress with the existing drug strategy’.

CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

  1. Top of page
  2. UK ARMY ‘LOSING A BATTALION A YEAR’ TO DRUGS
  3. Reference
  4. RISE IN SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN SOMALI COMBATANTS
  5. Reference
  6. EXPERTS PREDICT LUNG CANCER RISK
  7. NOVA SCOTIA BANS SMOKING IN CARS WITH KIDS UNDER 19
  8. DECLINE IN SMOKING AND ILLICIT DRUG USE AMONG US YOUTH
  9. FINNS SEEK GUIDELINES FOR MEDICAL USE OF CANNABIS
  10. WHITEHALL ACCUSED OF DRUGS COVER-UP
  11. CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

Meeting the Needs of Diverse Populations—Hard to Reach or Easy to Ignore? 13th National Conference of the Management of Drug Users in Primary Care. 24–25 April 2008, Brighton Centre, Brighton. Contact: Healthcare Events at http://www.healthcare-events.co.uk

You're Not Listening To Me! 32nd annual conference, New Directions in the Study of Alcohol Group. 24–27 April 2008, Sarum College, Salisbury. Contact: Carol Driver tel +44 (0) 141 548 4507; email carol.driver@actiononaddiction.org.uk

A Call to Action: Successful Tobacco Control for the Future. Conference organized by Action on Smoking and Health, Wales. 28–29 April 2008, Cardiff International Arena. Contact: http://www.smoking-conference-wales.org.uk

Making Time for Treatment. 5th UK/European Symposium on Addictive Disorders. Millennium Gloucester Hotel, South Kensington, London. 8–10 May 2008. Contact: enquiries@ukesad.org; http://www.ukesad.org

Towards a Global Approach. 19th Conference of the International Harm Reduction Association, Palacio de Congresos, Fira de Barcelona, Spain. 11–15 May 2008. Contact: http://www/ihra.net/Barcelona/Home

KBS 2008. 34th Annual Alcohol Epidemiology Symposium of the Kettil Bruun Society. 2–6 June 2008, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Contact: http://www.kettilbruun.org

College on Problems of Drug Dependence. 70th Annual Meeting, the Caribe Hilton, San Juan, Puerto Rico. 14–19 June 2008. Contact: http://www.cpdd.vcu.edu

ISBRA and RSA Annual Conference. Washington DC, 27 June–03 July 2008. Contact: Debby Sharp at DebbyRSA@sbc.global.net

UKNSCC 2008. UK National Smoking Cessation Conference, Hilton Metropole, Birmingham. 30 June–1 July 2008. Contact: 2008 UKNSCC, Exchange Supplies, 1 Great Western Industrial Centre, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1RD; fax +44 (0) 1305 262255; email info@exchangesupplies.org; website http://www.exchangesupplies.org

News and Notes welcomes contributions from its readers. Send your material to Peter Miller, News and Notes Editor, Addiction, National Addiction Centre PO48, 4 Windsor Walk, London SE5 8AF. Fax +44 (0) 20 7703 5787; e-mail susan@addictionjournal.org

Conference entries should be sent to Susan Savva at susan@addictionjournal.org.

Subject to editorial review, we will be glad to print, free of charge, details of your conference or event, up to 75 words and one entry only. Please send your notification three months ahead of time and specify in which issue you would like it to appear.