News and Notes


  • Peter Miller,

  • Molly Jarvis


Two former editors of addiction journals have been chosen for roles in US drug policy. On April 10, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated A. Thomas McLellan, PhD of the Treatment Research Institute and the University of Pennsylvania and former Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, to be Deputy Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Keith Humphreys, PhD, of Stanford University and the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and former Assistant Editor for Addiction, has also joined the ONDCP as Senior Policy Advisor. Addiction congratulates our colleagues on their appointments and wishes them every success during their time in Washington.


Robert L. Balster, PhD, the Luther A. Butler Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Research Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, and Director of the Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies at the Virginia Commonwealth University has been selected to receive the Nathan B. Eddy Memorial Award for outstanding research that has advanced knowledge in the field of addiction research and treatment.

Balster is the Editor-in-Chief of Drug and Alcohol Dependence and President-Elect of the International Society of Addiction Journal Editors. The principal areas of Balster's research include behavioural pharmacology, drug abuse potential assessment, inhalant abuse and regulatory policy. The award was presented at the 71st Scientific Meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. The Nathan B. Eddy Memorial Award was established in memory of one of the pioneers in the field of drug dependence following his death in 1973.


China Daily reports that a five-year program, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will provide seven Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Luoyang and Qingdao, with funds to implement anti-smoking policies. Most of the cities that have joined the campaign already have smoking bans in place, but ‘hope to tighten controls and raise awareness’ about the harmful effects of smoking. As the world's largest cigarette market, with annual sales of 2 trillion cigarettes, China has more than 350 million smokers, about a third of the world's smokers.

Li Aihong, an official with the Luoyang disease prevention and control centre, said her research found that 80% of people in her city are ‘forced to inhale second-hand smoke in their own homes’. ‘As most families now have only one child, we want to start with newlyweds, pregnant women and new mothers to urge their husbands not to light up at home for the sake of the baby,’ she said.

Shanghai hopes to use the program to achieve its target of becoming a ‘tobacco free’ city ahead of the World Expo next year. Vice mayor, Shen Xiaoming, said they expect the program to help ‘create a tobacco-free environment for the people’ of Shanghai. Between June and September, experts from the US-based Emory University and ThinkTank Research Center for Health Development in Beijing will help the seven cities appraise their current tobacco control measures, and help them outline targets for the future. Each city will have access to $100,000 a year, provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. At the end of next June, the performance of each city will be evaluated to determine if the program should continue.

‘What is the most important (for the success of the program) is the political will,’ said Jeffrey P Koplan, director of the Emory Global Health Institute. The seven cities have been picked from a pool of 34 cities and the program is expected to expand to more regions next year, said Wang Ke'an, director of ThinkTank Research Center for Health Development.

Source: China Daily, 24 June 2009


US President Barack Obama has signed into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, giving the Food and Drug Administration power to control the manufacturing, marketing and advertising of tobacco products. The rules include: bans on candy and fruit-flavoured cigarettes that appeal to children, giveaways of non tobacco items with the purchase of tobacco products, and on outdoor tobacco adverts within 1000 feet of schools and playgrounds; requiring tobacco companies to disclose all ingredients and additives, including the poisons and carcinogens in their products; larger and more effective warning labels on tobacco products which will cover 50% of the packaging and graphic warning labels on cigarette packs. The bill also imposes new limits on magazine advertising, one of the last outposts of tobacco advertising. Last year, tobacco companies spent $78.4 million on adverts in the U.S., with $69.3 million of that in magazines. The advertising industry opposed the legislation, arguing that it violates free speech.

Source: Wall Street Journal, 18 June 2009


The Financial Times reported in May on a 30% levy on alcohol in Botswana, imposed by the president and former head of military Ian Khama. The levy was originally announced in July 2008, and was postponed and reduced to 30% from 70% after intensive lobbying from the multinational brewery SAB Miller. With annual beer consumption per head in Botswana at 38 litres, more than four times the African average, Khama said that he intended the levy to have a positive impact on public health, and spoke about the links between alcohol and rape, domestic violence and road accidents. The levy took effect on 1 November 2008 and SAB Miller marked up its products by 30%, later raising the price yet again to account for inflation. Within weeks, sales of western-style clear beer had fallen by a quarter, and traditional beer was down 12 %. The levy follows recommendations from the WHO's African committee to governments to restrict alcohol sales and raise taxes.

Source: Financial Times, 15 May 2009


Alcohol-related deaths, heavy drinking episodes and drunk driving have all been on the rise on US college campuses over the past decade, a new government study shows [1]. Using figures from government databases and national surveys on alcohol use, researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) found that drinking-related accidental deaths among 18- to 24-year-old students have been creeping upward—from 1,440 in 1998 to 1,825 in 2005. At the same time, the proportion of students who reported recent heavy episodic drinking rose from roughly 42% to 45%, and the proportion who admitted to drinking and driving in the past year increased from 26.5% to 29%.



Medical News Today reports that Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners, Inc. announced top-line results from its US Phase II clinical trial to treat cocaine addiction. The data from the trial showed that CPP-109 (vigabatrin) did not demonstrate statistical significance in the primary endpoint—that a significantly larger proportion of CPP-109-treated subjects than placebo-treated subjects were cocaine-free during the last two weeks of the treatment period (Weeks 11 and 12). The clinical trial did not reveal any unexpected ‘serious’ adverse events.



The German on-line medical publication Deutsches Ärzteblatt has reported that a law has been passed authorising the use of diamorphine as a standard treatment in Germany for severely dependent opiate users. This follows a year long debate in the Bundestag. The law incorporates treatment with synthetic heroin – diamorphine – as part of standard authorised health care insurance. In future under the approved law diamorphine will no longer be classified as an illegal drug but rather becomes an approved prescribable medication. Treatment with the synthetic heroin is required to be available only for severely dependent opiate addicts who have not responded to existing methods such as methadone substitution. There is a requirement that patients be at least 23 to be eligible for consideration, have been addicted for at least five years and already have experienced two unsuccessful therapies.

In addition, facilities for diamorphine treatment under the approved law will be restricted: designated personnel must satisfy standards, authorities must submit security plans, delivery of drugs will go directly from the manufacturer to the treating facility, and local dispensing may be undertaken only by medical practitioners with qualifications in addiction medicine.

Source: translation from, Friday 29 May 2009


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Iggy writes: -

I am aware that readers of Addiction may experience withdrawal symptoms if too many months go by without the publication of a contribution to my column. Never fear, I am ceaselessly questing the world of addictions for topics worthy of your esteemed attention. And I can assure you that there is here no shortage of follies, fallacies, and duplicities, of a kind to have you rocking with merriment.

On this occasion it's a politico who is the jokester. I have just downloaded a message from the UK Department of Health (DOH) [1]. The DOH tells us that it is conducting an online consultation ‘on our proposals to reduce alcohol-related crime and lower the cost of alcohol-related health problems’. They go on to outline a ‘mandatory code of practise for pubs’ and a similar code for retailers. They suggest new measures for proof of age, and would like to see bar staff checking for weapons.

With these largely inconsequential proposals entered there then comes the joke. Wait for it, who said that New Labour had no sense of humour?

Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said that the proposed new rules were not designed to stop the ‘vast majority of people who enjoy drink responsibly from doing so. We have decided not to introduce a minimum unit price, as it would unfairly punish the sensible majority of responsible drinkers’.

Can you believe it? An alcohol policy designed to ‘lower the cost of alcohol-related health problems’, but entirely unwilling to address the issue of cost of alcohol, and with the blatant rejection of advice on this issue given by the government's own Chief Medical Officer [2]. Laughter or tears, the government mouthing liquor speak, no shortage as yet of material for my column.



Alcohol Consumption in Pregnancy: Time to Talk, 9 September 2009, St. Anne's College, Oxford, UK. Organised by Oxford Brookes University School of Health and Social Care. Website: Contact: Ethel Burns, or Dawn Gilkes,

International Society of Addiction Journal Editors (ISAJE) Annual Meeting, 24-27 September 2009, Hotel Riviera & Maximilian's, Trieste, Italy. Website:

International Society of Addiction Medicine Annual Meeting, 26-30 September 2009, Calgary, Canada. Website:

International Nurses Society on Addictions (IntNSA) Annual Education Conference—Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment: Working with the Criminal Justice Systems, 30 September – 3 October 2009, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. Website:

The Fifth European Association of Addiction Therapy Conference, 5-7 October 2009, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Website

European Science Foundation-Linköping University Conference on The changing use and misuse of Catha Edulis (khat) in a changing world: tradition, trade and tragedy, 5-9 October 2009, Scandic Linköping Väst Hotel, Linköping, Sweden. Website:

6th Annual Conference of the International Network on Brief Interventions for Alcohol Problems (INEBRIA): Breaking New Ground. Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle/Gateshead, 7-9 October, 2009. Website:

Shaping the Future – A Multisectorial Challenge: 52nd International Council on Alcohol and Addictions (ICAA) Conference on Dependencies, 11 – 16 October 2009, Estoril, Portugal. Website:

UK National Conference on Injecting Drug Use, 26–27 October 2009, The Radisson Hotel, Glasgow, Scotland. Website:

Living on the Edge: Australian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD) annual conference, 1-4 November 2009, Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin, Australia. Website:

33rd Annual Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (Amersa) National Conference, 5-7 November 2009, DoubleTree Hotel, Betheseda, MD, USA. Website: or contact Doreen MacLane-Baeder, email:

1st Asia Pacific Behavioural & Addiction Medicine Conference: TheArt &Science of Behavioural Change, 5-7 November 2009, Singapore. Website

Reform 2009: The International Drug Policy Reform Conference, 11-14 November 2009, Albuquerque Convention Center, USA. Organised by the Drug Policy Alliance. Website

Society for the Study of Addiction Annual Symposium, 12-13 November 2009, Park Inn, York, UK. Theme: treatment policy; sub-themes: service-user involvement, young people and families, what does the Alcohol Education and Research Council do? Submissions for delegates' posts and oral presentations are welcome, any addictions subject considered. Further details and application forms on the website

American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry 20th Annual Meeting & Symposium, 3-6 December 2009, Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, Los Angeles, California. Website

Kettil Bruun Society thematic meeting: Episodic heavy drinking amongst adolescents, 10-12 December 2009, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Website: Contact: Jacqueline Berns,

12th International Conference on Treatment of Addictive Behaviors (ICTAB-12), 7-10 February 2010, Santa Fe, New Mexico (USA). Contact: Website:

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 7848 5966; e-mail

Conference entries should be sent to Molly Jarvis at 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 before you wish the entry to appear.