News and Notes

Compiled by Peter Miller, Jean O'Reilly and Molly Jarvis


It is with great pleasure that we welcome the appointments of Dr Roger Meyer and Dr Nancy Petry as Addiction's first Deputy Commissioning Editors.

Dr Meyer has served Addiction as an Assistant Editor since 1998 and is a Partner and CEO of Best Practice Project Management, Inc. He is a 1962 graduate of Harvard Medical School, served at the Center for Studies of Narcotics and Drug Abuse, and later formed the NIDA-funded Center for the Study of Opiate Addiction in Boston. Dr. Meyer was Professor and Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, developing the NIAAA-funded Alcohol Research Center (1978–1993). In addition to his position with Best Practice, Dr Meyer is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr Petry has served Addiction as an Assistant Editor since 2002 and is Professor and Director of the Behavioral Cardiovascular Prevention, Calhoun Cardiology Center, Department of Medicine, Farmington, Connecticut, as well as Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry. She conducts research on behavioral treatments for a range of addictive disorders and has research interests related to impulsivity. Her work is funded by NIDA, NIMH, and NIAAA. Dr Petry serves as a consultant and advisor for the National Institute of Health, and she is on the editorial boards of seven academic journals.

We welcome both Dr Petry and Dr Meyer to the commissioning team and would particularly like to thank our many esteemed colleagues who expressed interest in the post.


Scottish MPs have passed the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services Bill, which will end the open display of tobacco in shops, ban cigarette vending machines and introduce a registration scheme for retailers. Anti-smoking body ASH Scotland backed the government's position that the move would reduce the 15 000 youngsters in Scotland who started smoking every year. Predictably, spokespeople for shopkeepers and manufacturers said the measures were unjustified and costly to small retailers. Large retailers have until 2011 to implement the ban, while smaller shops have been given a 2013 deadline.

Source: BBC News, 27 January 2010


Manchester Council has come out in support of a report to the government that recommends taxing tobacco giants and giving revenues to local authorities to help them keep their streets clean. The report, entitled Waste Strategy for England 2007 and prepared by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, includes calls on the government to ‘assess the practicalities of applying a small “clean-up” levy to products, including smoking materials, drinks and confectionary including chewing gum, which, together with their packaging, contribute the largest volumes of litter.’ Manchester Council spends an estimated £1.5m per year to rid its streets of cigarette litter.

Source: Manchester Evening News, 26 January 2010

Waste Strategy for England 2007 is available at:


The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has unveiled a series of new teaching tools for medical doctors through its Centers of Excellence for Physician Information Program (NIDA CoEs). The new curriculum resources provide information on substance abuse, addiction and its consequences to help meet the educational needs of medical students, residents and medical school faculty.

The first wave of CoE offerings follow three main themes: the importance of communication in the doctor-patient relationship; the recognition that substance abuse may play an integral role in many disorders; and physicians' abilities to identify substance abuse in their patients and reduce their risk of developing substance use disorders.

More information on the NIDA CoE resources can be found at:


Figures from the makers of gaming machines show Australia in the top 10 international gambling centres, with one poker machine for every 110 people and 186 344 gaming machines in pubs, clubs and hotels across the country. First place went to Monaco, which has one machine for every 16 people. While Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said he hates ‘pokies’ and the damage they do to families, and wants to come down hard on problem gambling, he faces fierce opposition from the states and territories and the powerful gaming industry. State governments in Australia are the largest single beneficiaries from the gaming industry and have shown little inclination to reduce revenues gained from problem gamblers throughout the current inquiry being held by the Australian Productivity Commission. The Commission has recently proposed cutting cash payments to $250 from the present $2000 limit, banning ATMs from all venues and increasing the present shutdown limit for poker machines from six hours a day in a bid to fix problem gambling.

Source: Stephanie Peatling, One pokie for every 110 of us. The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 January 2010.


The British Columbia Court of Appeal in Canada has upheld a lower court ruling from 2009 that granted InSite, a supervised injection facility, an ongoing exemption from certain provisions of Canada's drug laws prohibiting possession and trafficking of controlled substances. The Court declared those provisions of Canada's law constitutionally invalid insofar as they apply to the users and site operators of Insite. Since taking power, the conservative government has tried to close the centre, despite strong community support and a substantial body of evidence supporting its effectiveness. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said he strongly supports the ruling and the continued operation of InSite to improve the lives of drug addicts. Former Vancouver mayor Philip Owen also praised the ruling and predicted similar safe-injection sites will appear in other Canadian cities. The federal government has announced it will appeal the BC Court of Appeal's 2-1 ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Source: Vancouver Sun, 15 January 2010


Human Rights Watch has released a report, ‘Where Darkness Knows No Limits’, that documents how China's June 2008 Anti-Drug Law compounds the health risks of suspected illicit drug users by allowing Chinese authorities to incarcerate them for up to seven years with no access to effective drug dependency treatment. The report, based on research in the Yunnan and Guangxi provinces, documents how some detainees are routinely beaten and forced to work up to 18 hours a day without pay. Half a million people are confined within compulsory drug detention centres in China at any given time, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

Human Rights Watch did identify some progress however, stating that over the past decade the Chinese government has promoted some harm reduction strategies in response to high rates of drug use and HIV/AIDS, including community-based methadone therapy and needle exchange programs. In March 2009 a high-ranking government official stated, ‘The Chinese Government maintains that drug treatment and rehabilitation should proceed in a people-oriented way’.

Source: International Drug Policy Consortium:

Report available at:


A new book published by the Beckley Foundation and Oxford University Press points to the comprehensive failure of cannabis prohibition policies and calls for a new approach to cannabis policy. Researched and written by a group of the world's leading drug policy analysts, Cannabis Policy: Moving beyond Stalemate gives an overview of the latest scientific evidence surrounding cannabis and calls for an evidence-based approach to policy that seeks to minimize the harms associated with use of that drug. It explores four possible routes of change, including depenalisation, decriminalization, partial legality, and a regulated market. It also describes how countries can legally overcome the restrictions of current international conventions and provides a new Draft Framework Convention on Cannabis Control.

A crucial conclusion of the book is that there appears to be no apparent link between cannabis policy—whether draconian or liberal—and prevalence of use. Thus, liberal approaches may be preferable, as they minimise the adverse consequences arising from the law and its enforcement.

Source: The Beckley Foundation Press,


The British Medical Journal reports that drinks companies and their advertising agencies tried to persuade the UK House of Commons Health Select Committee to keep under wraps many of the internal documents setting out their marketing strategies [1]. The industry representatives argued that many of the documents handed over to the committee as part of its recent inquiry into alcohol were confidential and commercially sensitive. But after a brief delay to allow the companies to make their representations, the committee decided to give the go-ahead for publication of the paper analysing the documents, which it commissioned from Gerard Hastings and colleagues at the Institute for Social Marketing at Stirling University [2]. The paper suggests that the UK's self regulatory code for alcohol advertising is not working and drew predictable backlash from industry groups such as the Portman Group. In the same issue, the BMJ ran an exposé on the Portman Group and discussed drinks industry tactics that try to influence policy more broadly [3,4].


Addiction's Editor-in-Chief Robert West has been elected as President of the SRNT. He will serve as President-Elect during 2010, then serve as President in 2011 and finish with a year as Past-President. This will provide a great opportunity to forge closer links and explore symbiosis between the Society for the Study of Addiction and the SRNT and between Addiction and the SRNT's journal, Nicotine and Tobacco Research.


Society of Behavioural Medicine 31st Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions, 7–10 April 2010, Seattle Sheraton, Seattle, Washington, USA. Website:

American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) 41st Annual Medical-Scientific Conference, 15–18 April 2010, San Francisco, California, USA. Website:

The Royal College of General Practitioners 15th National Conference: Working with Drug and Alcohol Users in Primary Care, 22–23 April 2010, SECC, Glasgow, UK. Website:

Harm Reduction 2010: IHRA's 21st International Conference, 25–29 April 2010, Liverpool, England. Website:

32nd Annual Substance Abuse Librarians & Information Specialists (SALIS) Conference, 27–30 April 2010, New York City, New York, USA. Website:

National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers Annual Conference, 22–25 May 2010, La Cantera Resort, San Antonio, Texas, USA. Website:

The American Psychiatric Association's 2010 Annual Meeting, 22–26 May 2010, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Website:

Association for Psychological Science 22cd Annual Convention, 27-10 May 2010, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Website:

36th Annual Alcohol Epidemiology Symposium of the Kettil Bruun Society, 31 May–4 June 2010, Lausanne, Switzerland. Website:

The Society for Prevention Research (SPR) 18th Annual Meeting: Cells to Society: Prevention at All Levels, 1–4 June 2010, Denver, Colorado, USA. The International Program and the Prevention Research Branch of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) will host the 3rd Annual NIDA International SPR Poster Session at this event. Website:

Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum (CINP) 2010 World Congress, 6–10 June 2010, Hong Kong, China. Website:

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) International Forum: Drug Policy, Research, and the Public Good, 11–15 June 2010, Fairmont Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. Website:

The College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) 72cd Annual Meeting, 12–17 June 2010, The Fairmont Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. Website:

2010 UK National Smoking Cessation Conference, 14–15 June 2010, Radisson Hotel, Glasgow, Scotland. Website:

Inaugural National Indigenous Drug & Alcohol Conference (NIDAC 2010), 16–18 June 2010, Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, South Australia. Website:

4th European Alcohol Policy Conference, 16–18 June 2010, Brussels, Belgium. Website:

The International Narcotics Research Conference, 11–16 July 2010, Hilton Hotel, Malmö, Sweden. Website:

The International AIDS Society's 18th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010), 18–23 July 2010, Vienna, Austria. Website:

Translational Research in Methamphetamine Addiction Conference, 19–21 July 2010, Chico Hot Springs and Day Spa, Pray, Montana. Website:

The 20th Annual Symposium of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, 24–27 July 2010, Scandic Star, Lund, Sweden. Website:

International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism (ISBRA) 2010 Congress, 13–16 September 2010, Paris, France. Website:

International Society of Addiction Journal Editors (ISAJE) Annual Meeting, 30 September–3 October 2010, Hotel Josef, Prague, Czech Republic

The International Society of Addiction Medicine 12th Annual Meeting, 4–7 October 2010, University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy. Website:

Congrès International Francophone d'Addictologie—Prévenir et Traiter les Addictions Sans Drogue : Un Defi Societal, 6–8 October 2010, Nantes Cité Internationale des Congrès, Nantes, France. Website:

The American Association of for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence National Conference, 23–27 October 2010, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Website:

Addictions 2010. The New Frontier in Addiction Treatment: Evidence-Based Policy and Practice, 28–31 October 2010, Sheraton National, Arlington, VA, USA. Website:

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Exposition, 6–10 November 2010, Denver, Colorado, USA. Website:

53rd International Council on Alcohol and Addictions (ICAA) Conference on Dependencies, 7–12 November 2010, Cancún, Mexico. Website:

Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, 13–17 November, San Diego, California, USA. Website:

Alcohol Policy Conference Series #15: Policies for Reducing Problems Associated with Alcohol Availability. 5–7 December 2010, Washington Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, DC, USA. A thematic meeting of the Kettil Bruun Society, organized by the Silver Gate Group. 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 Jean O'Reilly 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.