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  1. Top of page
  2. TOP SECRET
  3. YURI V. FEDOTOV APPOINTED NEW UNODC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
  4. Reference
  5. MOSCOW BANS OVERNIGHT SALES OF VODKA
  6. CORONER CONFIRMS MEPHEDRONE DEATH IN NORTHERN IRELAND
  7. EXPERTS SAY THOUSANDS IN SCOTLAND ARE SUFFERING FROM ALCOHOL-RELATED BRAIN DAMAGE
  8. CHINA TOBACCO FIRMS ACCUSED OF SKIRTING TOBACCO LAWS, TARGETING CHILDREN
  9. RECORD NUMBER QUIT SMOKING WITH NHS HELP
  10. CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

Just 30 years ago a Cabinet Office think tank chaired by Lord Rothschild submitted to their political masters a report entitled ‘Alcohol Policies in the United Kingdom’. After due deliberation, the government decided against publication—by fiat a report became on the instant a non-report. Anyone attempting privately to disseminate this secret document could have faced prosecution. Come 2010 and under the 30-year rule the think tank report will be transferred to the National Archives and will be officially available for the first time for public scrutiny.

But the government's intended stifling of this report at birth did not succeed: the secrecy was breached when in 1982 the report was published in a Swedish edition and still with the ‘confidential’ imprint on every page. The details of the cloak-and-dagger exercise which resulted in this clandestine exercise are still, well, secret, but it is likely that Kettil Bruun set up an offshore publication on the basis of a copy slipped to him by a British colleague.

So what was so dangerous about this report, so great a threat to the security of the state, so corrupting of public morals, as to merit a 30-years gagging order? The gigantic evil now fully revealed to the public is that the report recommended an evidence-based approach to alcohol policy that would include an element of purposive supply side control. I remember being interviewed at that time by a member of the project staff and being impressed by the openness of their thinking—I had an excited sense of a fresh breeze blowing down Whitehall.

I suppose the lesson to be learnt from this story is surely that open government is generally preferable to secrets and stifling. But that is a conclusion of relevance to government activities very broadly, and in relation to drugs, alcohol, and tobacco without doubt. Kettil Bruun was at the time one of the most influential academics in this field but by great good fortune he was also a libertarian who held censorship in amused contempt.

YURI V. FEDOTOV APPOINTED NEW UNODC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

  1. Top of page
  2. TOP SECRET
  3. YURI V. FEDOTOV APPOINTED NEW UNODC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
  4. Reference
  5. MOSCOW BANS OVERNIGHT SALES OF VODKA
  6. CORONER CONFIRMS MEPHEDRONE DEATH IN NORTHERN IRELAND
  7. EXPERTS SAY THOUSANDS IN SCOTLAND ARE SUFFERING FROM ALCOHOL-RELATED BRAIN DAMAGE
  8. CHINA TOBACCO FIRMS ACCUSED OF SKIRTING TOBACCO LAWS, TARGETING CHILDREN
  9. RECORD NUMBER QUIT SMOKING WITH NHS HELP
  10. CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

Mr Fedotov has replaced Antonio Maria Costa, who has led the UNODC since 2002, and whose term of office concluded at the end of July 2010. Mr Fedotov is currently the Russian Federation's Ambassador to the United Kingdom and has previously served as Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, having joined the diplomatic service in 1971 after graduating from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. While Mr Fedotov is a respected diplomat, some have expressed concern that his appointment would symbolise support from the Secretary General for the Russian government's policies towards drug use and people who use drugs, and lead to their promotion through this important multilateral agency [1]. Many interest groups believe that some of Russia's policies towards drug markets and drug use are misguided and counterproductive (such as the harsh punishment of people who use drugs and the continued refusal to make available evidence-based drug dependence treatments such as opiate substitution therapy, amounts to a denial of basic human rights). Mr Fedotov faces significant challenges in the new role and it is hoped that he can encourage evidence-based and compassionate policy positions, working with other UN agencies, such as the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

MOSCOW BANS OVERNIGHT SALES OF VODKA

  1. Top of page
  2. TOP SECRET
  3. YURI V. FEDOTOV APPOINTED NEW UNODC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
  4. Reference
  5. MOSCOW BANS OVERNIGHT SALES OF VODKA
  6. CORONER CONFIRMS MEPHEDRONE DEATH IN NORTHERN IRELAND
  7. EXPERTS SAY THOUSANDS IN SCOTLAND ARE SUFFERING FROM ALCOHOL-RELATED BRAIN DAMAGE
  8. CHINA TOBACCO FIRMS ACCUSED OF SKIRTING TOBACCO LAWS, TARGETING CHILDREN
  9. RECORD NUMBER QUIT SMOKING WITH NHS HELP
  10. CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

The Guardian reports that city authorities in Moscow have announced a ban on the sale of spirits between 10pm and 10am, in the most recent of a series of measures designed to break the country's drinking habit. The average Russian drinks a litre and a half of pure alcohol every month, a habit that kills half a million people a year and is a major factor in population decline. An estimated 51% of production is on the black market, with factories running illegal night shifts and huge supplies of moonshine distilled in villages. Vodka—both legal and illegal—remains the chief killer in Russia, where it accounts for up to 70% of consumption, despite the rising popularity of beer and mixed drinks such as gin and tonic in cans.

President Dmitry Medvedev announced a war on alcohol in 2009 and ordered the government to draw up measures to discourage excessive drinking and cut off supplies of bootleg liquor. Russia has since increased excise on beer, raised the minimum price of a bottle of vodka to 89 roubles (£1.87) and announced plans to cut sales at kiosks. Legal changes to make it a criminal rather than an administrative offence to sell alcohol to minors are also in the pipeline and police are now enforcing a zero drink-drive limit.

Shops and other outlets in Moscow had been banned from selling alcohol over 15% in strength between 11pm and 8am but a legal loophole allowed them to acquire permission for 24-hour sales from district authorities. Establishments serving food are not affected.

Professor Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who has studied alcohol trends in Russia, said: ‘It will depend on enforcement but this is a good thing. The experience of the Nordic countries shows us that any measure which makes it difficult to access alcohol has a positive effect.’

However, he added: ‘What is most effective is higher excise taxes and limiting the number of outlets selling alcohol.’

Source: The Guardian, 18 August 2010:

CORONER CONFIRMS MEPHEDRONE DEATH IN NORTHERN IRELAND

  1. Top of page
  2. TOP SECRET
  3. YURI V. FEDOTOV APPOINTED NEW UNODC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
  4. Reference
  5. MOSCOW BANS OVERNIGHT SALES OF VODKA
  6. CORONER CONFIRMS MEPHEDRONE DEATH IN NORTHERN IRELAND
  7. EXPERTS SAY THOUSANDS IN SCOTLAND ARE SUFFERING FROM ALCOHOL-RELATED BRAIN DAMAGE
  8. CHINA TOBACCO FIRMS ACCUSED OF SKIRTING TOBACCO LAWS, TARGETING CHILDREN
  9. RECORD NUMBER QUIT SMOKING WITH NHS HELP
  10. CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

BBC News Northern Ireland reports that a coroner in the UK has confirmed that a 19-year-old has died from mephedrone poisoning, making him the first person in Northern Ireland confirmed to have died from taking the drug and the third in the UK. In April 2010, mephedrone was banned and reclassified as an illegal Group B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Prior to that mephedrone was sold in shops as plant food as was seen as a way to get a legal high. The drug has been linked to the deaths of a number of young people, although not definitively established as the cause of death in all cases.

Source: BBC News Northern Ireland, 19 August 2010:

EXPERTS SAY THOUSANDS IN SCOTLAND ARE SUFFERING FROM ALCOHOL-RELATED BRAIN DAMAGE

  1. Top of page
  2. TOP SECRET
  3. YURI V. FEDOTOV APPOINTED NEW UNODC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
  4. Reference
  5. MOSCOW BANS OVERNIGHT SALES OF VODKA
  6. CORONER CONFIRMS MEPHEDRONE DEATH IN NORTHERN IRELAND
  7. EXPERTS SAY THOUSANDS IN SCOTLAND ARE SUFFERING FROM ALCOHOL-RELATED BRAIN DAMAGE
  8. CHINA TOBACCO FIRMS ACCUSED OF SKIRTING TOBACCO LAWS, TARGETING CHILDREN
  9. RECORD NUMBER QUIT SMOKING WITH NHS HELP
  10. CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

The Herald (Scotland) reports that a study published by the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland (Missed Opportunities), warns that the number of people in Scotland with alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD) is increasing, and those affected are getting younger because of increasing problems with alcohol and binge drinking. The study reports that there were 538 recorded cases of alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD) in Scotland during 2007, compared with 367 in 1998. The report also found that many of those affected are misdiagnosed with dementia and have been left in care homes, rather than being offered treatment. It was also reported that many people with acute brain injury and ARBD are under 65 and are not suited to mainstream care homes, which are mostly for older people.

It was further claimed that Scotland has the highest incidence of ARBD in the western world and that the statistics do not reflect the numbers involved because ARBD is often not diagnosed.

Importantly, the condition is both preventable and treatable and with vitamin supplements, abstention from alcohol and improved diet people can continue to improve. Unfortunately, the longer it is left untreated, the more likely it is that there will be permanent damage, emphasising the need for greater awareness and investment to address this growing problem.

Source: The Herald (Scotland), 19 August 2010:

CHINA TOBACCO FIRMS ACCUSED OF SKIRTING TOBACCO LAWS, TARGETING CHILDREN

  1. Top of page
  2. TOP SECRET
  3. YURI V. FEDOTOV APPOINTED NEW UNODC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
  4. Reference
  5. MOSCOW BANS OVERNIGHT SALES OF VODKA
  6. CORONER CONFIRMS MEPHEDRONE DEATH IN NORTHERN IRELAND
  7. EXPERTS SAY THOUSANDS IN SCOTLAND ARE SUFFERING FROM ALCOHOL-RELATED BRAIN DAMAGE
  8. CHINA TOBACCO FIRMS ACCUSED OF SKIRTING TOBACCO LAWS, TARGETING CHILDREN
  9. RECORD NUMBER QUIT SMOKING WITH NHS HELP
  10. CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

According to Reuters News, health experts warn that tobacco firms in China are becoming more sophisticated in targeting women and children as potential smokers as the market in men has peaked. China is the world's largest consumer and producer of tobacco, with over 300 million smokers. Around 53% of Chinese men smoke, compared to only 3% of Chinese women. Leading tobacco control advocates have noted that although prevalence in men has peaked, tobacco companies are now targeting women and children.

Despite the massive health costs, experts say state-owned Chinese tobacco firms are skirting tobacco laws with tactics such as printing health warnings in English, rather than Chinese, and using very fine print. ‘The law mandates that the health warning should cover 30% of the face of the packaging in the front and the back,’ said Professor Yang Gonghuan, Deputy General Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. ‘But in actuality the words are very small. It's only a fine line.’ It therefore comes as no surprise that China's 1.3 billion population carries an enormous cancer burden. With one in every three cigarettes in the world smoked in China, the nation had 2.82 million new cancer cases and 1.96 million cancer deaths in 2008. Globally, there were 12.68 million new cancer cases and 7.6 million cancer deaths in 2008.

Source: Reuters News, 19 August 2010:

RECORD NUMBER QUIT SMOKING WITH NHS HELP

  1. Top of page
  2. TOP SECRET
  3. YURI V. FEDOTOV APPOINTED NEW UNODC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
  4. Reference
  5. MOSCOW BANS OVERNIGHT SALES OF VODKA
  6. CORONER CONFIRMS MEPHEDRONE DEATH IN NORTHERN IRELAND
  7. EXPERTS SAY THOUSANDS IN SCOTLAND ARE SUFFERING FROM ALCOHOL-RELATED BRAIN DAMAGE
  8. CHINA TOBACCO FIRMS ACCUSED OF SKIRTING TOBACCO LAWS, TARGETING CHILDREN
  9. RECORD NUMBER QUIT SMOKING WITH NHS HELP
  10. CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

According to the UK National Health Service (NHS) report, Statistics on Smoking: England, 2010, more people have quit smoking than ever before with the help of the NHS. Some 373 954 successfully gave up in 2009/10, an 11% rise on the 337 054 who gave up in 2008/09. The figures relate to people in England who had successfully stopped when they were followed up after four weeks. The report showed that 65% of people giving up smoking used nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), and 47% of those using it on its own were successful.

Almost a quarter (23%) used the stop-smoking drug varenicline (Champix) last year, more than did so in 2008/09. Six out of 10 of those managed to quit using the drug, which has been linked to reports of depressive side-effects. Of those who did not use any kind of drug therapy, 49% were able to quit. Total spending on NHS stop-smoking services was almost £84 million last year, up £10 million from 2008/09. The cost per quitter was £224, an increase of 3% from the previous year.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘Smoking is the biggest preventable cause of death in England. NHS doctors, nurses and health professionals in local stop-smoking services are dedicated to tackling smoking—it's because of their excellent work that more people than ever have successfully quit. Over 50 years, we have halved the proportion of adults who smoked. But some other countries have lower smoking prevalence than this, so we should go further and reduce the number who smoke.’

Source: The Independent, 19 August 2010:

CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

  1. Top of page
  2. TOP SECRET
  3. YURI V. FEDOTOV APPOINTED NEW UNODC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
  4. Reference
  5. MOSCOW BANS OVERNIGHT SALES OF VODKA
  6. CORONER CONFIRMS MEPHEDRONE DEATH IN NORTHERN IRELAND
  7. EXPERTS SAY THOUSANDS IN SCOTLAND ARE SUFFERING FROM ALCOHOL-RELATED BRAIN DAMAGE
  8. CHINA TOBACCO FIRMS ACCUSED OF SKIRTING TOBACCO LAWS, TARGETING CHILDREN
  9. RECORD NUMBER QUIT SMOKING WITH NHS HELP
  10. CONFERENCES AND EVENTS

53rd International Council on Alcohol and Addictions (ICAA) Conference on Dependencies, 2–6 November 2010, Cancún, Mexico. Website: http://www.icaa.ch/mexico2010.html

Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA) 34th Annual National Conference, 4–6 November 2010, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. Website: http://www.amersa.org, or contact Doreen Baeder at doreen@amersa.org

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Exposition, 6–10 November 2010, Denver, Colorado, USA. Website: http://www.apha.org/meetings/

Society for the Study of Addiction Annual Symposium, 11–12 November 2010, Park Inn, York, UK. Themes: ‘Dissemination and implementation of addiction research’ and ‘Addictions and commonly co-existing problems’. Society Lecture by Sally Casswell. Delegate abstracts for oral and poster presentations now welcome. Website: http://www.addiction-ssa.org/ssa_10.htm

Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, 13–17 November, San Diego, California, USA. Website: http://www.sfn.org/am2010/

Kettil Bruun Society Thematic Meeting: Social and Epidemiological Research on Alcohol, 15–18 November 2010, Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala, Uganda. Website: http://musph.com/kbsthematic2010/

8th National Harm Reduction Conference: Harm Reduction beyond Borders, 18–21 November 2010, Austin, Texas, USA. Website: http://www.8thnationalharmreductionconference.com/

Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD) Annual Conference, 28 November—1 December 2010, Canberra, Australia. Website: http://www.apsadconference.com.au/

American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry 21st Annual Meeting and Symposium, 2–5 December 2010, Boca Raton Resort & Club, Boca Raton, FL, USA. Website: http://www2.aaap.org/announcements/aaap-21st-annual-meeting-and-symposium

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: http://www.silvergategroup.com/ap15/index.htm

Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) Annual Meeting, 16–19 February 2011, Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto, Canada. Website: http://www.srnt.org/conferences/index.cfm

European Conference on Tobacco or Health, 28–30 March 2011, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Website: http://www.ectoh.org/

International Harm Reduction Association's 22nd International Conference, 3–7 April 2011, Habtoor Grand Hotel, Beirut, Lebanon. Website: http://www.ihra.net/conference

American Society of Addiction Medicine's 42cd Annual Medical-Scientific Conference, 14–17 April 2011, Washington DC, USA. Website: http://www.asam.org/AnnualMeeting.html

Australian Drug Foundation's 6th International Drugs and Young People Conference, 2–4 May 2011, Melbourne Convention Centre, Melbourne, Australia. Website: http://www.adf.org.au

College on Problems of Drug Dependence 73rd Annual Meeting, 18–23 June 2011, Westin Diplomat, Hollywood, Florida, USA. Website: http://www.cpdd.vcu.edu/

34th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism, 25–29 June 2011, Atlanta Georgia, USA. Website: http://www.rsoa.org/2011meet-Futures.htm

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