LIFEalerts – Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse

USA – UN World Drug Report: Ban Marijuana Advertising & THC potency caps

Earlier this month (June) the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released the latest edition of the annual World Drug Report, which highlighted the fact that while use of marijuana among young people has increased to levels not seen since the early nineties, the perception of harm from use among the same demographic is at a historic low. The report also called for a global ban on marijuana advertising and the implementation of a cap on THC potency in marijuana products where the marijuana industry has expanded. According to the report, “a comprehensive ban on advertising, promoting, and sponsoring marijuana would ensure that public health interests prevail over business interests… The measures could work in a way similar to the provisions of The Who Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.” More

Europe – Aims for alcohol- and tobacco-free Europe

The European Commission plans to contemplate a tobacco free generation by 2040 with stricter regulation of e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products, as well as increasing taxes on alcohol, curbing its promotion, and restricting sales. Since 90% of lung cancers can be avoided without tobacco use, the Commission is aiming to have fewer than 5% of EU citizens using tobacco in 20 years. The EU particularly aims to protect young people from taking up smoking. Alcohol, which accounts for more than 15% of cancer-attributable deaths in men and 30% in women, the Commission proposed to stop stimulating consumption of alcohol via the EU promotion programme for agricultural products. More

South Africa – School study shows concerning HPV prevalence

A new study, done by the National Health Laboratory Services and Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital, in two Eastern Cape schools shows more than three-quarters of teenage girls were found to have the human papillomavirus (HPV). According to the study, published in the PLOS One, young girls who consumed alcohol were almost three times more likely to have HPV infections compared with their non-drinking counterparts. The current prevalence was higher than the 68% HPV prevalence among HIV-negative young women (aged 16- 24) in the Western Cape, and the 65% reported in Gauteng. Research was conducted only in two communities, which do not represent the population of the Eastern Cape, “and cannot be generalised”. More

USA – Olympic trials suspend champion for traces of THC

Earlier this July, track and field made front-page news everywhere when U.S. 100m champion Sha’Carri Richardson was given a 30-day suspension after testing positive for THC, a substance found in marijuana, at the U.S. Olympic trials. The length of her suspension meant that Richardson, a gold medal favourite in Tokyo, would miss the Olympic Games. Fans everywhere were outraged, and several voices in the track and field world demanded to know why the drug, which is now legal in several countries and states, is still on the banned list.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) published a paper in the journal Sports Medicine explaining that  marijuana 1) poses a health risk to athletes. 2) has the potential to enhance performance. 3) Violates the “spirit of sport”. When athletes use cannabis in competition, they potentially endanger themselves and others because of increased risk-taking, slower reaction times and poor executive function or decision-making. Use of illicit drugs that are harmful to health and that may have performance-enhancing properties is not consistent with the athlete as a role model for young people around the world. More

Mozambique – Government seeks to remove Cannabis Energy Drink

Although the energy drink called Cannabis Energy Drink contains no marijuana and has no hallucinogenic properties, Mozambique’s tax authorities want the drink removed from the Mozambican market. Officials are concerned it would encourage the consumption of illegal narcotics in the country. The energy drink has an image of a Cannabis sativa leaf, which allegedly violates the country’s anti-drug legislation. It is not clear where ‘Cannabis Energy Drink’ is produced, although its official website lists the Netherlands as the host country. Anyone who understands marketing techniques will realize that the concern of these officials are not baseless at all and that the mere name and image of marijuana on the energy drink certainly does have the effect of normalising and encouraging a particular idea and would spark curiosity. More

USA – New App designed to help recovering addicts manage triggers

Rimrock Foundaiton and Substance Abuse Connect Coalition in Billings, along with New Jersey-based behavioral science tech company, GoMo Health, have seen good anecdotal results after utilizing a text messaging app designed to interrupt relapse behavior in people with substance use disorders. The app provides support services available 24hours seven days a week so that such people do not have to deal with those triggers alone. The program is called recovery pathways and is a response initiative to help with the out of control substance use within communities. More

USA – New research shows correlation between drug use and increased violence

Specialists in Central Illinois share there is a correlation between substance abuse and the increase in violence. Whether it is selling the substance, using a substance and money has been driving factors. It’s a trend being seen across the united states. Studies show that drug use is strongly linked to gun violence, especially when illegal drug sales are involved. “When we think about people who use substances, they’re impulsive, they’re not in the right mind,” Outpatient Clinical Supervisor for The Gateway Foundation’s Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center, Mercedes Kent said. 90% of individuals who take their own life meet the criteria for one or more diagnosable conditions, including substance abuse according to studies done on suicide and prevention. More