Deaths involving legal highs in Scotland

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Just published (online) in the International Journal of Drugs Policy – some well known researchers behind this: Mortality related to Novel Psychoactive Substances in Scotland, 2012: an exploratory study Abstract Background The growth of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) over the last decade, both in terms of availability and consumption, is of increasing public health concern. Despite recent increases […]

A comprehensive look at stigma

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Bill White takes a comprehensive look at stigma and how it is best tackled in addicted and recovering people in a blog post. He touches on the argument that stigma can be a good thing (acting as a deterrent to others to try drugs) and finds it wanting. He looks at the evidence that stigma […]

Pain needs painkillers – right?

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Overprescribing of opioid painkillers has caused harm to many people. Problems include addiction, loss of social functioning and increasingly, though still relatively uncommonly in the UK, to death. Concerns have been raised about deaths associated with tramadol in particular. I’ve written before about the lack of evidence of effectiveness for opiates in chronic pain, but it […]

Spice, Kryptonite, Black Mamba – legal high marketing

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That the market for ‘legal highs’, or more accurately, new psychoactive substances (NPS) has grown there is no doubt. What’s also growing, in terms of sophistication and technique, is the marketing of these products. With NPS, things are changing so fast that the research is well behind what’s happening in real time. Business is way […]

Drug deaths – what’s changing?

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One thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven people died from drug-related causes in England and Wales last year. That’s a 21% jump with a significant rise in deaths related to heroin and morphine. The data for Scotland, released last month, showed a 9% drop compared to 2012, though this was still the fifth highest on record. What’s […]

Stigma – a good thing?

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Stigma discredits individuals and groups, reducing social status and creating ‘spoiled identities’, says Goffman. It’s not a good thing. But hang on a minute – might it have a positive function? Could it actually help in terms of public health? Help by changing behaviour through societal pressure. If so, that would be a good thing, […]

Help crush stigma – take the survey!

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Stigma is the theme this week on Recovery Review. At least it looks like it is turning out that way. Here’s a call to action and even though it looks slightly parochial (England only? Really? Have you jettisoned Scotland already?) I’m still going to be a good UK citizen (for the moment at least) and […]

Raise taxes and build rehabs?

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A report by a centre-right ‘think tank’ will advocate taxing units of alcohol to pay for a vast expansion of rehabs in the UK. The press release from the Centre for Social Justice doesn’t pull its punches:  “Almost 50,000 heroin addicts have been ‘parked’ on state-supplied methadone for more than four years” “Addicts who continually refuse […]

Time to deal with ‘junkies, alkies and smackheads’

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A few years back, I complained to a newspaper over a headline referring to someone as a ‘junkie’. I said it was pejorative. The newspaper didn’t feel there was a case to answer. A friend wrote to the Press Complaints Commission who said the complainant had to be the person that the headline was about – effectively […]

Drug deaths down, but ‘legal highs’ up

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Drug-related deaths decrease by nine per cent. The number of drug-related deaths in Scotland decreased by nine per cent last year. Statistics published today from the National Records of Scotland also show that drug deaths among the under 25s are now the lowest since records began. The main findings include: 526 drug-related deaths were registered […]