New psychoactive substances – mephedrone and violence

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Writing in Addiction Today, Prof Oscar D’Agnone cautions against buying in too much to how ‘legal highs’ are marketed. Even the more accepted term – new psychoactive substances (NPS) – is not really hitting the nail on the head, since the drugs are not all ‘new’ and many of the ‘new’ ones are very closely […]

Legal highs – not for human consumption

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Legal highs in Lothian The UK has the largest market for new psychoactive substances (NSP or “legal highs”) in Europe. Scotland is no stranger to them and, as a seminar in Edinburgh heard last week, the Lothian area is seeing a surge in demand, some worrying trends in injecting and significant new presentations due to problems […]

Tramadol Abuse

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Drug treatment used to seem so simple. Clients had a drug of choice, lets say alcohol, heroin or cocaine, and they came to treatment for help for that drug. Now they have a drug of choice AND whatever medication they are being prescribed. Treatment is suddenly so much more complicated. Those drugs are things like pregabalin, […]

New Psychoactive Substances in Scotland – Etizolam

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Benzodiazepines (benzos) and opioids seem to go together like fish and chips. Many drug users purchase prescription diazepam (valium, ‘vallies’). Some are on a prescription (despite lack of evidence for effectiveness of long term prescribing and some concerns about a link with increased mortality). Some purchase ‘street’ benzos which can contain other things including amitryptyline which is […]

Tramadol Abuse – death toll rising

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Drug treatment used to seem so simple. Clients had a drug of choice, lets say alcohol, heroin or cocaine, and they came to treatment for help for that drug. Now they have a drug of choice AND whatever medication they are being prescribed. Treatment is suddenly so much more complicated. Those drugs are things like pregabalin, […]

Alcohol related brain damage – mostly hidden

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Alcohol’s not good for the brain. At least too much of it for too long is not good for the brain. Effects can range from mild memory impairment through trouble with judgement and decision making through to permanent dementia. The British Medical Journal covers a recent report on the subject and it makes for alarming reading: Between […]

The British red face – the UK and drugs

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The publication of the European Drug Report last week, covered by Vice, highlighted that Europe likes drugs – but also that the UK is up there again and again near the top of the league for consumption. I guess it’s because we keep our own drug figures in Scotland, but the boffins at the snappily titled […]

Anabolic steroids – ignorance is not bliss

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Anabolic steroids are used to enhance body image. I took a look at this recently. Their use is fairly common in gyms. A study of almost 800 gay men attending gyms in London found that one in seven had used steroids in the last year and almost 12% had injected. All reported side effects including […]

Anabolic steroids – bulking up for what?

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Anabolic steroids are popular and their use is on the up in the UK. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) reckons that 60,000 adults in England & Wales have used them. We could probably add another 6,000 from Scotland to that and even then that is beginning to look conservative if we go by […]

Chasing sexual pleasure – ‘chemsex’ and its risks

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More on ‘chemsex’ and its risks from a  public health warning put out by European experts. The practice of injecting stimulants (mostly novel psychoactive substances in the cathinone group) prior to sex parties where high risk behaviour takes place is causing concern for Europe’s drug agency. Keeping track of these ‘legal highs’ is tough. Says the Guardian […]