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  • Australian drug policy: harm reduction and ‘new recovery’

    Posted on April 18th, 2012 TimB No comments

    The concept of “recovery” within alcohol and other drug treatment is far from new, and features in the demand reduction section of the Australian National Drugs Strategy.

    Recent ‘recovery-oriented systems of care’ is a US-born concept that is shaping drug treatment policy in the United Kingdom, and is now in the early stages of being promoted in Australia. Leading proponents of the new recovery rhetoric do not claim it has a strong evidence base at the systems level.

    Resourced properly, new recovery could build upon harm minimisation and harm reduction programs that have been so successful in Australia. Such programs have managed to control the spread of disease and have opened up opportunities for treatment, thus making a positive contribution to public health promotion in this country.

    Recovery systems most prominently promoted in the US appear to now value some harm reduction interventions such as pharmacotherapy, but link its value to abstinence, including even from alcohol. It would be unpopular and counter-productive if that narrow United States conceptualisation of recovery processes and outcomes was to take hold in Australia.
    If new recovery was to become an agreed strategy, it should only evolve over many years at the frontline. Transformation toward new recovery approaches would require large-scale investments.

    A lesson from the United Kingdom is that the new recovery philosophy is driving policy, but no additional resources required for systems-level transformation are forthcoming. If that was to be replicated in Australia it would most likely be highly disruptive and create harm that our public health approach seeks to prevent.

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  • HSE to open one drink and drug detox bed for under-18s

    Posted on May 19th, 2010 TimB No comments

    The  HSE is set to open one drug and alcohol detox bed for under-18-year-olds in the southern region.

    David Lane, co-ordinator of drug and alcohol services in the HSE South, said plans to open dedicated detox beds in the Munster region were “well advanced”.
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  • Through a harm reduction lens Civil society engagement in multilateral decision making

    Posted on April 27th, 2010 TimB No comments

    This report examines the ways in which multilaterals are currently engaging civil society groups working on harm reduction in international policy, including the engagement of leading non-governmental organisations and the involvement of affected communities. It identifies examples of good practice in this area, highlights some of the shortcomings and concludes with recommendations for improving civil society involvement in the formulation of international harm reduction and drug policy.


  • Number of babies born addicted to drugs shoots up in Capital

    Posted on April 1st, 2010 TimB No comments
    The number of babies born addicted to drugs in Edinburgh has soared by almost 75 per cent in three years.New official figures show 75 cases where new-born infants had to be treated for withdrawal symptoms or other effects of their mother’s drug addiction in the three-year period from 2005-08, compared with 43 in the period 2002-05.

  • After the War on Drugs

    Posted on January 14th, 2010 TimB No comments

  • Anthrax in heroin leads to deaths in Scotland

    Posted on December 21st, 2009 TimB No comments

    It’s déjà vu all over again. From Scotland comes the sad news that two heroin injectors have died – of anthrax. Another is being tested for it. Injecting drug users in the region are warned to watch out for inflammation or odd, black sores where they have injected heroin into muscle.

  • EU struggles to curb hard drugs

    Posted on November 6th, 2009 TimB No comments

    European efforts to curb cocaine and heroin use made little impact in the past year, the EU’s main drugs watchdog says in its annual report.

    But cannabis use, particularly among young people, is declining, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

    Heroin use in Europe is “stable but no longer diminishing”, the EMCDDA says.

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  • Analysis and debate on drug policy and law reform, and a critical look at drugs and drug policy in the media.

    Posted on July 27th, 2009 TimB No comments

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