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  • Drug Treatment Figures increase in Ireland

    Posted on April 13th, 2015 TimB No comments

    A report in the Irish Examiner  highlights a nationwide surge in the abuse of benzodiazepines and cannabis — and the spread of heroin outside Dublin — has driven drug treatment figures upwards over the last five years.

    The Government has been accused of adopting a “head in the sand” approach to the problem and criticised for a continuing delay in introducing laws controlling the supply and possession of legal tranquillisers.

    Garda sources said that organised crime gangs have moved in to control the supply of the lucrative trade in benzodiazepines (tranquillisers) and so-called z-drugs (hypnotics), while health researchers report that a third of all overdoses involve benzodiazepines.

    Official statistics show a rise of almost 25% in the total number of people treated for illegal drug use between 2009 and 2013, increasing from 6,668 to 8,259.

    Figures gathered by the Health Research Board for the main drug of abuse-level users show that the biggest increases are for benzodiazepines (up 175%, from 261 in 2009 to 719 in 2013), and cannabis (up 61%, from 1,531 to 2,460).

    Opiates — in most cases heroin — rose by 4% from 4,013 to 4,189, but this reflected a fall in Dublin (from 2,360 to 2,100) and a 26% rise outside Dublin (from 1,653 to 2,089).

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  • The impact of Cannabis on your lungs

    Posted on June 6th, 2012 TimB No comments

    In 2002, the British Lung Foundation published A  smoking gun?, summarising the evidence around the  impact of smoking cannabis on respiratory health.

    Ten years on, this report updates A smoking gun?, detailing the evidence published over the past decade.  About a third of adults in the UK have tried cannabis

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  • Successful and unsuccessful cannabis quitters: Comparing group characteristics and quitting strategies

    Posted on November 13th, 2011 TimB No comments

    In order to improve treatments for cannabis use disorder, a better understanding  of factors associated with successful quitting is required. The findings suggest that coping, environmental modification, and comorbid mental health problems may be important factors to emphasize in treatments for cannabis use disorder.

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  • Drug use and nightlife: More than just dance music

    Posted on July 28th, 2011 TimB No comments

    Research over the last decade has focused almost exclusively on the association between electronic music and MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine or “ecstasy”) or other stimulant drug use in clubs. Less attention has been given to other nightlife venues and music preferences, such as rock music or southern/funky music.

    This study aims to examine a broader spectrum of nightlife, beyond dance music. It looks at whether certain factors influence the frequency of illegal drug and alcohol use: the frequency of going to certain nightlife venues in the previous month (such as, pubs, clubs or goa parties); listening to rock music, dance music or southern and funky music; or sampling venues (such as, clubs, dance events or rock festivals). The question of how these nightlife variables influence the use of popular drugs like alcohol, MDMA, cannabis, cocaine and amphetamines is addressed.

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  • UNODC Afghanistan Cannabis survey 2010 June 2011

    Posted on July 1st, 2011 TimB No comments

    This 2010 Afghanistan Cannabis Survey updates the first-ever Afghanistan Cannabis Survey that was  produced in 2009 by the UNODC and the Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN). Based on years of  evidence from cannabis seizures that pointed to Afghanistan as a main cannabis producer, the 2009 survey  was the initial effort to systemically estimate cannabis cultivation and production in the country.  The findings confirmed Afghanistan’s role as a major grower of cannabis, but also discovered that the country produced more cannabis resin or hashish than any other nation. The reason why was found to be the country’s high yields, up to 145 kg of resin per hectare as compared to Morocco’s 40 kg per hectare.

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  • Calls to legalise cannabis and ecstasy

    Posted on June 3rd, 2011 TimB No comments

    It isn’t working. It never has worked. And so long as it continues to be fought in its current form, the “war on drugs” will do little to curb the spread of illegal narcotics or prevent hundreds of thousands of people from continuing to lose their lives each year as a result of the international drug trade.

    So says a panel of world leaders who called yesterday for the biggest shake-up of drug laws in half a century. “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world,” declared the Global Commission on Drug Policy. “Fundamental reforms… are urgently needed.

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  • Cannabis and the increased incidence and persistence of psychosis

    Posted on June 2nd, 2011 TimB No comments

    Evidence suggests that cannabis precipitates schizophrenia in vulnerable people. Prospective studies in Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Sweden have found that regular use of cannabis is associated with an increased risk of psychotic symptoms and disorders in the general population.Some people have interpreted this as evidence that cannabis use is a contributory cause of psychoses.More sceptical researchers have argued that the association might be the result of residual confounding by—for example, the use of other drugs or genetic factors. Another possibility is that the association arises because people with psychosis use cannabis to self medicate their symptoms, even though evidence suggests that they use cannabis for much the same reasons as their peers without psychosis.

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  • Continued cannabis use and risk of incidence and persistence of psychotic symptoms: 10 year follow-up cohort study

    Posted on March 15th, 2011 TimB No comments

    Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in the world, particularly among adolescents. The use of cannabis is consistently associated with mental illness,in particular psychotic disorder.It remains a matter of debate, however, whether the association between cannabis and psychosis is causal, or whether early psychotic experiences might in fact prompt cannabis use as a means of self medication.

    This issue can be resolved only if incident cannabis use is investigated in relation to later incident psychotic symptoms or disorder. Rarely have studies been able to examine the longitudinal relation between cannabis use and psychosis in this fashion

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  • Cannabis as a substitute for alcohol and other drugs

    Posted on March 12th, 2011 TimB No comments

    Substitution can be operationalized as the conscious choice to use one drug (legal or illicit) instead of, or in conjunction with, another due to issues such as: perceived safety; level of addiction potential; effectiveness in relieving  symptoms; access and level of acceptance. This practice of substitution has been observed among individuals using cannabis for medical purposes.

    This study examined drug and  alcohol use, and the occurrence  of substitution among medical cannabis patients.

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  • Ireland’s growing cannabis industry

    Posted on October 30th, 2010 TimB No comments

    Criminal gangs have been setting up cannabis-growing cottage industries in Irish suburbs, renting expensive houses and installing sophisticated irrigation and heat lamps to net crops worth up to €280,000 in eight weeks. Conor Lally , Crime Correspondent, reports on the lucrative drug cultivation under our noses

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