Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Electronic cigarettes

World’s Top 20 Drugs?

Posted this May 28, 2014 (selected as one of top posts)

At the end of last year, Dr Adam Winstock conducted the 2014 Global Drug Survey.

It is the largest ever global medical survey of drug use.

dr adam winstockGovernment drug policy should not be caught up in a polarized debate about legalization .

Drug policy should consider crafting a public health policy that optimizes the health and well-being of all its citizens.

The first step is to treat people who [use] drugs as rational adults who wish to be informed and have a strong desire to preserve their health and happiness and contribute to their society as much as the person next to them.

If changing drug laws reduces societal harms and promotes health among those who [use] drugs and leads to a happier, more productive society with less discrimination and compounded deprivation of the most vulnerable then surely change is worth considering with objectivity and evidence.

Any other outcome would appear to be made by someone who was off their head on drugs!

Dr Adam R Winstock MD MRCP MRCPsych FAChAM
Consultant Psychiatrist and Addiction Medicine Specialist
Founder and Director of Global Drug Survey

More than 20% of people in the UK and about 15% in the US have purchased drugs over the Internet in the last year.

The Silk Road is gaining momentum – could they stop it even if they wanted to? It looks like the War on Drugs has not done anything to prevent or even reduce global drug use.

Download the full report here (PDF).

These Are The Top 20 Drugs Consumed In Australia

last-12-months-drug-prevalence 2014

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Here are some highlights of their findings:

The 2014 Global Drug Survey (GDS2014) conducted during November / December 2013 was the biggest survey of current drug use ever conducted.

Published in 8 languages and promoted through media partners in 17 countries, it received almost 80,000 responses…countries included USA, UK, Australia, Germany, France, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, New Zealand, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Mexico, Slovenia and Brazil.

Spongebob_drugsThe self-nominating sample were typically in their in 20s and 30s, well-educated, and about 50% went clubbing at least 4 times a year.

They tended to have higher lifetime prevalence of illicit drug use (over 85%) than the general population and one suspects a greater interest in the topic, but only about 60% had used an illicit drug in the last year, most typically cannabis.

Whilst alcohol, tobacco and cannabis remained the most common drugs used within the last year, with cocaine, amphetamine in its various forms and MDMA frequently just behind them, countries showed marked variation in the use of other drugs.

The increasing uptake of other preparations nicotine containing products namely shishas tobacco and electronic cigarettes demonstrate the pervasive presence of diverse nicotine based products in our culture.

The high rates of caffeine energy drinks, caffeine tablets (and in some countries like Germany even intranasal caffeine) demonstrate the market for this legal stimulant is as strong as ever.

Prescribed and non-prescribed psychoactive medication particular opioid painkillers and benzodiazepines were frequently in the top 10 drugs used by GDS populations in the last year, with their use, non-medical and problematic use being particularly high in the USA and New Zealand being dominant forces. Other medications that crossed over into the recreational drug scene such as GHB, methyphenidate (Ritalin) and ketamine were more sporadically distributed.

Drugs prices varied widely – the average price of gram of high potency cannabis being 12 euros but varied almost fourfold from 6 euros in Spain to over 20 in Ireland.

Cocaine remained the most expensive drug at mean global single gram purchase price of 100 euros / gram (ranging in price from 50 in parts of Europe to over 250 in NZ, which also had the most expensive MDMA as well).

Regardless of price, cocaine was voted the worst value for money drug in the world, with a mean score of 3.4/10. MDMA was voted the best value for money drug in the world.

The Belgians were the most satisfied with their cocaine with a mean rating of 5.5/10 and the Australians the least with rating of 2.2.

The use of ‘research chemicals and legal highs (including substances sold as bath salts, and synthetic cannabis products) varied widely between countries. The biggest users were those in USA with over one in 5 having used one of these compounds in the last year.

The worst drug of them all is still the most readily available one: alcohol.

Alcohol remained the biggest cause of concern among friends and the biggest culprit in sending people to Emergency Department.

The percentage of last year drinkers who had sought emergency again varied widely from an average of just 1%, to 0.7% in France to over 2% in Ireland.

Awareness of national drinking guidelines was universally poor with over 40% of drinkers being unsure of their countries drinking guidelines.

The Germans were most clueless with 65% being unsure of them, the Danes the best informed with only 8% reporting they did not know them (that did not stop 1.5% of last year’s Danish drinker seeking emergency medical treatment following drinking last year).

war on drugsThe rates of seeking emergency medical treatment for other drugs other than alcohol varied widely.

Further research is required to determine the factors that underlie the 3 fold difference in seeking emergency medical treatment (EMT) following the use of MDMA between Switzerland with the lowest rate of seeking EMT (03% of last year users) and the USA, The Republic of Ireland and France (09.1-1%).

MDMA in Switzerland leads to far fewer hospitalizations than in the US. Just because it’s called “Molly“, doesn’t mean you know what’s in it kiddies – be careful.

2013 saw more press coverage about ecstasy related deaths in the UK than there had been for years. Was it PMA? Was it bad ventilation and dehydration?

Was it deaths to weird and wonderful novel psychoactive drugs (aka legal highs)? …rarely was PMA the only thing taken, with MDMA and alcohol usually being present…almost 3 fold increase in those seeking EMT following the use of MDMA in the UK (from 0.3% in GDS2013 to 0.8% in GDS2014)…Twice as many people reported taking powder than pills, over half has also used alcohol. 

They likes their medicine green in the good ‘ole US of A:

cartoon camper caravanOur huge study of over 38,000 cannabis users showed that the USA was home to safest smokers – with only 7% choosing to smoke cannabis with tobacco followed by NZ (25%) , compared to over 80% of smokers in most other countries.

Although the most sensible cannabis smokers, the USA was the worst place to get caught with cannabis with over 17% reporting that it impacted on their education, employment, and travel…among all illegal drugs, cannabis was the drug that most people wanted to use less of and help with in reducing their use.

This confirms that for some users (perhaps 10-20%) cannabis can be associated with problems. For many dependent users, withdrawal on stopping will also be an issue with sleep disturbance, weird dreams, irritability, restlessness and craving being the major problems.

A third of respondents had been to work with a hangover, and a sixth had been there while coming down from drugs. Ireland was “worst” (or best, depending on your perspective), with 50% going to work with hangovers.

pacman hangoverTurning up to work hung over or coming down from the effects of drugs was common among the GDS2014 sample, with over one third of those in work reporting going to work hung-over – but less than half of that number reporting going work coming down from drugs.

The highest rates of turning up to work hung-over in the last 12 months was the Republic of Ireland (50%) followed by the UK and Hungary (46%).

The lowest rates were reported in the USA and Portugal (both less than 25%). The highest rates of turning up to work coming down from the effects of drugs was in the Netherlands (25%), the UK and the Republic of Ireland (both over 20%). The lowest rates were reported in New Zealand (less than 8%)

People reported a neutral to positive effect from pursuing harm reduction strategies.

Safer drug use is more enjoyable drug use. Adopting safer drug using practices can reduce drug related risk. The full list of strategies adopted and rated by almost 80,000 drugs users from across the world on 8 of the most commonly use drugs have been published as a collection of guides known as the High-way Code

Such a guide – with strategies put forward but drug users and other drug experts has the potential to save lives, reduce emergency medical service utilization and promote healthier less harmful drug use.

So there you go – read the High-way Code and be a more responsible drug user, even especially if your drug of choice is alcohol or tobacco.

The report makes a strong case for governments to treat addiction as a medical issue:

The overwhelming finding across countries was not that a reduction in criminal penalties would encourage [hordes] of non-drug users to try drugs or for current drug users to increase their use.

Instead it was that people who use drugs would be more open with their family and friends about their use and more likely to seek help or advice about the use and associated health

E-cigarettes? Should Electronic cigarettes Be Regulated as Cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes are designed to look like cigarettes. They are labeled and marketed like cigarettes. They contain nicotine like cigarettes. And it is addictive to nicotine. And kids will get hooked to its usage, if unregulated…

Electronic cigarettes now come in dozens of flavors like passion fruit, cotton candy, bubble gum, gummy bear, Atomic Fireball, and orange cream soda.

These kid-friendly flavors are an enticing “starter” for youth and non-smokers, increasing nicotine addiction and frequently lead to use of combustible cigarettes.

What do you think is Big Tobacco next step? Producing real tobacco with preferred flavors that the youth were hooked to?

Should they be regulated like cigarettes?

, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Public Health, posted this Dec. 2, 2013

Should e-cigarettes be regulated as cigarettes?

I think so.

Like other gateway products Big Tobacco has masked to entice its next generation of smokers, e-cigarettes follow suit as its popularity with youth nationwide more than doubled from 2011 to 2012.

Ten percent of our students have already used these addictive products — and they have only been on the market for a few years. This meteoric rise in popularity among youth is concerning.

It is also the main reason Mayor Rahm Emanuel has introduced a new ordinance to regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products.

Simply put, kids should not have easy access to e-cigarettes any longer.

Right now in Chicago, a 14-year-old can walk into a store and purchase an e-cigarette with no question asked. This is unacceptable.

Retailers should be required to have a tobacco-retail license in order to sell e-cigarettes, which would place these products behind the counter with the other tobacco products and out of arms reach of our children.

The government has a duty to protect children from ever picking up a nicotine habit. The preventive action Mayor Emanuel is a long-term investment in the health and well-being of Chicago’s youth.

Some might argue that e-cigarettes should not be regulated because they are safer than regular cigarettes.

While it’s true that they may be safer than regular cigarettes, they have not been proven to be safe.

The truth is e-cigarette companies have not provided any scientific studies or toxicity analysis to the FDA to show that e-cigarettes pose any reduced health risk over conventional cigarettes, nor have they demonstrated that e-cigarettes are safe.

Laboratory tests have found that the so-called “water vapor” from some e-cigarettes can contain nicotine and volatile organic compounds like benzene and toluene; heavy metals like nickel and arsenic; carbon compounds like formaldehyde and acrolein, in addition to tobacco specific nitrosamines.

No federal regulations have been imposed on e-cigarettes, which means that there currently are no restrictions on ingredients manufacturers can or cannot use and no restrictions on the kinds of chemicals they can emit into the indoor environment.

Until more is known about these products, limiting their use in indoor areas is just good common sense.

I am also concerned that widespread use of e-cigarettes is re-normalizing smoking in our society, which in turn, makes this a very pertinent public health issue.

E-cigarettes intentionally were developed to mimic the act of smoking. This distorted reinforcement of smoking as cool and acceptable sends the wrong message to our youth and undermines the existing smoking bans put in place to protect the health of the public.

In Chicago, smoking rates are lower than ever. This progress is a direct result of life-saving policies like the Chicago Clean Indoor Air Act. Health advocates worked tirelessly to ensure we all have the right to breathe clean in-door air. We’re not turning our backs on their hard work to promote clean air.

Our residents expect a healthy environment when they walk into a restaurant, bar or theater. We can’t allow any regression in our progress to change the landscape of public health by reverting back to a culture we’ve worked so hard to change. We need to, and can do, better for the children in our city.

Chicago’s new ordinances are part of an overall comprehensive strategy to reduce the negative consequences tobacco use has on our youth.

With the introduction of these expanded tobacco-control policies, Mayor Emanuel is inspiring cities across the nation to take action to ensure that residents avoid preventable disease and live healthy and productive lives.

Follow Bechara Choucair, M.D. on Twitter:
Note 1:  I am a smoker and have reduced my addiction to 10 cigarettes a day. I have no intention of quitting going cold turkey: I figured that the real psychological benefits I get from smoking, taking a real break and letting my my mind wander now and then, far surpass the physical harm.
If I live much longer, cigarette smoking is a sure death, but I can die any time from non-smoking related diseases or traffic accidents, or slipping and falling, or many unsafe usage of ill-designed products….
Most of those who quit smoking love to approach a smoking person for the smell: This is an aphrodisiac smell to them, far more potent than whatever perfume can offer.
Note 2: The fact that:
1.  “No federal regulations have been imposed on e-cigarettes, which means that there currently are no restrictions on ingredients manufacturers can or cannot use and no restrictions on the kinds of chemicals they can emit into the indoor environment…” and
2.  The act of mimicking  smoking by youth as a cool behavior is a dangerous trend.
Note 3: As long as E-cigarette is not harming the people surrounding the smoker or ruining the environment, I don’t believe it should be banned as regular cigarettes in close environment.  The activists should focus on banning the harmful added ingredients in the E-cigarette.




March 2023

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