Saturday, January 16, 2010

weekend roundup

i've been extremely busy the past two weeks, and have had no time for blogs - mine or others'.....while the items on my google reader just kept piling up.  so today i turned off the phone, shut all the doors, and caught up with what's happening on the internets.  below are the articles that caught my eye.
behold, the google reader round-up extravaganza, after the jump.


Rival to government drug advisory panel launched
not our government, sadly, but it's a start.  this initiative is led by former UK drug czar davit nutt, star of the unfortunately named nutt sack affair, in which he got fired for saying some things about drugs that were actually reasonable and realistic, rather than politician-y and strategic.  from the sound of it, this new panel's attitude is "you can keep doing what you're doing, government... we'll be over here doing SCIENCE."  awesome.

No such thing as 'safe' cocaine, experts warn.
ya don't say.  did anyone actually think there was?  what kind of straw man is this?
what's funny is that the study was conducted in spain.... where maybe they're at constantly elevated risk from breathing the stuff?

The ABCs of rehab
this is a guest post on a blog I like a lot (addiction inbox).  in fact, sometimes i wonder if, rather than write my own blog entries, i should just set up a feed for this one instead.  i just bought his book.   can't wait to read it.  (but alice waters and this totally nerdy approach to cooking come first.)
anyway, back to the guest post.  i like it because it makes the point about addiction much more concisely than i did (which isn't hard, ha), but also touches on treatment.  the only point i would add is that of context-dependent learning: the idea that getting clean ("extinction") is "overwriting" the old drug-taking habits, not forgetting them... and that the overwriting doesn't necessarily transfer to another context (i.e., promises vs. real world).  so while the guest poster is dead-on that success at rehab doesn't guarantee sobriety in the real world, the reason involves more serious forces than discipline and temptation (which, honestly, i'm not so keen on, see rant on hand-wavy notions of personality).

in the same vein, this article also points out the importance of post-detox care.

oh and did you know about e-cigarettes?
i didn't.

The Americanization of Mental Illness
this is just kind of interesting to think about.  psycho-imperialism?

Word Choices Affect Attitudes Toward Addiction Recovery (study showing that saying “substance abuser” vs. “having a substance use disorder” evokes different judgments)
i've always cringed when research papers or conference speakers talked about "abusers," but i thought it was just that my boss's never-ending admonishments to call our research subjects "methamphetamine-dependent research participants" had taken hold in my head.  as much of a nuisance as it was when it came to word limits or timing, my boss insisted that "abuser" made it sound like meth is their job, while "abusING" made them sound like people, whose behavioral repertoire also includes meth.  she can be very wise, that boss-lady.

oh, whaddaya know.
Calif. AG Accuses e-Cigarette Maker of Deception
E-Cigarettes Not Subject to FDA Regulation, Federal Judge Rules
i guess it's one of those cases where once you learn something, you start noticing that it's being talked about everywhere -- it's just that you weren't paying attention.

Information, Not Scare Tactics, Helps Smokers Quit
file under: SAYIN'!  so pleased to have research backing it up.

file under: you totally already knew that:
New Jersey Vote Backs Marijuana for Severely Ill
sounds like some of the people whose opposition is quoted in the article need to relax, though.  if a bunch of 15 year olds are already "thinking about taking drugs," chances are they're going to find a way, whether an AIDS patient can get their 2oz down the street or not.  have you checked your medicine cabinet or spray paint cans lately?  maybe you should sit them down to dinner more often, rather than interfering with the treatment of other people's illness.
as for the folks pointing their finger at how out of control california is:  that's kind of offensive, we're not lemmings.  i live in a neighborhood where if i stumble, i land in front of a pot shop.  i can get pot more quickly than i can get a smoothie.  but you know what?  i don't.  because i don't want to, it isn't my thing, it isn't advertised at me, and no one is shoving it in my face like churros at the mexico border.  it's just there.  for those who want/need it.  so just relax ok?

in related news:
Assembly committee OKs bill to legalize marijuana
gilmore's comment strikes me as kind of ludicrous, though.  of course educating on the harms of drugs using $ from pot taxes makes no sense -- that's why we ought to educate on how to properly weigh the benefits of using with those of not using.  i mean, don't you keep up with research?

Online Intervention Found to Change Drinking Behavior  (comment on this study)
feasible and discreet, love it.  so many people don't seek help because of stigma, or because they're not even aware they have a problem.  this gives them the power to come to that conclusion on their own terms.

There is a significant and growing international business in the manufacture and sale of counterfeit medicines.
fyi.  i actually had no idea.  at least not when it comes to rx drugs.
incidentally, when we tried to raise awareness about the same issue with black market drugs (where it's even more likely/dangerous), that idea got poo-pooed REAL quick.

Ban Lifted on Federal Funding for Needle and Syringe Exchange
hooray!  thanks, new guy!

Morphine May Help Traumatic Stress 
i just applied for a policy fellowship, mostly talking about how hard it is to study drugs as potential treatment agents when the research doesn't follow a "drugs are bad" storyline, or corroborate negative consequences.  here's hoping this research doesn't go stagnant for the same reason.

and finally, because my reader consists of non-drug-related items too, and it's a nice reminder of the universality of enjoying things thoughtfully and in moderation:  All About Salt.

'til next time!

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