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Showing posts from September, 2012

The minefield that is alcohol and other drugs ...

There is no easy way of dealing with the topic of alcohol and other drugs. Over the years I have been called a 'promoter of drugs' (once actually being accused of contributing to the 'killing of young people' with the messages I was promoting in schools!), as well as being an 'anti-drug crusader' (a term I particularly dislike - it sounds like I should be wearing a cape and flying through the sky ...) ...it really is extremely difficult to get the balance right - you simply can't please everyone!
A book has recently been published in the UK by Professor David Nutt who has found himself right in the middle of the debate a number of times in the past year or two. Once the leading advisor to the UK Government on issues around drugs, he was sacked for, amongst other things, comparing the harms of taking ecstasy to that of horse riding! The book, Drugs: Without the Hot Air, has been described as written in "straightforward language" and "explores t…

Parental supply of alcohol and adolescent drinking

A great paper has just been published by Australian researchers that attempts to sort out whether there is an association between between parental supply of alcohol and risky drinking.

The authors tested two hypotheses - firstly, that minors whose parents supply them with alcohol per se have increased odds of risky drinking, and secondly, where supply occurs for drinking without parental supervision, the odds of risky drinking are greater again.

They found that 'risky drinking' was common within their sample and increased sharply by school year. Their first hypothesis was not supported, however students whose parents supplied them with alcohol for consumption without parental supervision had four times the odds of risky drinking.

What does this mean for parents? Is there a simple message here? To be honest the study has a whole pile of limitations but it does seem to suggest that the practice of giving your child a couple of drinks to take to a party is most probably not appr…

Ecstasy deaths and warnings

I was contacted by a Brisbane journalist on Friday regarding an ecstasy-related death that occured last weekend. He had already interviewed a young woman who had been at the house party where the young man had died and she she too had experienced severe effects and found herself hospitalised. There was also a great deal of conversation on social media sites and web-based chat rooms about a possible 'bad batch' of ecstasy.

The journalist was keen for me to provide some information on a substance known as PMA - a toxic form of amphetamine that has been found in ecstasy pills across the world than has led to a number of deaths. He also asked me to give my opinion on why no warnings had been issued by either health or law enforcement authorities even though someone had died after taking what was obviously a 'bad pill'.

In all my years of working with the media the one story that ended up causing me the most grief was when I made comment on an ecstasy-related death and it w…