Where medical marijuana is legal, illegal use climbs

Reuters, 26 April 2017
Author: Andrew M. Seaman
“Where medical marijuana is legal, adults are more likely to use the drug illegally and are at an increased risk of cannabis use disorder, according to a new study. Researchers found that illegal use of marijuana and rates of cannabis use disorder rose to a greater extent in U.S. states that adopted laws legalizing marijuana for medical purposes than in states that didn’t adopt such laws.”
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San Francisco Seeks To Ban Sale Of Menthol Cigarettes, Flavored Tobacco Products

KHN, 20 April 2017
Author: Elaine Korry
“San Francisco has unveiled a tough anti-tobacco proposal that would ban the retail sale of menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco or tobacco-related products that are often the first choice of minority group members and teenagers who smoke. The proposed ordinance is designed to address two major groups, youth and minorities, who have been targeted in successful, well-financed advertising campaigns that promote menthol cigarettes and flavored non-cigarette tobacco products. The products often attract African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Latinos, as well as teenagers.”
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Las Vegas’ HIV prevention initiatives include installing syringe vending machines

FoxNews, 18 April 2017
Author: Andrew O’Reilly
“Inspired by successes in places like Europe and Australia, Trac-B Exchange, the Southern Nevada Health District and the Nevada AIDS Research and Education Society are set to begin a pilot program that will install three syringe-dispensing vending machines across Las Vegas in the hope of reducing drug users’ needle sharing. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assert that needle exchange programs are effective in preventing the spread of disease.”
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UK supreme court denies tobacco firms permission for plain packaging appeal

The Guardian, 12 April 2017
Author: Chris Johnston
“All cigarettes sold in the UK must have standardised packaging from next month after the supreme court refused permission to the tobacco industry to appeal against the new laws. This is the final domestic legal decision, meaning that plain packaging of cigarettes will come into force on 20 May, the Department of Health said.”
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Health Care Complaints Commission v West [2017] NSWCATOD 39

Decision date: 22 March 2017
“MEDICAL PRACTITIONER – inappropriate prescription of drugs of addiction – inadequate clinical records – admissions by respondent. Held- respondent guilty of professional misconduct -orders made cancelling registration and for payment of costs.”
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Doctors Consider Ethics Of Costly Heart Surgery For People Addicted To Opioids

NPR, 21 March 2017
Author: Jack Rodolico
“Milford is part of a group of opioid addicts whom doctors describe as the sickest of the sick: intravenous drug users, mostly people who use heroin, who get endocarditis. Some aspects of their treatment present an ethical dilemma for doctors. Cardiologists, surgeons and infectious disease doctors can fix the infection, but not the underlying problem of addiction.”
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U.N. drugs body places fentanyl ingredients on control list

Reuters, 16 March 2017
Authors: Francois Murphy, Alison Williams
“A U.N. body on Thursday added two chemicals used to make the drug fentanyl, which killed music star Prince, to an international list of controlled substances, which the United States said would help fight a wave of deaths by overdose. Fentanyl is a man-made opioid 100 times more powerful than morphine. Roughly 20,000 U.S. overdose deaths in 2015 involved heroin or synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
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Drugs are killing so many people in Ohio that cold-storage trailers are being used as morgues

The Washington Post, 16 March 2017
Author: Kristine Phillips
“As with much of the United States, Ohio is in the throes of a heroin and opioid epidemic that shows no signs of abating. Drug overdoses have led to a spike in the number of bodies coming to the Stark County morgue — an increase of about 20 percent in the last year. The additional bodies led to the need for more space, so the coroner’s office borrowed a trailer from the state until it gets caught up. Last year, the coroner’s office processed about 500 deaths, more than 100 of which were drug-related, Walters said.”
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Curbing teen smoking ‘must go beyond raising minimum age’

The Straits Times, 14 March 2017
Author: Linette Lai
“Teens below the age of 18 have been barred from smoking legally since 1993. Last week, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said it plans to raise the minimum legal smoking age from 18 to 21. In Singapore, these are the years when nearly half of smokers become regular smokers. But the data tells a different story. In 2013, the average age when smokers took their first puff was just 16, according to the National Health Surveillance Survey. Experts said the discrepancy shows that efforts to curb teen smoking must go beyond raising the minimum legal age. Issues such as raising awareness and enforcement cannot be sidelined.”
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Opioid distributors sued by West Virginia counties hit by drug crisis

Washington Post, 9 March 2017
Authors: Scott Higham, Lenny Bernstein
“A new legal front is opening in the war against the nation’s opioid crisis as attorneys begin to pursue major corporations that distribute prescription painkillers. Attorneys in West Virginia, which has the highest opioid overdose rate in the nation, filed lawsuits in federal court Thursday on behalf of two counties and targeting some of the nation’s largest drug distribution companies.They are seeking billions of dollars in reimbursements for the devastation the drugs have caused in communities across the country.”
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