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Increasing Trend in Heroin Use

There has been an increasing trend in new heroin use since 1992, with an estimated 141,000 new heroin users in 1995. The estimated number of heroin users increased from 68,000 in 1993 to 216,000 in 1996. A large portion of these recent new users were smoking, snorting, or sniffing heroin, and most were under age 26. There is increasing incidence of new users (snorters) in the younger age groups, often among women. In some areas, such as San Francisco, the recent initiates increasingly include members of the middle class. In Boston and Newark, heroin users are also found in suburban populations. Purity remains high, as does intranasal use, in the East and in some midwestern cities, notably Chicago and Detroit. Supplies remain abundant. Aggressive marketing and price cutting has intensified in some cities, such as Boston, Detroit, and New York.

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Australia Moves Forward with Plans for Safe Injection Rooms

Plans to set up safe injecting rooms for heroin addicts will go ahead in at least three Australian cities despite a stern U.N. warning, according to the Associated Press.

In a recent report, the U.N's International Narcotics Control Board said governments that provide addicts with clean needles and a safe place to shoot up may violate international law.

The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and Germany have each experimented with injection rooms as a way to limit the spread of infectious disease, decrease risk of overdose, and get drug users off the street. The centers are considered integral to a "harm reduction" approach to drug policy, which seeks to reduce the damage done both by drugs and by criminal-justice driven prohibitionist policies.

In its report, the INCB claimed such drug injection rooms ''facilitated'' drug trafficking.
''By permitting injection rooms, a government could be considered to be in contravention of the international drug control conventions,'' the Vienna-based board said.

Governments would violate these laws, the board said, by facilitating, aiding or abetting crimes of possessing or using drugs ''as well as other criminal offenses including drug trafficking.''

But Garry Humphreys, health minister in the local government of Australia's national capital, Canberra, told AP that the board is wrong and insisted plans for safe injecting rooms are consistent with all of Australia's international obligations.

Australia's two biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne are also in the process of setting up sage injection rooms.

Victorian Premier Steve Bracks said his government would continue investigating safe drug injecting rooms in state capital Melbourne

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Rhode Island, New York Pass Needle De-Regulation; New Hampshire Poised to Follow

The Rhode Island House of Representatives has passed legislation allowing for the sale and possession of hypodermic needles without a prescription.

The action follows the landmark passage of a similar law in New York State last week. The New York legislation, which permits individuals 18 or over to buy up to 10 non- prescription needles at a time from a pharmacist, had the support of some of Albany's most influential public health groups, including physicians, hospitals, pharmacists, and advocates for people with AIDS. It was passed along with hundreds of other spending bills that make up the state budget.

Rhode Island, which was one of eight remaining states, and the District of Columbia, with needle prescription laws (along with California, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New Jersey) ranks among the top four states in the country for HIV infections caused by the sharing of contaminated needles.

Supporters of the laws assert that providing pharmacy access to clean, new needles is a critical step in reducing the transmission of blood borne diseases among injection drug users, their sexual partners, and their children. Numerous studies have demonstrated that expanded needle availability dramatically reduces needle sharing while not increasing heroin use.

New Hampshire appears poised to become the next state to pass needle deregulation. Legislation allowing for the purchase of needles without prescription passed the state Senate on April 20. While her predecessors vetoed two similar efforts by the state legislature in the past decade, Governor Jeanne Shaheen reportedly intends to sign the measure.

The Rhode Island Senate, which passed a nearly identical bill last month, is expected to approve that state's legislation. The 75-13 margin of victory in the House, which would be sufficient to override a potential veto by the governor, appears to virtually guarantee the bill’s enactment into law.

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Addicted Mom Charged with Murder

The State of Georgia is charging a woman for allegedly causing the death of her baby by taking drugs while pregnant.

She faces murder charges, after one her twins died shortly after birth, which prosecutors say was directly attributed to her use of cocaine and amphetamines while pregnant.

This is believed to be the first case of its kind to be prosecuted in Georgia. The woman's lawyer plans to get a dismissal on the murder charges on the argument that Georgia law does not allow it.

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Computer Game Simulates Drug Dealing

Dope Wars, a new game available for download from the Internet, enables users to buy and sell drugs in virtual reality. Dope Wars is the sixth-most popular download game on the web site.

In the game, players start with $2,000 in cash and $5,500 in debt. Players have 31 trips into neighborhoods to make as much money as they can selling marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine or any other drug. During the selling process, players come upon police officers and other obstacles.

Several politicians, including Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, condemned the game at a December hearing on violence in the media.

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News from a Chiropractor

It has always been interesting to me that the concept of drug treatment programs usually had a lot to do with, What drug could be used to help someone get off of drugs. It seemed like the drug substitute would be more addictive than the drug someone was trying to get off. I knew that this technology needed to be refined. In the 20 years I have been in practice I have had the opportunity to see many people go through drug treatment programs and the results have been very far from stellar. They ranged from being back on the drug with a day from there release to being dead. The amount of pain and suffering associated with this problem is enormous to those around the addicted person not to mention the person himself. I have seen the pain of a parent, the worry, the total frustration and the feeling of imminent disaster. The apprehension of the phone ringing, just knowing that this will be the phone call they have dreaded for so long.

The drug problem in this country is one which is engrained in a culture which takes drugs for everything. The children are indoctrinated in this, 'Have a problem, take a drug mentality' from the time that they can communicate. Is it no wonder that when they are jilted by a boy/girl friend or shunned by friend that they would not take a drug for the pain.

In the last 10 years I have seen a shift to a much more drug oriented culture. We take drugs to be happy, less happy, not as obsessive, 'mellow' , less stressed, less anxious or nervous, to public speak better, to be a better person to be around or to have less PMS. The list grows every day - IT IS FRIGHTENING!

I have one patient who just 'kicked' a twelve year addiction to 'Medicine' she was prescribed for ' having a hard time dealing with their husband and children'. She told me that she has lost the last 12 years of her life. The pain on her face was indescribable.

I knew that drugs were not the answer. When I first read about Narconon I though what a novel idea, they are dealing with the 'PERSON', the whole person, from both physical and emotional aspects. As I researched the technology utilize I saw sheer brilliance. And after awhile I saw brilliant results from the program. I have sent several people to their program and they have transformed their lives. They confronted why they had chosen drugs as a solution to their problem and realized that they were able to choose a life without drugs and become productive purposeful member of society. From what I have seen this is the only real solution to the drug problem".

Dr. Marc D'Andrea

>> Drug rehabilitation: A new perspective.
>> New report finds, longer treatment helps severe addiction.

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