What is the role of genetic determinants in development of concurrent alcohol and opioid dependence? The current evidence base is inconclusive; we found 33 studies, but most of them studied each dependency separately.
FACT: Drugs have been here since ever. They are at least as old as the humankind.
FACT: This is a favorite headline of most prevention programs. Finding increased rates of drug use among the youths is not difficult. Finding reasons for this increase is difficult and requires knowledge of drug markets. Young people may be using drugs as much as before. They may be using different drugs than in the past, but that’s a matter of drug availability and supply.
FACT: People take drugs for all sorts of reasons. For alcohol, these reasons can be broadly divided into: social, coping, enhancement conformity and motives. Coping with problems and solution-seeking is just one of the reasons.
This is UNTRUE for depressants (downers) and some other drugs. Although, the brochure lists sedative effects of depressants later, I don’t understand why it misleads the readers.
FACT: Same as above. Cocaine hardly makes people feel slow. It is hard to discern why false statements, such as this one, made it into the brochure. There’s almost no wheat among the weeds.
FALSE: The active compounds are not water soluble. THC is fat soluble though.
FACT: People take drugs for all sorts of reasons. See point 3 above.
Yes, BUT it takes ages to start acting and it’s harder to estimate the right dose – the risk of overdose is higher. That’s why people don’t eat cocaine. Coca leaves are chewed not ingested.
- Heroin – violence and crime are linked to its use
- Inhalants – users may also suddenly react with extreme violence
- Crystal meth – causes aggression and violent or psychotic behavior
- Alcohol – can lead to violence and conflicts in personal relationships
- Alcohol is ‘more harmful than heroin’ say Prof Nutt, King and Williams in the Lancet journal. Watch BBC News interview.
Target group and choice
Ethical principles, ethics committees and research
This has been a busy week from an ethics perspective. All research should be ethical and adhere to the ethical guidelines. The gatekeepers for the ethical principles are usually ethical committees, institutional review boards or panels. Researchers submit their proposals for approval to the committees and they decide whether the proposed research is in line with the universally accepted principles of ethical research. For example: Research carried out on humans should be in compliance with the Helsinki Declaration (http://www.wma.net/en/30publications/10policies/b3/index.html).
In Ireland, we have 25 committees/ boards who can provide ethical approval and we submitted two applications for ethical approval to two different committees this week:
1. Are psychosocial interventions for problem alcohol use effective among problem drug users in primary care (PINTA): A Controlled before-and-after feasibility study
2. Prospective audit of characteristics of opioid overdoses in an emergency ambulance service
…so many trees going to the ethics.
As usual, we submitted the ethics application on the last day of the deadline.
I wasn’t even sure if the cyclist courier would take it on a bike to the addressee, because the package had surely over 2 kilos. Fingers crossed.