Recovery Rises ISSUE 3 - Page 21

19

By D2DI learner Terry McCaig

Drugs and Booze in the news!

New Drug Detecting Breathalyser

A group of researchers have discovered that micro-particles from drugs including cocaine and cannabis are present in the breath. Therefore the possibility of a breathalyser that detects drugs is not that far off. Anyone driving under the influence of drugs could be quickly tested at the side of the road, with positive results backed up with blood tests at the police station.

"the possibility of a breathalyser that detects drugs is not that far off"

This is a good way of reducing the amount of drivers getting behind the wheel whilst under the influence of one drug or another. Rather than the police only being able to test for alcohol at the road side, they could check for drugs in drivers systems without having to first arrest them on guess work. These drug detecting breathalysers would be a good indication that drugs had been taken and would most definitely lead to less accidents and deaths on our roads.

Nalmefene

A new drug called Nalmefene; (also known as Selincro); is now available to dependent drinkers to help them reduce their alcohol consumption. Up until now the only drugs available were to help patients stop drinking altogether. This drug however is designed for people who wish to get their drinking down to a safe level.

The drug, which has under gone clinical trials, found that patients, with the help of the drug, cut the amount of alcohol they consumed from 12.75 units a day to just 5 units a day; a massive 61% reduction.

"In 2011-12, some 16,865 peopel were admitted to hospital due to alchol issues"

Recent figures show that the number of people admitted to hospital with liver problems as a result of alcoholism is rising massively. In 2011-12, some 16,865 people were admitted to hospital due to alcohol issues. Surely anything that can help to ease this burden on the health service must be a good thing.

Obviously, like all medications, Nalmefene comes at a cost - £42.42 for a supply of 14 tablets to be exact - little over £3 per day. A whole lot cheaper than a night spent on a hospital ward.

ADDICTION - An Illness Not A Crime

More and more people are appealing to law-makers to treat drug addiction as a health issue rather than a criminal one. Recently Russell Brand, who himself is a recovering addict, brought up this very subject sitting before a parliamentary committee. Arresting drug users for possession of a small amount of a particular drug is an approach that just isn't working. I myself believe that people addicted to drugs have an illness that should be treated as such.

Criminalizing these users, even sending them to prison is just being very single minded and fails to consider that these people are ill, not criminals.

Nothing will ever change until those making the laws look at the problem in a way that doesn't just look at things from a criminal point of view. Up until now none of the methods employed in handling drug offences, has had any real impact on the drug problem we face in this country.

Earlier this year Professor Dame Sally Davies the chief medical officer gave evidence to M.Ps suggesting that criminalization of drugs was deterring addicts from seeking medical advice.

She also added that if the coalition ever decided to decriminalize some drugs she would be ready with lots of advice about how to help drug-users.

After all our prisons are full of drug addicts which is not the right place for them rehabilitation wise. Whilst it is of no benefit to them it is a constant drain on the system. The cost of keeping them locked up would be much better spent helping them fight their addiction.

In America the government have issued a new report identifying that treating drug-users as a public health issue could lead to reduced crime. I have no doubt that taking a similar approach in this country would lead to a reduction in crime, therefore helping rid our prisons of so many addicts.