September 2005

The Meth, Methamphetamine , Myth

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Hooked on hysteria, the media are big on anecdote and short on science in dealing with the latest 'most dangerous drug'

Whatever happened to crack? The demon drug of yesteryear was all the rage little more than a decade ago, with newspaper headlines daily warning of its ravages: Yuppies were losing their jobs, their businesses and sometimes their lives to the insidious rock, "crack moms" preferred smoking coke to suckling their "crack babies," and we were all just one hit away from being chained for life to the seductive stone.

Meth Addiction, Crystal Methamphetamine

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Meth memories horrify: Former addict lived fast until she crashed

Dressed in a strappy white top snug against her tall, supermodel- thin frame, Lisa turned heads as she made her customary and glamourous post-midnight entrance into one of Calgary's after-hours dance clubs.

At least she thinks they did -- she was on crystal meth at the time.

"I thought I was living the life because I always had guys on both arms," said the 18-year-old.

Fuelled by free doses of meth, Lisa could stay awake from Friday night until Sunday afternoon, enjoying a non-stop weekend of dancing.

Cocaine Addiction and Treatment

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Memory may draw addicts back to cocaine

Nostalgia may be a recovering drug addict's worst enemy. A memory center of the brain acts as an ignition switch for relapse into cocaine addiction, scientists suggest in the May 11 SCIENCE.

The researchers electrically stimulated the hippocampus in the brains of formerly drug-addicted rats. The treatment reignited powerful cravings for cocaine.

Pot, Weed, Ganja, Marijuana Addiction

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Marijuana use leads to other drugs. It's not uncommon for marijuana use to lead to other drugs

This column is written by Dr. Robert Peterson with the help of staff at the Poison Centre at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. These questions are based on calls received at the poison centre

QUESTION: I'm unhappy with the response you gave on the question of marijuana addiction. My son became addicted to marijuana and went on to use other drugs.

Prenatal alcohol dependency

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Prenatal alcohol linked to slower cognitive skills

A new study links moderate to heavy prenatal alcohol exposure to slower cognitive processing speeds and lower cognitive processing efficiency in children compared with unexposed children.

Dr. Matthew Burden (PhD), a postdoctoral research fellow at Wayne State University school of medicine here led a study of 337 children from the Detroit Prenatal Alcohol Longitudinal Cohort. Maternal alcohol use data had been collected for this cohort during prenatal visits.

Effects persist

AA : Alcoholics Anonymous

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Gamblers, alcoholics can get help on road

""Irving S." is a one-time compulsive gambler who credits a self-help group called Gamblers Anonymous with keeping him away from the gaming tables here and anyplace else that legalized gambling is a way of life.

"I've lost enough money to buy the Empire State Building," he says. When he travels, he makes a point of seeking out a local chapter of Gamblers Anonymous wherever he goes. "I'll tell my wife, 'Tonight's a meeting night,' and that's it."

Alcoholism

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Alcoholism a weakness, not a disease

Alcoholism is not a disease, alcohol is not an addictive drug and alcoholics should be taught to drink in moderation, a British writer says in a provocative new book.

Alcoholics Anonymous-style programs, which require total abstinence, are more about brainwashing than medical treatment and lead to binge drinking for the majority who cannot stay the course, writes Andrew Barr in the controversial Drink, a Social History of America.

"The disease concept of alcoholism is destroyed by its own internal contradiction," Mr. Barr writes.

Narcotics Anonymous

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Narcotics Anonymous bases its 'treatment' on Hugs Not Drugs

They meet every Monday night at the Credit Valley Hospital but in this place of healing, the only medicine they need is each other.

They are the Mississauga "fellowship" of Narcotics Anonymous. Formed in July, 1986, the group of four or five regulars has mushroomed to a weekly attendance of more than 30.

Drug Abuse

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Awareness kit helps parents fight drug abuse

Tragic memories brought tears to Pat Tyrell's eyes this week as she watched local school board officials unveil their latest drug-prevention strategy -- an awareness kit for parents.

''There was nothing like this when my son got involved in drugs,'' she said softly during a break in the presentation. ''There were no support groups, nothing available in the schools, and very little from the police. We were totally alone, and we had no idea what to do.''