Join Our CommunityThe CODA Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is a group of students from all over Canada who have a shared passion to reduce and prevent substance abuse in their schools, communities and among their friends. Designed to empower and encourage students to learn from each other about the dangers of drug abuse, communities across Canada will be enriched by local YAC activities.
KILDONAN EAST COLLEGIATE, Winnipeg MB YAC UPDATE!!!!!!!!Students at Kildonan East Collegiate in Winnipeg are buzzing with excitement after their YAC meetings with CODA Educator Allan Vanderwater. In ...
KILDONAN EAST COLLEGIATE, Winnipeg MB YAC UPDATE!!!!!!!!
Students at Kildonan East Collegiate in Winnipeg are buzzing with excitement after their YAC meetings with CODA Educator Allan Vanderwater. In their first meeting, students discussed the YAC initiative of promoting drug prevention within their school and community. Here are some of the brainstormed ideas that they came up with:
- Having Speakers share their stories of addiction
- Incorporating the YAC message into their dance and drama teams presentations
- Using a flash mob as a promotional hook
- Doing a game show or some kind of demonstration on effect of drugs
Stay tuned for more….
New Pharmacy Computer Program Tracks Addictive Drug AbusePosted Mar 7, 2013 By Desmond DevoyEMC News - Brent Ferris is actually pleased when he gets an error message on his work computer.As a pharmac...
New Pharmacy Computer Program Tracks Addictive Drug Abuse
Posted Mar 7, 2013 By Desmond Devoy
EMC News - Brent Ferris is actually pleased when he gets an error message on his work computer.
As a pharmacist at the Shoppers Drug Mart in Smiths Falls, it means that the new computer program to monitor who is buying prescription drugs with addictive properties, is working.
The error message pops up when someone tries to fill the same prescription on the same day at two different pharmacies, as part of a larger series of laws first brought in in November of 2011, with a second phase initiated last May.
"It's better (but) by no means perfect," said Ferris during a presentation entitled "Enforcement of Drug Legislation in Community Pharmacies" at the municipal drug strategy networking session. This took place on Friday, March 1, at the Brunton Community Hall, Blacks Corners, Beckwith Township.
"Wading through more error messages is worth it to catch the cheaters."
Part of the problem with monitoring drugs in this country is that, well, pills are popping up everywhere.
"We use a lot of drugs," Ferris said. "Canada is the only place you can buy codeine with no prescription."
Canada also ranks fourth in the world in terms of narcotics use, and 15th for use of amphetamines, and that 11 per cent of substance abuse comes from abusing prescription drugs.
Even though he handles drugs every day, at the methadone clinic run at his pharmacy, he was surprised to learn that it was not just recovering heroin addicts using the service, but former OxyContin or Fentanyl users too.
Another surprising fact that Ferris found was actually a good one - a problem he doesn't face, which is that forged prescriptions are not a big problem for him, though "we have had a few prescriptions that we thought were forged." But people who do have legitimate prescriptions are sometimes deluding themselves that the doctor's note gives them free reign with how they use their drugs.
"They are getting them from a doctor, which is kind of giving them license to do it (they feel)," said Ferris. "Our role as a pharmacist is to identify people who may be abusing."
He admitted that he graduated in the "wild west," days before these new laws were brought in, but just as a doctor needs to work on his bedside manner in real world settings, so too do pharmacists have to develop a bit of an inner amateur psychologist - and common sense - to see when someone may be pulling a fast one.
For example, a woman came into his pharmacy seeking to fill a prescription for Percocet.
"Please don't run it through my drug plan," she said, asking to pay only in cash. "She said it enough times that we tried to run it through her drug plan. She had (already) filled the prescription at another pharmacy... The drug plan helped us stop it."
Even at a moment like this, Ferris stressed that, with other people standing around the pharmacy, it is not a good idea to make a big show of the situation.
"We're not drug dealers whom you can threaten," either, he added.
But computer programs are not the only way to keep an eye on potential abuse of the system - the small town grapevine helps too. With five pharmacies in Smiths Falls, and at least three in Perth, "it is easy to find if people are getting them elsewhere."
With the changes in rules, area pharmacists are having to contend with irate customers who have never had to, say, show identification before when picking up medication for themselves or a family member, or who get offended when a pharmacist has to phone a doctor to double check a prescription.
"We're not police," said Ferris. "We're not going to do anything with them. We just need to see it (the ID)...(The changes) led to a lot of feisty people who didn't know the law, even though there were signs in the pharmacies."
Ferris admitted that the narcotics monitoring system "is not a perfect system. (But) it allows us to keep track. It is a net. Some things are slipping through. It (also) catches things that should not be caught."
One aspect of the computer system that Ferris finds quirky is that the "double-doctoring" application only flags more than two doctors, if a patient is seeing more than one doctor, to obtain multiple prescriptions, though he pointed out that it had to allow for medication prescribed by, say, a family doctor and then, a short time later, an emergency room doctor.
"We never want to deny people," Ferris said. "Many prescriptions flagged are not suspicious. You try to solve it before you ever talk to a doctor because they are busy. Most prescribers are upset when alerted to a patient's inappropriate behaviour."
While pharmacists typically have less information about a patient's background than, say, a doctor, they must look for clues that could well prove valid for, say, multiple prescriptions, or someone running out on a prescription early. Ferris found out that one patient is a drywaller, and so is often covered in dust, necessitating multiple applications - and prescription renewals - of a medicinal patch.
Even then, "there are situations where you are like, 'What is going on?' We use our brain. I feel professionally responsible, even if I am not legally responsible. It's hard for us as people who want to do good."
He has even seen some doctors cancel a prescription when abuse has been brought to light, with a promise to talk to the patient about their abuse at their next appointment.
While some drugs are certainly known to the public as having the potential to be addictive, some more "benign" drugs are also open to abuse.
"People never think of Tylenol as being bad," said Ferris. He admitted that "it is fairly benign," but that overuse can be "very hard on your liver... you are at serious risk of doing serious damage to your liver," by abusing it.
One way in which doctors and pharmacists are working together to stop the abuse is by getting patients to sign narcotics contracts, in which the patient promises not to abuse the system, use multiple doctors, get the prescription filled at more than one pharmacy, and so on.
"Many prescribers are requiring this of patients before writing (prescriptions) for controlled substances," said Ferris. "Ultimately, it is still the doctor who is at the top of the food chain."
This can be a problem for him when he comes up against some doctors, one in particular who was "pretty free-wheeling with what he prescribed."
Another partnership that area pharmacists have is with the police. The police will sometimes approach him to identify prescription medication they have seized or discovered in order to identify it. At other times, "we would not hesitate to call the police," if it was necessary.
Ferris revealed that one of the most popular drugs at his pharmacy is Fentanyl, and "the amounts are terrifying." Requiring patients to bring their used packets back to the pharmacy in order to repeat their prescription is a good first step, he feels.
YAC SCHOOLS UPDATES!!!!!!!!!!!!St. Aidan’sThe students at St. Aidan’s School continue to show initiative and interest in playing their part of spreading the YAC message for Drug Preventio...
YAC SCHOOLS UPDATES!!!!!!!!!!!!
The students at St. Aidan’s School continue to show initiative and interest in playing their part of spreading the YAC message for Drug Prevention as demonstrated in their last meeting with Alan Vanderwater.
In previous meetings they brainstormed a number of ideas from which several were selected to be executed. Those selected were:
- A visit to their local Addiction Treatment/Government of Manitoba Agency (AFM)
- A research and information gathering day
- A field trip to the library for research
- Viewing videos on a chose addiction topic
- Having a speaker from the treatment program
In their most recent meeting all ideas were executed and all brought back their research to present at a later date in their school curriculum.
Thumbs up you all!
To Dillon, Vicky, Karetta, and all the students at St. Aidan’s School
YAC SCHOOLS UPDATES!!!!!!!!!!!!General ByngIt seems like the YAC spirit is spreading across schools in Canada.Our next update comes from General Byng in Winnipeg where students are keeping the YAC fl...
YAC SCHOOLS UPDATES!!!!!!!!!!!!
It seems like the YAC spirit is spreading across schools in Canada.
Our next update comes from General Byng in Winnipeg where students are keeping the YAC flag and message flying high facilitated by CODA’s Alan Vanderwater.
Students are having robust discussion surrounding the possibilities for General Byng which includes:
- Having a function involving the drama team at the school assembly in April 2013 school wide gathering
We are excited about the prospect of this proposal and the tremendous potential for spreading YAC message of Drug Prevention and Addiction Awareness and can’t wait for the next meeting in two weeks to get more details.
Special mentions to Leah Homer, Loraine Flores, guidance counsellor Lise Legal and all the students at General Byng
UN Anti-Narcotics Panel Warns of Widespread Increase in use of 'Legal Highs'March 2013 – The independent United Nations body tasked with monitoring the production and consumption of nar...
UN Anti-Narcotics Panel Warns of Widespread Increase in use of 'Legal Highs'
March 2013 – The independent United Nations body tasked with monitoring the production and consumption of narcotics worldwide today warned of the increase in use of psychoactive substances known as 'legal highs' which reproduce the effect of illegal drugs, and represent a threat to public health.
“In recent years, there has been an unprecedented surge in the abuse of new psychoactive substances,” said the President of the Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Raymond Yans.
According to the latest INCB annual report, these 'legal highs' are easily available over the Internet, with their numbers estimated to be in the hundreds and growing steadily.
“In Europe alone, almost one new substance is appearing every week,” Mr. Yans said. “Previously, between 2000 and 2005 there was an average of five notifications of new substances per year. Clear action must be taken now by governments to prevent and deal with the abuse of these so-called 'legal highs' which are already a threat to public health and pose a significant challenge to public health systems.”
The report also states that the abuse of prescription drugs has continued to spread in all regions of the world. In particular, there has been an unabated increase in the consumption of drugs used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in a number of countries.
Another major issue is the abuse of tranquilizers and sedatives. “More than 6 per cent of secondary school students have already abused tranquilizers in some countries, highlighting another alarming trend of drug abuse,” Mr. Yans said.
He added that the drug problem is “a truly global problem that necessitates a global solution” at an international, national and community level, and stressed the importance of following existing international drug control conventions to prevent drug-related trafficking.
The report also outlines the situation in each geographical region, noting that North America remains the biggest illicit drug market in the world, as well as the region reporting the highest drug-related mortality rate with approximately one in every 20 deaths among people aged from 15 to 64 in North America related to drug abuse.
Cannabis remains the most widely cultivated, trafficked and abused drug in Africa, the report says, but amphetamine-type stimulants are increasingly seen as a new threat in the region. There have also been higher levels of cocaine abuse in West Africa, as the region has emerged as a transit area for narcotics from South America to the European market in recent years.
In South America, the total area of illicit coca bush cultivation has slightly decreased compared to the previous years. However, there continue to be large seizures of cannabis. Central America and the Caribbean continue to be used as major transit areas for cocaine trafficked from South America to the North American market, which is having destabilizing effects in these countries due to an increase in the levels of drug-related violence. This continues to constitute a major threat to public security particularly in Mexico, where – according to Government figures – more than 60,000 people have been killed as a result of drug-related violence since 2006.
East and South-East Asia continue to have the second largest total area of illicit opium poppy cultivation in the world, and the region is also a manufacturing hub for amphetamine-type stimulants with almost half the global seizures of methamphetamine in 2010 made in South-East Asia. Meanwhile, the levels of abuse and illicit manufacture of amphetamine-type stimulants in Oceania remain among the highest in the world.
For its part, West Asia still has the greatest share of global illicit opium poppy cultivation and illicit opiate production, primarily in Afghanistan.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue
UN official welcomes joint anti-drug trafficking efforts of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan
Parents Talking About Their Own Drug Use to Children Could Be Detrimental Feb. 22, 2013 — Parents know that one day they will have to talk ...
Parents Talking About Their Own Drug Use to Children Could Be Detrimental
Feb. 22, 2013 — Parents know that one day they will have to talk to their children about drug use. The hardest part is to decide whether or not talking about ones own drug use will be useful in communicating an antidrug message. Recent research, published in the journal Human Communication Research, found that children whose parents did not disclose drug use, but delivered a strong antidrug message, were more likely to exhibit antidrug attitudeJennifer A. Kam, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Ashley V. Middleton, MSO Health Information Management, published in Human Communication Research their findings from surveys of 253 Latino and 308 European American students from the sixth through eighth grades. The students reported on the conversations that they have had with their parents about alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana. Kam and Middleton were interested in determining how certain types of messages were related to the students' substance-use perceptions, and in turn, behaviors.
Past research found that teens reported that they would be less likely to use drugs if their parents told them about their own past drug use. In Kam and Middleton's study, however, Latino and European American children who reported that their parents talked about the negative consequences, or regret, over their own past substance use were actually less likely to report anti-substance-use perceptions. This finding means that when parents share their past stories of substance use, even when there is a learning lesson, such messages may have unintended consequences for early adolescent children.
Kam and Middleton's study identifies specific messages that parents can relay to their children about alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana that may encourage anti-substance-use perceptions, and in turn, discourage actual substance use. For example, parents may talk to their kids about the negative consequences of using substances, how to avoid substances, that they disapprove of substance use, the family rules against substance use, and stories about others who have gotten in trouble from using substances.
"Parents may want to reconsider whether they should talk to their kids about times when they used substances in the past and not volunteer such information, Kam said. "Of course, it is important to remember this study is one of the first to examine the associations between parents' references to their own past substance use and their adolescent children's subsequent perceptions and behaviors."
New Breast Cancer Drug Helps Advanced CasesBy Maggie Fox, Senior Writer, NBC NewsThe Food and Drug Administration approved a new "smart bomb" drug on Friday that can help women with one of ...
New Breast Cancer Drug Helps Advanced Cases
By Maggie Fox, Senior Writer, NBC News
The Food and Drug Administration approved a new "smart bomb" drug on Friday that can help women with one of the most hard-to-cure types of breast cancer.
The new drug added several months of life to women with a type of breast cancer called HER2-positive breast cancer, whose tumors had spread despite treatment. While it wasn’t a cure, it did add some healthy months of life to patients whose outlook was otherwise hopeless.
The drug is called Kadcyla, and it works in an unusual way. It combines an older drug, Herceptin, with a highly toxic type of chemotherapy called DM1. The Herceptin hones in on the tumor cells, which absorb the package and are then destroyed by the DM1, which is too strong to deliver like standard chemotherapy. It’s a member of a new class of drugs called antibody-drug conjugates or ADCs.
Kadcyla delivers the drug to the cancer site to shrink the tumor, slow disease progression and prolong survival," Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of the FDA's office of hematology and oncology products, said in a statement.
In a trial of 991 women with advanced HER2 breast cancer, those who got Kadcyla lived on average 5.8 months longer than those getting more standard chemotherapy, researchers reported last year in the New England Journal of Medicine. It meant about 2 ½ years of life after diagnosis, compared to two years for those on standard therapy.
“Only a few studies in metastatic breast cancer have shown an improvement in overall survival. It’s tough to do,” Dr. Sunil Verma of the Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre in Toronto, who led the study, said in a statement on the National Cancer Institute’s website.
Genentech, which makes the drug, is now focusing on the ADC formula. The hope is it can cause fewer side-effects than ordinary chemo, which can affect healthy tissue. Herceptin is a synthetic immune system protein or monoclonal antibody called trastuzumab.
“We currently have more than 25 antibody-drug conjugates in our pipeline and hope this promising approach will help us deliver more medicines to fight other cancers in the future,” Dr. Hal Barron, the company’s chief medical officer, said in a statement.
It's not cheap. A nearly 10-month course of therapy costs $94,000, Genentech says.
Genentech promised the FDA it would help patients pay for it. “People who do not have health insurance, or who have reached the lifetime limit set by their insurance company, might qualify to receive Kadcyla free of charge,” the company said in a statement. Herceptin alone costs more than $4,000 a month.
The drug is not without side-effects. It can damage the heart, liver and lungs and pregnant women can’t take it.
Breast cancer is the biggest cancer killer of women, after lung cancer. It’s diagnosed in about 235,000 U.S. men and women every year and kills 40,000, according to the American Cancer Society.
About 20 percent of cases are known as HER2-positive breast cancer. That means the tumor cells make extra amounts of a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. It makes for a very aggressive type of cancer and it’s more likely to come back after treatment than other breast cancers.
Women newly diagnosed with HER2 breast cancer should still be treated first with Herceptin alone for a year, the National Cancer Institute says. But doctors may test the new drug in some volunteers to see if it works better.
Computers Against Violence: Detailed Analysis Of Drugs, Alcohol & Crimes Across A City Could Help Target PreventionArticle Date: 21 Feb 2013 - 0:00 PSTAs cities across America work to reduce viol...
Computers Against Violence: Detailed Analysis Of Drugs, Alcohol & Crimes Across A City Could Help Target Prevention
Article Date: 21 Feb 2013 - 0:00 PST
As cities across America work to reduce violence in tight budget times, new research shows how they might be able to target their efforts and police attention - with the help of high-powered computers and loads of data.
In a newly published paper, University of Michigan Medical School researchers and their colleagues have used real police data from Boston to demonstrate the promise of computer models in zeroing in on violent areas. They combined and analyzed information in small geographic units, on police reports, drug offenses, and alcohol availability at stores, bars and restaurants, as well as the education levels, employment and other attributes of the people who live there.
The result: a detailed map of violent crime "hot spots", and a better understanding of factors that create the right climate for violence. Both could help a city's leaders and police focus resources on the areas where they can do the most good. The findings, made using funding from the National Institutes of Health, are published online in the American Journal of Public Health.
With the growing availability of data from local, state and federal sources, the team says the approach could be applied to any city or metropolitan area. It can show which micro-environments - down to blocks and intersections - need most attention. In fact, they are currently preparing the same analysis for the city of Flint, Mich., which unlike Boston has some of the nation's highest violent crime rates. Victims of that violence often end up in a hospital emergency room staffed by U-M doctors.
"This approach allows us to find predictors of violence that aren't just related to an individual's predisposition - but rather, allow us to study people in places and a social environment," says Robert Lipton, Ph.D., lead author and an associate professor of emergency medicine at the U-M Medical School.
Lipton, who describes himself as a geographical epidemiologist, and several of his co-authors are members of the U-M Injury Center, which has federal funding to study and test ways to reduce injuries of all kinds. Researchers have studied the relationship between alcohol availability and violence for years. But the new paper adds several new facets: arrests for drug possession and dealing, and citizen calls to 911 about drug use, as well as the broader geographic factors surrounding each type of establishment where alcohol is sold.
Details from state liquor board licenses, police records and the U.S. Census Bureau all factored into the analysis. Over time, other types of data could be added - so that researchers and police can see the impact of any factor that might contribute to violent behavior.
The goal: to help policy makers and police identify areas that have higher rates of risk factors that may combine to produce violence. The density of liquor stores or alcohol-serving bars and restaurants alone isn't enough to explain violence patterns - the new paper shows that it's much more complex than that.
"Why are two areas of a city, which seem to be the same across typical demographic factors, different in their level of violence? We need to become more nuanced in understanding these relationships," says Lipton, who is also a member of the Prevention Research Center at the U-M School of Public Health.
The new research, begun when Lipton was at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston, involved Anthony Braga, a Harvard University criminologist who is chief policy advisor to the Boston police commissioner, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Xiaowen Yang. Co-authors also include U-M statistician Jason Goldstick, Ph.D., U-M emergency medicine doctor Manya Newton, M.D., MPH, and Injury Center research analyst Melissa Rura, Ph.D.
The analysis of Boston data may help local authorities - while also helping the U-M researchers test their models and theories. Even with Boston's relatively low violent crime rate, the researchers found they could show how place-based factors influence crime rates. The study examined 2006 data on homicides and aggravated assault incidents, drug arrests and 911 citizen emergency calls from the Boston Police Department along with 2000 U.S. census data and 2009 alcohol outlet data from the Massachusetts Alcohol Beverage Control Commission.
Results from the study indicate that types and densities of alcohol outlets were directly related to violent crimes despite the fact that alcohol outlets are typically viewed as locations in which other population or environmental factors, such as poverty or prostitution, relate to the violence.
The study also shows that drug possession, rather than drug distribution, has a positive relationship with violent crimes. Features of adjacent areas, and activities occurring there, were also found to be significantly related to violent crime in any given "target" area.
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