Over 35,000 drug users treated in China

Beijing, Oct 1 (IANS) Over 35,000 drug users have been treated at 59 rehabilitation centres in China, authorities said.

The centres are exploring ways to help drug addicts break their habits, recover from psychological or mental problems and better integrate themselves back into society, said Chen Xunqiu, vice minister of justice.

In addition to treating addiction, the centres offer psychological consultation and vocational training to patients, Xinhua reported.

Altogether, these centres have about 7,000 beds, 202 doctors and 141 psychologists, with about 5,000 substance abuse patients currently receiving treatment.

The number of registered drug users in China neared 1.4 million as of the end of 2010, according to figures from the ministry of public security.

Read more http://in.news.yahoo.com/over-35-000-drug-users-treated-china-091008730.html

Sanctuary Offers Peace, Spirituality

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Local Clinic Launches Treatment Programs for Food Addiction and Eating Disorders

[ [ [[‘a world of lies and false hope’, 20]], ‘http://news.yahoo.com/photos/iran-sentences-2-american-men-to-8-years-in-jail-1313849049-slideshow/’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/a8g0GeKOu.6BNxnQ3ued4g–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD0zNzI7cT04NTt3PTUxMg–/http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/ap_webfeeds/8529d1c495abcf15f90e6a7067007df0.jpg’, ‘512’, ‘ ‘, ‘AP’, ], [ [[‘Conrad Murray’, 15]], ‘http://news.yahoo.com/photos/dr-conrad-murray-on-trial-in-jackson-death-1317135792-slideshow/’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/OcnZ1oL8b35HJTX7lYEc_g–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00MDI7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/ap_webfeeds/fa85fed941f16915f90e6a706700f31e.jpg’, ‘630’, ”, ‘AP’, ], [ [[‘she-devil’, 12]], ‘http://news.yahoo.com/photos/amanda-knox-1309358621-slideshow/’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/wEKL_fXhCYWc.LCTamCTkQ–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD0yOTk7cT04NTt3PTQ1MA–/http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/Reuters/2011-09-26T135037Z_01_BTRE78P12GI00_RTROPTP_2_CNEWS-US-ITALY-KNOX-EVENTS.JPG’, ‘450’, ”, ‘Reuters’, ], [ [[‘diana nyad’, 13]], ‘http://news.yahoo.com/photos/u-s-swimmer-nyad-begins-swim-across-florida-1312776343-slideshow/’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/prkREWxb4pKoOEJPbofPGA–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD0zODQ7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/ap_webfeeds/b662d816a5dfd315f90e6a70670000e6.jpg’, ‘630’, ”, ‘AP’, ], [ [[‘Joshua Komisarjevsky’, 10]], ‘/photos/connecticut-home-invasion-trial-1316719606-slideshow/’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/A1N8mGB5Dh811ytFRPmjhA–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00NTk7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/ap_webfeeds/ec21b03eeea50514f90e6a70670007ca.jpg’, ‘630’, ”, ‘AP’, ], [ [[‘CASCO Signal’, 13], [‘Yu Yuan station’, 13]], ‘http://news.yahoo.com/photos/shanghai-subway-trains-crash-1317124688-slideshow/’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/hPUVHzepCJiFHzudiNhNVw–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00NTk7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/afp.com/TRHkg5396284.jpg’, ‘630’, ”, ‘AFP’, ], [ [[‘It is difficult to assess how many birds are affected’, 7]], ‘http://news.yahoo.com/photos/sweden-hit-by-substantial-oil-spill-1316444749-slideshow/’, ‘Click image to see more photos of the oil spill’, ‘http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/Ii9HcyoayObiPRmw7Ik4PQ–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00MjA7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/Reuters/2011-09-18T165741Z_01_STO04_RTRIDSP_3_SWEDEN.jpg’, ‘460’, ‘341’, ‘Reuters/Erik Abel/Scanpix Sweden’, ], [ [[‘Andy Rooney’, 9]], ‘http://news.yahoo.com/photos/andy-rooney-leaving-60-minutes–1317174717-slideshow/’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/pMvL4lFxAn54rFTcZ0xwcA–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00MjA7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/ap_webfeeds/b4cf0a91be6cfd15f90e6a706700f8ed.jpg’, ‘630’, ”, ‘AP’, ], [ [[‘villages where people are trapped under collapsed houses’, 8]], ‘http://news.yahoo.com/photos/6-9-quake-strikes-india-nepal-1316432147-slideshow/’, ‘Click image to see more photos of the quake aftermath’, ‘http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/ArZHT7_ugJNvdNZr7rXg7A–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD0zNDA7cT04NTt3PTUxMg–/http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/AFP/photo_1316422839782-8-0.jpg’, ‘512’, ‘340’, ‘AFP’, ], [ [[‘The absence of Borders is going to be felt across the industry’, 6]], ‘http://news.yahoo.com/photos/last-borders-bookstores-close-1316449248-slideshow/’, ‘Click image to see more photos of the closing of the last Borders’, ‘http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/B__uksKyx_HwEP3gUum2qA–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00MzM7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/ap_webfeeds/aed64c8a04652215f90e6a706700965e.jpg’, ‘460’, ‘313’, ‘AP/Amy Sancetta’, ], [ [[‘Anders Behring Breivik’, 8]], ‘http://news.yahoo.com/photos/norway-attacker-anders-behring-breivik-1311602377-slideshow/’, ‘Click image to see more photos of the confessed mass killer’, ‘http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/_E5OB1E6rdgShUt41KVZaw–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00ODk7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/Reuters/2011-07-25T141034Z_01_SIN725_RTRIDSP_3_NORWAY.jpg’, ‘460’, ‘357’, ‘Reuters/Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen/Aftenposten via Scanpix’, ], [ [[‘like there is no way out’, 9]], ‘http://news.yahoo.com/photos/the-faces-of-poverty-real-lives-real-pain-1316453315-slideshow/’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/OlSRGp1pKLgvYSpy6XCRkw–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD0zOTM7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/ap_webfeeds/45d7db4304d12415f90e6a706700ca26.jpg’, ‘460’, ‘ ‘, ‘AP/Robert F. Bukaty’, ], [ [[‘including snipers picking off protesters from rooftops’, 5], [‘Violence has flared anew in Yemen in frustration’, 6]], ‘http://news.yahoo.com/photos/yemen-slideshow/’, ‘Click image to see more photos of unrest in Yemen’, ‘http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/UUZ_CmgwS6mLf75U4D9flA–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00MjA7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/ap_webfeeds/ea314f80041a2115f90e6a706700681f.jpg’, ‘460’, ‘ ‘, ‘AP/Hani Mohammed’, ], [ [[‘Dolores Hope’, 7]], ‘http://news.yahoo.com/photos/dolores-hope-dies-at-age-102-1316466341-slideshow/’, ‘Click image to see more photos of Dolores’, ‘http://l.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/PVmQlI81830Gw1RqCrESFA–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD02MzA7cT04NTt3PTUxNg–/http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/ap_webfeeds/4ca0b51519923d15f90e6a70670063b1.jpg’, ‘460’, ‘ ‘, ‘AP’, ] ]

Read more http://news.yahoo.com/local-clinic-launches-treatment-programs-food-addiction-eating-070509488.html

Bangor churches offer God-centered recovery program

BANGOR, Maine — Two local churches have joined forces to offer Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered recovery program.

Columbia Street Baptist Church and New Hope Church a year ago began offering the Celebrate Recovery program on Monday nights at the Baptist church in downtown Bangor. New Hope meets at Penobscot Christian School on outer Ohio Street.

Celebrate Recovery is open to all believers struggling with “hurts, habits and hangups,” according to Aric Rice, who heads the leadership team.

Rice, who attends New Hope, is a mental health counselor in Bangor.

“Those hurts, habits and hangups often are a symptom of something that has happened in your life and has left a hole in it,” he said earlier this week. “Whatever you are trying to stuff into life to fill that hole — whether it’s drugs, alcohol, food or sex — it’s never enough. In my experience. Nothing can fill that hole but God.”

Celebrate Recovery was created about 20 years ago by the Rev. Rick Warren, head of Saddleback Church headquartered in Lake Forest, Calif.

Warren is best known for his best-selling book, “The Purpose-Driven Life.”

“Most people are familiar with the classic 12-step program of [Alcoholics Anonymous] and other groups,” Warren said on the program’s website. “While undoubtedly many lives have been helped through the 12 steps, I’ve always been uncomfortable with that program’s vagueness about the nature of God, the saving power of Jesus Christ, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

“So, I began an intense study of the Scriptures to discover what God had to say about ‘recovery,’” he continued. “To my amazement, I found the principles of recovery, and even their logical order, given by Christ in his most famous message, the Sermon on the Mount.”

The Beautitudes are laid out in Matthew 5-7.

Many of the 40 to 60 people who participate in the program, like team leader Tracy, who asked that just her first name be used, have taken part in and continue to attend 12-step programs.

“OA worked for me at the time and it was a great stepping stone,” she said. “I had a connection with people [in that group] but in Celebrate Recovery, I have a different type of connection, a deeper connection because we all have faith in the same savior, the same creator and we are all striving to be more like him.

“Knowing now who God is,” she continued, “it’s like the ultimate peace. There is only one way, one answer and that is Jesus Christ.”

In addition to the Monday meetings, groups divided by gender meet on Tuesday nights and use workbooks to go through the 12 steps, turning to the Bible often for guidance and inspiration.

In addition to Bangor, Celebrate Recovery groups meet at churches in Bath, Houlton, Lamoine, Lewiston and Portland, according to information at www.celebraterecovery.com.

For information about the Bangor group, call 745-5521.

Celebrate Recovery’s Eight Principles

Incorporating the 12 steps and based on the Beatitudes

  • Step 2: Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover.

    “Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

  • Step 3: Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.

    “Happy are the meek.”

  • Steps 4 and 5: Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust.

    “Happy are the pure in heart.”

  • Steps 6 and 7: Voluntarily submit to any and all changes God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.

    “Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.”

  • Steps 8 and 9: Evaluate all my relationships. Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others when possible, except when to do so would harm them or others.

    “Happy are the merciful.” and “Happy are the peacemakers”

  • Steps 10 and 11: Reserve a time with God for self-examination, Bible reading and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.
  • Step 12: Yield myself to God to be used to bring this good news to others, both by my example and my words.

    “Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires.”

Read more http://bangordailynews.com/2011/09/30/religion/bangor-churches-offer-god-centered-recovery-program/

Relapse into drug use leads to jail

By NEIL BOWEN The Observer

Posted 2 days ago

A man battling a drug addiction who openly sold drugs in local bars, and continued drug offences following his initial arrest, has been sentenced to a year in jail.

Alfred Allen Moore, 42, of Sarnia who had previously pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine for trafficking along with possession of oxycodone, ecstasy, methamphetamine, production of hashish and violating a court-ordered drug ban was sentenced Thursday.

Citizens disturbed by Moore’s open sale of drugs called police and he was arrested Jan. 23 with three grams of cocaine, the hallucinogenic stimulant ecstasy, oxycodone and $600.

Moore was released on bail but arrested April 23 when he had methamphetamine, ecstasy and had been producing hashish in violation of bail conditions.

Moore can’t be trusted in the community, said federal prosecutor Michael Robb during a prior court appearance.

Robb was seeking a 14-month jail sentence for Moore who had a lengthy criminal record including three drug convictions.

Moore wants a last chance to keep his family, job and health through a house-arrest sentence, said defence lawyer Don Henderson.

Moore was aware of everything he was putting at risk and committed the recent crimes anyway, said Robb.

Moore’s longtime drug habit ended for two years when he started working as a tradesman and he was involved in the methadone program, said Henderson.

But Moore relapsed into drug use.

House arrest was not warranted due to the lengthy and persistent criminal record despite Moore’s significant rehabilitation efforts, said Justice Mark Hornblower.

Offences committed while on bail showed public safety could not be accomplished through house arrest, said Hornblower.

Moore’s jail time includes six months of pre-sentence custody and will be followed by a year’s probation when Moore must take substance-abuse counselling.

A lifetime weapons ban was imposed and Moore must give police a DNA sample.


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Read more http://www.theobserver.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3318852

Immune System May Influence How Alcohol Affects Behavior

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Main Category: Alcohol / Addiction / Illegal Drugs
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The changes in behavior that come about under the influence of alcohol, such as difficulty controlling muscles for walking and talking, may be influenced by immune cells in the brain, according to a new study from Australia published in the British Journal of Pharmacology this month.

Lead author Dr Mark Hutchinson, Australia Research Council (ARC) Research Fellow with the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Adelaide, told the press he and his colleagues had uncovered new evidence that immune responses in the brain were involved in behavioral responses to alcohol.

“Alcohol is consumed annually by two billion people world-wide with its abuse posing a significant health and social problem,” said Hutchinson, “Over 76 million people are diagnosed with an alcohol abuse disorder.”

“It’s amazing to think that despite 10,000 years of using alcohol, and several decades of investigation into the way that alcohol affects the nerve cells in our brain, we are still trying to figure out exactly how it works,” he noted.

For their study, Hutchinson and colleagues gave laboratory mice a single shot of alcohol and examined what happened to the animals’ behavior when they blocked their toll-like receptors. Specifically they blocked toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) because, as they write in their introduction:

” Emerging evidence implicates a role for toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in the central nervous system effects of alcohol. “

Toll-like receptors activate the immune system when they encounter foreign substances, such as molecules derived from microorganisms (remember alcohol is made by yeast), breaching certain barriers to and inside the body, such as the skin and the gut wall.

The researchers were interested in finding out if blocking a particular pathway that was responsible for “TLR4-MyD88- dependent signalling” would interfere with the acute behavioural actions of alcohol. They also wanted to find out if alcohol could trigger certain pathways downstream of TLR4.

They used two ways to block the receptors: chemically, using drugs to inhibit TLR4 signalling, and genetically, by engineering mice with inactivated genes that code for the receptor.

They found that both methods significantly reduced the effect of alcohol and decreased the recovery time compared to controls. (To establish this they measured both sedation and motor impairment, the latter using tests called “loss of righting reflex, LORR, and rotarod).

Hutchinson said these findings show that blocking this part of the immune system, either genetically or with drugs, reduced the behavioral effects of alcohol.

He said he believes they would find similar results with humans and that they would add to our understanding of how alcohol affects us, “as it is both an immunological and neuronal response”.

“Such a shift in mindset has significant implications for identifying individuals who may have bad outcomes after consuming alcohol, and it could lead to a way of detecting people who are at greater risk of developing brain damage after long-term drinking,” he said, explaining that drugs targeting TLR4 could help treat alcohol addiction and overdoses.

Written by Catharine Paddock
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today

Visit our alcohol / addiction / illegal drugs section for the latest news on this subject.
“Inhibiting the TLR4-MyD88 signalling cascade by genetic or pharmacologic strategies reduces acute alcohol dose- induced sedation and motor impairment in mice”; Yue Wu, Erin L. Lousberg, Lachlan M. Moldenhauer, John D. Hayball, Janet K. Coller, Kenner C. Rice, Linda R. Watkins, Andrew A. Somogyi, and Mark R. Hutchinson; British Journal of Pharmacology 2011, Accepted Article available online 29 Sep 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1476- 5381.2011.01572.x; Link to Abstract
Additional source: University of Adelaide.
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Catharine Paddock PhD. “Immune System May Influence How Alcohol Affects Behavior.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 30 Sep. 2011. Web.
3 Oct. 2011. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/235313.php>


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Right Wing Tulsa Paper Calls Gay Appointee Perverted

Jim Roth of the Oklahoma State Election Board

The Tulsa Beacon, a right wing newspaper that makes the New York Post look like The New York Times, published a scathing indictment of Jim Roth (pictured), a recent appointee to the Oklahoma State Election Board.

Roth was recently appointed by Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin, who campaigned on her Christian values, according to the Beacon. The paper claims in an editorial that Fallin betrayed her campaign promises by appointing Roth, who they call an “outspoken homosexual.”

“The election board needs people of integrity, not those who live a perverted lifestyle, whether it be homosexuality or heterosexual promiscuity, alcoholism, drug addiction, or a host of other personal problems,” reads the editorial. “Undoubtedly, there are homosexuals who serve in state government. But someone who is open about his perverted lifestyle should not be appointed to a position of honor and integrity by a governor who wants to govern by biblical principles. Roth will serve immediately on an interim basis but his four-year post is subject to approval by the Oklahoma Senate. They should send him packing.”

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Alcohol and anxiety a risky mix for some

Many people who experience chronic feelings of anxiety about social situations, work and relationships, or other aspects of everyday life often reach for a beer or a glass of wine to quell their unease.

Alcohol may help anxious people cope in the short term, but over time this strategy can backfire. According to a new study in the Archives of General Psychiatry, self-medicating with alcohol or drugs can increase the risk of alcoholism and other substance-abuse problems, without addressing the underlying anxiety.

“People probably believe that self-medication works,” says James M. Bolton, M.D., the lead author of the study and an assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg. “What people do not realize is that this quick-fix method actually makes things worse in the long term.”

Health.com: How to relieve the acute discomfort of anxiety disorders

Self-medication for anxiety symptoms is common. In the study, which included a nationally representative sample of 34,653 American adults, 13% of the people who had consumed alcohol or drugs in the previous year said they’d done so to reduce their anxiety, fear, or panic about a situation.

An even greater proportion, roughly one-quarter, said they had similarly self-medicated with drugs. (Detailed data on the drug use was not available, but Bolton says most people were probably using prescription sedatives — such as Xanax — without a prescription, rather than using marijuana or illegal drugs.)

Self-medication and anxiety proved to be a hazardous combination for some of the study participants. People with diagnosed anxiety disorders who self-medicated at the start of the study were two to five times more likely than those who did not self-medicate to develop a drug or alcohol problem within three years, the study found. (The increase in risk depended on the anxiety disorder.)

Health.com: The science of getting sloshed: how alcohol affects you

In addition, people with anxiety symptoms but in whom a full-blown anxiety disorder had never been officially diagnosed were more likely to receive a diagnosis of social phobia by the end of the study if they self-medicated. Social phobia, also known as social anxiety disorder, is characterized by pronounced fear or anxiety about specific situations, such as parties or speaking in public.

“Serious consequences can develop very quickly,” Bolton says. “People can develop alcoholism and anxiety disorders within just three years, and these are illnesses that can have a devastating impact on a person’s health, their relationships, and their financial situation.”

Experts have long known that people with anxiety disorders are vulnerable to substance abuse, and vice versa, but they haven’t been able to determine whether one problem precedes the other.

The new findings are significant because they are among the first to examine the relationship of anxiety symptoms and substance use in a group of people over time, says Kristen Anderson, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at Reed College, in Portland, Oregon. Anderson was not involved in the new study.

Health.com: Is alcohol good for you? What’s right and wrong with drinking

Bolton and his colleagues reanalyzed data from a nationwide survey, led by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, that began in 2001.

Thirteen percent of the participants with an anxiety disorder who reported self-medicating with alcohol developed an alcohol problem over the three-year study period, compared with just 5% of those who did not self-medicate. Likewise, 10% of people with an anxiety disorder who self-medicated with drugs developed a drug problem, versus 2% of those who did not.

Having a glass of wine to ease the tension of a stressful day doesn’t necessarily put a person at risk for becoming an alcoholic, of course. Substance abuse is heavily influenced by a person’s genes and environment, Anderson says, but she adds that habitually relying on alcohol or drugs to ease anxiety at the expense of healthier coping strategies — such as working out, talking with a friend, or taking a hot bath — can be risky.

Health.com: 7 steps to instant calm

“I think all of us, whether we’re disordered or not, need to consider the reason why we choose to use alcohol or other drugs,” Anderson says. “When any of us decide to try to cope with external agents, I think it’s a very slippery slope.”

The shame some people feel about their anxiety and a reluctance to seek help for psychological problems are likely major factors contributing to self-medication, Bolton says.

“Unfortunately, people often do not seek the help they need because of the stigma around mental illness,” he says. “People are likely to stay at home and use the resources that they have at their disposal, which in this case would be alcohol or drugs.”

Health.com: Mental illness: the last stigma

Maureen Carrigan, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of South Carolina-Aiken who studies addictive behaviors and anxiety disorders but wasn’t involved with the new research, sees widespread self-medication as a symptom of our “quick-fix society.”

Talk therapy and other treatments for anxiety are effective and can even solve the problem for good, Carrigan says, but they can be time-consuming and aren’t always covered by insurance. People experiencing anxiety may not even be aware of these treatments, she adds.

“The average person doesn’t always know that there are good psychological treatments that exist for some of these problems,” she says.


Read more…

Alcohol impairs the body’s ability to fight off viral infection

Alcohol is known to worsen the effects of disease, resulting in longer recovery period after trauma, injury or burns. It is also known to impair the anti-viral immune response, especially in the liver, including response against Hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV. New research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Immunology shows that alcohol modulates the anti-viral and inflammatory functions of monocytes and that prolonged alcohol consumption has a double negative effect of reducing the anti-viral effect of Type 1 interferon (IFN) whilst increasing inflammation via the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNFα.

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School looked at the effect of alcohol on monocytes collected from the blood of healthy volunteers. The group, led by Prof Gyongyi Szabo, focussed specifically on two disease related pathways – the first (Toll-like receptor 8 – TLR8) stimulated by single strand RNA viral attack and the second (TLR4) is involved in recognising bacteria.

Their results showed that, as expected, activation of these pathways resulted in an increase in the levels of the anti-viral cytokine IFN, however this was reduced by treatment with alcohol equivalent to four or five drinks a day for seven days. Similarly stimulation of these pathways resulted in an increase in the levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNFα. However, while a single treatment with alcohol decreased the amount of TNFα, prolonged treatment increased levels of inflammation.

Prof Szabo said, “Alcohol has a profound effect of inhibiting IFN production in monocytes regardless of whether the danger signal is intracellular (TLR8) or surface-derived (TLR4). Such a reduction would impair the body’s ability to fight off infection. Additionally, the fact that Type I IFN production is depressed despite increased levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine, TNFα, due to chronic alcohol exposure suggests that prolonged alcohol must change the immune balance of monocyte activation and impair host response to single-stranded virus infection like hepatitis C.”

More information: Inhibition of TLR8- and TLR4-induced Type I IFN induction by alcohol is different from its effects on inflammatory cytokine production in monocytes, Maoyin Pang, Shashi Bala, Karen Kodys, Donna Catalano and Gyongyi Szabo, BMC Immunology (in press)

Provided by BioMed Central (news : web)

Read more http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-09-alcohol-impairs-body-ability-viral.html

Govt drug policy raises concerns among activists

The Nation September 27, 2011 11:50 am

Working together under the “12D” network, they said the policy might lead to silent killings or violation of drug addicts’ and families’ rights – just like the Thaksin Shinawatra administration’s “war on drugs” policy. Rehabilitation for general addicts organised in army camps and prisons might also have negative impacts on the addicts, they said.

The activists’ requests included clear measures and guidelines for law-enforcers to prevent rights violations, the cancellation of Army- and police-organised rehabilitation, and the implementation of the Drug Addict Rehabilitation Act 2002, which treated addicts as patients rather than criminals.

Late yesterday, Chalerm met with deputy national police chief General Panupong Singhara na Ayutthaya to discuss the drug-suppression policy and give him the names of six Thai nationals reportedly involved in drug trafficking.

Chalerm said the authority had information on about 200-300 people reportedly involved in drug trafficking and smuggling in border areas but there were no politicians involved. He said his discussions with Panupong confirmed they had matching and credible information and he instructed Panupong to act on it, making arrests and seizing assets.

Bangkok’s Ratchadaphisek Criminal Court Tjuesrday gave two highway policemen 33 years and four months each in jail and Bt2 million in fines for having in their possession 3,000 yaba tablets for sale. Another highway cop was given the benefit of the doubt and acquitted, but remains in detention during appeal.

Pol Senior Sgt-Major Pornchai Noilatthee, Pol Senior Sgt-Major Wisanu Theungsook, and Pol Senior Sgt-Major Thanu Phuthong were arrested while manning a checkpoint in Krabi’s Phraya district on June 24 last year in a police sting operation.

The first two officers had allegedly nabbed three drug suspects along with 3,000 yaba tablets, but released them in exchange for Bt100,000 in cash. The two officers told the suspects to pay another Bt300,000 for the drugs. However, Nakhon Si Thammarat police later arrested the three suspects with the drugs, leading to the sting operation.

Pornchai claimed he and Wisanu received Bt40,000 each and paid Thanu Bt10,000 while giving Bt10,000 to the others. Finding the two officers guilty, the court handed them a life sentence and Bt3 million fine each, reduced to a 33-year-four-month jail term and Bt2-million fine because of their useful confessions.

In Phichit’s Wang Sai Phun district, police Tuesday searched a house and arrested a drug suspect aged 19 along with 37.59 grams of crystal meth, 399 yaba tablets, 3.02 grams of marijuana, two guns, and six records of drug customers.

It was reported that drug dealers used the opportunity of the flood crisis – in which most police were occupied helping flood victims – to distribute drugs.

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