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Pike, Brigid (2013) In brief. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 45, Spring 2013, p. 19.

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On 16 November 2012 Dealing with the stigma of drugs: a guide for journalists was issued by the UK Drug Policy Commission and the Society of Editors. Rather than telling editors and journalists what to think or say or write, this guide sets out to explain the problem and to help journalists report accurately and objectively so that stigma born of ignorance can be replaced with proper understanding and support for drug users.  www.societyofeditors.org  

On 27 November 2012 the UN General Assembly unanimously agreed to hold a General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) to review current policies and strategies to confront the global drug problem. Ninety-five UN member countries sponsored the draft resolution, presented by Mexico, on international co-operation on the global problem of drugs, including various countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and in the European Union, as well as Japan, China, Australia, and the United States. The UNGASS will take place at the beginning of 2016 after an intense preparatory process. The last UNGASS on drugs took place 14 years ago, in 1998. UN General Assembly 4 December 2012, A/67/459
On 29 November 2012 Growing up in Ireland. Key findings: 13-year-olds. No 4. The lives of 13-year-olds: their relationships, feelings and behaviours was launched at the 4th annual Growing Up in Ireland Research Conference in Dublin. It reports on data from the second wave of interviews with Growing Up in Ireland’s Child Cohort. The children and their families were first interviewed when the children were nine years old, and then again at age 13 years, between August 2011 and February 2012.In general, 13-year-olds had a positive self-image.Boys had a more positive self-image than girls. An exception to this was the higher self-image that girlshad in terms of their behaviour, indicating less problematic behaviours among girls than boys. A very large majority (91%) of 13-year-olds had never smoked a cigarette, 7% had smoked at some point but not in the last year and 2% said they currently smoked. Similarly, a large majority (85%) had never taken alcohol. A small percentage (0.6%) of 13-year-olds recorded that they drank alcohol once a month or more. www.growingup.ie
On 30 November 2012 the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) published a briefing to highlight the effects of drug policy on women as producers, suppliers and consumers of drugs, in order to inform and guide policy makers on practices that should be avoided, as well as to highlight those policies which effectively incorporate and address women’s needs. www.idpc.net
As of 1 December 2012 cigarettes in Australia must be sold in plain packaging. Talks on plain packaging began years ago with legislation introduced by the Australian Government in 2011, but almost immediately tobacco companies mounted an expensive legal challenge. The legislation was upheld in August 2012. News item from The Lancet (1–7 December 2012), 380(9857): 1896.
On 21 December 2012 the Mid-term review of the National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence 2010–2014was published.Focusing on implementation of the strategy, rather thanevaluation, the report found that co-ordination, involving co-operation and collaboration, was a highly contentious issue: ‘The main divide is in the relationship between the statutory agencies and the NGOs …. If allowed to continue, this has the potential to impact adversely on strategy implementation. There are also challenges with regard to collaboration between the national level and regional level …. [and] evidence of some issues or tensions within sectors.’ 
In December 2012 the Irish Youth Justice Service published its Report on the implementation of the National Youth Justice Strategy 2008–2010. It concludes: ‘We can now say that a) we know more about the nature of the youth crimeproblem and this has allowed us to be more data driven and evidenceinformed, b) this has corresponded with a falling detected youth crime rate, c) these positive changes have occurred at the same time as Ireland’s relatively low level of youth detention has also experienced further downward trends and d) this correlates with a more effective use of money and offers the prospect of better outcomes for children and communities.’ www.iyjs.ie
In January 2013 the British Medical Association’s Board of Science published a reportDrugs of dependence: the role of medical professionals.It says the focus on health is currently ‘inadequate’, warning that some users may be discouraged from seeking help for fear of being treated as criminals.Produced with the help of an expert reference group of specialists, the report examines the legal framework underpinning the current strategies and assesses the role that doctors and other medical professionals have in tackling drug misuse. It says that people who are addicted to illegal drugs have a medical condition that should be treated like any other illness, and it adds that doctors should help to refocus the debate to ensure that it is based on public health principles and results in ‘better health outcomes for all illicit drug users’.www.drugsandalcohol.ie/19112.
On 10 February 2013 Bolivia re-acceded to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended, with a reservation on the chewing of coca leaf, a traditional practice among its people. Bolivia had withdrawn from the Convention on 1 January 2012. Its re-accession could have been blocked if a third of the 183 states party to the Convention, that is 61 states, objected to the proposed reservation by the deadline of 10 January 2013. Only 15 countries (United States, Mexico, Japan, Russia, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Portugal, Israel and Ireland) objected, and thus the reservation was permitted. www.unodc.org 
On 11 February 2013 the RAND Drug Policy Research Center hosted a conference Developing public health regulations for marijuana: lessons from alcohol and tobacco. With the states of Colorado and Washington both passing initiatives to legalise the commercial production, distribution, and possession of marijuana for non-medical purposes, US policymakers now need to better understand the possible consequences of these decisions. Rather than asking whether these state initiatives were good or bad, the session focused on the multitude of regulatory issues facing agencies trying to design a comprehensive policy. There was a special focus on how different alcohol and tobacco regulations (e.g. licensing, advertising restrictions, user/sales restrictions) influence youth access and minimise public health harms. www.rand.org/multi/dprc.html
(Compiled by Brigid Pike)
Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Issue Title
Issue 45, Spring 2013
April 2013
Page Range
p. 19
Health Research Board
Issue 45, Spring 2013
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)

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