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    Alcohol & drug use in an educated workforce

    Prevalence of alcohol and drug use in a highly educated workforce.
    This study examined alcohol and licit and illicit drug use in a highly educated medical related workforce.
    A comprehensive health survey of a 10% random sample of a workforce (n = 8,567) yielded a 60% response rate (n = 504) after accounting for 15 undeliverable surveys.

    Many respondents reported past-year use of alcohol (87%).
    Thirteen percent of respondents consumed three or more drinks daily; 15% were binge drinkers.
    Twelve percent of the workforce was assessed as having a high likelihood of lifetime alcohol dependence;
    5% of respondents met criteria for current problem drinking.
    Overall, 42% reported using mood-altering prescription drugs (analgesics, antidepressants, sedatives, or tranquilizers).
    Eleven percent reported using illicit drugs (cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, or marijuana) in the past year.

    Significant relationships were found between gender, age, ethnicity, and occupation with some measures of alcohol consumption and use of mood-altering drugs.

    These results indicate prevention and early intervention programs need to address use of mood-altering substances (including alcohol) in highly educated workforces.

    Research; J Behav Health Serv Res. 2002 Feb;29(1):30-44. Prevalence of alcohol and drug use in a highly educated workforce. Matano RA, Wanat SF, Westrup D, Koopman C, Whitsell SD.
    See also;

    Brief-TSF is designed to address these issues.
    Twelve Step Facilitation is designed to support people returning to their community
    Subscribe to Twelve Step Facilitation by e-Mail

    Staying Sober: A Guide for Relapse Preventionby Terence T. Gorski, Merlene Miller
    Read more about this title…

    Brief-TSF manual US$9.95 Buy Now with Paypal, Visa or Mastercard
    Subscribe to Twelve Step Facilitation by Email (Source: Twelve Step Facilitation.com)

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    Bill to legalize marijuana offered in u.s. house

    Rep. Frank seeks to end Fed war on potNobody expects it to pass except its most ardent enthusiasts, but H.R. 5843, a bill “To Eliminate Most Federal Penalties for Possession of Marijuana for Personal Use, and for Other Purposes,” sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Rep Ron Paul (R-TX), was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 17. It is not the first such attempt, nor is it likely to be the last.The bill would remove federal penalties for personal possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana, or roughly 3 1/2 ounces. Not-for-profit transfers of up to an ounce of pot would also be legal under the statutes. A civil penalty of $100 would be levied for public use of marijuana.

    The bill would not affect federal laws prohibiting major drug dealing, nor would it interfere with or hinder federal agencies prosecuting the cultivation and export of cannabis. In addition, the bill does not seek to alter the legal status of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act.The bill is an a rational attempt to break through the confusion surrounding the various laws passed in at least twelve states that allow people to use marijuana for certain medical purposes. The confusion reached a peak last year when several medical marijuana dispensaries–operating legally under California statutes–were raided and their owners arrested by Federal drug enforcement authorities. The message from the hard-line Feds was: Even if it’s legal in your state, it’s not legal to us.Rep. Frank has taken on this issue before. In 1970, he filed a bill to decriminalize marijuana in Massachusetts.

    He has also argued before NORML–the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws–that such issues rightly belong to the states.In a letter to the Providence Journal, Frank also vowed to introduce a new version of his “State’s Right to Medical Marijuana Act,” which he has offered as legislation “every year since 1997.””If the laws I am proposing pass,” Frank explains at Daily Kos, “states will still be free to treat marijuana as they wish. But I do not believe that the federal government should treat adults who choose to smoke marijuana as criminals. Federal law enforcement is a serious business, and we should be concentrating our efforts in this regard on measures that truly protect the public.”Rep. Frank said on “Real Time with Bill Maher” that the new bill could be called the “Make Room for the Serious Criminals” act.In a prepared statement, Rep. Frank said: “I think it is poor law enforcement to keep on the books legislation that establishes as a crime something which in fact society does not seriously wish to prosecute.” The Massachusetts congressman added that “having federal law enforcement agents engaged in the prosecution of people who are personally using marijuana is a waste of scarce resources better used for serious crimes.”Sarah Rubenstein of The Wall Street Journal reports that groups such as the Massachusetts branch of D.A.R.E. and the Drug Enforcement Administration continue to oppose the legalization of marijuana because it would signal to children that the drug is benign.Frank also noted in his letter to the Providence Journal that “bipartisan amendments have been introduced by my colleagues, Representatives Maurice D. Hinchey (D-NY) and Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA) every year since 2003 to preclude the use of federal funding to prosecute medical-marijuana patients by the Department of Justice. Each time the amendment has been voted on, it has failed in the House.”Photo Credit: Medical Marijuana Blog (Source: Addiction Inbox)

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    Steve connor & chris green, independent (uk): aids vaccine pessimism haunts international hiv/aids community (844)

    Most scientists involved in Aids research believe that a vaccine against HIV is further away than ever and some have admitted that effective immunisation against the virus may never be possible, according to an unprecedented poll conducted by The Independent.

    A mood of deep pessimism has spread among the international community of Aids scientists after the failure of a trial of a promising vaccine at the end of last year. It just was the latest in a series of setbacks in the 25-year struggle to develop an HIV vaccine.

    The Independent’s survey of more than 35 leading Aids scientists in Britain and the United States found that just two were now more optimistic about the prospects for an HIV vaccine than they were a year ago; only four said they were more optimistic now than they were five years ago.

    Nearly two thirds believed that an HIV vaccine will not be developed within the next 10 years and some of them said that it may take at least 20 more years of research before a vaccine can be used to protect people either from infection or the onset of Aids.

    A substantial minority of the scientists admitted that an HIV vaccine may never be developed, and even those who believe that one could appear within the next 10 years added caveats saying that such a vaccine would be unlikely to work as a truly effective prophylactic against infection by the virus.

    One of the major conclusions to emerge from the failed clinical trial of the most promising prototype vaccine, manufactured by the drug company Merck, was that an important animal model used for more than a decade, testing HIV vaccines on monkeys before they are used on humans, does not in fact work.

    This has meant that prototype HIV vaccines which appear to work well when tested on monkeys infected with an artificial virus do not work when tested on human volunteers at risk of HIV – a finding that will be exploited by anti-vivisectionist campaigners opposed to vaccine experiments on primates.

    Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), near Washington, told The Independent that the animal model – which uses genetically engineered simian and human immunodeficiency viruses in a combination, known as SHIV – failed to predict what will happen when a prototype vaccine is moved from laboratory monkeys to people. “We’ve learnt a few important things [from the clinical trial]. We’ve learnt that one of the animal models, the SHIV model, really doesn’t predict very well at all,” he said.
    “At least we now know that you can get a situation where it looks like you are protecting against SHIV and you’re not protecting at all in the human model – that’s important,” he said.

    The NIAID spends about $500m (£250m) on HIV vaccine research each year and despite calls from some Aids pressure groups for funds to be diverted to other forms of Aids prevention, Dr Fauci said this was not the time to stop vaccine research. “I don’t think you should say that this is the point where we’re going to give up on developing a vaccine. I think you continue given that there are so many unanswered questions to answer,” he said. “There is an impression given by some that if you do vaccine research you are neglecting other areas of prevention. That’s not the case. We should and we are doing them simultaneously.”

    More than 80 per cent of the scientists who took part in our survey agreed that it was now important to change the direction of HIV vaccine research, given the failure of the Merck clinical trial, which was cancelled when it emerged that the vaccine may have actually increased the chances of people developing Aids.

    Robert Gallo, a prominent Aids researcher in the US who is credited with co-discovering the virus in the early 1980s, likened the vaccine’s failure to the Challenger disaster, which forced Nasa to ground the space shuttle fleet for years.

    At the end of last month, Dr Fauci convened a high-level summit of leading HIV specialists at a hotel in Bethesda, Maryland, to discuss the future direction of research. A group of 14 prominent Aids specialists had already written to Dr Fauci suggesting that his institute had “lost its way” in terms of an HIV vaccine.
    He said that one outcome of the meeting was a refocusing of the vaccine effort away from expensive clinical trials towards more fundamental research to understand the basic biology of the virus and its effects on the human immune system.

    “We’ll be turning the knob more towards answering some fundamental questions rather than going into big clinical trials,” Dr Fauci said. “I’m certainly disappointed that we’re not further ahead in the development of a vaccine but I don’t say that this year I’m more discouraged than I was last year. I always knew from the beginning that it would be a very difficult task given what we know about this very elusive virus.”

    About 33 million people in the world are infected with HIV and some 26 million have died of Aids since the pandemic began.
    The majority of scientists who responded to The Independent’s survey said that a vaccine would be the most effective way of preventing the spread of the virus given the failure of many education programmes.

    Winnie Sseruma, 46: ‘For me, the key has been not to give up’
    Ms Sseruma says she believes abandoning research for a vaccine would mean a loss of hope for millions of people. “When I was diagnosed, nearly 20 years ago, it was when the first drugs had come on the market. A lot of people had said before then that there was no hope and that all efforts should be put into prevention. But look where we are now. We cannot lose hope; we need to invest in a vaccine.”

    She says this latest failure needs to be seen as the first hurdle, not a signal to give up. “Yes, the scientists have not been very successful in their quest for a vaccine, but you can learn a lot from failures. Now they have realised they cannot use the normal routes used to develope simpler vaccines.”

    Ms Sseruma lives in London, but was born in Uganda and says that the current climate of pessimism for the vaccine is not dissimilar to the initial doubts over the likelihood of treating HIV in Africa.

    “I remember when treatment started being available in the West and people were saying it would be impossible to send it to Africa. But look what’s happened. We should always do whatever is humanly possible to fight Aids. It’s been a long journey, but for me, the key has been not to give up, and the scientists need to have the same attitude.”
    ‘Philippe B’, 42: ‘People are getting resistant to drugs’

    “Philippe”, who wishes to remain anonymous, discovered he was HIV positive 11 years ago. The 42-year-old believes the search for the vaccination should no longer be a priority, but that it should not stop altogether.

    “Unfortunately what’s happening now is that people are getting more resistant to drug treatment, and more money needs to be put into finding more drugs for treatment,” he said.
    For people like Philippe, the fear of building an immunity to drugs and running out of options is a real one. He believes that as long as scientists are still pessimistic about the chances of successfully finding a vaccine, money needs to be invested in continuing to fund research into treatment.

    “I’ve already become resistant to five combination treatments over the last ten years, and if I was on the last one available I’d be very afraid. HIV is not a death sentence in the way it once was, but we do need to fund further research into the drugs that treat it.”

    Nevertheless, Philippe thinks it is not yet time to abandon all research into a vaccine. “In my lifetime I don’t think we’ll have a vaccine, but there’s no reason we should believe it isn’t possible,” he said. “But we should now be spending more on other ways of dealing with the disease.” (Source: aids-write.org)

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    Ruel nolledo, apla: town hall meeting with ca assembly speaker-elect karen bass on may 3 (845)

    I urge you to attend the Budget Crisis Town Hall Meeting hosted by Assembly Speaker-Elect Karen Bass on Saturday May 3rd. We need as many people as possible there to speak up about the proposed $11 million in cuts to HIV/AIDS programs, as well as cuts to Medi-Cal and other programs serving people with HIV/AIDS!
    To RSVP, please contact Estee Sepulveda by April 30th.
    Ruel Nolledo
    Manager, State and Local Affairs
    AIDS Project Los Angeles
    (213) 201-1378
    From: Sepulveda, Estee [mailto:Estee.Sepulveda@asm.ca.gov]
    Subject: *ACTION* California’s Budget Crisis Townhall Meeting with Speaker-Elect Karen Bass
    Budget Crisis Town Hall Meeting
    Saturday, May 3, 2008
    10:00am – Noon
    Holman United Methodist Church
    3320 Adams Blvd., LA 90018
    The Governor’s proposed budget calls for 10% cuts across all state supported services to close California’s budget gap. These cuts target schools, health care, human services and state parks. How will this affect California’s most vulnerable populations — PWAs, children and working families? What can we do to make a difference?
    For more information or to RSVP for event: 323-937-4747
    Estee Sepulveda
    Field Representative
    Office of Speaker-Elect Karen Bass, 47th District
    5750 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 565
    Los Angeles, CA 90036
    Office: (323) 937-4747
    Fax: (323) 937-3466
    Please RSVP by April 30, 2008 (Source: aids-write.org)

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    Substance Use Among Dutch Dental Students.

    The objectives of this research were to assess the prevalence of substance use among Dutch dental students and to determine their attitudes about substance use and its consequences.
    METHODS: In association with a national study of drug use among US dental students, a questionnaire was translated from English into Dutch and administered to dental students at two dental schools in The Netherlands. Students received an anonymous 115-item questionnaire in the fall of 1996.
    RESULTS: Alcohol was the students’ drug of choice for

    lifetime (95%),
    past year (94%) and
    past month (88%) use.

    No significant correlations were found between alcohol use and gender, schools, and years in dental education.
    In the past month,

    58% of students reported drinking on 5 or more days;
    53% had 5 or more drinks on the same occasion,
    20% had 5 or more drinks on the same occasion on 5 or more days; and
    17% reported getting drunk at least monthly.

    Prevalence rates for past month use of tobacco was 24% and marijuana, 4%.
    Male students smoked twice as much as females, with significant differences found for all three periods of use (X2>19.00, P<0.01).
    When asked whether their schools offered policies and education programs on alcohol and other drugs, 52% of students reported that these were not available.
    CONCLUSIONS: Dental schools should develop effective programmes to educate students about responsible use of alcohol and other licit and illicit drugs. Schools should also inform students about their susceptibilities to substance abuse and dependency.
    Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2001 Feb;29(1):48-54. Substance use among Dutch dental students. Plasschaert AJ, Hoogstraten J, van Emmerik BJ, Webster DB, Clayton RR.
    See also;

    Brief-TSF can assist people cease alcohol consumption.
    Twelve-Step Programs as an Adjunct to Psychotherapy and Psychopharmacology
    Subscribe to Twelve Step Facilitation by e-Mail

    Counseling for Relapse Preventionby Terence T. Gorski, Merlene Miller
    Read more about this title…

    Brief-TSF manual US$9.95 Buy Now with Paypal, Visa or Mastercard
    Subscribe to Twelve Step Facilitation by Email (Source: Twelve Step Facilitation.com)