Students Gambling with School Loans: A Real Problem

‘Michael’ is a former student who decided to gamble with some of the funds from his student loans, only to eventually lose it all. The anonymous student was recently profiled in a Guardian story about the rising problem of student’s gambling away loan money. Like so many others, Michael started out on a hot streak but did not have enough sense to stop. A few hundred pounds in winnings encouraged him to keep gambling until there was nothing left to bet. The Guardian explains that he lost £8,000 in a single hour. In Michael’s case, his problem was made that...

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Legal High Addiction Soaring and New Zealand

In Auckland, New Zealand, officials are dealing with a big problem: addiction to legal highs among the country’s young people. The scope of the problem was easily seen out front of a local head shop in Auckland on Good Friday night. The shop, which had been closed all day for the holiday, was scheduled to reopen at midnight. Young people began congregating outside in anticipation of the reopening. By one o’clock, there were approximately 100 people in the queue. The big problem right now seems to be synthetic cannabis. This is a drug that is incredibly powerful and one that...

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Alcohol Addiction and Liver Disease

Excessive alcohol use is so prevalent among British youth that some experts are now warning of an explosion of liver disease among those under the age of 24. Addaction, a well-known addiction charity, says it has noticed a striking increase in the number of young people being referred to them for alcohol addiction. How striking? Try an increase of 76%. The numbers clearly show we have a drinking problem in Britain that is not getting any better. Some experts say part of the rise in excessive drinking is due to the wildly popular drinking game known as ‘neknominate’. It is...

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Harvard University Weighs in on Casual Cannabis Use

There is a long-standing argument as to whether or not long-term cannabis use is dangerous to the human body. Proponents of recreational cannabis claim using the drug on a casual basis has no direct effects except in very specific cases. Those on the other side of the argument claim that cannabis, in any amount, can be detrimental to the brain. Recently, America’s Harvard University weighed in on the topic. Researchers from Harvard Medical School conducted a study involving two groups of students: one group that casually used cannabis but were not addicted, and a second group that never used it....

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New Play Aims to Raise Awareness of Drug Addiction Issues

Late one night, Elizabeth Burton Phillips heard a knock on her door. To her dismay, the police officer she welcomed into her home informed her that her young son, Nick, had committed suicide as a result of a heroin addiction. It is a story that is repeated all too often throughout England and the rest of the UK. However, it is a story Elizabeth hopes to bring an end to. As a means of expressing her grief and raising awareness among other parents, Elizabeth wrote a book entitled Mum, Can You Loan Me Twenty Quid? The book has since been...

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Dundee to Host 2015 Addiction Conference

Members of the International Society of Addiction Medicine will be descending on Dundee in 2015 to participate in the addiction conference dubbed isamDundee 2015. The annual conference brings hundreds of delegates together from around the world to discuss addiction research and treatment methods. Conference organisers are expecting the 2015 edition to be a springboard for a number of significant changes in how drug addiction is treated. Organiser and psychiatrist Dr Alex Baldacchino, of Dundee University, believes a successful conference will make Dundee the focal point for European drug addiction treatment well into the future. He expects the conference to address...

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NHS Studying Financial Incentives to Combat Heroin Addiction

The NHS has broken controversial new ground by embarking on a test programme offering financial incentives to combat heroin addiction. If the programme shows any measure of success, it could motivate the government to change the way it deals with both drug addiction and drug abuse prevention. If it fails, it could mean a lot of money spent for nothing. According to news reports, as many as 33 NHS drug clinics are giving away £10 shopping vouchers to opiate addicts who can produce a clean urine sample during a weekly visit with a key worker. No details were released to...

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Researchers Announce Gambling Addiction Breakthrough

A group of researchers at Cambridge University have announced a major breakthrough in the understanding of gambling addiction and brain activity. It is an important breakthrough given the fact that gambling addiction does not get nearly the same attention as addiction to controlled substances like heroin and cocaine. The breakthrough may lead to future treatments involving either medication or psychotherapy. The Daily Mail reported on the unusual research involving participants who had suffered brain injury as compared to those who were healthy. Both groups were encouraged to play slot machines and video roulette, then tracked to see how they would...

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Researchers May Have Answer to Important Alcoholism Question

What happens to most people after a weekend of binge drinking results in an unbearable start to the work week? They regret the decision to drink so heavily and promise they will never do it again. This is normal. It is a reaction in a specific part of the brain responsible for making decisions based on negative consequences. Unfortunately, an alcohol abuser or full-blown alcoholic does not seem to learn from the negative consequences of his or her behaviour. Now researchers think they may know why. Recent laboratory studies indicate that a specific portion of the brain that allows most...

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‘Faces of Meth’ Campaign May Not Tell the Whole Story

Last week (March 26), the Daily Mail ran a story regarding the ‘Faces of Meth’ campaign from Rehabs.com. The US-based online addiction referral organisation began the campaign to help raise awareness of the dangers of using methamphetamine. Their marketing method of choice is to show videos and pictures demonstrating the physical toll methamphetamine takes on the body. Indeed, seeing the faces of addicts as they progress through their addictions is startling. However, the ad campaign may not tell the whole story. According to practicing psychiatrist and FOX News contributor Dr Keith Ablow, the Rehabs.com ad campaign only shows the darker...

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Legal High National Survey

A new survey is underway to find out more about legal highs in the UK and to try and determine how they are used, who is using, them, why, and ultimately find out ways of providing help and tackling the problem. It’s being undertaken by the Centre for Drug Misuse Research, and is the first of it’s kind in the UK to specifically concentrate on individuals’ use and views of legal highs. Legal highs are substances that mimic the psychoactive effects of illegal drugs like cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis, and amphetamines, but they’re not currently illegal to use or possess. No one...

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Video Game Addiction: Is It Real?

A recent reader letter submitted to On the Wight came from someone whose 17-year-old niece appears to be addicted to video games. The reader talks about how the young lady does little else but play games to the extent that she barely sleeps, eats very little, and rarely attends a school. The letter further laments the writer’s inability to find help for his niece. This begs the question of whether or not video game addiction is real. We believe it is. Moreover, although the UK does not officially recognise it as such, more and more experts in America are paying...

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Mindfulness Meditation Might Help Prevent Relapse

The traditional approach to drug and alcohol rehab includes a number of support services designed to help recovering addicts prevent relapse in the months and years following the completion of an intense rehab programme. These support services include things like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and 12-step work through fellowships like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narconon. However, the results of a recently published study suggest there may be another option available to those who still have relapse issues when following traditional approaches. The study, published in the JAMA Psychiatry journal, indicates something known as ‘mindfulness meditation’ can be just as effective in...

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Potent Marijuana Trade-Off: Less Smoke, More THC

There has been an ongoing debate for decades about whether or not smoking more potent marijuana is better for you than using less potent products. As the thinking goes, a more powerful joint will give you a stronger high while allowing you to smoke less. And by smoking less, you do less damage to your health by way of the chemicals produced by the combustion process. It is an argument that makes sense, right? It did, until a recently released Dutch study showed a trade-off that does not make more potent marijuana a better choice. The study was published in...

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Why Sex Addiction Is No Joke

The sexual experience is a normal part of life for human beings. It is an experience that builds intimacy between couples and one that is necessary to create children. So how can such a natural and wonderful thing be addictive? Like any other addiction, it comes down to the pleasurable feelings produced by neurotransmitters in the brain. In that regard, a sex addiction is no different from any other behavioural or substance addiction. Before going further, it must be made clear that sex addiction is no joke. Our modern culture considers it a laughing matter far too often. What’s more,...

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