April 16, 2014The recent deaths of actors Philip Seymour Hoffman and Cory Monteith have brought media attention to the drug problem in North America. In both cases, the drug of choice appeared to be mixed drug cocktail, involving intravenous heroin use combined with other psychoactive substances.
April 16, 2014A recent edition of the CPHA Health Digest contained a policy brief concerning the sale of e-cigarettes in Canada. We noted that there were limited data to substantiate any claims about e-cigarettes, including a lack of controlled studies demonstrating their efficacy as smoking cessation products. Since then, advocates against the sale of e-cigarettes remain adamant that the product threatens to re-normalize smoking, especially in youth, and use of e-cigarettes risks undoing years of smoking cessation gains. On the other hand, popular opinion, including many celebrity endorsements, supports their use as smoking cessation aids. There have also been a couple of developments that are worth mentioning.
January 31, 2014E-cigarettes are showing up everywhere. From our local pharmacies to pop-up ads on the web, both users and the media extol their benefits as cigarette replacements and smoking cessation devices. These products first entered the North American market in 2007 and have been steadily increasing in popularity to the point where sales are projected to reach $10B by 2017. The growth potential is so great that traditional cigarette manufacturers are entering the marketplace and buying up many of the smaller manufacturers.
January 31, 2014Illegal psychoactive substances cover an array of products from cannabis to opioids to synthetic chemicals whose uses lie along a spectrum of activities from abstinence to addiction. Their use represents a complex and important legal, social and public health issue that requires a variety of intervention strategies based on the target populations. Prevention is the ideal to which we subscribe, while at the other extreme are people who use injection drugs over the long term and participate in unsafe injection practices. Supervised consumption facilities are one proven way of meeting the health and safety concerns raised by injection drug use.