Nicotine withdrawal in zebrafish offers clues to human addiction

Study on how fish respond to nicotine exposure suggests researchers could find ways to more effectively treat withdrawal in people with addictions

Nicotine withdrawal in zebrafish offers clues to human addictionResearchers have identified nicotine-induced withdrawal for the first time in the zebrafish model – a discovery that could be used to test ways of treating withdrawal from addiction in humans. Trevor Hamilton, an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Science and member of the Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute at the University of Alberta, examined the role of…

What can you do about the opioid crisis?

Much like first aid and CPR, bystander naloxone training is one of the best tools available to save lives, U of A experts say

What can you do about the opioid crisis?Who needs a free naloxone kit? Just about anyone who might come across an opioid overdose, according to a range of University of Alberta experts, including a pharmacist, the head of campus security, a student volunteer and a public health scientist. Alberta Health Services first made the kits and training available for free to the…

Alberta’s vaping bill fails to protect children, youth

The industry will now be popping champagne: no Alberta nicotine cap, no flavour ban

Alberta’s vaping bill fails to protect children, youthThe government of Alberta finally proposed legislation regulating vaping last week. But its Bill 19 is quite simply a cop-out. In the name of protecting children and youth, the bill mainly protects industry, and not children and youth. Alberta is the last Canadian province to regulate vaping and now makes minimal proposals: restricting advertising and…

Why COVID-19 could make the overdose epidemic worse

Social isolation can be deadly for people struggling with addictions, says University of Alberta expert

Why COVID-19 could make the overdose epidemic worseWhen Alberta’s chief medical officer, Deena Hinshaw, announced special exemptions to COVID-19 regulations for group therapy in residential addiction treatment centres, it was exactly what University of Alberta addictions expert Cameron Wild was hoping to hear. “The whole concept of recovery is in part founded on developing strong social supportive relationships,” said Wild. Wild is principal investigator with the…

You’ll never find a better excuse to quit smoking than COVID-19

Recent wake-up calls began when a Chinese article reported smoking increased the risk of becoming sicker by 14 times

You’ll never find a better excuse to quit smoking than COVID-19The coronavirus is not just a threat. It’s an opportunity. The COVID-19 pandemic offers every smoker and vaper with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to quit: a wake-up call. The novel virus causes a respiratory disease that’s worse with lungs that are already vulnerable, whether because of age or disease. Lungs are also made vulnerable by smoking…

Canada mishandling mental illness crisis

Thousands of patients are on wait lists. Meanwhile, the human and economic costs of mental illness keep rising

Canada mishandling mental illness crisisFor the past decade, Bell Canada has used the month of January to support awareness of mental health issues. Its extensive media campaigns have encouraged Canadians to talk openly about mental health and break the uncomfortable stigma that still tends to hover over such conversations. There’s plenty of data to document the prevalence of Canada’s…

Booze can trip up psychiatric diagnosis

When intoxicated, people often exhibit signs that can resemble psychiatric conditions

Booze can trip up psychiatric diagnosisWe’ve recently been covering topics involving the effects of substance use on psychiatric conditions. This week, we complete the series by touching on the effects of alcohol abuse on mental health. As with other mind-altering or inhibition lowering drugs, alcohol makes an initial psychiatric diagnosis very difficult. When people are intoxicated, they often exhibit signs…

Community-based programs can help reduce male suicide

In Canada, men account for three out of every four suicides – with seven men dying by suicide every day – but our support programs fall short

Community-based programs can help reduce male suicideBy John Oliffe and Britney Dennison Men’s Health Research University of British Columbia Jason was in Grade 5 when he started having feelings for other boys. Because of those feelings, he was called names, beaten up in school and sexually assaulted. Since high school, Jason has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder and post-traumatic…

Turning the tide on the harm of opioids

Doctors must discuss pain management options with patients and not jump to the prescription pad for a quick fix

Turning the tide on the harm of opioidsBy Dr. Wendy Levinson University of Toronto and Dr. Laurent Marcoux As clinicians, we’re bound by professionalism and our ethical responsibilities to do no harm, and to do what we can to address the pain and suffering of our patients. When powerful pain-relieving opioid medications were introduced a few decades ago, they seemed to be…

Turning the tide on the harm of opioids

Doctors must discuss pain management options with patients and not jump to the prescription pad for a quick fix

Turning the tide on the harm of opioidsBy Dr. Wendy Levinson University of Toronto and Dr. Laurent Marcoux As clinicians, we’re bound by professionalism and our ethical responsibilities to do no harm, and to do what we can to address the pain and suffering of our patients. When powerful pain-relieving opioid medications were introduced a few decades ago, they seemed to be…

We must fight crime at its social roots

The rash of liquor store robberies in Winnipeg says more about underlying social problems than it does about the effectiveness of police

We must fight crime at its social rootsWinnipeg has experienced a rash of liquor store swarmings involving masked individuals who have become increasingly accustomed to little or no resistance. The best deterrent to crime is not the severity of sentence or punishment, but the certainty of detection and apprehension. An even better and common-sense response would be to mitigate the underlying precursors…

Poverty, homelessness must be tackled by business

Not only does work help financially but it empowers people to take control of their lives and rise above poverty

Poverty, homelessness must be tackled by businessHomelessness is increasingly a problem in cities big and small across North America. Yet as business leaders we tend think the issue isn’t our problem – unless, of course, we have a business affected by a homeless camp, squatters in our doorsteps or addicts in our alleyways. We can’t comprehend why people aren’t working like…

The war on drugs must be fought at addiction’s social roots

The answer to addiction will not be found in the industries of incarceration and prescription

The war on drugs must be fought at addiction’s social rootsOn Oct. 21, pharmaceutical opioid distributors McKesson Corp., AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health, and drug manufacturer Teva Pharmaceuticals agreed to a US$260-million settlement just hours before opening arguments were scheduled to begin in the first opioid-era federal lawsuit in Ohio. This is the first of hundreds of similar lawsuits filed by cities, counties, Native American tribes…

The high cost of pathological gambling

Are the profits from government sponsored gambling worth the cost in human lives, broken relationships and misery?

The high cost of pathological gamblingSince the early 1990s permanent casinos have been springing up in communities all across Canada. Our government has relaxed its views on gambling and made it much more accessible to adults everywhere. In more recent years this has expanded to include government-run online gambling portals as well. With this increase in availability has come an…

Let’s make ‘vapin’ in the boys room’ a thing of the past

Young people are getting hooked on vaping, despite the many unknowns. We need to develop effective counter programs before it's too late

Let’s make ‘vapin’ in the boys room’ a thing of the pastIn 1973, the band Brownsville Station released the song Smokin’ in the Boys Room. At the time, nearly half of Canadian adults and teens smoked. Reports had been coming out for years about the dangers of tobacco use but smoking was still seen as a cool thing to do. Over the next several decades, the…
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