USA: Weed to Manage Smack – Not an Answer!!

 

We wanted to make sure you had seen this excellent article in STAT News by Dr. Nicholas Chadi and SAM Science Advisory Board Member Dr. Sharon Levy on whether recent medical studies show that marijuana legalization reduces opioid deaths:
Easing access to marijuana is not a way to solve the opioid epidemic
By  NICHOLAS CHADI and  SHARON LEVY
APRIL 12, 2018
T he take-home message from research published last week in  JAMA Internal Medicine – let’s liberalize  access to marijuana as a way to address the raging opioid epidemic – captured the public imagination. We disagree. Supporting medical or recreational marijuana as an alternative to opioids for conditions like chronic pain is a bad idea, especially for America’s youths.
Using state-level data, the authors of the JAMA study evaluated opioid-prescribing trends to Medicaid patients between 2011 and 2016 in states that started to implement medical and adult-use marijuana laws and compared them to rates in the remaining states. Opioid prescribing was about 6 percent lower in states with medical marijuana laws than those without.
Though the results are intriguing, the study had several limitations, which the authors point out: The cross-sectional design of the study makes it impossible to say that medical marijuana use caused the reduction in opioid prescribing. There wasn’t information to account for the strength or dosage of marijuana prescriptions, and there was no change in opioid prescribing in Connecticut and Maryland, which both have medical marijuana programs.
Public health efforts inevitably involve trade-offs, but interventions that are broadly disseminated must have minimal harms. For example, while vaccine reactions can be serious and even lethal, they are exceedingly rare. Not so for harms associated with marijuana use. There is ample evidence that individuals – especially adolescents – who use marijuana have much higher rates of  mood,  anxiety, and psychotic disorders than their peers. The loss of motivation that we see in so many of our patients who use marijuana, its negative impact on functioning at school or at work, and its likely connection with  cognitive decline are other serious and common harms.
Adolescents who use marijuana are also more likely to misuse  prescription opioid medications. In our experience, nearly all of our patients with opioid addiction first used marijuana heavily.
Controlling access to addictive psychoactive substances is challenging. Electronic cigarettes offer an instructive example. In 2013, former Surgeon General Richard Carmona promoted electronic cigarettes as having  “very meaningful harm reduction potential” for adult smokers. Unfortunately, access to electronic cigarettes was not confined to adult smokers, and today they are the bane of junior high schools around the country, even though it is illegal for children to purchase them.
Children and teens from demographic groups that had long ago rejected tobacco are now  “vaping” in large numbers. Electronic cigarettes have  known toxicities and other  real safety risks. Teens who vape are much more likely  to start smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes. As pediatric addiction medicine specialists, we have noticed large upticks in patients using electronic cigarettes, and we get calls from schools around the country asking for help in managing the problem. While some adults who smoked tobacco cigarettes may benefit from electronic cigarettes, they are addicting legions of children to nicotine. Far from being a knockout punch to tobacco, electronic cigarettes have backfired as a public health strategy.
Easing access to medical marijuana could cause the same problems.
It also risks taking attention away from the development of evidence-based treatments for individuals who have chronic medical conditions and could potentially benefit from cannabinoids, the active ingredient in marijuana.
Dispensing cannabinoids in the form of marijuana was mentioned in a 1982 Institute of Medicine report. It noted that these molecules were likely to have therapeutic value, although no pharmaceutical products were then available. The report cautioned against an “uncontrolled program” and supported the development of research infrastructure that would allow us to obtain valid scientific evidence on the effectiveness and side effects of pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoid products. Thirty-five years later, that infrastructure is still nearly entirely lacking and the science behind medical marijuana is trailing far behind marketing efforts to commercialize products for which very little evidence of effectiveness exists.
As with tobacco, many of the most serious harms from marijuana use accrue over time, making it more difficult for patients and physicians alike to identify marijuana as a cause of health problems. For example, millions of Americans have experienced episodes of  intractable vomiting secondary to heavy cannabis use, and there is increasing evidence that even short exposures to secondhand marijuana smoke can  harm blood vessels throughout the body, though these harms are not thoughtfully considered in marijuana policy.
Despite the problems with greater access to marijuana, a strong pro-marijuana movement has seized the opportunity to medicalize its mission and thus change public perception of the drug. The campaign has been met with tremendous success and has even altered our language, such that the word “marijuana” can now be used to refer to any product that contains cannabinoids – from the original stems and leaves of the Cannabis sativa plant to concentrated oils and cannabis-infused gummy bears and chocolate bars.
This sloppiness has consequences. Many so-called medical marijuana studies test pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids that bear little resemblance to the products available in marijuana dispensaries. Standardized production protocols that insure delivery of reliably formulated and evidence-based products are needed to protect patients but are practically absent for medical marijuana. Patients with chronic pain conditions deserve better from the medical profession, but current medical marijuana policies that allow medical marijuana to be sold for profit without the rigorous steps that are required for the development of all other medications serve as a disincentive to research.
Aggressive solutions to stop the  opioid epidemic, one of the deadliest public health crises of our generation, are sorely needed. We don’t believe that increasing access to marijuana for controlling conditions like chronic pain is one of them. Marijuana, medical or otherwise, creates high risks for healthy people – especially young people – who make up the majority of Americans. At the same time, it is a disservice to the minority who could potentially benefit from cannabinoid therapy. We need to make sure that our solutions to the opioid crisis don’t create new and even greater problems.
Nicholas Chadi, M.D., a pediatrician who specializes in adolescent medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital, is the first pediatric addiction medicine fellow to train in North America. Sharon Levy, M.D., is the director of the Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
Additional Resources on Link Between Marijuana and Opioids
This article follows other warnings from medical professionals: the recent editorialpublished in the Journal of the Society for the Study of Addiction, which cautions against drawing erroneous conclusions from population studies, and the editorial comment from the American Society of Addiction Medicine on February 20, 2018. And don’t forget NIDA’s  rigorous study showing pot users are twice as likely to have abused opioids and have an opioid use disorder than non-marijuana users.
SAM has published a one-pager describing the overwhelming link between marijuana and opioid abuse. While not every marijuana user will go on to use heroin, nearly all heroin users previously abused marijuana. We need smart policies that discourage use, get people back on their feet, and restore people to participate in and contribute to society. States that have legalized marijuana, by contrast, see increased drugged driving, increased arrests of minority youth, and increased emergency room visits. Colorado’s opioid deaths have doubled between 2011-15. Legalization is a failed experiment.
Please visit learnaboutsam.org to learn about a smarter approach.
Sincerely,
Kevin Sabet
President, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM)

Affiliated Fellow, Yale University

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USA: Busting Cannabis Croppers Corrupting Community Land

COURT OF APPEALS RULES DOJ CAN ENFORCE LAW ON FEDERAL LAND

APRIL 2018Bottom of Form

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Department of Justice can go after pot growers on federal lands.  The ruling says a congressional budgetary restriction preventing the enforcement of federal laws in medical pot states does not apply to the growing and manufacturing of marijuana on federal land.

Under the court’s ruling, pot growers can now be investigated by DEA and prosecuted by United States Attorneys if their pot operations occurred on federal lands managed by the Forest Service and other federal agencies, even in states where “medical” marijuana is allowed.

Instead of changing laws, Congress has passed budget measures that prevent the Department of Justice from going after pot growers.  In this regard, Congress shamelessly joined many states in selectively choosing which laws should be enforced.

Court of Appeals leads the way

However, this new ruling is a victory for federal law which  could put a damper on the burgeoning marijuana industry.  Many people consider the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which rules California and other Western states the most liberal circuit court in the country.

A Silent Poison details how growers in Northern California are destroying the environment and public lands.  Some pot growers use and abuse federal lands under the guise of producing “medicine.”  Two California counties have called a “state of  emergency” and asked for help in dealing with the illegal growers.

Evidence of Pot Industry Lies to Justify Legalization

Two of the biggest lies used by the pot industry uses to justify legalization are:  1) legalizing will keep marijuana out of the hands of children, and 2) legalization will destroy the black market.   We have never had more powerful evidence to the contrary.

According to the latest National Survey for Drug Use and Health, NSDUH, states that have legalized marijuana in some form have the highest youth use rates in the nation. A chart from the NSDUH summarizes the 2015-2016 survey. This information is one of the most powerful documents expose the lies of the pot industry.

For complete article http://www.poppot.org/2018/04/10/court-rules-doj-can-enforce-law-federal-land/

 

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USA: Employers beware the ‘dronabinol’ Snare!!!

An interesting vignette on the ever increasing volume of the ‘Slick Stoner’ Narrative!

Dronabinol has been on the prescription landscape for about 30 years. This THC based, and currently FDA approved Medication, is a failed drug but its market is remarkably large for what started out as an orphan drug more than three decades ago.

Ah, but it’s found a new ‘lease on shelf-life’, it’s useful for getting around the ‘Drug test’ for employers!

Even though it has failed in its indications, it has picked up sales among cannabis users in the 29 states in the USA that have “legalized” medical marihuana or recreational-use marihuana.

The reason is that many corporations doing business in these states have zero tolerance laws for pre-employment drug testing and random drug testing while employed. The only exception – and one that’s necessitated by various state and federal laws on workplace accommodation for workers with diseases or disabilities – is for prescribed drugs.

Thus, if a worker tests positive for an opioid, for example, and she has a valid and current prescription for it, she’s in the clear. Likewise for the pot users if they have a prescription for dronabinol.

Thus, when the potheads visit their pot docs for a prescription for medical pot, they also ask and receive one for dronabinol (Marinol).

Team at DONT LEGALIZE DRUGS!

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Global: Drug Prevention Alliance Pummels Pot Promotion

NATIONAL DRUG PREVENTION ALLIANCE: DISMANTLE POT INDUSTRY

2018

By Peter Stoker, National Drug Prevention Alliance As members of the worldwide drug prevention movement, the National Drug Prevention Alliance (UK) has been greatly saddened to see how the United States of America has allowed marijuana to be available in so many places for so-called medical and recreational purposes.  This far from harmless substance causes pain and hardship to individuals, families and communities.

(Should you wish to inform yourself more on marijuana, may we respectfully suggest that you log-on towww.drugprevent.org.uk where you will find many  scientific items about this harmful substance).

There is also research which shows that regular, heavy users of marijuana go on to use cocaine. (Journal of Clinical Psychiatry  Kleber, Herbert MD. (Suppl) pp3-6 1988)

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is an important international legal instrument that obligates  Parties to protect children and youth from involvement with illicit drugs and the drug trade.

Under the terms of the convention, governments are required to meet children’s basic needs and help them reach their full potential(Article 33). Since it was adopted by the United Nations in November 1989, 194 countries have signed up to the UNCRC.

The USA is a signatory to this UN convention and should therefore be passing legislation to prevent the enormous market in marijuana that has developed in America. The more children are exposed to stores that sell these harmful products, the more likely they will be to try them and the more young people will then go on to use cocaine and heroin, to the detriment of the individual and society.

Colorado has failed to meet the specific DOJ requirements on controlling recreational marijuana production, distribution and use. A report documents a significant increase in drugged driving crashes, youth marijuana use, a thriving illegal black market and unabated sales of alcohol, which supports the idea that people are not using marijuana instead of alcohol but rather in addition to alcohol.  Promises were made in Colorado in 2012, before legalized recreational marijuana, that the result would be a large amount in taxes for education and the elimination of the black market. Yet in the years since, Colorado has seen an increase in marijuana related traffic deaths, poison control calls, and emergency room visits. The marijuana black market has increased in Colorado, not decreased. And, numerous Colorado marijuana regulators have been indicted for corruption.

New reports out of Colorado indicate that legal marijuana is posing real risks to the safety of young people. As Colorado rethinks marijuana, the rest of the nation should watch carefully this failing experiment.

(https://www.madinamerica.com/2017/09/unintended-consequences-colorado-social-experiment/ 11th September 2017)

study was done recently a few weeks ago by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction and it found that just in Canada alone, a much smaller country than the U.S. in population, marijuana-related car crashes cost a billion dollars. That’s just the car crashes, and those were directly related to marijuana. And the report came from a government think tank, not any kind of anti-drug group.

Seriously interested readers would also find it helpful to log on to:

www.nationalfamilies.org onto www.nationalfamilies.org to read ‘Tracking the Money that’s Legalising Marijuana’.

For complete article http://www.poppot.org/2018/02/06/uk-prevention-decries-us-pot-experiment/

 

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USA: Marijuana Bill Would Endanger SC Children, Public Safety

Laura Hudson: Marijuana Bill Would Endanger SC Children, Public Safety

“The collateral damage of legalizing marijuana is far-reaching …”

March 29, 2018  by LAURA HUDSON

After 33 years representing crime victims in the S.C. General Assembly, I remain astounded at the short sightedness of many Senators and Representatives; especially as exhibited by the so-called Compassionate Care Act, known as S.212 introduced by Senator Tom Davis of Beaufort.

Of course, the Compassionate Care bill is neither compassionate nor caring for the vast majority of South Carolina citizens, but is a poorly veiled attempt to legalize recreational marijuana.

The collateral damage of legalizing marijuana is far-reaching, as exhibited by the states that have passed such law: decreased productivity among workers, huge spikes in traffic deaths, increase in homeless populations, criminal activity, rise in drug cartels, loan sharking, social service burdens, suicides, job-related accidents, contaminated poisoned products, increase in ER and medical needs, decreased school attendance and younger and younger users. Marijuana is the #1 addiction in teens.

Scandalously, our state has remained at the top nationally in impaired driving fatalities – this past year rating sixth in the nation, regardless of population.

Why anyone would be so callous as to add to our highway statistics the recreational use of many forms of a federally illegal drug – marijuana – is inexcusable.

The twisting of facts to try to foster this scourge on our citizens has surpassed comprehension.  Some folks think if you tell a lie loud enough and often enough it becomes some sort of truth.

Proponents of the bill have repeatedly misrepresented the Winthrop Poll results.  In a poll conducted by Winthrop and reported by The (Columbia, S.C.) State October 1, 2016, the public resoundingly (77 percent) expressed that medical marijuana should be under the authority of the FDA just as other drugs, with researched dose levels and the ability to be prescribed by physicians, not just recommended as Senator Davis’s bill condones.

Desiring to help those whose medical conditions might be relieved by Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC – a component of marijuana), is a worthy goal but not at the peril of hundreds of other citizens, especially our children.

Having served on the S.C. Child Fatality Advisory Committee for 19 years, I have reviewed thousands of suspicious, unexplained and violent deaths of children aged seventeen and under. Many of the cases reviewed reveal “parenting under the influence” of a myriad of drugs, both legal and illegal: alcohol, marijuana, meth, opioids, heroin, cocaine, over the counter drugs, etc. leading to the deaths of the children in their care.

Many of these deaths are directly linked to marijuana use by a caregiver.  In some of these cases a child is born to a “using” caregiver fails to thrive.  In others, they are suffocated by a parent so high or so impaired that they roll over on a child or place the child in unsafe sleeping conditions.  Some neglect critical medical needs or basic food or allow the child access to marijuana to ingest.

Legalizing marijuana will lull our citizenry into the false belief that marijuana is harmless.

For complete story https://www.fitsnews.com/2018/03/29/laura-hudson-marijuana-bill-would-endanger-sc-children-public-safety/

 

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USA: Kansas House Don’t Make ‘Law-breakers’, Weed Warriors Do That!

‘Don’t make us lawbreakers’: Effort to legalize medical marijuana fails in Kansas House

By Sherman Smith Posted Mar 26, 2018

Rep. Abraham Rafie, R-Overland Park, spoke against an amendment in the House Monday that would have legalized medical marijuana. The amendment failed 54-69. [Thad Allton/The Capital-Journal]

In this June 23, 2016, photo, plants mature on a hemp farm in Pueblo, Colo. A proposal from Rep. Cindy Holscher, an Olathe Democrat, would have amended Senate Bill 282, which would legalize hemp oil with no THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. [AP Photo/Kristen Wyatt]

Rep. Troy Waymaster, R-Bunker Hill, and others shared emotional stories during debate on an amendment, Monday, offered by Rep. Cindy Holscher, back, D-Olathe, in the House, that would have legalized medical marijuana. The amendment failed 54-69.[Thad Allton/The Capital-Journal]

An amendment by Rep. Cindy Holscher, in the House to legalize medical marijuana failed on a 54-69 vote Monday.. [Thad Allton/The Capital-Journal]

 

Rep. Abraham Rafie, R-Overland Park, spoke against an amendment in the House Monday that would have legalized medical marijuana. The amendment failed 54-69. [Thad Allton/The Capital-Journal]

HIDE CAPTION

In this June 23, 2016, photo, plants mature on a hemp farm in Pueblo, Colo. A proposal from Rep. Cindy Holscher, an Olathe Democrat, would have amended Senate Bill 282, which would legalize hemp oil with no THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. [AP Photo/Kristen Wyatt]

HIDE CAPTION

Rep. Troy Waymaster, R-Bunker Hill, and others shared emotional stories during debate on an amendment, Monday, offered by Rep. Cindy Holscher, back, D-Olathe, in the House, that would have legalized medical marijuana. The amendment failed 54-69.[Thad Allton/The Capital-Journal]

HIDE CAPTION

An amendment by Rep. Cindy Holscher, in the House to legalize medical marijuana failed on a 54-69 vote Monday.. [Thad Allton/The Capital-Journal]

HIDE CAPTION

Rep. Abraham Rafie, R-Overland Park, spoke against an amendment in the House Monday that would have legalized medical marijuana. The amendment failed 54-69. [Thad Allton/The Capital-Journal]

Next

By Sherman Smith

Posted Mar 26, 2018 at 2:15 PMUpdated Mar 26, 2018 at 2:51 PM

 

An effort in the House to legalize medical marijuana failed on a 54-69 vote Monday after Rep. Cindy Holscher’s amendment met resistance for not going through a committee first.

Others blasted the legislative process, saying committee leaders have refused for years to allow hearings on the bill.

Rep. Troy Waymaster, R-Bunker Hill, and others shared emotional stories during debate on the amendment, recalling the relief marijuana brought to loved ones suffering from cancer, epilepsy, migraines and other illnesses. Waymaster said he supported a dying companion’s efforts to seek marijuana in Colorado as she battled ovarian cancer, but he couldn’t support the amendment.

“I don’t think this is the right time to bring this forward,” Waymaster said. “I know there is a benefit to it. I’ve seen it. I saw what it did to her. But as the previous representatives who spoke before me, a 116-page amendment is not the right process.”

The proposal from Holscher, an Olathe Democrat, would have amended Senate Bill 282, which would legalize hemp oil with no THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. The House advanced the hemp oil bill on a voice vote.

Modeled on legislation that has passed in other states, Holscher defended her amendment by saying the dependency rate for marijuana is equal to caffeine and lower than more serious drugs. Legalizing marijuana for medicinal use is the answer to the opioid crisis, she said, and has support from doctors.

Marijuana is a gateway to health, not other drugs, she said.

“The question,” Holscher said, “is do we want to help our people or send them potentially to other states?”

For more http://www.cjonline.com/news/20180326/dont-make-us-lawbreakers-effort-to-legalize-medical-marijuana-fails-in-kansas-house b

 

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Global: Cannabis & Initiation into Cigarettes – Who new right???

Cannabis use linked to increased initiation of cigarette smoking among non-smokers

Download PDF Copy March 27, 2018

While cigarette smoking has long been on the decline, marijuana use is on the rise and, disproportionately, marijuana users also smoke cigarettes. A new study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the City University of New York reports that cannabis use was associated with an increased initiation of cigarette smoking among non-cigarette smokers. They also found adults who smoke cigarettes and use cannabis are less likely to quit smoking cigarettes than those who do not use cannabis. Former smokers who use cannabis are also more likely to relapse to cigarette smoking. Results are published online in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

The analyses were based on data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions in 2001-2002 and 2004-2005, and responses from 34,639 individuals to questions about cannabis use and smoking status.

“Developing a better understanding of the relationship between marijuana use and cigarette use transitions is critical and timely as cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of premature death and disease, and use of cannabis is on the rise in the U.S.,” said Renee Goodwin, PhD, in the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, and senior author.

The study suggests that marijuana use–even in the absence of cannabis use disorder (characterized by problematic use of cannabis due to impairment in functioning or difficulty quitting or cutting down on use)–is associated with increased odds of smoking onset, relapse, and persistence. As cannabis use is much more common than cannabis use disorder, its potential impact on cigarette use in the general community may be greater than estimates based on studies of cannabis use disorder alone, according to the researchers.

An earlier study by Goodwin and colleagues showed that the use of cannabis by cigarette smokers had increased dramatically over the past two decades to the point where smokers are more than 5 times as likely as non-smokers to use marijuana daily. For complete article https://www.news-medical.net/news/20180327/Cannabis-use-linked-to-increased-initiation-of-cigarette-smoking-among-non-smokers.aspx

 

 

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UK: He Uses Drugs – And the Whole Family Suffers From it!

Changing Lives Using peer support to promote access to services for family members affected by someone else’s drug or alcohol use

Whole Family Recovery Introduction: In 2009, the UK Drug Policy Commission estimated that there are at least 1.5 million people in the UK affected by someone else’s drug use. However, this figure only includes those family members and carers living with someone using drugs, and only when the drug use is at the extreme end of the spectrum. Other estimates, based on the assumption that every substance misuser will negatively affect at least two close family members, suggest that the true number is nearer 8 million. Family members affected by a relative’s alcohol use are likely to be far more numerous, given the greater prevalence of alcohol misuse in the general population https://www.adfam.org.uk/cms/docs/ChangingLives_March2018.pdf

 

 

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Canada: Worker Compensation Weed Worries!

Why total bans on workplace pot won’t be easy under Cannabis Act

March 23, 2018   by David Gambrill

Employers may be hard-pressed to ban marijuana outright from the workplace once The Cannabis Act is implemented in Canada, a lawyer told delegates attending the Ontario Mutual Insurance Association (OMIA) Thursday.

“Both bills [related to The Cannabis Act, Bills C-45 and C-46] are actually silent when it comes to employment and occupational safety,” said Sandra Gogal, practice leader at Miller Thomson LLP. “At present, there is no Canadian law that regulates mandatory drug testing of employees, so when the recreational market opens up, it creates a number of interesting issues.”

For one, employers will be challenged to uphold outright prohibitions on marijuana in the workplace, based on the difference between recreational and medicinal forms of cannabis. While proposed bills allowing recreational use are still up for debate, medical use of marijuana has been legal in Canada since 1999.

“I had a call from a company the other day that said one of their employees was injured on the job, and as a matter of standard practice, they get drug-tested,” Gogal recounted. “The results came back positive, and they said, ‘Can we fire him?’ And I just said, ‘We don’t know yet whether that was for medical purposes or not.’”

The issue promises to get murkier once recreational drug use is legalized.

For more https://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/insurance/total-bans-workplace-pot-wont-easy-cannabis-act-1004129176/

 

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Scotland: Therapeutic Community Good to Go!

First ever drug rehabilitation village opens its doors

Scotland’s first ever long-term “drug rehabilitation village” opens its doors today.

The River Garden Auchincruive project, near Ayr, is a groundbreaking residential project to help those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Run by charity Independence from Drugs and Alcohol Scotland (IFDAS), the programme is inspired by a number of radical rehab programmes from around the world.

It will initially provide accommodation, training and support for up to 40 former addicts who will live there for up to three years.

Director of Development at IFDAS, Mark Bitel said the three year programme was unlike any other type of service currently available in the UK.

The 48-acre site acts as a residential training and social enterprise development where the community will grow food to supply an onsite shop and café, and run a bakery.

For more http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/16111360.First_ever_drug_rehabilitation_village_opens_its_doors/

 

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