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23rd April 2017

Turkey: a professional police dog seizes 5.5 tons of drugs in 4 years

The police dog "Alex" has led the Turkish police in the Gaziantep state (south) to seize 5.5 tons of narcotics over the past four years.

"Alex" is a proven dog among hundreds of police dogs trained in the field of anti-drugs and in the detection of places where drugs are hidden. This dog has become a real nightmare for drug traffickers and smugglers, and a star for the police.

The police officer and "master dog" Murad Ooukchac said in an interview with Anatolia that he took over the training of "Alex" in 2013 in the Ankara capital, and since then the two have become inseparable . They moved to the city of Gaziantep, after participating in dozens of training courses.

The officer pointed out that "Alex" can identify eight types of drugs, noting that this ability is rarely found in other dogs.

He added that the dog coach receives intensive courses related to dealing with dogs and training them how to detect different types of drugs.

Murad Ooukchac also pointed out that police dogs able to detect drugs are serving the entire humanity.

He continued, "The services of these dogs are not limited to the Security Directorate, but extend to all mankind, “Alex” aims to protect children from drug abuse and remove this danger from families . "

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22nd April 2017

What is Captagon?

Captagon is the trade name of fenethylline, a compound similar to amphetamines which are stimulants. Moreover, stimulants are substances that cause hyperactivity, insomnia and lack of fatigue and hunger. They are synthetic drugs and are therefore illegal. Amphetamines include all types of compounds similar to it, including Captagon because the chemical properties of amphetamines are similar to their counterparts in addition to their effects on users. Indeed, those who consume stimulants are unable to distinguish between the different types they use. Among the most popular types of amphetamines are the substance known as “Benzedrine”, and the Methamphetamine known commercially as "Desoxyn" and Dextro-amphetamine known as "Dexedrine ". There are also other compounds similar to amphetamines such as Fenethylline known as Captagon, and Phenmetrazine known commercially as "Pyrrolidine", in addition to Phendimetrazine known as Phentermine.

Amphetamines are found in various forms including tablets, capsules, crystal pieces known as "Lonamin 2 C-B" and Fenethylline powder.

Captagon users believe that this stimulating chemical improves mood and reduces the need to sleep and eat, with the understanding that it has currently no medical use. In the past, its medical type (that no longer exists) was used in the treatment of depression, it was prescribed to stimulate the activity of the patients. But when it was tested, it turned out to have negative repercussions that affect the brain and mental health, so it was internationally banned. No medical manufacture of this substance exists presently, which means that all the quantities circulating among drug users are secretly manufactured in clandestine laboratories whose sole purpose is fast and illegal profit.

In short, the Captagon has a stimulating role for the nervous system, and it exists in various colors and shapes, the most famous being in tablets with two opposite carved crescents. Its consumption increases mostly during exam periods among male and female students of all levels, under the pretext that it boosts studying and memorizing capacities.

Dr. Ali Ayed Al Humaidan

International expert in the field of drugs and psychotropic substances

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20th April 2017

The Crown Prince is constantly guiding "Nebras" projects ... Al-Sharif: 17 counselors training centers to reduce the spread of drugs

The Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz, Interior Minister and Chairman of the National Committee for Narcotic Control (NCNC) in Saudi Arabia, is constantly guiding the implementation of the country's training and national capacity development program pertinent to the National Project for Combating Drugs (Nebras) addressed to all categories of society in all cities and provinces throughout the Kingdom.

In this context, Abdulilah bin Mohammed Al-Sharif, secretary-general of the National Committee for Narcotic Control, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nebras Project and international expert at the UN, said that "Nebras" signed, under the guidance of His Highness the Crown Prince, contracts with 17 training centers in the Kingdom to train counselors and staff to reduce the spread of the drug phenomenon. 

He added: "These contracts signed with a number of national enterprises and institutions specialized in the field of training and education aim to ensure training results that meet international quality standards to develop specialized national capacities in accordance with scientific methodologies in the field of combating narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

Al-Sharif said the programs are aimed at creating awareness among intermediate, secondary and university students, teachers, imams and health specialists.

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19th April 2017

From China: "Salvia" a new drug invades the Tunisian market

The national unit for research of terrorists and organized crimes that threaten national security has been able to counteract a smuggling attempts of narcotic substances from China.

In the light of information received from a person residing in Tunisia, the unit suspected that a parcel containing 114.8 grams of narcotic substance from China was on board of a carrier company. The unit seized the parcel in question and arrested its receiver.

The suspect admitted his activity within a group, consisting of his brother and another person, dealing in the smuggling of raw narcotic substance into Tunisia. Then, they mix the raw substance with other products to obtain a narcotic substance known by "Salvia" that his brother was able to purchase through a website. The suspect also added that his brother has substantial quantities of this substance in his residence in the northern suburbs.

After his arrest, the brother confirmed the statements of the first inmate, adding that he sold the narcotic substance in question for 2000 dinars per 20 grams, in addition to other narcotic substances including marijuana and cannabis.

The third party involved in the same case was also arrested and he confessed his activity within the group in the field of manufacturing and promoting "Salvia" drugs. He admitted in the same context that he traveled to a Maghreb country in December 2016 in order to coordinate with another person to smuggle quantities of cannabis into Tunisia.

Moreover, tests carried out on seized products in coordination with the Technical and Scientific Police Department concluded that it is a synthetic substance similar to the cannabis drug but has stronger and more dangerous effects which can cause poisoning and death.

Concerned persons were transferred to the Public Prosecutor's Office of the First Instance Court of Tunisia 1 that issued against them a warrant of committal to prison

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18th April 2017

Many Opioid Addictions Surface After Surgery Study Finds

Some surgery patients prescribed opioids for post-operative pain relief may face a high risk for developing a long-term opioid addiction, new research warns.

The analysis tracked a half-year of opioid use among more than 36,000 surgery patients. None had taken opioids before their surgical procedure.

"We found that 5 to 6 percent of patients not using opioids prior to surgery continued to fill prescriptions for opioids long after what would be considered normal surgical recovery," said study author Dr. Chad Brummett. He is director of the division of pain research at the University of Michigan Medical School.

The risk was highest among smokers; patients who had struggled with alcohol and/or drugs in the past; those previously diagnosed with depression or anxiety; and those with a history of chronic pain, the findings showed.

Patients who smoked and those who had a history of alcohol and/or drug abuse faced about a 30 percent higher risk. And that increased risk rose to roughly 50 percent among patients with a history of arthritis, the researcher said.

The outcome is that "pain medication [prescriptions] written for surgery are a major cause of new chronic opioid use for millions of Americans each year," Brummett said.

In many cases, the pain control drug of choice is an opioid medication such as Vicodin or Oxycontin. Brummett said that it's not uncommon to offer patients about a week's worth of these meds for post-op pain.

But the United States is in the grip of an opioid painkiller epidemic, with more than 10 million people using prescription opioids for non-medical reasons in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In the new study, the patients were about 45 years old, on average. About two-thirds were women, three-quarters were white, and all underwent surgery between 2013 and 2014.

Roughly 80 percent underwent minor surgery, such as varicose vein removal or a range of minimally invasive operations. The other 20 percent underwent a major operation, such as a hysterectomy or colectomy.

Just before surgery, patients were given prescriptions for a total of between 30 to 45 opioid tablets.

But following surgery, about 6 percent of both major and minor surgical patients went on to fill an additional three prescriptions, adding up to an average total of roughly 125 pills over a three- to six-month post-op period, according to the report.

In contrast, among a group of men and women who didn't have surgery and hadn't taken an opioid medication in the prior year, less than half of 1 percent engaged in a similar pattern of long-term opioid abuse.

One recent study showed that opioid dependence can take hold in as little as five days.

"Clinicians should be cautious about prescribing and consider the potential risks of opioids after surgery," Brummett said. One idea: screening patients, by means of questionnaires, for histories of "pain, mood and function."

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17th April 2017

UAE: Learn about the various challenges faced by families and specialists during drug addicts treatment

The Executive Director of Social Protection and Development of the Community Development Authority in Dubai, Hariz Murr Bin Hariz, listed a range of challenges faced by families and specialists in dealing with drug addicts during their attempt to recover and treat their drug addiction. According to Hariz, the most important of these challenges are the high number of withdrawals from the therapeutic program, the lack of periodic consultation at the “Awnak” Social Rehabilitation Center and the need for intervention by some parties to help cured patients to meet their daily needs and obtain needed identification papers to resume their life normally and integrate into society.

The phases of rehabilitation and subsequent care of patients cured form drug addiction are divided into three stages. The first phase is the practical rehabilitation and is aimed at restoring the capacity and effectiveness of the addict in the field of his work. The second phase is the reintegration phase, aimed at reintegration into family and society. The final phase is the stage of subsequent care or prevention of relapse, and takes the form of therapeutic follow-up for periods ranging from six months to two years from the start of treatment with training of the cured patient and his family to early detect any warning signs of potential relapse.

According to "The Emirates Today", Ben Hariz said about the main difficulties encountered by specialists in the implementation of drug treatment programs that the challenges and difficulties are summarized in the difficulty of daily consistency of patients enrolled at the “Awnak” Center for Social Rehabilitation in the rehabilitation program during the early stages of treatment, refusal of some patients to communicate with a family member to co-ordinate with him and the refusal of certain families to cooperate with the team of therapists of the center during the various stages of treatment and finally some patients do not continue in the rehabilitation program after the appearance of the first signs of improvement and recovery.

Moreover, Ben Hariz stressed the need to permanently educate families about how to deal with recovered patients, especially in the early stages of stopping drug use. He added that there are families who are under severe pressure due to the lack material and vital needs, which is another problem to be added to the list of challenges in implementing rehabilitation and recovery programs. He noted the lack of periodic review at the “Awnak” Center to help specialists ensure that those enrolled in the program seriously want to stop using drugs and not to take other drugs that could cause a relapse.

Ben Hariz also stressed the need for greater coordination with concerned institutions, such as charities, to help recovered patients continue on the recovery path, particularly with regard to material and vital needs such as housing, transportation and acquisition of identity documents which will enable them to integrate into society. The "Awnak" Social Rehabilitation Center, which was founded in 2013, aims to care for patients who are cured of addiction in a therapeutic environment that supports them away from drugs, helping them to recover and prevent their relapse as much as possible. Indeed, the center implements programs aimed at rehabilitating these people socially and psychologically, it also leads them to self discovery, and to the identification of their strength and weakness points, in order to work on their development so that 'they are able to interact with life without the use of drugs.”

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