VOLUME 10, ISSUE 3- Fall 2016
Developing Substance Abuse Policy: Perspectives from Around the World
In this edition of the Journal, the first of our two featured articles, Why a 5 ng/ml THC limit is bad public policy - and the case for tandem per se DUID legislation is by Ed Wood, founder of DUID Victim Voices. This very timely article reviews a current study and discusses the flaws in trying to set a DUID policy for marijuana based upon a level of THC in whole blood. There is not an easy method to determine THC impairment in the same manner that we do with alcohol, however Mr. Wood provides a sensible suggestion to address the escalating problems with drivers under the influence of drugs.
The second featured article, Binge Drinking in the Oldest Wine Country: Evidence from the Noncommunicable Disease Risk Factor Surveillance summarizes a very important study that quantifies the extent of the alcohol problem in the Republic of Georgia. The long-standing wine-making industry combined with the effects from economic upheaval and conflict with Russia, have all contributed to the rise of the problem. Ultimately, this study will help Georgian policymakers to address the public health epidemic and others can learn from it. The team of international authors and researchers include: Manouchehr Mokhtari, School of Public Health, University of Maryland - College Park; Anthony Kondracki, School of Public Health, University of Maryland - College Park; Jacqueline Wallen, School of Public Health, University of Maryland - College Park; Lasha Kavtaradze, International Black Sea University, Georgian University; Mamak Ashtari, School of Public Health, University of Maryland - College Park; Marina Topuridze, Health Promotion Division, National Center for Disease Control and Public Health, Georgia; Lela Sturua, Non-Communicable Diseases Department National Center for Disease Control and Public Health, Georgia; Gvantsa Piralishvili, Center for Mental Health and Prevention of Addiction, Georgia; Khatuna Todadze, Medical State University, Center for Mental Health and Prevention of Addiction, Georgia; Lasha Kiladze, Center for Mental Health and Prevention of Addiction, Georgia; and Nino Gachechiladze, Analysis and Consulting Team, Georgia.
In our commentary, Getting Serious about Substance Abuse Treatment Requires Adopting the Five-Year Recovery Standard, Robert L. DuPont, MD, President of the Institute for Behavior and Health, describes lessons that can be learned from the state physician health programs (PHPs) which set the standards for long-term outcomes for substance use disorders. The U.S. healthcare system is now in the early stages of being transformed to focus intensely on serious chronic disorders including prevention, early intervention, effective treatment and long-term monitoring. Substance use disorders must be a part of this transformation of care management. Dr. DuPont recommends the use of five-year recovery as a standard measure for treatment outcomes.