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An archive of recent news articles on the topic of alcohol and drugs.

Smoking while pregnant can affect grandchildren

26th August 2014
Smoking during pregnancy can affect the growth of a woman's future grandchildren, a new study has warned.

Researchers have found that if a maternal grandmother smoked during pregnancy, her grandsons became heavier than expected during adolescence,

But the study also found those grandsons had better cardiovascular fitness.

Alcohol limits to be lowered

31st July 2014
Legislation to lower adult drink-driving limits from December 1 has passed its final reading in Parliament.

The Land Transport Amendment Bill 2013 will lower the adult breath alcohol limit from 400mcg of alcohol per litre of breath, to 250mcg.

The blood alcohol limit will reduce from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, to 50mg.

“Changes delivered by this legislation will save lives and reduce injuries, and they demonstrate the government’s commitment to improving road safety,” Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said.

Second North meth bust in a week

31st July 2014
Northland police have made their second large Class A drug bust in a week, finding 24g of methamphetamine, LSD tabs and $3320 cash after stopping a vehicle in Kaikohe.

Northland Police communications manager Sarah Kennett said officers stopped a vehicle about 1pm on Monday and located some methamphetamine and cash.

Following the search of the car, police searched a Kaikohe address and located more drugs and cash.

In total 24g of methamphetamine with a street value of more than $20,000, five tabs of LSD, and $3320 cash were found.

Teen's death puts focus on caffeine powder dangers

22nd July 2014
A few weeks before their prom king's death, students at an Ohio high school had attended an assembly on narcotics that warned about the dangers of heroin and prescription painkillers.

But it was one of the world's most widely accepted drugs that killed Logan Stiner a powdered form of caffeine so potent that as little as a single teaspoon can be fatal.

The teen's sudden death in May has focused attention on the unregulated powder and drawn a warning from federal health authorities urging consumers to avoid it.

"I don't think any of us really knew that this stuff was out there,"
Jay Arbaugh, superintendent of the Keystone Local Schools

No point in booze-free July: expert

16th July 2014
Giving up alcohol for a month is pointless for people's health, says a leading liver expert.

Professor Robin Fraser, medical director of the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation, says instead drinkers should stay off booze for a few days every week throughout the whole year.

Thousands of Kiwis are on the wagon for Dry July to raise cash for cancer sufferers. But Professor Fraser warned abstainers should be wary of claimed health benefits and a longer-term attitude to alcohol was more desirable.

"The liver is like an oil refinery for the blood and works best with regular maintenance, which means staying off the booze a few days a week.

Plain packaging damages cigarettes' taste - study

16th July 2014
Long-term smokers in Australia find the taste of plain-packaged cigarettes to be worse than branded cigarettes, new research suggests.

A study of 51 smokers by the University of Newcastle also found that participants can no longer differentiate between brands, saying that all cigarettes now tasted the same.

Tobacco companies have denied changing ingredients, and co-author and PhD candidate Ashleigh Guillaumier said the study's findings highlights the power of branding.

The two questions that could determine if you have an alcohol problem

9th July 2014
Two questions is all it could take to establish whether a person currently suffers from or is at risk of a drink problem, a study for GPs says.

'How often do you have six or more drinks on one occasion?' and 'as a result of your drinking or drug use, did anything happen in the last year that you wish didn't happen?' are the two enquiries a GP could make to detect hidden alcohol abuse, it claims.

Scientists from the University of Leicester, led by consultant in psycho-oncology Alex Mitchell, looked at 17 previous alcohol studies spanning 5,646 people to see whether simple preliminary screening using one or two questions could provide an accurate foundation for intervention.

The team found that the "optimal approach appears to be two questions" followed by a possible four more.

Area of brain responsible for hangovers found

1st July 2014
Most of us know that feeling the morning after the night before when we wake up and say 'never again'.

Scientists have now discovered the area of the brain that gives us that hangover feeling - and suggest it is vital to stopping us drinking too much, too often.

World's first electronic joint developed

26th June 2014
A Dutch company has invented the world's first electronic joint.

E-Njoint BV is selling its high-tech spliffs at parties, music events, bars and clubs and across Europe.

Currently 10,000 e-joints per day are being manufactured by the company in China.

Its design has the typical shape of a joint and a green cannabis leaf lights up through the chrome plated tip each time the user takes a puff.

Faking a pricey bottle of wine is a cinch

24th June 2014
In 2006, Atlanta wine collector Julian LeCraw paid $91,400 for a single bottle of 1787 Château d'Yquem, at the time the most ever for a white wine.

That purchase, while stunning, was dwarfed in both size and renown by that of one Christopher Forbes, who bid £105,000 (some $157,000) in 1985 for a 1787 Château Lafite etched with the initials "Th.J.," and advertised as formerly belonging to Thomas Jefferson.