Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Not much going on - or too much

Not many updates here. I'm not dead, and haven't given up. Just nearing the end of second semester, so I've been quite busy.

I took three undergrads to the annual meetings of the Midwest Sociological Society in March, and they did a bang up job. One presentation covered the preliminary results of the 'Meth Lab'. Another presentation covered the structure and experience of undergraduate research teams, including both the Iceland project and the Meth Lab. One of the students presented her senior thesis, a qualitative analysis of international immigrant work teams at her hotel. I also touched base with some old mentors and friends in the discipline, which is always very nice.

I presented the progress on the Methamphetamine research to our client, the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Methamphetamine Demand Reduction Group last week. They were pleased with our work so far, and I gave them a tentative report date of June. At that time they are going to have a press conference anyway, and it would be nice to release our work to the public at that time.

And, we got one of our (allright Psych's) students into the Notre Dame Sociology PhD department next year. Good luck to her.

So, I've been busy doing all sorts of sociology, keeping me away from internet sociology. I will say more when time allows.


Anonymous said...

I understand that Adelaide, South Australia is the speed capitol of Australia.

Jackie in Adelaide, South Australia said...

yeah. Yesterday I had a local guru of drug policy come in and talk to my students about how he arrives at his advice to the government and he was saying the same thing. Apparently Adelaide supplies much of South West Australia although he said Queensland was starting to make inroads too. Interestingly speed started to make its mark when the heroin market dropped out. Wasn’t quite sure why heroin had disappeared but some suggestions were that the drought in Asia had something to do with it coupled with some success on the part of the Federal police with some big hauls and a drug lord in Hong Kong was arrested - at least that is my recollection of what he said – it was a 2 hour session so he covered a lot. We mostly talked about XTC which is also on the rise.

I guess the emphasis here is on harm minimisation – his take on it was if you remove one drug another will pop up to take its place which when you look at the graphs makes sense - as heroin went down XTC and methamphetamine went up. One stat I did find interesting was the very low level of HIV (1.5%) in the injecting drug population apparently as a result of the needle exchange program.

Since the lecture I have been looking at the net and see that SA is about to enact legislation for random saliva testing of drivers for THC (cannabis) and methamphetamines but interestingly the charge will only be “driving under the influence of the drug” not the use of the drug per se even though it is illegal. That seems like an interesting distinction and it also appears that the convicted drivers won’t lose their driver's license if it is the first offence whereas with alcohol as I understand it you would. Don’t quite understand that.

Michael said...

It seems to be a growing problem here in the midwest. I am not sure exactly how much effect government and law enforcement have on such things, and how much is simply the fashions associated with illicit drugs.

Here in town, we just had a very grisly murder associated with Meth. The fellow met someone in rehab for prescrip's, who turned him on to meth. While he was high on meth, not sleeping for a week, he murdered a family, and doesn't really even remember it. Certainly tragic, and I would expect some sort of backlash toward these drugs from the community. But who knows?

jackie in Adelaide, South Australia said...

Rather prejudices you against rehab doesn't it.

Prof Ali was saying the same thing ie that, although heroin had been a nuisance in that there was a lot of associated property theft to finance the habit, there wasn't the violence which is associated with meth.
We haven't had a high profile case here yet - no doubt it will come. We have also been dubbed - by the UK media - as the murder capitol of the world which is rather harder to believe - South Australia has some very odd murders but very few I think. Don't have stats of that however.

One interesting drug stat - 28% of road traffic fatalities are associated with amphetamine or cannabis use. It will be interesting when the random testing comes in as it is one thing to get an instantaneous breath reading for alcohol as they do now but the lit suggests that the random saliva testing will take 5 minutes and if you test positive you have to have a blood test. Hopefuly they won't get too many false positives. Maybe they will just target long distance truckies using to stay awake.