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ALCOHOL & MARIJUANA USE RIFE IN PNG By Dorah Gawi

ALCOHOL & MARIJUANA USE RIFE IN PNG 14 Mar 2013

Legal alcohol, illegal homebrew and marijuana are the most commonly used drugs in Papua New Guinea. They contribute to people's risky behavior for HIV, but little is done to address this. This was contained in a report entitles Emerging HIV Risk in PNG; Alcohol and Injecting and other Drug Use and HIV Risk undertaken by the PNG Institute of Medical Research and was commissioned by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, with funding from UNAIDS. The assessment was carried out in four provinces, NCD, West Sepik, Western Highlands and Morobe, to determine the risk of HIV associated with alcohol and injecting and other drugs. Principal Investigator of the Study Dr. Angela Kelly says the abuse of alcohol and drugs often brings negative social and health impacts, including an increased risk of HIV through unprotected sex, whether consensual or violent. Dr. Kelly adds that little is being done that is known to be effective to address the reasons for addiction itself. She adds that PNG does not have trained drug and alcohol counselors and few medical staff specialize in treating people with drug dependency. Therefore, legislation regarding drug and alcohol misuse, does not address current and emerging trends, in particular the developing market for drugs other than cannabis. Dr. Kelly says both Government and non-government organizations strategies to address the abuse and misuse of alcohol and marijuana, are not evidence based, further adding that there a lack of infrastructure, facilities and human resources to successfully address these issues.
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