with Judith H Moore
The rhetoric of heroin
Britain's drugs policy is disastrous reported the Guardian (15/06/01). Over the past 30 years there has been a thousandfold increase in heroin addicts but politicians will not admit it. Professor Gerry Stimson, social science group, department of primary care and population health sciences, believes: "the root of the problem is the government's ferocious rhetoric which sets the wrong tone. You are dealing with people who are already quite marginalised and stigmatised and, if you are having that sort of rhetoric, then you are pointing the finger, scapegoating people."
Spiralling costs don't aid patients
Karol Sikora, professor of cancer medicine, school of medicine, has warned that too much money is being spent prolonging the lives of patients with incurable cancer. He told the Freedom from Pain conference in London last week, that as much as four fifths of the cancer budget is spent during the last six months of life. "Too many patients believe chemotherapy will cure them," he explained. "I think the notion is a little too overoptimistic. We have to return to the inevitability of death." Times (13/06/01)
Artefacts from a long-lost city may finally unravel the mystery surrounding the sudden demise of an ancient Egyptian 'Atlantis'. Remains unearthed from the city of Herakleion - associated with the adventures of Helen of Troy - suggest the city sank beneath the waves following an immense geological catastrophe. An earthquake is thought to have destabilised the substrata beneath the city turning it into a virtual 'quick sand' engulfing the city. Speaking to the Independent (08/06/01), Professor Nicholas Ambraseys from the seismology and earthquake engineering section of the department of civil and environmental engineering, said: "Most of the inhabitants of Herakleion would not have stood a chance. They would have been killed by falling masonry or drowned by the inundation."