2000 NLHLA Annual Workshop

Newfoundland and Labrador Health Knowledge Network

Presented by Linda Barnett, Head of Public Services, Health Sciences Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Linda provided an overview and update on the NLHKN pilot project (running January through December 2000).

Project Goals:

  • Effective and equitable access to health knowledge based information throughout the province
  • Improved access to document delivery services regardless of location within the province
  • Training local health providers to use the services and resources
  • Sharing resources for health providers and the public

The project is to provide a pool of shared resources, plus support services, so that health professionals can access information regardless of their location in the province. The idea is that by sharing expenses, it can be cost effective to provide resources for everyone.

The information resources are internet-based and include bibliographic and full-text databases. Resources currently available include: Medline, CINAHL, HealthSTAR, Cochrane Library, STAT!Ref, and Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine.

There are two fee structures, one for personal use and the other for corporate use. Funding remains a critical issue and there is a need to obtain more members and sponsors if the project is to continue.

For further information, visit the NLHKIN website.

Workshop on Addictions

Presented by Mary Beth Doyle, Addictions Services, Health and Community Services, St. John’s Region.

Mary Beth began with an introduction to the concept of addictions. She looked at the difference between a healthy habit and an addiction, pointing out that it is possible to become addicted to `healthy’ things like exercise. There are often positive reasons why people start something and it is only later that it becomes a problem, that the reasons for continuing become negative. The main indicator of a problem is that a person continues despite negative consequences (family problems, financial problems, missing work or school).

The session before the break was then spent discussing drug addictions. There are four factors involved in drug use: what the drug does (physical effect), personal factors such as self-esteem or resilience, social value such as peer pressure or acceptability, and environmental influence such as accessibility or availability.

In general, indications of drug dependency include:

  • use too much too often for the wrong reasons
  • have physical and psychological dependency
  • affect on life areas
  • use despite negative consequences

While people who are addicted are often able to get through the physical effects of withdrawal, the problem of re-using generally comes from the emotional or psychological effects, the feeling that they cannot cope without using.

The session after the break was spent discussing gambling addictions. Gambling involves taking a risk or a chance, and involves something of value. The value is not necessarily monetary, but could be anything valued, such as reputation.

There are two types of gambling:

  1. Luck: bingo, lottery, raffle tickets, scratch tickets, nevada (pull/break-open) tickets, roulette, slots, video lottery terminal
  2. Skill: sports betting or pools, poker, bridge, blackjack, pool or snooker, darts, horse racing

Skill games tend to have higher stakes and involve excitement and action; people want to be “in the game”. Luck games have no thinking involved. It is escapism, fantasy.

Social gambling:

  • fun
  • involves a $ limit
  • involves a time limit
  • you can leave
  • you expect to lose
  • you are not using money you can’t afford to lose
  • you are with friends

Problem gambling:

  • serious
  • frequently break $ limit, if have one
  • tolerance level keeps rising
  • lose track of time
  • an obsession or pre-occupation; you think about it when you aren’t doing it
  • you expect to win
  • you are always chasing losses, trying to win it back
  • continue despite negative consequences
  • unable to quit
  • often done in isolation
  • experience a lot of highs and lows

In Newfoundland in 1997/98, 230 million dollars was spent on gambling via the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. The ranking was:

  1. 74 million dollars: Nevada tickets
  2. 68 million dollars: Video lottery terminals
  3. 29 million dollars: $2 scratch tickets
  4. 26 million dollars: Lotto 6/49 tickets

10-30% of substance abusers also have gambling problems. 50% of pathological gamblers have substance abuse problems. Less than 19% of money spent on gambling is put back into gambling addictions treatment. More gamblers present with suicidal tendencies than substance abusers. Because it is not seen as a physical problem, a chemical put into the body, there is more shame associated with gambling than with substance abuse.

Useful texts include:

Jerrold S. Maxmen. Psychotropic Drugs: Fast Facts. 2nd ed. 1991. 0-393-70181-6

Jan R. Wilson. Addictionary: A Primer of Recover Terms and Concepts. 1994. 1-56838-116-6

Tim Marnell. Drug Identification Bible. 3rd ed. 1997. 0-9635626-2-2

Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. Canadian Profile: Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs. 1999. 0-88868-329-4

Bruna Brands. Drugs and Drug Abuse. 3rd ed. 1998. 0-88868-305-7