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The Daily Buzz: July 7, 2014

Colombia kicks off a widespread needle exchange program; increasing numbers of treatment centers use non-12-step approaches; and Berkeley, California will give out free medical marijuana to low-income and homeless people.

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Colombia Kicks Off Needle Exchange Program
Health professionals are now distributing clean needles to heroin addicts in five Colombian cities, as part of a new program to help reduce the spread of HIV and Hepatitis.

European Students Using More “Smart Drugs”
Stressed out university students throughout Europe are using more “cognitive enhancers” (like Ritalin) to help them succeed academically, studies show. One student explains: “You are competing with students on smart drugs who are smarter than you anyway. You almost need to take them to be on a level playing field.”

A Different Path to Fighting Addiction
More treatment professionals are helping people to recover from addiction using non-12-step paths. The New York Times profiles the Center for Motivation and Change (CMC) in Manhattan—a treatment center that doesn’t ask patients to commit to abstaining from drugs or alcohol entirely. Instead, it uses motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy and harm reduction approaches to address underlying issues and mitigate substance use.

Berkeley, California Will Provide Free Pot to Low-Income and Homeless People
Medical marijuana dispensaries in Berkeley, California will likely soon be required to provide free marijuana to low-income members and homeless people, according to a new ordinance approved last week. And no low-quality bud, either—the ordinance requires the free weed to be on par with the stuff members pay for.

New Calculator Will Tell You How Boozy Your Drink Is
This handy new “cocktail content calculator” will tell you how much booze you’re imbibing. It was created by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to help drinkers be aware of their alcohol intake—so they don’t overdo it. However, someone out there is going to misuse this tool.