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Rise in British Cocaine Use May Have Peaked…….maybe

Rise in use of cocaine has peaked, says EU drug agency report

Alan Travis,

According to the EU’s drugs agency, the rise in the use of cocaine across Europe over the past decade has peaked.

The relentless rise in the use of cocaine across Europe over the past decade has peaked as a result of the austere economic climate, according to the European Union’s drug agency.

However, the UK remains at the top of the European league table for cocaine use – as it has for seven out of the last eight years – despite the bubble bursting.

The annual report from the Lisbon-based European monitoring centre for drugs and drug addiction, published on Tuesday, shows illicit drug use across the EU relatively stable, with positive signs that cocaine use has peaked and cannabis use among young people continuing to decline.

But the agency says this encouraging picture is being offset by new threats from ‘legal highs’ and other synthetic drugs. It says that 39 new substances have been identified so far this year via the European early warning system on top of the 41 notified for the whole of 2010.

There are no signs of decline in their use and more than 150 new substances are being monitored by the authorities.

The EU drugs agency said this rapid appearance of new substances is being driven by a record 600 online retailers willing to despatch an order for what purports to be ‘psychoactive substances’ to at least one other EU state. The total includes 80 online shops selling mephedrone based in the UK.

The July survey that found these retailers also discovered a much wider variety of products. Many also displayed prominent disclaimers such as ‘not for human consumption’ or ‘for use only as plant food’. Others exercised caution by placing restrictions on delivery.

Ireland and Poland have both rapidly passed legislation limiting the open sale of ‘legal highs’. Health inspectors in Poland closed down 1,200 stores last year.

The report says cocaine has established itself over the past decade as the most popular stimulant drug across Europe with more than 4 million people using it every year.

“But the new data presented today raises the question as to whether its popularity has now peaked,
” it adds. “The financial burden associated with regular cocaine use may make it a less attractive option in countries where austerity is now the order of the day.”

Experts say the bubble has burst because the average retail price for cocaine has reached between 50 and 80 euros per gram. There is also a growing recognition of the problems linked to cocaine use that has tarnished its image as an affluent lifestyle drug.

The EU data shows cocaine use by young adults, aged 15 to 34, in the UK has dipped from 6.1% in 2009 to 4.8% in 2010, with similar declines in Spain, Italy and Denmark.

The fall in popularity also echoes recent trends in Canada and the US, which have cocaine popularity levels below those in Britain.

Cannabis remains Europe’s most popular illicit drug with 78 million – or 20% of all Europeans – having tried it. Around 22.5 million Europeans used cannabis in the last year but its popularity is in sharp decline among schoolchildren.

A link with declining levels of cigarette smoking, changing fashions and the easy availability of other drugs may all lie behind the decline, said the experts. The proportion of schoolchildren in England who have ever tried cannabis has almost halved from 40% in 2000 to 22% last year.

Wolfgang Gotz, the EU drugs agency director, said the drugs market was quick to adapt to threats and opportunities: “This is reflected, not only in the sheer number of new substances appearing on the market, but also in their diversity and in how they are produced, distributed and marketed,” he said.

“We need a proactive strategy that allows us to identify new drugs and emerging trends so that we can anticipate their potential implications.”

He warned that individual national efforts were likely to prove ineffective without a co-ordinated response across Europe.

SOURCE

Broccoli 2.0

Spicing up broccoli with wasabi or horseradish makes it an even better cancer-buster

By Daily Mail Reporter


Cancer-busting: But adding wasabi or horseradish to broccoli is even better for you

Spicing up broccoli with horseradish or wasabi can enhance the vegetable’s cancer-fighting properties, according to researchers.

Scientists say overcooking broccoli instead of lightly steaming it affects its cancer-fighting properties, but these can be revived by adding horseradish or the spicy Japanese equivalent, both of which contain the enzyme myrosinase.

Professor Elizabeth Jeffery, a nutritionist at Illinois University, said spicing up broccoli increased absorption in the upper part of the digestion system, boosting its impact.

She said: ‘Spice up your broccoli with mustard, horseradish or wasabi. The spicier, the better.’

In the study, when fresh broccoli sprouts were eaten with broccoli powder, the scientists measured bioactive compounds in the blood 30 minutes later.

When these peaked at three hours, they were much higher when the foods were eaten together than when eaten alone.

Broccoli powder does not contain myrosinase, but it does contain the precursor to the anti-cancer agent sulforaphane.

But when eaten together, the sprouts were able to lend their myrosinase to the powder.

Both foods produced sulforaphane and provided greater anti-cancer benefit, Professor Jeffery said.

Other foods that will boost broccoli’s benefits include radishes, cabbage and watercress.

Urine samples corroborated the blood results, according to Jenna Cramer, lead author of the study published in the British Journal of Nutrition .

‘However, this study shows that even if broccoli is overcooked, you can still boost its benefits by pairing it with another food that contains myrosinase,
‘ she said.

As predicted, both foods produced sulforaphane and provided greater anti-cancer benefit, Jeffery said.

Other foods that will boost broccoli’s benefits if they are paired together include radishes, cabbage, arugula, watercress, and Brussels sprouts.

‘Here’s another benefit of protecting and enhancing the myrosinase in your foods,’
Jeffery said.

‘If myrosinase is present, sulforaphane is released in the ilium, the first part of your digestive system. Absorption happens well and quickly there, which is why we saw bioactivity in 30 minutes.’

Scientists say that as little as three to five servings of broccoli a week provide a cancer-protective benefit.

‘But it pays to spice it up for added benefits and find ways to make it appealing so you don’t mind eating it if you’re not a broccoli fan. I add fresh broccoli sprouts to sandwiches and add them as one of my pizza toppings after the pie is out of the oven,‘ Cramer said.

Broccoli with wasabi sauce (burokkori no wasabi ae)

4 to 5 cups (one small head) cut up broccoli, the flower part broken into small pieces, the stem part peeled and sliced thin
Salt and water for cooking
2 1/2 tsp. wasabi powder, reconstituted to a paste with a few drops of water
4 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. sake
1 Tbs. sugar or sweetener of your choice

Bring the water and salt to a boil. Cook the broccoli until it’s crisp-tender and still a bright green in color. Drain, and refresh very briefly with cold running water. (Note: you can skip this step if you’re not in a hurry and have time to cool the broccoli.)

In the meantime, mix together all the remaining ingredients except the wasabi in a small pan, and stir over a low heat until the sugar is melted. Let cool, and add the wasabi, reserving 1/2 tsp or so. Mix well until the wasabi is dissolved.

Pour the sauce over the broccoli and mix well. Serve at room temperature or chilled, optionally with a little additional wasabi on the side for people to mix into the broccoli as they eat it (if they really like wasabi).

Notes

You can, in a pinch, use frozen broccoli.

While using fresh grated wasabi root is ideal, powdered wasabi is fine for this dish.

Use less wasabi if you find it too strong.

You can turn this into a one-dish meal by adding some protein of your choice, such as blanched and cut-up tofu, or poached and shredded chicken breast. The sauce is great with either.

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