19 April 2010

Aljazeera Documentary on Drug Addiction in Gaza

Following the December 2008 Israeli offensive, a United Nations survey of Gaza residents found increases in risk taking behaviour, including a significant rise in cases of drug addiction. One drug associated with this trend is Tramadol, first developed in Germany during the 1970s and introduced in the 1990s as a centrally acting analgesic with properties similar to codeine and morphine and which is widely prescribed as a pain killer. Although illegal without a prescription in some regions, Tramadol is relatively easy to obtain in Gaza, either with fake prescriptions from pharmacies or on the black market. News reports prior to the 2008 offensive suggested that up to 30 percent of males between the ages of 14 and 30 had already been using Tramadol on a regular basis, with some 15,000 showing signs of addiction. The escalation of this problem since then was documented by the Aljazeera English satellite television channel in its recently aired program ‘Uncomfortably Numb.’

Notes on the BBC Feature 'How Mad Are You?'

‘How Mad Are You?’ is a two part 2008 BBC Horizon/Discovery Channel Co-Production produced and directed by Rob Liddell. The program explores the relationship between character traits and mental illness and considers the social implications of inaccurate diagnosis of the latter. Ten volunteers, five of whom have been previously diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, are observed and interviewed by a panel of three mental health experts who then venture their diagnoses. The experts include a psychiatrist, a professor of clinical psychology, and a psychiatric nurse. The volunteers and experts have no prior knowledge about one another, and were brought together for this one week study.