Squirrel monkeys' stash of dope

20th October 2000 at 01:00
HARD to get away from drugs, and it's bad news for lovers of the evil weed: US scientists have found that cannabis can be just as addictive as heroin - well, at least among squirrel monkeys. The unfortunate creatures were induced to "self-administer" THC, the active ingredient in cannabis by pressing a lever.

Even opera has succumbed to the lure of narcotics: a new producation at Glyndebourne of Puccini's La Boheme, now features the starving students snorting cocaine in a London bedsit instead of enjoying a fish suppper in a Parisian garret.

Anti-drug campaigners are also concerned about a new guide that tells teenagers that "stoned sex may be great" and questions the term "drug abuse".

D-mag, for 14 to 18-year-olds, is produced by the charity Drugscope, with funding from the British music industry. It was branded as irresponsible by Robert Whelan, the director of the pressure group Family and Yout Concern. But Harry Shapiro, the guide's editor, defended his frank approach saying it would "engage" young people and deter them from using banned substances.

The only drug that volunteers on a new telly programme called Surviving the Iron Age will get is home-brewed honey beer. The series - doubtless more entertaining than educational - will begin next Easter.

Longer-lasting fame could be yours for about pound;10,000. You can now bid to have a character in a major new novel named after you. Nick Hornby, Kathy Lette, Sebastian Faulks and Rose Tremain are among the authors taking part in a charity auction in aid of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. Tremain admitted there might be a problem with a name such as "Wayne" - her next book will be set 150 years ago in New Zealand. Faulks has earmarked "a scumbag" to take the winner's name. You have been warned.

Diane Spencer

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