The country’s national anti-drug agency has issued a statement warning
drug users or addicts not to use an illegal new drug known as krokodil
(crocodile), a home-made synthetic opiate and heroin substitute whose
ingredients are said to turn areas of the skin scaly or into open rotting
sores, hence the name. The effects, the anti-drug headquarters’
Michal Hammer suggested, could go as deep as the bone, requiring the
medical amputation of limbs where the drug was routinely injected. Mr
Hammer warned that although no cases of krokodil use have been registered
the Czech Republic, the eventual arrival of the drug, made from
and other ingredients, could not be ruled out. Neighboring Germany, is
believed to have registered a number of krokodil-related deaths.
But some experts have questioned the authenticity of reports: health specialist Jiří Presl from Prague’s Drop-In centre for addicts, for example, discounted the story, saying there were similar reports of new such drugs every three or four years, one of them called modrý sníh or blue snow. Krokodil is believed to have originated in Russia.
Czechs aged 15 to 24 remain Europe’s top consumers of cannabis, according to the annual report by the European Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction released on Tuesday. Compared to the European average of around 30 percent, more than 54 percent of young Czechs smoked marihuana at least once last year, followed by the French and the Spanish. The report suggests that cannabis consumption in the Czech Republic, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania and some other eastern European countries is on the rise, contrary to western Europe where it is declining. The centre also registered a record number of 41 new synthetic drugs that appeared in Europe last year.
The Karviná black coal mine is investigating a case of mass food poisoning which has now affected over three hundred miners. The health problems started three days ago with new cases reported every hour. They have reportedly affected both miners and above ground employees such as clerks and operators. Hygiene workers are on site taking samples and special measures are in place regarding food and drink. All canteen employees are undergoing tests. The mine has over 5,000 employees and the fall out has so far not effected excavation work.
One hears a great deal about the importance of fighting free radicals, but it is not often that one sees the benefits of this in practice. Czech researchers from the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences have an outstanding success story in this respect. They have developed a gel that has proved exceptionally effective in healing both chronic and acute wounds with the aid of free-radical-binding technology.
Wednesday’s Lidové noviny reports that so-called “donor consultants” have begun work in the Czech Republic to assist in finding appropriate donors for critical organs. Such donors would be patients who are officially dead, i.e. brain dead or whose hearts have conclusively stopped. The consults are experienced physicians funded in part from European funds. Within the next few years there should be 70 in all working at all teaching hospitals. According to statics, about 200 donors a year save or improve the lives of some 450 others. The work of donor consultants could double those numbers.
Doctors’ unions negotiating pay rises with the Ministry of Health failed to reach any agreement on Wednesday after a meeting with minister Leoš Heger. Mr Heger is insisting on a 6.25% rise from January in place of the 10% he negotiated earlier this year. An analysis of January income, he says, will not allow him to provide more, and he plans to make up the remaining percentage during the course of 2012. The unions are demanding the agreed rises as of January and have organised a series of protests to try to hold the ministry to its word. At the beginning of the year, hospital physicians threatened mass resignations if their salaries were not raised to meet Western European standards.
Officials at a clinic in the eastern town of Olomouc have reported a healthy boy was left in their babybox on Monday evening at around 9 pm. Doctors estimate the child’s age at around 18 months. The founder of the Czech babybox system, Ludvík Hess, said that he has never encountered a case of such an old child being left in a babybox. The toddler is the third child to be left in the Olomouc babybox, of a total of 61 left anonymously in one of the 46 babybox facilities around the country since the system was launched in 2005.
Doctors’ unions have pledged a new campaign to push the Health Ministry to make good on salary promises. The unions say Health Minister Leoš Heger’s offer of gradual rises for hospital physicians over the course of next year is not enough, and are demanding agreed salary increases as of January. The Health Ministry negotiated a 10% raise for hospital physicians in 2012 in the spring of this year after the doctors threatened mass resignations that would have meant major disruption of the entire health care system. Mr Heger has since decided to provide a 6.25% rise as of January with the rest to come later on. The unions are therefore organising a monthly series of events to hold the ministry to its word. They say they will then decide whether to go further.
Health care unions in the Visegrad group countries intend to join forces in new alliance. Union leaders from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary attending a two-day meeting in Budapest said their aim would be to improve the working conditions for health care workers and to increase pressure on their governments to achieve that goal. The new federation wants the wages of young doctors to reach 1.5 times the average wage and three times the average for specialists.
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Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott
In memoriam: Karel Gott, the ‘Bohemian nightingale’