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August 11, 2017

WHY ARE ECSTASY-RELATED DEATHS RISING IN THE UK?

The AOD policy website Volteface has published an article titled "Fired up: Why are Ecstasy related deaths increasing in the UK?".  The article provides evidence that in 2015, there were 72 ecstasy (MDMA) related deaths in the UK, the second highest number of deaths on record.  The article attempts to compare rates of ecstasy use with the numbers of deaths in order to show the degree of risk associated with ecstasy use.  The authors found the mortality rate of ecstasy-related deaths to be one death per 6968 last-year users (approximately one death per 10 000 users).  This is broadly equivalent to the risk posed by motor sports, water sports, mountain hiking, being a road user, giving birth, liposuction, taking anti-depressants or being in police custody.

Go to "Fired up: Why are Ecstasy related deaths increasing in the UK?"

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August 11, 2017

CODEINE SCHEDULING CHANGES: FEBRUARY 2018

Commencing in February 2018, medications containing codeine will require a prescription. The re-scheduling has been introduced by the Therapeutic Goods Administration following evidence of increasing misuse of over-the-counter codeine. It's possible that this change in scheduling could lead to an increase in people seeking treatment for codeine dependence, and workers in the youth and alcohol and other drugs sector should be aware of this change and start thinking about how your service can prepare to best support people who might be having problems with codeine dependence.

Find out more from the Therapeutic Goods Administration

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August 11, 2017

OVERVIEW OF FORENSIC TESTING DEVICES FOR HARM REDUCTION POINT-OF-CARE

An article has been published in the "Harm Reduction Journal" titled "An overview of forensic drug testing methods and their suitability for harm reduction point-of-care services".  The article describes the range of devices that are able to determine the contents of substances, and considers their potential utility in harm reduction point-of-care services including drug checking services. Technology in this area evolves rapidly and this article considers issues such as the amount of training required to use a particular device, the accuracy and portability.

Go to "An overview of forensic drug testing methods and their suitability for harm reduction point-of-care services."

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August 4, 2017

AOD TREATMENT IN AUSTRALIA 2015-16

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare recently published "Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services in Australia 2015 -16".  This report collates the National Minimum Data Set information, submitted by 796 AOD services from across Australia.  Nationally, there were estimated to be 134 000 clients in AOD treatment 2015-16, with about 35 000 of these living in Queensland. Alcohol was the most common drug of concern (32%), however that number has been falling. The number of people seeking treatment for amphetamines has risen substantially, making up only 12% of treatment episodes on 2011-12, and in 2015-16 making up 23% of treatment episodes in 2015-16.

Go to "Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services in Australia 2015 -16"

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August 4, 2017

IS THE WELLBEING OF METHAMPHETAMINE USERS WORSE THAN HEROIN USERS?

The latest Illicit Drug Reporting Reporting System (IDRS) Drug Trends Bulletin is titled "Is the wellbeing of people who inject drugs worse for those who use methamphetamine rather than heroin?".  The report considers data from the IDRS which involved 877 people who regularly inject substances.  Of the sample, 59% of people regularly injected opioids, 34.9% regularly inject methamphetamine.  There were a number of statistically significant differences between the two groups, with 41.4% of the methamphetamine users reporting a very high distress score of the K-10, compared with 14.5% of opioid users.

Download "Is the wellbeing of people who inject drugs worse for those who use methamphetamine rather than heroin?"

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July 20, 2017

LOWER-RISK CANNABIS USE GUIDELINES: A COMPREHENSIVE UPDATE OF EVIDENCE AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The American Journal of Public Health has published a systematic review by Fischer and colleagues called "Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines: A Comprehensive Update of Evidence and Recommendations", examining the evidence on the adverse health outcomes from cannabis that may be modified by the user. Ten major recommendations were developed for lower risk use, some of which include avoiding early initiation, particularly before 16 years, choosing low potency THC or balanced THC to CBD ratio products, avoiding synthetic cannabinoids, deep inhalation practices, high frequency use and driving while under the influence. The authors conclude that poor health outcomes may be reduced by informed behavioural choices among users and with cannabis laws evolving in North America, suggest Lower-Risk Use Cannabis Guidelines could serve as a population level education tool to help improve public health outcomes.

Read and download the review here

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July 14, 2017

SEVEN LESSONS FROM SEVEN YEARS OF DESIGN RESEARCH WITH YOUNG PEOPLE

Design research with young people takes courage and creativity according to Mariesa Nichols from ReachOut and Natalie Rowland from Redrollers Research, who have collaborated over the last seven years on projects that explore young people's everyday lives, mental health and well being. This article is based on a presentation delivered at the 2017 Design Research Conference in Melbourne and presents some of the successes and failures and lessons learned along the way.

Read the article here.

Listen to the conference presentation here.

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July 7, 2017

ELECTRONIC RESOURCE FOR ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER AOD HEALTH WORKERS

The Australian Indigenous Health Infonet's specialised "Alcohol and Other Drug Knowledge Centre" has launched a learning tool for the AOD sector as an eBook based on the 2016 "Review of illicit drug use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people", produced by the Knowledge Centre. The eBook provides detailed information on illicit drug use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and also outlines the health, social and emotional harms. The eBook has been created for Apple devices such as iPads, iPhones, laptops and desktop computers. It is free to download from iTunes, or the Knowledge Centre website. There is also an accompanying animated infographic which has been developed based on the review.

View the Infographic here

Download the ebook from itunes here

Read or download the report here

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June 23, 2017

A DECISION-SUPPORT TOOL TO INFORM AUSTRALIAN STRATEGIES FOR PREVENTING SUICIDE AND SUICIDAL BEHAVIOUR

An article has been published in the journal "Public Health Research & Practice" titled "A decision-support tool to inform Australian strategies for preventing suicide and suicidal behaviour".  The article describes a dynamic simulation modelling approach to understanding the likely impacts of different combinations of policies and interventions, before they are implemented in the real world.  The authors found that the largest reductions in suicide were associated with GP training and coordinated aftercare approaches.

Go to "A decision-support tool to inform Australian strategies for preventing suicide and suicidal behaviour"

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June 9, 2017

GLOBAL DRUG SURVEY 2017: RESULTS OUT NOW

Global Drug Survey 2017 results are in with over 115,000 people from around the world (5,750 from Australia) providing information on their drug use, harm, harm reduction strategies and more. The survey gives a great snapshot of a population that often don't come into contact with treatment services. Some interesting facts from the survey are that 44% of the Australian participants desire to drink less and 1/3 of those would like help.  Cannabis remains the world's most widely used illicit drugs and if it was to be regulated 75% of all participants would like to see cannabis regulation guidelines similar to alcohol. Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) with a psychedelic effect profile including LSD analogues are increasing and represent over 50% of the NPS drugs used by the sample.

Check out many interesting facts from Global Drug Survey 2017 here

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