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June 21, 2018

METHAMPHETAMINE: FACT VS. FICTION & LESSONS FROM THE CRACK HYSTERIA

Dr Carl Hart is a Associate Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Columbia University. In this conference presentation from 2016, Dr Hart describes his research which attempts to replicate some of the findings from the famous 'rat park' experiment in human participants - experiments that show how environmental factors contribute to substance problems. He shows how 'attractive alternatives' decrease drug use and that these alternatives are often unavailable in impoverished communities. In one of Dr Hart's studies, people who were dependent on methamphetamine were offered a hit of pure meth or an alternative reinforcer of $20USD. The methamphetamine dependent participants chose $20 on nearly every occasion. Dr Hart's research shows how substance use disorders involve more factors that just the drug itself, with other factors including co occurring illness such as chronic pain and psychiatric conditions, along with broader social conditions. He advocates for a holistic assessment of people to determine what is driving the addiction including all other individual and societal factors.


Watch Dr Carl Hart's "Methamphetamine: Fact vs Fiction & Lessons from the Crack Hysteria here (1h15m)

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June 14, 2018

HOW TO CLOSE THE GAP IN INDIGENOUS EDUCATION: FLEXI SCHOOLS MIGHT BE THE KEY

A recent article published by The Conversation explores the potential of flexischools to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Flexischools are alternative education providers for young people who have been excluded from mainstream education, either formally through expulsion, or for those young people who simply don't fit in the mainstream schooling system. Recent estimates show that 35% of young people attending flexischools in Australia are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, which is a high representation considering that Indigenous students represented 5.6% of all school students in 2017.  Flexischools could present an opportunity for learning - how can we look at translating what is working well within flexi schools to mainstream schools to ensure all Indigenous young people receive an education?

 

Read "How flexischools could help close the gap in Indigenous education"

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June 14, 2018

EUROPEAN DRUG REPORT 2018

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has released its annual report on the trends and developments in the European drug market for 2018. The key trends include: an increase in cocaine seizures and increase of cocaine in wastewater residues alongside a rise in first time treatment presentations due to cocaine use. Cocaine purity at the street level has reached the highest level in a decade. Fewer new psychoactive substances (NPS) have been reported for the first time although an increase in NPS related harm has been recorded. This was particularly associated with synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic opioids, with fentanyl derivatives being increasingly detected. The EMCDDA has found an increase in the number of opioid overdose deaths which has lead to a renewed focus on take-home naloxone. The online supply of substances continues to pose public health challenges with a reported 100 darknet markets operating on the internet.


Read the full report click here.

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June 7, 2018

A TRIP THROUGH THE GARDEN EPISODE 5: MESCALINE

Mescaline is a naturally occurring hallucinogen that is found in several species of cactus.  In this final episode of Dovetail's "A trip through the garden" series, Cameron describes the traditional uses of mescaline containing cactus including peyote, along with some of the more contemporary ways that the substance is used.

Watch "A trip through the garden episode 5: Mescaline"

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June 7, 2018

QUEENSLAND DRUG AND ALCOHOL COURTS 2.0

Last week Insight held a webinar about the return of drug and alcohol courts to Queensland. The webinar was presented by James Hoey - Team Leader, Queensland Drug and Alcohol Court Health Team, Metro South Addiction Services, and provides an overview of the new system and implications for clients. Queensland Drug and Specialists Court Review in November 2016 recommended the return of specialist drug and alcohol courts. The drug court focuses on addressing the underlying problems or causes that lead to a person committing crimes.


Watch James Hoey presenting "The Queensland Drug and Alcohol Court Version 2.0"

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June 7, 2018

ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUG TREATMENT IN AUSTRALIA: KEY FINDINGS

The AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) have updated the 2016-17 Alcohol and other drugs treatment services key findings report. The report analyses the treatment provided in Australia based on the National Minimum Data Set. It found that 836 publicly-funded alcohol and other drug treatment services provided over 200,000 treatment episodes to an estimated 127,000 clients.

The top four drugs that led clients to seek treatment were alcohol (32% of all treatment episodes), amphetamines (26%), cannabis (22%) and heroin (5%). The proportion of closed treatment episodes where clients were receiving treatment for amphetamines has more than doubled over the last 10 years, from 11% of treatment episodes in 2007-08 to 27% in 2016-17.


Find out more here.

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May 31, 2018

DRUG AND ALCOHOL REVIEW- NALOXONE EDITION: FREE ACCESS

Drug and Alcohol Review (the peer reviewed journal of the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs - APSAD) have dedicated their May 2018 open access edition to naloxone - the medication which reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. This issue includes an overview of take-home naloxone in Australia, some of the findings and lessons learnt from the rescheduling and implementation phase and how the evidence base is developing on administering take-home naloxone.

Read the May 2018 edition of Drug and Alcohol Review here.

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May 31, 2018

WHAT’S THE CRACK PODCAST LATEST EPISODE - CANNABIS POTENCY

"What's the crack" is a podcast that features three researchers from the National Addiction Centre at King's College in London.  In each episode, the team apply their expertise in alcohol and other drug science to a different topic. The latest episode is on "Cannabis Potency".  The team answer some key questions like "Why has cannabis potency increased over the years?" and "Why is CBD so important?" Make sure you check out back editions of the podcast as well.

Go to "What's the crack podcast: Cannabis potency"

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May 11, 2018

A SNAPSHOT INTO YOUNG AUSTRALIAN'S RISKY DRINKING BEHAVIOURS

The Young Australians' Alcohol Reporting System (YAARS) is a National research project that provides insights into the risky drinking patterns of young people. The 2016-2017 surveys were conducted with 3,500 14 to 19 year olds in every jurisdiction of Australia. Young people who were identified as drinking at risky levels were surveyed by taking a 'snapshot' of their most recent experience of risky drinking.

Results showed that half of the young people surveyed were consuming 11 or more standard drinks per session at least once a month and over three quarters said they had been injured as a result of their drinking in the past 12 months. The report demonstrates the significant levels of harm and vulnerability for this particular group of young people and the need for carefully targeted interventions.

The report also asked young people about the most common harm reduction strategies they used to help moderate their alcohol use or mitigate related harms.

You can cehck out the National Young Australians' Alcohol Reporting System report here.

You can download the results for Queensland are here.

 

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May 4, 2018

ON DRUGS: PODCAST SERIES

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Canada's ABC) has been publishing a podcast series that looks at the broad range of ways that drugs have shaped our world. The "On Drugs" podcast features episodes that the history of caffeine, the outcomes of legalisation of cannabis, and the use of drugs during war. There is also a special feature episode with an interview with Bruce Alexander, the researcher who conducted the famous "Rat Park" experiments.

Find out more about "On Drugs" at this link or subscribe via iTunes.

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