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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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May 4, 2018

A TRIP THROUGH THE GARDEN EPISODE 4: ANGEL TRUMPET (DATURA)

The term "Angel Trumpets" refers to one of two types of plant - Datura stramonium or a species of Brugmansia. The distinct trumpet-shaped flowers contain the substances scopolamine and atropine (and others) which cause delirium when consumed. There are occasional reports of hospitalisations related to Angel Trumpet consumption, sometimes in young people experimenting. This short video provides an overview Angel Trumpets, and the nature of some of the hospital presentations.

Watch "A trip through the garden episode 4: Angel Trumpet (Datura) (1min 52sec)

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May 4, 2018

DRUG REHAB: WHAT WORKS?

Professor Nicole Lee has recently published an article on "The Conversation" website, titled "Drug rehab: what works and what to keep in mind when choosing a private treatment provider." When people hear "rehab" they usually think of residential rehabilitation or 'live in' treatment, but there are many other options such as outpatient treatment, day programs and home based detox.

 

Day programs are very similar to rehab except that people go home in the evenings. Having these options with varying levels of intensity is important so that there are treatment options for a wide range of people. There are a number of alcohol and other drug therapies that have an established evidence base for individual and group therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy.

 

When choosing options for rehabilitation, it is important to assess the program content and consider factors such as the cost, the program duration and what is important to the individual such as family involvement. Also account for the service delivering the program, some questions to ask include- do the staff running the program have appropriate skills and qualifications in alcohol and other drug treatment, is the service accredited and is the program delivery informed by the evidence base?  Something to keep in mind is that there is no evidence that a higher cost of treatment leads to better treatment outcomes.

 

To access the full article click here.

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April 27, 2018

HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND TO CANNABIS IMPAIRED DRIVING?

Professor Wayne Hall has recently published a editorial for "Drug and Alcohol Review" titled "How should we respond to cannabis-impaired driving?" In the article, Professor Hall describes a recent international symposium on drug impaired driving, which attempted to unpack this issue.  One of the primary problems with roadside saliva testing for cannabis use, is that these tests do not have any correlation with actual impairment caused by THC. This makes it difficult to assess whether or not roadside saliva testing for cannabis can have a road safety benefit and critics of the approach says that these types of test are designed to discourage cannabis use rather than protect public safety.  In this article, Professor Hall describes the challenges related to responding to cannabis-impaired driving and describes the areas of research that are needed to adequately respond to these challenges.

Go to "How should we respond to cannabis-impaired driving?"

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April 27, 2018

GREEN RUSH: THE RACE TO RICHES FOR AUSTRALIA'S NEW CANNABIS MOGULS

ABC's 4 Corners recently broadcast an episode titled "Green rush: The race to riches for Australia's new cannabis moguls."  The episode describes the industry developing around medicinal cannabis in Australia, with local and international players positioning themselves for the possibility of significant profits from both medical and potentially recreational cannabis.


Watch "Green Rush: The race to riches for Australia's new cannabis moguls."

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April 27, 2018

DO E-CIGARETTES HAVE A ROLE IN HELPING PEOPLE QUIT SMOKING?

The British Medical Journal has recently featured a debate on the topic of "Should we recommend e-cigarettes to help smokers quit?".  Professor Paul Aveyard from the University of Oxford and Deborah Arnott, CEO of Action on Smoking and Health argue that yes we should recommend e-cigarettes, citing strong demand for e-cigarettes from current smokers, and the reduced health risks associated with e-cigarette use.  Professor Kenneth Johnson from the University of Ottawa argues that we should not be recommending e-cigarettes, citing a lack of research on long term effects.


Go to "Should we recommend e-cigarettes to help smokers quit?"

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April 27, 2018

NADA CONFERENCE - SYDNEY 7-8 JUNE 2018

NADA (Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies - the peak body for NGO AOD services in New South Wales) are holding their annual conference in Sydney on the 7th and 8th of June. 'Exploring therapeutic interventions' is the theme, and keynote presentations include why the consumer voice should be central to AOD treatment, the current evidence base for primary and comorbid substance use disorders for young people and a presentation on the impact of decriminalisation in Portugal. Registrations close on the 25th May.

To read the full the program and register click here.

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April 20, 2018

HOW MUCH ALCOHOL IS SAFE TO CONSUME?

The Lancet has just published a paper titled "Risk thresholds for alcohol consumption: Combined analysis of individual-participant data for 599 912 current drinkers in 83 prospective studies".  The study pooled data from three large scale data sources from 19 high income countries, and looked at the health implications of alcohol consumption across eight different levels of alcohol consumption.  The study found a relationship between the amount of alcohol consumed per week and life expectancy. People who drank between 10 and 20 standard drinks per week had reduced life expectancy by 6 months at age 40.  Those who consumed more than 35 standard drinks per week had 4-5 years of reduced life expectancy by age 40.


Go to "Risk thresholds for alcohol consumption: Combined analysis of individual-participant data for 599 912 current drinkers in 83 prospective studies".

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April 20, 2018

IS THAT A STEROID IN MY SUPPLEMENT?

ABC Radio National's Background Briefing program has recently broadcast a series of stories on performance and image enhancing drugs.  The series, titled "Is that a steroid in my supplement?" looks at the growing industry in importing and producing performance and image enhancing drugs, some of which as mislabeled and sold as legal products.  The radio documentary includes interviews with supplement importers and people who use performance enhancing drugs.


Go to "Is that a steroid in my supplement?"

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April 20, 2018

AOD STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION REPORT

The Queensland Mental Health Commission has released a report titled "Changing Attitudes, Changing Lives: Options to reduce stigma amd discrimination for people experiencing problematic alcohol and other drug use." The report explores stigma and discrimination faced by people using alcohol or other drugs, recent research in this space and options for reform. The report forms part of the Queensland Government's Alcohol and other Drugs Action Plan 2015-2017 and outlines how stigma and discrimination might affect people using drugs in a problematic way.  In particular the areas of health care, welfare services, police, employment and society at large are where stigma and discrimination are most pervasive for this group. Experiencing stigma and discrimination can create barriers for people and impact on their help seeking behaviours and future outcomes such as their ability to reconnect with community or obtain employment.  The report recommends that stigma and discrimination can be addressed through a number of reforms.


Download "Changing Attitudes, Changing Lives: Options to reduce stigma amd discrimination for people experiencing problematic alcohol and other drug use" (1MB PDF)

For more information go to the Queensland Mental Health Commission website.

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