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May 19, 2017


The Drug Policy Alliance has produced a series of four short videos about MDMA, Methamphetamine, Heroin and Cocaine which aim to present straightforward, factual information. Each video is only two minutes long and covers the history of each of these drugs, how they work, the major health risks of each substance and practice harm reduction advice.

Read more and watch the videos here.


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March 10, 2017


The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (formerly known as the Australian Drug Foundation) have re-launched their Drug Facts website.  The site contains information on a broad range of drugs, in an accessible format suitable for any worker.  Each fact sheet contains information on the specific substance including how the substance is used, an overview of the effects and harms, and information on rates of use in the population.

Go to the ADF Drug Facts website

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October 28, 2016


The EDRS (Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System) is an annual study that monitors trends in price, purity and availability of a range substances and attempts to identify trends and changes in the drug market.  The EDRS involves interviews with regular drug users, as well as interviews with key informants from the sector.  There is a Queensland component, which is one of the few studies that provides insight in local drug trends.  The 2016 EDRS Key findings included an increase in the use of MDMA crystal or powder, which a majority of users reported as being "high" purity.  Powdered methamphetamine remained the most commonly used form of the drug, with 25% of respondents reporting recent use, followed by 19% reporting recent use of crystal methamphetamine.  A number of other substances are used by this cohort, including 15% reporting recent use of DMT, 13% reporting recent use of a 2C-type substance such as 2CB, and 6% reporting the use of DXM.

Go to "Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System 2016 Key Findings"

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May 6, 2016


The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) have published a report titled "Recent Changes in Europe's Ecstasy / MDMA Market".  The report describes recent trends in MDMA manufacture, which have seen global purity increase. Evidence from the Netherlands indicates that a large proportion of Ecstasy tablets being tested at drug checking services contain very high doses of MDMA.  There is also evidence from the United Kingdom of increasing availability of high purity crystal MDMA.  These changes in the European Ecstasy market will impact on Australia, as much of the world's MDMA is produced in Europe.  Given the regular fluctuations in Ecstasy purity, there are increased risks of overdose and other adverse health outcomes.

Go to "Recent changes in Europe's MDMA / Ecstasy Market"

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February 19, 2016


ABC's 4 Corners recently screened an episode focused specifically on the use of drugs like Ecstasy (MDMA).  The episode followed groups of young people as they scored and used MDMA at music festivals and parties, exploring the risks associated with these drugs, and the potential for harm reduction initiatives such as drug checking services.  This episode of 4 Corners is timely, with 7 deaths occurring over the past year of young people attending music festivals.

Watch "Dying to Dance"

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August 7, 2015


A recent edition of the current affairs program "60 Minutes" featured a report about adulterant screening programs for ecstasy users.  Given the increasing frequency of dangerous adulterants such as PMA appearing in batches of ecstasy tablets, this timely story looks at adulterant screening programs in the Netherlands and Austria.  The Austrian program involves on-site testing of ecstasy tablets, with real time results provided back to people who are using the drug.  In the Netherlands, people who use ecstasy can take their tablets into an alcohol and drug service, where their pill is tested and a brief intervention is provided.  The report also contains interviews with Dr David Caldicott from Calvary Hospital in the ACT as well as the family of a young woman who died after consuming 3 ecstasy tablets when confronted with police sniffer dogs at the Perth Big Day Out.

Go to "60 Minutes: Testing Times"

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March 20, 2015


Global dance music magazine "Mixmag" has published an article titled "Ecstasy in 2015".  Ecstasy, or MDMA, has been widely available around the world since the late 1980's, and in that time there have been many changes in the market.  This has included increasing numbers of adulterated tablets, but also more recently the increase in high potency MDMA tablets.  The Mixmag article covers the current situation with the global Ecstasy market including changes in precursor chemicals, increasing availability of highly dangerous batches of PMA / PMMA and the rise of "molly" - powdered MDMA.

Read "Ecstasy in 2015"

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February 27, 2015


There has recently been some concern about PMA / PMMA being sold as Ecstasy (MDMA).  While there's currently no evidence that this is occurring in Australia there have been several batches on this substance in circulation in recent years, leading to several deaths in Queensland and elsewhere in Australia.  PMA (paramethoxyamphetamine) and it's closely related cousin PMMA (paramethoxymethamphetamine) are highly toxic substances, significantly more dangerous than MDMA.  PMA / PMMA can cause dangerous overheating at relatively low doses.  A UK-based organisation "Release" has published a handy graphic that explains the differences between MDMA and PMA / PMMA and includes some very useful harm reduction information for people who use substances.

Go to MDMA vs PMA infographic

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November 14, 2014


Alison Ritter, Professor and Specialist in Drug Policy at the University of New South Wales has written an article for The Conversation titled "Six reasons Australia should pilot 'pill testing' party drugs."  Professor Ritter believes that pill testing services at venues where ecstasy is known to be consumed could inform users about the content of illicit drugs.  She quotes research that shows pill testing services can change the black market, change the consumption choices of people who use ecstasy, and provide an opportunity to provide support and information to an otherwise difficult to reach population of illicit drug users.

Read "Six reasons Australia should pilot 'pill testing' party drugs"

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October 31, 2014


Every year, the National Drug and Alcohol Research and Education Centre (NDARC) conduct two studies of regular drug users.   The Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) and the Ecstasy and Related Drugs Study (EDRS) interview people in all states of Australia, and looks at trends in price, purity and availability of various drugs.   The results from the most recent study indicates that whilst heroin continues to be the most commonly injected drug of choice, the use of ice / crystal form of methamphetamine has increased significantly with purity reported as being "high".  Similarly whilst the most popular form of ecstasy consumed is in tablet form, there has been an increasing trend in the use of MDMA crystal which is considered a much more potent form of ecstasy.

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