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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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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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March 9, 2018

WHAT IS PHENIBUT?

Phenibut is an anti-anxiety drug used in Russia, and was recently involved in an overdose incident at a Queensland school.  The Conversation has published an article explaining the history of Phenibut, how it works, and some of the risks associated with the substance.


Go to "Phenibut: The Russian anti-anxiety drug linked to Gold Coast teens overdose"

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November 24, 2017

DMT: A TRIP THROUGH THE GARDEN VIDEO

Dovetail is currently producing a series of short videos, covering a wide range of substances. The first series of videos are going to be focused on naturally occurring substances - psychoactive plants and fungus. DMT is a naturally occurring hallucinogen, in the tryptamine family. It occurs in a number of native Australian acacias, and there is some evidence of increasing rates of use in the community. This video provides an overview of the forms of DMT, prevalence, and effects.

Watch DMT (Episode 1 - A Trip Through the Garden - A Short Guide to Plant-based Substances) here.

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November 17, 2017

DRUG HUNTERS: MEET THE SCIENTISTS BUILDING A LIBRARY OF DESIGNER DRUGS

The technology website The Verge recently published an article titled "Drug Hunters: Meet the scientists building a library of designer drugs."  The article describes the rise of novel psychoactive substances - new drugs, designed to mimic the effects of existing drugs, but modified in order to subvert drug laws.  The article focuses on the role of forensic chemists in identifying and describing these drugs, often following health related emergencies.

 

Go to "Drug Hunters: Meet the scientists building a library of designer drugs"

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November 10, 2017

DRUG CHECKING FOR HARM REDUCTION: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has published a paper titled "Drug checking as a harm reduction tool for recreational drug users: Opportunities and challenges".  The paper provides an overview of the history of drug checking (sometimes known as "pill testing") and describes the variety of programs that are currently in operation in Europe.  The article describes the type of testing equipment that is available at each site, and provides a simple overview of the accuracy of each type of test employed. The article covers some of the common criticisms of drug checking programs, as well as the proposed benefits, and provides references for various research studies that have considered these factors.

Go to "Drug checking as a harm reduction tool for recreational drug users: Opportunities and challenges".

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October 13, 2017

THE ECSTASY AND RELATED DRUGS REPORTING SYSTEM 2017 KEY FINDINGS

The Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS) 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 2017 EDRS key findings included a significant decline in use of 'any' methamphetamine, with a particularly significant decrease in the use of crystal methamphetamine. Ecstasy use remained stable and the ecstasy market continued to diversify in 2017.  Pills were the most common form of MDMA used, however there were significant increases in the use of MDMA crystal, capsules and powder.  Another interesting trend was an increase in the use of magic mushrooms, LSD, ketamine and DMT, although the frequency of use was low.


Go to the 2017 Ecstasy and Related Drugs Preliminary findings

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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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March 10, 2017

ADF DRUG FACTS

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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December 2, 2016

NEW PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCE USE AMONG REGULAR PSYCHOSTIMULANT USERS

The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) has published a Drug Trends Bulletin titled "New psychoactive substance use among regular psychostimulant users in Australia 2010 - 2016."  The report looks at data from the annual EDRS (Ecstasy and Related Drugs Study), an annual study of regular drug users that looks at changes in price, purity and availability of a range of substances.  The bulletin found that across the years from 2010 - 2016 40.5% of regular psychostimulant users reported any use of a new psychoactive substance in the previous six months, with considerable fluctuations across this time.  By 2016, around 15% of participants had recently used either a phenethylamine (including drugs like 2C-B) or a tryptamine (including drugs like 5-MeO-DMT).


Go to "New psychoactive substance use among regular psychostimulant users in Australia 2010 - 2016"

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