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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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July 22, 2016

HARMS OF SYNTHETIC CANNABINOID RECEPTOR AGONISTS

The UK-based Novel Psychoactive Treatment UK Network (Neptune) has published an article titled "Harms of synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs) and their management". The article provides an overview of the pharmacology of synthetic cannabinoinds,  strategies for identifying and assessing acute harms in medical settings, management of acute intoxication as well as information on harms from longer term use of synthetic cannabinoids.


Download "Harms of synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs) and their management" (1MB PDF)

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July 8, 2016

THE GLOBAL STATE OF LSD

An article has been recently published on the tech blog Gizmodo titled "There really is an LSD shortage and here's why".  The article describes the global availability of LSD which appears to be on the decline, partly due a significant police seizure back 2000, which saw most of the global LSD supply seized.  It is also theorised that the death of Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead meant that the band stopped touring, and these tours had been associated with significant LSD distribution throughout the United States.  This fascinating article provides a snapshot of the complex nature of global drug markets, and shows how LSD's future may well be in legitimate therapeutic research which has recently been re-started after a long hiatus. Whatever the cause of the decline in LSD availability, the gap in the market has been filled with a growing number of novel psychoactive substances such as the NBOMe-type hallucinogens, which are significantly more harmful than LSD.

 

Go to "There really is an LSD shortage, and here's why"

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March 31, 2016

MEPHEDRONE HANDBOOK

The Mephedrone Handbook published in 2015 in the United Kingdom is a guide for drug workers and other professionals working with mephedrone users and also includes a section that focuses on novel psychoactive substances (NPS), the chemical families these compounds belong to, and the appropriate treatment response that could be tailored for people who experience problems with these drugs.

Check out the handbook here

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