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February 2, 2018

ICE PSYCHOSIS: WHAT IS IT, AND WHY DO ONLY SOME PEOPLE GET IT?

An article has been published on The Conversation website titled "Ice Psychosis: What is it, and why do only some people get it?".  The article, authored by Dr Shalini Arunogiri, describes a systematic review of risk factors for methamphetamine-associated psychosis published in January 2018 in the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. The study aimed to ascertain why some methamphetamine users are more likely to experience psychosis than others. The study found that the majority of people who use methamphetamine do not experience psychosis and that frequency and amount of methamphetamine used, and the severity of dependence, were the factors most commonly associated with the risk of psychosis. Factors such as age, gender, income or employment status and the way in which people used methamphetamine (for example by smoking versus injecting), did not appear to affect the likelihood of psychosis.

 

These findings can assist healthcare workers and treatment services to identify people who might be at greatest risk of methamphetamine psychosis and support those who aren't ready to stop using the drug to change the frequency or pattern of their use which might help them avoid developing psychosis.

Read "Ice Psychosis: What is it, and why do only some people get it?"

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November 30, 2017

THE EFFECTS OF METHAMPHETAMINE ON THE BRAIN AND BODY WEBINAR

Professor Nicole Lee recently presented a webinar for "Cracks in the Ice" entitled "Effects of ice on the brain and body, and implications for responding."  This one hour webinar is now available to view online.  The presentation helps workers to understand the effects of methamphetamine on the brain and body and the subsequent impacts on people's functioning. Professor Nicole Lee also discusses ways workers can adapt and adopt more effective strategies to respond to people who use methamphetamine in light of these implications.

Watch "Effects of ice on the brain and body, and implications for responding" here.

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October 27, 2017

THE SOCIAL COSTS OF METHAMPHETAMINE IN AUSTRALIA

The National Drug Research Institute has published a report titled "The Social Costs of Methamphetamine in Australia 2013 / 14."  The report considers the costs to the community of the estimated 160 000 dependent methamphetamine users, along with 108 000 non-dependent users.  It included consideration of the costs associated with prevention, supply reduction, harm reduction and treatment programs that target the use of methamphetamine.  Within these domains were costs associated with premature mortality, crime, child maltreatment, motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents and productivity and more.  The total costs are estimated to be just over $5 billion dollars.

Download "The social costs of methamphetamine in Australia 2013 / 14"

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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 4, 2017

IS THE WELLBEING OF METHAMPHETAMINE USERS WORSE THAN HEROIN USERS?

The latest Illicit Drug Reporting Reporting System (IDRS) Drug Trends Bulletin is titled "Is the wellbeing of people who inject drugs worse for those who use methamphetamine rather than heroin?".  The report considers data from the IDRS which involved 877 people who regularly inject substances.  Of the sample, 59% of people regularly injected opioids, 34.9% regularly inject methamphetamine.  There were a number of statistically significant differences between the two groups, with 41.4% of the methamphetamine users reporting a very high distress score of the K-10, compared with 14.5% of opioid users.

Download "Is the wellbeing of people who inject drugs worse for those who use methamphetamine rather than heroin?"

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May 26, 2017

HOW HITLER USED HEROIN AND METHAMPHETAMINE TO FUEL THE THIRD REICH

ABC Radio National recently featured an interview with Norman Ohler, author of the book "Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany".  In the interview, Ohler describes some of the startling findings of his research into substance use during World War 2, including that Hitler receiving regular methamphetamine injections from his personal physician throughout the war.  Ohler goes on the propose that following the allied bombing of the factories producing methamphetamine, Hitler's mental health declined - possibly due to substance withdrawal, which proceeded the end of the war, and Hitler's eventual demise.

Listen to "How Hitler used heroin and methamphetamine to fuel the Third Reich"

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May 19, 2017

DRUG FACTS VIDEOS

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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May 8, 2017

CRACKS IN THE ICE

Cracks in the Ice is an online toolkit providing, evidence-based, and up-to-date information and resources about crystal methamphetamine (ice) for the Australian community. Cracks in the Ice has been developed with input from community members across Australia in consultation with researchers from the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW and  the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University. The website consists of a community toolkit, information for schools,  families and significant others and resources for health professionals.

View Cracks in the Ice here

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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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January 27, 2017

METH CHECK: RESOURCES FOR PEOPLE WHO USE METHAMPHETAMINE

As a part of Queensland Health's response to increasing use of crystal methamphetamine, Insight produced a number of resources to support workers.  There's a free, self-paced online learning package, a flow chart designed for emergency departments, a harm reduction guide and a brief intervention tool for workers who are engaging with people who use methamphetamine.  The Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) have also contextualized the resources for use with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  To order free copies of the resources, or to find out more go to the Meth Check website.

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