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August 11, 2017


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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April 14, 2017


Counselling Online has a new website! Counselling online has been around since 2006 providing an online service for people looking for help with alcohol and other drug issues. The service is operated by Turning Point in Victoria and available to all residents nationally. The new site has been designed to make it easier to find information and is compatible with a range of devices including Smartphones. Service users can speak with a counsellor, receive support by email and or SMS, access tools such as self-assessments and self-help modules, and join an online community forum to connect with peers for support. Counselling Online services are free and available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

View the new Counselling Online website.

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September 2, 2016


Drug cryptomarkets are online drug marketplaces which exist on the encrypted internet (sometimes referred to as the dark net).  The most well known of these is the now defunct "Silk Road", which operated like an EBay for illicit drugs.  Since Silk Road was closed down, the number of drug cryptomarkets has increased, with new markets appearing (and disappearing) rapidly. This has coincided with an increase in people purchasing drugs online.  The International Journal of Drug Policy has dedicated the entire September issue of the journal to the topic of drug cryptomarkets, and the articles are available for free until the end of October.  This edition contains a number of articles authored by Australian researchers including Dr Monica Barratt and Dr Jason Ferris.

Go to "International Journal of Drug Policy September Issue: Drug Cryptomarkets"

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June 3, 2016


Dovetail's own Cameron Francis did a presentation a couple of weeks back, which is now available to view online.  The presentation titled "The effectiveness of mass media campaigns for preventing illicit drug use" covers a long history of research demonstrating that these campaigns are at best ineffective and at worst can increase intentions to use substances.  The presentation is based around the 2015 Cochrane Review which found "Contrary to common belief, anti-drug media campaigns may be damaging and their dissemination is ethically unacceptable without a prior assessment of their effectives.  New campaigns should be implemented in the framework of rigorous evaluation studies."


Watch "The effectiveness of mass media campaigns for preventing illicit drug use"

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May 27, 2016

The Wheel of Well-being

We came across a great website from the UK recently, and we thought it's worth sharing. The "Wheel of well-being" is a web-based well-being program developed by the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and Uscreates. The wheel has six aspects of well-being: body, mind, spirit, people, place, planet. Each wheel is linked with a suggestion for action. If you create a free account, you can develop a personalised well-being plan and track progress overtime. It includes a Google Maps integration, which will suggest places nearby that others have found to enhance their well-being, like places to keep active or places to engage in learning and development.

Go to "The Wheel of Well-being"

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April 22, 2016


The National  Drug and Alcohol Research and Education Centre (NDARC) has published the sixth edition of their "Drug and New Technologies" bulletin. In this paper, the authors actively monitored 18 online drug marketplaces which operate in the "Dark Net" (encrypted online environment). The authors observed significant volatility within online drug marketplaces, including large markets closing suddenly, and smaller drug markets struggling to cope with demand. The most common substances available on the online drug markets included cannabis, pharmaceuticals, MDMA, cocaine and methamphetamine, with a slight decline in popularity of novel psychoactive substances.

Go to "Drugs and New Technologies Issue 6"


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April 8, 2016


ReachOut with support from the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre have created a new resource called "The Toolbox".  There are so many apps available for everything from getting fit to dealing with depression or anxiety, it's hard to know which to choose.  "The Toolbox" helps a young person work out their goals and then links them with apps that have been endorsed by professionals, and reviewed by young people who make sure they're appropriate.

Go to ReachOut "The Toolbox"

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February 26, 2016


In recent years, the internet has increasingly changed the way illicit drug markets work.  Since "Silk Road" (the first major online illicit drug marketplace) was shut down in 2013, a number of other similar sites have appeared on the encrypted "dark web". The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has published a report on this issue, titled "The internet and drug markets."  The report provides an overview of online drug marketplaces and the cryptocurrency bitcoin.  it includes insights from interviews with users and vendors, perspectives from law enforcement as well as a look into what the future of these marketplaces might be.

Download "The Internet and Drug Markets" (2.4MB PDF)

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February 12, 2016


Last week we posted an animation that demonstrated the process of substance dependence.  This week, we've got another animation - Mouse Party. Created by the University of Utah, Mouse Party lets you drag and drop a substance affected mouse into a testing device which then shows you how that particular drug works on the brain.  Interactive animations such as this can be useful for workers engaging with young people, who might be interested to learn about the ways that drugs work.

Go to Mouse Party

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November 20, 2015


The New Yorker magazine has recently published an article titled "The trip planners: The unusual couple behind an online encyclopedia of psychoactive substances."  The article focuses on, easily one of the most popular and comprehensive sources of online drug information, much of which is generated from user reports.  Recently, has celebrated it's 20th birthday, emerging at a time when the internet was becoming increasingly popular as a source of information about illicit drugs.  The website's founders, Earth and Fire Erowid, grew the website from humble beginnings to now receive 17 million unique visitors each year, accessing detailed profiles of over three hundred and fifty psychoactive drugs. contains a vast array of "trip reports" - user reports of psychoactive substance use which includes the good the bad and the ugly side of substance use, long before case reports turn up in peer reviewed journals.

Go to "The Trip Planners: The unusual couple behind an online encyclopedia of psychoactive substances"

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