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June 14, 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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March 23, 2018


Walk on the Wild Side (WOWS) Symposium is an annual one day event for people working in the alcohol and other drugs sector, happening in Brisbane on the 11th of May.  The organisers are inviting workers to submit abstracts to present on research, projects, challenging clinical issues and clinical initiatives in their workplace. Workers whose abstracts are selected will be invited to present a 5 minute overview of their abstract and will have the opportunity to win an espresso coffee machine for their workplace! Abstract submissions should be no more than 250 words and should address:


  • A sentence stating the purpose of the study or project
  • A brief description of the methods of the study or how the project was conducted
  • A summary of results
  • A statement of conclusions

Submissions close 3rd April 2018. Successful abstract presenters will be notified by 13th April 2018. Submit your abstract via email to:

If you would like more information, please direct your questions to: Margo Hickman (member of the WOWS11 organising committee) Email: Phone: 13 78 46


To register to attend WOWS go here.

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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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