• New Killer Drugs in Australia?

    New Killer Drugs in Australia?

     August 31, 2016 ·  

    Is Australia really being flooded by new killer drugs?

    Stephen Bright, Curtin University and Monica Barratt, UNSW Australia

    Recent media reports have suggested Australia is set to be flooded with new types of deadly "synthetic" drugs.

    Don't worry, as far as we know, there's no "turbo-charged version of ice" on its way. And we need to steer clear of drug-related moral panic, which increases stigma and makes it harder for users to seek help.

    But there is a potential for significant harm in Australia if we don't have adequate systems in place to monitor our drug markets and respond rapidly when specific dangers are detected.

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  • How big a problem is ice use among Indigenous Australians?

    How big a problem is ice use among Indigenous Australians?

     August 29, 2016 ·   · 1 reaction

    Nicole Lee, Curtin University and Sarah J MacLean, La Trobe University

    While rates of methamphetamine use in Australia have remained fairly stable at 2.1% over the past ten years, there has been a shift among people who use the lower-grade powdered form of methamphetamine (speed) to using the higher-grade crystal form (ice) in recent times.

    Ice is much stronger than speed and has the potential to cause greater problems.

    Purity and availability have increased, while the price of both speed and ice has decreased. The number of people using weekly or more has grown, which is an indication of dependence.

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  • A drug-free world is an impossible dream - UNGASS 2016

    A drug-free world is an impossible dream - UNGASS 2016

     April 18, 2016 ·  

    In 1998, a special session of the United Nations General Assembly agreed to set a 10-year deadline to make the world "drug free". After an embarrassing failure to achieve this goal, the deadline was extended a further 10 years, setting the world up for another inevitable failure in 2019.

    In the intervening years, the use, availability and variety of illicit drugs have escalated exponentially. It is estimated by the UK charity Transform Foundation that 300 million people worldwide used illegal drugs in 2012, contributing to a global market with a turnover of $US330 billion a year.


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  • Australia's recreational drug policies aren't working, so what are the options for reform?

    Australia's recreational drug policies aren't working, so what are the options for reform?

     March 27, 2016 ·   · 1 reaction

    Nicole Lee, Curtin University and Alison Ritter, UNSW Australia

    Some of the greatest harms from using illicit drugs are because they are illegal.

    Illegal drug production is unregulated and many drugs are manufactured in backyard labs. Users cannot be sure what’s in them or how potent they are, so the risk of adverse reactions, including overdose and death, is high.

    A large proportion of the work of the justice system – police, courts and prisons – is occupied with drug-related offences. Many people have a criminal record for possessing drugs intended for personal use, which can affect their work prospects.

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  • Kofi Annan on Why It's Time To Legalize Drugs

    Kofi Annan on Why It's Time To Legalize Drugs

     February 25, 2016 ·   · 2 reactions

    Essay by Kofi Annan former Secretary-General of the United Nation

    In my experience, good public policy is best shaped by the dispassionate analysis of what in practice has worked, or not. Policy based on common assumptions and popular sentiments can become a recipe for mistaken prescriptions and misguided interventions.

    Nowhere is this divorce between rhetoric and reality more evident than in the formulation of global drug policies, where too often emotions and ideology rather than evidence have prevailed.

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  • Calls to shut down Rainbow Serpent Festival

    Calls to shut down Rainbow Serpent Festival

     February 03, 2016 ·   · 1 reaction

    Psychedelic experiences have left an indelible mark on my soul that I hold dear to my identity today.

    I am not alone. According to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2013, one in three of us have tried cannabis and one in ten regularly indulge. Hundreds of thousands of us use MDMA (ecstasy), LSD, psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and many others every year. I’m a child of the internet age and the communities we have built together online cross the national boundaries. Psychedelic culture is a global phenomenon, expressed through art, music, philosophy and celebrations across the globe.

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  • The National Ice Action Strategy

    The National Ice Action Strategy

     December 18, 2015 ·  

    Harm Reduction Australia’s Statement on the National Ice Action Strategy

    Harm Reduction Australia has welcomed the Federal Government’s first step to shift from a law enforcement focus to a health-based approach to addressing drug issues in Australia.

    There is little doubt that the Government recognises the evidence and value of treating drug use as a health issue.

    However, if Australia’s response is to evolve, be agile and truly reflect the current evidence, then there is a pressing need for all governments to also embrace harm reduction as a critical component of their health based response to drug use.

    While demonstrating real progress, the recent announcement falls short of this mark.

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  • International Drug Policy Conference

    International Drug Policy Conference

     December 15, 2015 ·   · 1 reaction

    Special Report by Nick Wallis from Washinton DC

    The International Drug Policy Reform Conference was held in mid-November in Washinton DC. It brought together over 1000 attendees representing over 30 different countries. The event was hosted by the Drug Policy Alliance, a US non-profit focused on drug law reform grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. The conference was certainly a melting pot of ideas for those seeking policy reform, but it was also clear that much that needs to be done, with so many still harmed by the policy of prohibition.

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  • Drug Addiction in Australia

     October 28, 2015 ·  

    "Drug Addiction in Australia" is a fascinating new book by Doctor John Sherman, an addiction specialist who is an expert in the treatment of heroin dependence.

    It is based on John’s experience working with heroin addicts in Melbourne over 40 years in specialist clinics in St Kilda and Footscray.

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