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Adolescent psychosocial alcohol-related harms increase risk of later alcohol use disorder

Wing See Yuen

Alcohol-related harms are a broad range of negative consequences that can result from drinking alcohol. These can range from things that only affect your body, such as feeling sick or having a hangover, to things that affect you psychologically and socially, such as having problems with friends or getting into fights.

Addressing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among people in Australia who regularly inject drugs

Photo of Olivia Price

It has been one year since the COVID-19 vaccine rollout commenced in Australia, and while vaccination rates initially lagged behind other countries, over 95% of Australians aged 12 years and older are now fully vaccinated. 

We tend to consider the remaining unvaccinated people a homogenous ‘anti-vax’ group. However, there are some less vocal, disadvantaged populations with lower rates of vaccine uptake who require targeted efforts to increase uptake. There are three key reasons why people who inject drugs should be encouraged to be vaccinated. 

Childhood trauma associated with increased risk of opioid use disorder (OUD) among people prescribed opioids for chronic non-cancer pain.

Tom Santo Jr

To reduce the likelihood of opioid use disorder (OUD) among people prescribed opioids for chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP), it is important to identify individual risk factors for OUD among this population. However, until now, little has been known about the relationship between a childhood trauma and OUD risk among people prescribed opioids for CNCP.

‘Synthetic cannabis’: A dangerous misnomer

image - Shane Darke Square

The term ‘synthetic cannabis’ (or ‘synthetic marijuana’) has been widely used. The term, however, is wrong. This may sound like a pedantic point, but the misnaming of these drugs has potentially dangerous consequences. In a recent article in the International Journal of Drug Policy we proposed that they be referred to as synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs), to emphasise that this is a drug class entirely distinct from marijuana.

Patterns of alcohol use in adolescents: early predictors and adulthood outcomes

Wing See Yuen

Alcohol is one of the leading risk factors for death and disability in young people 1. Although people usually first start drinking alcohol at around 15-16 years of age 2, this can vary, and adolescents often follow different patterns or “trajectories” of drinking. The age at which an adolescent first consumes alcohol and how quickly they escalate their alcohol use may be important predictors of alcohol-related problems in early adulthood.

Injecting risk behaviours amongst people who inject drugs

image - Lucy Tran Square

It is estimated that between 10.2 and 23.7 million people worldwide inject illicit drugs. Among people who inject drugs (PWID), those who engage in injecting risk behaviours are at increased of blood-borne viruses, such as HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV), as well as bacterial infections. Injecting risk behaviours can include sharing injecting equipment such as needles/syringes, filters and spoons, and reusing one’s own equipment for multiple injections.

“Faces of Pain”: A timely reminder to consider the individual circumstances of people living with chronic pain in pain or opioid research

image - Ria Hopkins Square

Chronic pain affects one in five Australian adults, and approximately three million Australian adults use opioid medicines annually1, 2. “Faces of Pain”, the theme of National Pain Week 2020 (27 July - 2 August), reminds us that behind these numbers are people with their own stories, experiences and treatment goals.