Heavier use and higher purity of crystal methamphetamine cause an elevated risk of psychosis, violence, and cardiovascular problems as well as a variety of other health and social concerns, write Prof Michael Farrell and Dr Rebecca McKetin.
New reports released by NDARC show that the number of methamphetamine-related deaths in Australia increased from 2010 to 2011, and more injecting drug users turn to the drug's crystal form, known as 'ice', writes Helen Davidson.
Ask your friends and colleagues about young Australians and alcohol and I bet they’ll say something about a generation out of control or a binge-drinking epidemic.
The media regularly brings the worst outcomes of young people’s drinking to our attention and points to a problematic drinking culture supposedly unique to young Australians. Little wonder people believe things have never been so bad.
The reality is startlingly different. Data recently released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows alcohol consumption in Australia has reached its lowest point since the early 1960s, having declined steadily since the mid-2000s. Survey data suggests this decline has been driven almost entirely by reductions in youth drinking.
When it comes to drug use, Australians are world leaders. More than 40 per cent of us have used drugs illicitly and we have one of the highest rates of illegal use per capita despite also having some of the most expensive prices, reports Inga Ting from the Sun Herald, Sydney.
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ABC News reports on the rising use of prescription opiates in QLD prisons, with comments by NDARC Director Michael Farrell.
The number of Queensland prisoners testing positive to drugs has doubled in the last year, with a prescription opiate known in prison as "subbies" increasingly becoming the drug of choice.
Experts say Queensland has the nation's worst access to drug treatment programs, and figures obtained by the ABC show desperate prisoners are smuggling in buprenorphine, which, like methadone, is used to treat drug dependence.
A recent report released by The Australian Crime Commission highlighted increasing availability of crystal methylamphetamine (ice) and the involvement of serious and organised crime has prompted Prime Minister Tony Abbott to establish an ice taskforce.
The taskforce, to be led by the former Victoria Police chief commissioner Ken Lay, will develop a co-ordinated approach to education, health and law enforcement surrounding ice use.
NDARC Director Michael Farrell has welcomed a multi-lateral approach to the problem.
The death of 19-year-old Georgina Bartter at a music festival on the weekend from a suspected ecstasy overdose could possibly have been avoided with a simple harm-minimisation intervention. Pill testing, or drug checking as it’s known in Europe, provides feedback to users on the content of illegal drugs, allowing them to make informed choices.