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.
"Cannabis as addictive as heroin" announced the headlines in The Daily Mail (UK) and The Telegraph (UK). The news outlets were reporting on a paper published this week in the journal Addiction which reviews the last 20 years of research into the adverse health effects of recreational cannabis use.
But the headlines were misleading, as author of the paper and NDARC conjoint Professor Wayne Hall explains:
NDARC was lucky enough to host a presentation by cardiologists Professor Gemma Figtree and Dr Rebecca Kozor on 21 August about the effects of cocaine on the heart.
NDARC's 11 year study of heroin users - the longest running study of heroin users ever undertaken in Australia - is nearing completion. Professors Maree Teesson and Shane Darke spoke to ABC Television's Lateline program about their landmark findings, including what treatments have proven most effective at tackling heroin dependence.
It’s undeniable that Robin Williams brought much joy and laughter to the world, but he also talked openly about his depression and problems with alcohol and cocaine.
Moral judgement and bias still abounds in media reporting of drug and alcohol dependence, writes NDARC’s head of communications, Marion Downey.
The death of Oscar winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman from a heroin overdose and a “cocktail” of other drugs in February this year attracted frenzied media interest and hundreds of stories in print, television, radio and online.