This article was first published in the April 26, 2013 edition of Medical Observer. It was written by NDARC academic Professor Louisa Degenhardt.
Chronic, non-cancer pain will become an increasing health and social burden.
Around 20% of the population suffers from chronic pain. Among those 55 and older, it is one in four men and nearly one in three women.1 Arthritis, rheumatism, back and neck problems are the most common conditions causing pain.
The body responsible for regulating drugs in Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), is poised to decide whether to restrict access to benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Valium and Normison.
Generally speaking, if a population drinks more, then there are more heavy drinkers and more harm from alcohol (similarly if a population drinks less, there will be less harm). But this link now appears to be unravelling.
NDARC's research interviews with regular ecstasy users provide some insight into how drug use differs between those who identify as heterosexual versus those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT).
When did you have your first drink of alcohol?
Data tell us Australian men typically have their first drink at 14 years of age, a figure that has changed little between the years of the baby boomers to the times of 'Gen Y'.
But if you're female, your answer is likely to differ to that given by your mum, grandmother or daughter. While women born between 1953-1962 tended to have their first drink at age 17, lagging behind their male counterparts, girls these days have caught up to the boys and typically have their first drink at age 14.
As part of our annual Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS) survey, researchers ask regular ecstasy users about their sexual health, including whether they get tested for sexual transmitted infections (STIs), what STIs (if any) they have, and if they have sex under the influence of drugs.
Our colleagues at the Burnett Institute put together the last five years of data (2007 – 2012). There were some interesting findings:
Last week saw the launch of the findings from the Alcohol Action in Rural Communities (AARC) project at NSW State Parliament House. The project involved 20 NSW towns, half of which implemented community-led interventions designed to minimise alcohol-related problems (violence, crime etc), and 10 of which were ‘controls’ and did not receive any interventions.
Heavy binge drinkers are unfussy when it comes to alcohol type and drink in a wide variety of locations, according to new research by NDARC’s Drug Policy Modelling Program.
The research has for the first time classified young weekend drinkers into seven distinct drinking types . The results suggest that policies which target specific beverage types or specific drinking locations are unlikely to be as effective as a more broad brush approach which puts alcohol prices up across the board.
Accidental opioid deaths among older Australians appear to be one of the key drivers of an increase in opioid deaths reported recently by the National Illicit Drug Indicators Project. (Roxburgh A and Burns L (2012). Accidental opioid-induced deaths in Australia 2008. National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW, Sydney).