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Behind the headlines on UNODC’s World Drug Report

United Nations World Drug Report 2012

The UN’s Annual World Drug Report published this week led to the inevitable lurid headlines about Australian’s soaring drug use. “Aussies the biggest recreational drug users in the world” screamed News Limited. Other news outlets focussed more specifically on Australia and New Zealand’s high cannabis use.

Fortunately NDARC’s senior epidemiologist Professor Louisa Degenhardt  took the opportunity to provided a more nuanced perspective in interviews with the ABC’s Richard Glover and with Radio 2GB.

“Practice changing” study shows people with addictions will benefit from PTSD treatment

An estimated 350,000 Australians suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and addictions simultaneously. On treatment programs for substance use the figures are much higher with around 80 -90 per cent having suffered multiple past traumas and close to 50 per cent experiencing active PTSD.

Yet clinicians have been conservative about offering PTSD treatment for clients still using alcohol and other drugs for fear that the gold standard “exposure therapy” will exacerbate substance use issues.

Harm reduction in Australian prisons: too little, too late, too inconsistent

The Canberra Times has today reported on six fresh cases of hepatitis C acquired at the ACT’s Alexander Maconochie Centre jail since December. But will they be the tipping point to finally persuade authorities to do “the right thing” and provide sterile injecting equipment in prisons, asks NDARC’s veteran prisons researcher Professor Kate Dolan?

Decline in sharing & reuse of injecting equipment

With the release of the 2011 Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) national report just around the corner, it’s an ideal time to recognise some of the heartening changes uncovered by the 2011 survey.

Among them are the shifts observed in the injecting behaviour of injecting drug users. Those reporting sharing of injecting equipment other than needles (such as spoons, filters, tourniquets and swabs) was significantly lower in 2011 than in 2010, dropping from 39% of those surveyed to 25%.