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Ecstasy, sex and STIs

Young couple, regular ecstasy users

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:

Curbing a community's drinking: a police sergeant's perspective

Alcohol fuelled fighting.

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.

“Unfussy” Saturday night binge drinkers consume anything, anywhere and anytime

heavy drinking

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.

Older Australians are a key driver of increased prescription painkiller deaths


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).

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.