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National Drug Trends reports to be released at NDARC Symposium

Symposium theme
Date Published:
8 Oct 2018
Contact person:
Marion Downey
0401 713 850

Event: 2018 NDARC Annual Research Symposium
Location: John Niland Scientia Centre, UNSW Sydney, Kensington
Date: Monday 8, October 2018
Time: 9:00am- 5.00pm

Use of cocaine and higher purity forms of ecstasy and methamphetamine is increasing among samples of people who use drugs, according to the 2018 Drug Trends Reports from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at UNSW Sydney. The reports will be released at the NDARC Annual Symposium at UNSW Sydney on Monday, 8 October 2018.

Research to be presented by Dr Caitlin Hughes found that Australia had the fourth highest incidence of encounters with drug detection dogs according to a cross-national analysis of the incidence and nature of police encounters with people who use drugs. Analysis across 26 countries (including Australia, Italy, Germany, Mexico, UK and the USA) showed significant cross-national variation in the likelihood of people who use drugs encountering police for drugs as well as the types of policing encountered. Drug policing encounters were four to 14 times higher in some countries than others.

Research to be presented by Professor Shane Darke found that one-in-five of 280 fatal strokes among young adults in Australia (between 2009-2016) were psychostimulant users. Strokes are rare in the young, but the average age of these psychostimulant users was just 37 years. Strokes amongst psychostimulant users were more likely to occur deep within the brain, which may explain why they are more likely to be fatal. 

Professor Julie Bruneau, lead author of a recently published national Canadian guideline for treating opioid use disorders, will present on Canadian responses to treatment and harm reduction in the wake of the North American opioid epidemic.

In 2017, close to 4000 opioid-related deaths are estimated to have occurred in Canada, with large variability between regions. In the US 72,000 people – 200 a day – died of accidental opioid overdose.

“Thankfully, Australia has not yet reached the level of opioid use and harms that North America has experienced, however, we recognise the need for vigilance and readiness to respond,” said NDARC’s Director, Professor Michael Farrell. 

The 2018 NDARC Annual Research Symposium program is available for download here.
Abstracts for all sessions can be viewed here.
The full Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS) report is available here.
The full Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) report is available here.

Media contacts:  
Marion Downey
P: (02) 9385 0333 | 0401 713 850 | m.downey@unsw.edu.au