Articles on Drugs

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Can cause behavioural problems in children later on. Injection by Shutterstock

How taking drugs while pregnant harms unborn babies

Women smoking while pregnant has been an uncomfortable reality for decades. Whatever the reason – whether a lack of concern about the risk, belief it’s too hard to quit or even reports that a resultant…
Getting high on own supply. Dance by Shutterstock

To reduce drug-related harm, it’s time to be honest about the pleasure

Despite the language we use about drugs, many people don’t see themselves as “drug users” but as rational adults who aren’t on a mission to seek moral disintegration and cause themselves harm. People who…
The Silk Road was once a river of commerce across continents. It lives again on the ‘dark net’, that part of the internet that operates on the encrypted TOR network. Wikimedia Commons

Digital refugees flee via Silk Road to black markets in drugs

Recent media reports have once again put the public spotlight on cryptomarkets, the eBay-style websites operating on the encrypted dark net. They facilitate a vast and anonymous global trade in black market…
Bans don’t work. matthijs

Legal highs need regulation, not an outright ban

A few doors down from my house, a man is selling drugs. He has herbs to smoke that could leave me happy and stoned and various white powders to ingest that could keep me partying all night. All this would…
The home-baked illicit drug krokodil first emerged in provincial Russia during the early 2000s. Dorin Popa/Flickr

The rise and fall of Russia’s ‘flesh-eating drug’ krokodil

Reports of a “flesh-eating zombie drug” called krokodil, accompanied by lurid images first appeared in English during 2010. The drug serves as an excellent illustration of the havoc bad drug policies can…
In a stark contrast to the conventional drug trade, some users in online marketplaces offer full or partial refunds for drugs that are intercepted by customs. AAP/Customs

‘Fair trade’ cocaine and ‘conflict-free’ opium: the future of online drug marketing

In October 2013, US authorities shut down Silk Road, the world’s largest cryptomarket. At the time, prosecutors claimed that the closure of the so-called “eBay of illicit drugs” represented the beginning…
This is your brain on capitalism. Willard

Drugs and the city: an open secret, so why no testing?

When the chairman of the ethical Co-operative Bank was recently caught on camera purchasing drugs, it became a major news story. But the links between drug-taking and Wall Street or the City of London…
Except for medical reasons or if you’re a horse. The Justified Sinner

Classifying Ketamine – what it means if K moves from C to B

Sometimes it seems you’ve only got to turn around and there is another drug in the news. Now we are told that ketamine should be upgraded from being a Class C drug to a Class B drug. Why does this matter…
Kamiar Alaei: ‘It was the right thing to do’.

I was jailed for my work on HIV in Iran, but the tide is turning

Brothers, Kamiar and Arash Alaei were imprisoned in Iran in 2008 for their work with HIV. Under a new government, Iran’s health minister, Hassan Hashemi, has blamed “misinformation and unscientific claims…
In contrast to War on Drugs rhetoric, many young people report that illicit drug use is manageable, pleasurable and creates social opportunities. Poldavo

What do young people gain from drug use?

The idea that illicit drugs could hold value in the lives of young people is bewildering to most people, who tend to assume that illicit drug use is necessarily destructive. This becomes even more distressing…
Peru is now the world’s leading producer of coca leaves, used in cocaine. Should this mark a new shift in the War on Drugs? Julyinireland

Supply and demand: the changing nature of the War on Drugs

The United Nations has recently announced that Peru has taken over Colombia as the largest producer of illegal coca leaves, the base for the drug cocaine. This comes as Brazil becomes the second biggest…
War on Drugs proponents have argued the closure of Silk Road is going to make the public safer from the harms caused by illicit drugs, but does the evidence back up this view? AAP/AFP

Misguided optimism: the Silk Road closure and the War on Drugs

The recent closure of illicit drugs website Silk Road by the FBI has been hailed as a decisive blow in the fight against organised crime and another victory in the global War on Drugs. Although a minor…
A wave of new mind-altering drugs has appeared – a wave that won’t recede. 1000watt

This psychoactive drugs trip isn’t working

Recreational drug use has been with us forever, and so have the challenges that this use brings to medicine and society. But the nature of the modern drug scene has changed to such an extent that the health…
Recent studies show psychedelics can have a positive effect on a range of mental health issues. Shutterstock

Shroom to grow: Australia’s missing psychedelic science

A recent Norwegian study on psychedelic drugs and psychological well-being not only highlighted fewer mental health issues among users of these drugs but also underscored the reinvigoration of scientific…
Crystal meth forms the basis of fictional TV show Breaking Bad, but its effects are very real. YVRBCbro

Breaking Bad and crystal meth – a chemical reaction

Crystal meth has at least two faces, in common with those people unfortunate enough to succumb to its charms, as these horrific before-and-after pics show. I’d like to look at the drug chemically, to shine…

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