Articles on Illicit drugs

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Members of the Olympic men’s 4x100-metre freestyle relay team James McEvoy, James Magnussen and Eamon Sullivan at a news conference in Sydney yesterday. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Treatment, enhancement or recreation – why sports and Stilnox are a bad mix

It was a bonding session that involved prank phone calls, knocking on doors late at night and other acts of “harmless fun”. The men’s 4x100m Olympic freestyle relay team made it sound like they were boys…
We might pay more for cocaine in Australia but the social and economic costs of its use reach beyond our shores. Corbis

The true cost of cocaine

According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, Australians are now the world’s eighth highest per capita users of cocaine. Cocaine use within the wealthier echelons of society is so unremarkable…
AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou (centre) has flagged a rise in positive test results, but changes to drug policies won’t necessarily help. AAP/Joe Castro

AFL summit sends wrong message on illicit drug use

The AFL’s approach to illicit drugs was championed as a world leader of drugs-in-sport policy when it was implemented in 2005. It was fair, humane and had been effective in reducing match day and out-of-season…
Researchers found early and persistent cannabis users showed an eight-point decline in IQ compared to those who hadn’t used cannabis in this way. Jonah G.S.

Teen cannabis use lowers IQ, despite claims to the contrary

A study published today in the scholarly journal PNAS questions the conclusion of a paper from last year that was widely seen as greatly strengthening the evidence that regular cannabis use beginning in…
Trials show ketamine acts more quickly than other antidepressants because it affects different parts of the brain. JLM Photography

Special K: ketamine’s road from tranquilliser to possible antidepressant

The drug ketamine has been used for medical purposes since it was developed in the 1960s, but it is perhaps more widely known for its illicit use as a hallucinogenic tranquiliser. Now we’re beginning to…
The finger has been pointed at Collingwood player Dane Swan in the latest drugs in sports ‘scandal’. AAP

AFL drug policy is the best and fairest

Here we go again. Another high profile sportsperson has been implicated in the latest drugs in sport “scandal”. This time the finger is being pointed at Collingwood Brownlow medallist Dane Swan. The same…
Alcohol is responsible for more drug treatments than any other substance. AAP/Melanie Foster

Alcohol is half the problem for substance abusers

Alcohol continues to account for nearly half of government-funded substance abuse treatment in Australia. A report from the…
The products marketed as “legal weed” might cause more harm than the real thing. prensa

Legal highs: what should we do about synthetic cannabis?

Synthetic cannabis is a lab-made product that mimics the effects of cannabis to give users a high when smoked. It has been sold in Australia since 2011 under various brand names, with a range of chemical…
Most overdose deaths are due to heroin but an increasing number are due to pain relieving prescription opioid drugs. Thomas Marthinsen

How to reduce opioid overdose deaths in Australia

Once again, overdose deaths from opioids are increasing in Australia. And once again, we are in danger of ignoring effective, evidence-based interventions. According to the National Drug and Alcohol Research…
The possession and use of cannabis and ecstasy should be decriminalised for Australians aged 16 and over. garyowen

A new approach to drug reform: regulated supply of cannabis and ecstasy

Sixteen years ago the premier of Victoria, Jeff Kennett, asked me to conduct an inquiry into drug policy. At the time, deaths from heroin overdoses were high and the use of cannabis and other drugs continued…
Benefits and risks have to be assessed when looking for medical uses of drugs. Harsh Vardhan

Human testing of illicit drugs – the highs and lows

Should governments make it easier to perform human research to discover medical uses of illicit drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy (MDMA) and LSD? Professor David Nutt of Imperial College London argued recently…
Neuroscientists are making great strides in addiction studies, even with a limited access to drugs. reidmix

Friction and addiction: the use of illicit drugs in Australian research

Criminalisation of many drugs of abuse has done little to deter their use. Recent estimates tell us nearly one in 20 individuals aged between 15 and 64 are experimenting with illicit drug use worldwide…

Drug helps methamphetamine addicts

The drug topiramate can help methamphetamine addicts stay clean, according to a recent study. Topiramate doesn’t eliminate…
It’s difficult to detect impairment among doctors, but drug testing won’t solve all our problems. Best In Plastics

Dangerous addiction – should doctors be tested for drug use?

Doctors, just like the rest of the population, make personal choices about drug use. Some choose to use legal drugs such as tobacco and alcohol; others take illicit substances like cannabis and amphetamines…

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