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Analysis and Comment (18)

New treatments have minimal side effects and cure rates of over 90%. New treatments have minimal side effects and cure rates of over 90%. Dubova/Shutterstock

Eliminating hepatitis C – an ambitious but achievable goal

Hepatitis C is a hidden epidemic affecting 170 million people worldwide. Hepatitis C kills nearly 700 Australians every year, mostly from chronic liver failure and liver cancer, and costs over $78.9 million…
After long periods of regular use, changes to the dopamine system can mean users appear flat and unmotivated. After long periods of regular use, changes to the dopamine system can mean users appear flat and unmotivated. Shutterstock

Ice age: who has used crystal meth – and why?

If you’ve listened to the news lately, you might think that Australia is overrun with uncontrollably violent people on crystal methamphetamine. This may be true of those in crisis, but the bigger picture…
Recovery is a long journey, with addictions typically lasting for around 27 years. Recovery is a long journey, with addictions typically lasting for around 27 years. Image from shutterstock.com

Addiction can’t always be cured so let’s focus on quality of life

Alcohol and substance abuse costs the Australian economy A$24.5bn a year. The human toll from accidents, overdoses, chronic disease, violence, mental illness and family disruption, however, is immeasurable…
In the aftermath of Glee star Cory Monteith’s death, a lot of media attention has focused on his ‘troubled life’ and ‘dark past’. In the aftermath of Glee star Cory Monteith’s death, a lot of media attention has focused on his ‘troubled life’ and ‘dark past’. EPA/MIKE NELSON

Cory Monteith, addiction and the search for better endings

Public attitudes towards drugs are shaped by many things, including high-profile celebrity encounters with drugs and addiction. One unfortunate example of this involves popular Canadian actor Cory Monteith…
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. 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…
The finger has been pointed at Collingwood player Dane Swan in the latest drugs in sports ‘scandal’. 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…
The products marketed as “legal weed” might cause more harm than the real thing. 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…
US-led enthusiasm about so-called “smart drugs” may be problematic. US-led enthusiasm about so-called “smart drugs” may be problematic. rafa2010

Ritalin rising? Let’s be smarter about ‘smart drugs’

Do so-called “smart pills” enhance performance in students? Are they part of a widespread, growing phenomenon? You would be forgiven for thinking so. In a recent article on The Conversation, Simon Outram…
Would it be so bad if a pill that improved athletic performance was available to everyone? Would it be so bad if a pill that improved athletic performance was available to everyone? Dave Campbell

What if doping were legal at the Olympics?

The Olympics is arguably the greatest show of combined physical and mental prowess we’ll ever see. The Games challenge competitors and challenge the watching public to think about the achievements they’re…
It’s difficult to detect impairment among doctors, but drug testing won’t solve all our problems. 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…
Drugs smuggled into a South Australian prison. If jails can’t be kept drug free, what hope is there for wider society? Drugs smuggled into a South Australian prison. If jails can’t be kept drug free, what hope is there for wider society? AAP/Thuy On

Australia’s love affair with drugs

Australians have always loved their drugs – more so than any other nation in which those same drugs are proscribed and used under threat of native, criminal penalties. Drug taking is a national trait…
Brazilian police patrol a favela in Rio De Janiero. Brazilian police patrol a favela in Rio De Janiero. EPA/Marcelo Sayao

A moral argument against the war on drugs

Former Brazilian President, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, has argued that the war on drugs has failed and cannabis should be decriminalised. He argued that the hardline approach has brought “disastrous” consequences…
Shamed senior police officer Mark Standen is lead away from King St Supreme Court after being found guilty of attempting to import a massive haul of pseudoephedrine. Shamed senior police officer Mark Standen is lead away from King St Supreme Court after being found guilty of attempting to import a massive haul of pseudoephedrine. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Good cop, bad cop: how corrupt police work with drug dealers

The Australia21 report on illicit drugs draws much-needed attention to many serious issues, including the major role played by corrupt police in drug distribution networks. The role played by drugs in…
He’s in the spotlight for taking a drug that probably didn’t even help his performance. He’s in the spotlight for taking a drug that probably didn’t even help his performance. EPA/Alberto Martin

Alberto Contador banned for doping, but what is clenbuterol?

After a drawn-out and controversial case, Spanish professional cyclist Alberto Contador has been found guilty of doping and banned from the sport for two years. Contador was stripped of his victories at…
Addicts have choices, but those choices might be severely constrained. Addicts have choices, but those choices might be severely constrained. davidblume

Brain’s addiction: is shooting up a disease or a choice?

Welcome to part four of On the brain, a Conversation series by people whose job it is to know as much as there is to know about the body’s most complex organ. Here, Neil Levy, Head of Neuroethics at Florey…
Susceptibility to addiction can be seen as a form of Russian Roulette. Susceptibility to addiction can be seen as a form of Russian Roulette. kriffster

Brain’s addiction: what makes heavy drug users different?

Welcome to part three of On the brain, a Conversation series by people whose job it is to know as much as there is to know about the body’s most complex organ. Here, Professor Andrew J. Lawrence, the Florey…

Research and News (1)

Research Briefs (1)