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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…
Zero tolerance is a faith and not a policy. Creativity103/Flickr

Like men possessed: what are illicit drug laws really for?

According to the UK government’s “first evidence-based study”, released at the end of last week, tough laws for personal possession of illicit drugs fail to lower levels of their use. This is not news…
In most developed countries, including Australia, gay and bisexual men dominate numbers of new HIV infections. Aleksandar Stojkovic/Flickr

Know the epidemic: responding to HIV in three key communities

The number of new HIV diagnoses in Australia remains the highest in 20 years, according to data released today by UNSW’s Kirby Institute. While rates have remained stable over the past two years, the number…
The use of crystal meth among Australians continues to increase and remains at a high level, according to a new report. AAP/NSW Police

Ice age: the rise of crystal meth in Australia

The 2012-13 Australian Crime Commission (ACC) Illicit Drug Data Report, released earlier this week, provides mounting evidence that crystal meth is becoming a large-scale problem for law enforcement and…
Many more Australians want to build the ‘body beautiful’ and we want to do it in a hurry, increasingly through the use of performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs). shutterstock

Muscling up: are steroids an emerging criminal threat?

High-profile claims of links between elite sports and organised crime in Australia – such as those outlined in last year’s Australian Crime Commission (ACC) report – have put performance and image enhancing…
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…
Media commentators have linked alcohol use with sexual assault. FLICKR/Monkey Boy42

Mia Freedman et al are wrong: being drunk doesn’t cause rape

Controversy over rape, alcohol consumption, and responsibility reignited last month when US columnist Emily Yoffe penned an article provocatively titled College women: stop getting drunk. But the link…
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…
‘I’m not so much anti-establishment as pointing out the obvious.’ Imperial College London/Layton Thompson

David Nutt: ‘I was sacked, I was angry, I was right’

The John Maddox Prize for standing up for science is awarded to individuals who are judged to have “promoted sound science and evidence on a matter of public interest” and especially those who have faced…
Lack of British chemistry. sally_monster

Why meth hasn’t broken bad in the UK

The final episode of the award-winning American TV show Breaking Bad aired last night. Set against the backdrop of illicit crystal methamphetamine production, the series highlights the huge problem parts…
First you’ve got to work out what’s in it. Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab

Fast market for legal highs poses challenge for scientists

Legal highs that are novel psychoactive substances (NPS) have flooded Britain over the past few years and their use has increased drastically. NPS are cleverly constructed designer drugs often structurally…

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