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St Vincent's Hospital, Darlinghurst

St Vincent’s Hospital, Darlinghurst, is a world-class public teaching hospital founded by the Sisters of Charity in 1857. St Vincent’s was founded on the principles of compassion, care and respect for all people and these ethical tenets are still the driving force behind its philosophy and methodology.


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Heroin dependence can be treated with pharmaceutical heroin - but it hasn’t been approved in Australia. from

Weekly dose: treating heroin dependence with heroin

Heroin was used medically in Australia for coughs and pain relief until 1953.
The health minister has put forward legislation for the growing of marijuana, but what’s next to actually get it to patients? AAP/Carol Cho

What needs to happen now to get medicinal cannabis to those who need it?

This week minister for health Sussan Ley tabled amendments to our drugs act to allow the growth of cannabis for medicinal or scientific purposes.
While Sydney’s medically supervised injecting centre has had positive results, we need drug consumption rooms all over the country. AAP/Paul Miller

Why Australia needs drug consumption rooms

With use of drugs such as ice on the rise, drug consumption rooms are now being set up in Europe to provide supervised inhalation.
Most of the world continues with a criminal justice approach to drug use despite ample evidence of its harmfulness. Jason Verwey/Flickr

What works best in the war on drugs

In 1967, the Beatles took out a full-page advertisement in The Times describing Britain’s marijuana laws as “immoral in principle and unworkable in practice”. Almost half a century later, both past and…
A growing number of countries allow the use of cannabis for medical reasons while prohibiting recreational use. Mark/Flickr (resized)

Australia has no reason to disallow medical cannabis use

International acceptance of medicinal cannabis is growing because it can provide relief for people who can’t be sufficiently helped with current pharmaceutical drugs. But despite growing evidence of its…
Existing evidence for distributing naloxone to prevent overdose deaths is weak. intropin/Flickr

Should naloxone be used to reduce opioid overdoses?

It’s now almost two years since ACT chief minister and minister for health, Katy Gallagher, launched Australia’s first program to distribute naloxone to prevent heroin overdoses. Other states have followed…
Dependence on opioids, including heroin, causes the greatest health burden (overall death and illness) of all the illicit drugs. Eric Constantineau

Global health burden of illicit drugs and mental disorders on the rise

The global burden of death and illness attributable to mental disorders and illicit drug abuse has risen steadily in the last 20 years, two new studies have shown, but experts say policy is not keeping…
Needle exchange kits are a cost-effective way of reducing the harm of illicit drugs.

Spending down on harm reduction for illicit drugs: report

Australian governments are spending more on law enforcement against illicit drugs than treatment and prevention, according to a report released today by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. The…
Research has shown tenofovir, a drug used to prevent sexually transmitted HIV, is also effective in preventing HIV infections caused by sharing needles. Shutterstock/Kidsana Maimeetook

Preventive drug could reduce HIV transmission among injecting drug users

An international trial testing a preventive drug treatment for HIV nearly halved the rates of HIV transmission among injecting drug users. Injecting drug use causes one in ten new HIV infections worldwide…
There is a large amount of rigorous research evidence for medical marijuana. Rusty Blazenhoff

Legalising medicinal cannabis is a leap forward for compassion

A NSW Parliamentary Committee has recommended legalising the use of medical use of marijuana for people with terminal conditions. This is an approach that should be embraced nationally. For some years…
Kava, traditionally used in some Pacific island customs, may have a moderate effect in reducing anxiety symptoms, the study found. AAP Image/Peter Williams

Kava may reduce anxiety but experts urge caution

A new study has found that kava, a plant-based relaxant used in the Pacific, is moderately effective at reducing anxiety symptoms in people with diagnosed Generalised Anxiety Disorder. However, while the…
Despite the billions of dollars spent on the ‘war on drugs’, a 2012 survey reported that most respondents find cannabis easy to obtain. Periódico El Ciudadano

Get smarter about illicit drugs to help balance the budget

A sudden reduction in corporate profits has blown a $12 billion hole in the federal budget. This development should spark a debate within and outside government about how we deal with illicit drugs in…
In a study of daily users, smoking marijuana was less effective than taking a marijuana pill for relieving pain.

Study of daily users shows marijuana pills trump smoked marijuana for pain relief

Taking a marijuana pill is more effective at relieving pain than smoking the drug, a new US study of daily marijuana smokers has shown, but the authors warn the findings may not translate to non-regular…
Alcohol control is not an area for win-win policies and lately, the community has been losing heavily. Carsten Nielsen

Three cheers for the possibility of sensible alcohol policy

Many Australians believe that there isn’t much we can do about our dangerous levels of alcohol consumption. But the real difficulty is that we don’t know how to get effective prevention policies through…
Regular cocaine users have stiffer arteries and other heart problems, the study found.

Social cocaine use boosts heart attack risk

Regular cocaine use significantly raises the risk of heart attack and stroke for otherwise healthy young people, a new study has found. The study, presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific…
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…


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