Crystal methamphetamine, more commonly known as ‘ice’, has featured prominently in news headlines in recent times. Stories of violent attacks on innocent bystanders and ice-induced psychosis are reported be occurring with alarming frequency. Crosslight attempts to sort fact from fiction.
This article focuses on our work developing targetted treatment responses to methamphetamine dependence and the story of Sarah, one of our Consumer Consultants. A huge thanks to Sarah for sharing her story and her experience of our services. If you're in Aus, we'll be discussing our work on this week's episode of Insight on SBS: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/insight/tvepisode/ice-breaker.
Health Minister Sussan Ley says Australia's mental health system will soon be overhauled after a review found the current regime was disjointed and must get better at "catching people before they fall".
We can only hope this reflects the Govt's likely response to the recommendations of the National Ice Taskforce. Increasing service accessibility is essential for mental health and AOD treatment.
An ACT government and unions working group is developing a needles and syringes strategy for Canberra's prison.
The working group, 'could take a year to conclude its work'. Who knows when, if ever, this groundbreaking initiative will commence. The ongoing lack of action continues to place prisoners, their families and the wider community at risk. People who inject while in prison currently run a very high risk of contracting Hep C and other blood borne viruses. Access to effective Hep C treatment is already a significant issue (http://sco.lt/70J8YD). When prisoners are released, their viral load represents a potential risk to public health.
A new Dallas-style buyers club to help thousands of hepatitis C sufferers get life-saving drugs at a fraction of the cost being charged by a pharmaceutical giant has been inundated with inquiries in its first week.
Highlighting the exorbitant cost of the new treatments as a barrier to treatment access. This is better coverage of the issue that yesterday's example from Fairfax: http://sco.lt/7d1Ebx.
TWO of NSW's leading community organisations that cater to people living with HIV have welcomed the NSW Government's implementation of the removal of the co-payment of HIV medication. Announced as a
Good to see the NSW Govt removing potential access barriers to treatment. Co-payments to pharmacies for Opioid Replacement Therapies (like methadone and buprenorphine) continue to be a significant issue within the AOD sector, with many people placed under financial stress to be able to receive their medication. We often see people who have been barred from their registered distributor purely because of their inability to pay dispensing fees.
Governments will be allowed to block tobacco companies from suing over anti-smoking measures under a U.S. proposal being debated by Pacific trading partners as part of a free trade deal spanning a dozen countries.
The proposal is a step forward for future public health policy but, if it only targets tobacco, the TPP still poses a threat to policy responses on other damaging products.
FIRST ON 7: A new synthetic drug that is said to be worse than ice, is being marketed to young people at dirt cheap prices.
We can now expect a flurry of flakka-related stories. See Carl Hart's recent piece on the hyperbole in media coverage of Flakka in the US: http://sco.lt/8qQyDx. See also today's relate posts on 'turbocharged' methamphetamine (http://sco.lt/6QOgsL) and the dangers of exaggerated drug warnings (http://sco.lt/6kHR7x)
Australia is facing a new wave of dangerous synthetic drugs that may rival the ice epidemic, Victoria's Chief Commissioner, Graham Ashton has warned.
There's some confusing language in this article. It appears to be more about other synthetics (probably flakka: http://sco.lt/7xDXSz), not methamphetamine. Not sure what Chief Commissioner Ashton means by 'pre-addiction levels'.
Experts Recommend New York Embrace Evidence-based, Public Health Approaches to Address Opioid Use and Overdose
The new legislation prevents judges from forcing people to cease using pharmacotherapy as a condition for avoiding prison. This is a big step forward for people in recovery from opioid dependence and for evidence based US drug policy.
For obvious enough reasons, the current national concern about drug abuse is centred on crystal methamphetamine, known commonly as 'ice'.
Canberra Times editorial indulges in some hyperbole on methamphetamine (and flakka) before getting on to the issue of opioid related deaths. These figures highlight the importance of getting naloxone into as many people's hands as possible to prevent overdose and save lives. Last week's TGA recommendations on naloxone rescheduling are a big step in the right direction: http://sco.lt/6bQGKP.
Police shut down a dance party at Moore Park in Sydney overnight after a number of partygoers were taken to hospital suffering from suspected drug overdoses.
Incidents like this one demonstrate the ineffectiveness of 'zero tolerance' approaches to illicit drug use. If promoters were encouraged to incorporate evidence based harm reduction measures (such as pill testing), stories like this one would be rarer. 'Zero tolerance' does not stop use and only increases the risks for those concerned.
Nearly 100,000 NSW residents each year will be subjected to roadside drug testing that police admit does not look for drugs that are still active in a person's system and critics say is about mass punishment of drug users, not road safety.
Citing Greens MP David Shoebridge and David McDonald on some of the concerns with our drug-driving regime.
People infected with hepatitis C are choosing not to have treatment at the risk of the virus becoming life-threatening, because they are waiting for the government to subsidise drugs that are more likely to cure them, a study says.
This is a pretty poor headline. It implies irresponsible behaviour by people living with Hep C, when there's no mention of the article of the current prohibitive cost (around $1,000 per tablet) of the new drugs. The great majority of those affected simply cannot afford treatment. It is not a matter of simply waiting for a government handout.
IT IS the horror drug that sends users into wide-eyed rage, leaving them clawing at roads, lunging at cars and engaged in all manner of bizarre and dangerous behaviour.
Following yesterday's initial coverage, this article appears to primarily be a promotion for workplace drug testing services. We can probably expect flakka to be depicted as the next 'drug scourge'. See yesterday's related posts: http://sco.lt/7xDXSz.
Report reveals rate of people treated for addiction rose 63 per cent between 2009 and last year.
These numbers are broadly consistent with national data. It's important to remember that the increase is from a very low base. In the same period, we've seen an increase from 6% of people who use our services seeking assistance with amphetamine-type stimulants in 2009 to around 30% this year. While the harms associated with methamphetamine use are significant, it needs to be re-emphasised that the overall numbers of people affected are still very small, compared to other drugs such as alcohol.
The sudden death of a teenage son is tragedy enough for a family. To see his face used by the media to crank up public fears about the latest "killer drug" only amplifies and elongates the grief, especially if your son's death has nothing to do with taking drugs.
A provocative headline, but this is a good piece by Max Daly on the importance of providing people with accurate information about drugs and the dangers of misleading or exaggerated warnings. It also provides an insight into how the issue is considered by police.
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