Beyond the idyll that is the Maldives to most imaginations, the white-sand beaches and cerulean blue seas, this is a country facing serious social issues, not least among them a spiralling drug epidemic.
The man who started the tubing craze in Laos where two Australian tourists have died in a matter of weeks says local people are very sorry for the deaths, but nothing will change unless someone takes responsibility.
News from Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia and the world, featuring the latest local, national, world, business, sport, entertainment and travel news. Drawing on News Limited's worldwide resources and newspapers.
Interest in ecstasy among users of party drugs is in decline. For drug experts, this raises concern about the harm that could arise if users switch to a growing array of new, potentially more addictive and dangerous stimulants such as mephedrone, DMT methylone and 2CB.
PARTS of NSW are saturated with bottle shops and any increase would cause social harm, the head of the state's liquor licensing authority has declared after it ruled on 20 applications by the supermarket chains Coles, Woolworths and Aldi.
HEAVY drinking is the Australian way for many, and more young people are involved in harmful alcohol-related incidents, such as assaults and car accidents, on Australia Day than on any other public holiday, research has found.
A study of a controversial housing project that allows chronically homeless people with severe alcohol problems to drink in their apartments found that during their first two years in the building residents cut their heavy drinking by 35 percent.