Harm and Risk Reduction
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MDMA: a social drug in a social context

MDMA: a social drug in a social context | Harm and Risk Reduction | Scoop.it
Rationale

The drug ±3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, “ecstasy,” “molly”) is thought to produce prosocial effects and enhance social interaction. However, in most laboratory studies to date, the participants have been tested under nonsocial conditions, which may not simulate the effects the drug produces in more naturalistic social settings.

Methods

Healthy experienced MDMA users participated in three laboratory sessions in which they receivedMDMA (0.5 or 1.0 mg/kg or placebo, double blind). They were randomly assigned to one of three social conditions, in which they were tested alone (solitary (SOL); N = 10), in the presence of a research assistant (research assistant present (RAP); N = 11) or in the presence of another participant who also received the drug (other participant present (OPP); N = 11).

Results

As expected, MDMA increased heart rate and blood pressure and produced positive subjective effects in all the three groups. It also increased ratings of attractiveness of another person and increased social interaction in RAP and OPP. The social context affected certain responses to the drug. The effects of MDMA were greater in the OPP condition, compared to the SOL or RAP conditions, on measures of “feel drug,” “dizzy,” and on cardiovascular. But responses to the drug on other measures, including social behavior, did not differ across the conditions.

Conclusions

These findings provide some support for the idea that drugs produce greater effects when they are used in the presence of other drug users. However, the influence of the social context was modest, and it remains to be determined whether other variables related to social context would substantially alter the effects of MDMA or other drugs.

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Drug analysis of residual content of used syringes: a new approach for improving knowledge of injected drugs and drug user practices

Drug analysis of residual content of used syringes: a new approach for improving knowledge of injected drugs and drug user practices | Harm and Risk Reduction | Scoop.it
Background

Since their inception, harm reduction services, including needle exchange programs, have aimed to improve and update knowledge about illicit drug consumption and injection practices in order to assess and regularly revise the effectiveness of preventive strategies.

Methods

In this paper we describe the development of a scientific approach to obtaining this type of information through analysis of the residual content of used syringes. This was done using a validated liquid chromatography method with mass spectrometry detection to identify different molecules. Used syringes were collected from automatic injection kit dispensers at 17 sites in Paris and the surrounding suburbs each month for one year.

Results

In total, 3,489 syringes were collected. No compounds were detected in 245 syringes. Heroin was the most commonly observed compound (42%), followed by cocaine (41%), buprenorphine (29%) and 4-methylethylcathinone (23%). These analyses also showed the increased appearance of 4-methylethylcathinone between the summer and winter of 2012.

Conclusions

Despite the bias involved in this approach, the method can provide rapid data on patterns of drug consumption for specific time periods and for well-defined locations. This kind of analysis enables the detection of new substances being injected and thus enables harm reduction services to revise and adapt prevention strategies.

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Comprehensive analysis of “bath salts” purchased from California stores and the internet

Comprehensive analysis of “bath salts” purchased from California stores and the internet | Harm and Risk Reduction | Scoop.it
Study objective. To analyze the contents of “bath salt” products purchased from California stores and the Internet qualitatively and quantitatively in a comprehensive manner. Methods. A convenience sample of “bath salt” products were purchased in person by multiple authors at retail stores in six California cities and over the Internet (U.S. sites only), between August 11, 2011 and December 15, 2011. Liquid chromatography-time-of-flight mass spectrometry was utilized to identify and quantify all substances in the purchased products. Results. Thirty-five “bath salt” products were purchased and analyzed. Prices ranged from $9.95 to 49.99 (U.S. dollars). Most products had a warning against use. The majority (32/35, 91%) had one (n = 15) or multiple cathinones (n = 17) present. Fourteen different cathinones were identified, 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) being the most common. Multiple drugs found including cathinones (buphedrone, ethcathinone, ethylone, MDPBP, and PBP), other designer amines (ethylamphetamine, fluoramphetamine, and 5-IAI), and the antihistamine doxylamine had not been previously identified in U.S. “bath salt” products. Quantification revealed high stimulant content and in some cases dramatic differences in either total cathinone or synthetic stimulant content between products with the same declared weight and even between identically named and outwardly appearing products. Conclusion. Comprehensive analysis of “bath salts” purchased from California stores and the Internet revealed the products to consistently contain cathinones, alone, or in different combinations, sometimes in high quantity. Multiple cathinones and other drugs found had not been previously identified in U.S. “bath salt” products. High total stimulant content in some products and variable qualitative and quantitative composition amongst products were demonstrated.


Read More: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/15563650.2014.933231
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A Home Test for Detecting Dangerous Caffeine Levels

A Home Test for Detecting Dangerous Caffeine Levels | Harm and Risk Reduction | Scoop.it
The shocking news of an Ohio teen who died of a caffeine overdose in May highlighted the potential dangers of the normally well-tolerated and mass-consumed substance. To help prevent serious health problems that can arise from consuming too much caffeine, scientists are reporting progress toward a rapid, at-home test to detect even low levels of the stimulant in most beverages and even breast milk.

Via Julian Buchanan
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Julian Buchanan's curator insight, July 31, 2014 5:34 AM

Strangely our three chosen legal drugs (alcohol, nicotine and caffeine) that are culturally embedded and heavily promoted can all kill in very high dosages. 

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Perception vs. Reality: an investigation of the misperceptions concerning the extent of peer NPS use

Misperceptions of peer substance use have previously been implicated as significant influences on individual use of both alcohol and illicit drugs. However, research on perceived social norms and related interventions are typically limited to binge drinking and marijuana and no empirical studies have explored misperceptions related to "novel drugs." The present study explored the extent of use and perceptions of use among a college sample (N = 2,349) for three categories of novel drugs: synthetic cannabinoids (Spice, K2, Mr. Miyagi, Pot-Pourri, etc.), synthetic cathinones (commonly known as "bath salts"), and Salvia divinorum. Results indicate that overall perceived use was significantly higher than actual reported use. The frequency of overestimation of peer use was particularly large for the emerging drugs when compared to alcohol and marijuana. This finding is concerning as these misperceptions have the potential to influence students toward experimentation with these substances and suggests that a possible target for intervention is misperceptions of emerging novel substances.

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▶ HRI2014 - 8 May 2014 - Session 4 - Adam Winstock (English) - YouTube

2nd European Harm Reduction Conference 2014 in Basel; "New approaches to harm reduction -- drugs meter, drinks meter and the High Way Code", speech by Adam W...
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Se cierra la Caja de Pandora (Marketplace)

Se cierra la Caja de Pandora (Marketplace) | Harm and Risk Reduction | Scoop.it
Desde hace 48 horas Pandora Marketplace, uno de los mercados virtuales más importantes, no funciona. La hipótesis más probable es que haya sido víctima de hackers.
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Worldwide research productivity in the field of electronic cigarette: a bibliometric analysis

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La nueva legislación uruguaya sobre marihuana y sus derivados [PDF]

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Salvia Divinorum: un enigma psicofarmacológico y el problema mente-cuerpo

En el presente trabajo se considera la investigación multidisciplinaria sobreSalvia divinorumy sus principios químicos activos con el objeto de valorar si la etnobotánica, la fitoquímica, la psicofarmacología y la neurofarmacología de esta planta psicoactiva y su principal producto químico, la salvinorina A, clarifican sus efectos mentales y sus usos adivinatorios. Esta labor científica ha trascurrido desde el registro inicial de ceremonias y creencias, ha continuado con la identificación botánica, el aislamiento de los principios químicos, la caracterización de los efectos mentales y cerebrales, las posibles aplicaciones terapéuticas y ha llegado a incurrir en el problema mente-cuerpo. Dado que el punto de partida de esta investigación es la transdisciplina de la etnofarmacología, se retoman aquí las creencias tradicionales, los usos rituales y los efectos mentales de esta menta sagrada de los indios mazatecos tal y como fueron registrados durante un proyecto de campo y laboratorio llevado a cabo entre 1973 y 1983. Un brebajeacuoso de hojas maceradas produjo un breve periodo de ligereza cefálica, disforia, sensaciones táctiles y propioceptivas exacerbadas, un sentido de despersonalización, percepción amplificada de sonidos y un aumento de la imaginación visual y auditiva, pero no verdaderas alucinaciones. Posteriormente otros autores describieron efectos similares usando cuestionarios y eventualmente fueron imputados al diterpeno salvinorina-A, pero no es posible explicar los efectos mentales sólo por la potente actividad agonista del receptor kappa a los opioides encontrada para la salvinorina; de allí el enigma psicofarmacológico. Se proponen algunos requerimientos para una clasificación de drogas que alteran cualitativamente el estado de conciencia e incluyen la activación de redes neuronales que necesariamente comprenden diversos sistemas neuroquímicos y módulos nerviosos. Para caracterizar estas redes será necesario emprender un tipo de investigacióntop-down, es decir el análisis de imágenes cerebrales obtenidas durante la experiencia psicoactiva analizada mediante un método narrativo, lo cual eventualmente podría permitir la exploración de efectos étnicos diferenciales. Como sucede con otras preparaciones que alteran la conciencia, una investigación rigurosa de la psicofarmacología de esta planta y su principio psicoactivo será relevante a empresas académicas tan diversas como el problema mente-cuerpo, la mejor comprensión del éxtasis chamánico y la posible generación de fármacos analgésicos, antidepresivos y moderadores de la drogadicción.
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Estudio descriptivo del comportamiento de la intoxicación aguda por sustancias psicoactivas en Colombia 2010-2011

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Substance use in the club scene of Rome: a pilot study

BioMed Research International (formerly titled Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology) is a peer-reviewed, open access journal that publishes original research articles as well as review articles in several areas of life sciences. The journal’s Editorial Board is divided into the 55 subject areas included within the journal’s scope.
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Risk Control and Rational Recreation: A Qualitative Analysis of Synthetic Drug Use among Young Urbanites in China

AbstractBackground

To fight against the rapid growth of synthetic drugs, the Chinese government has strengthened the controls and regulation, incorporated synthetic drugs into the new detoxification system, and changed the inconsistent governance of synthetic and traditional drugs. This, however, has not stopped the spread of synthetic drugs among young urbanites. While scholars have focused on the loopholes and defects of specific drug control regulations, ethnographic inquiries illustrate how and why control does not work, or is even resisted by young drug users.

Methods

In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with 28 individuals aged between 20 and 35, recruited from a cohort of synthetic drug users in a Shanghai drug rehabilitation centre. Audio-recorded interviews elicited accounts of their daily experiences of drug use as well as their perspectives on the impact of the government's new drug control policies.

Results

The main themes voiced by our respondents include: (1) synthetic drugs are not addictive, and are used to feel ‘high’; (2) synthetic drugs are used to achieve their goals, which are otherwise impossible through mainstream means; (3) users are confident that they will be able to manage the use of synthetic drugs without harm to themselves; (4) their worries concern administrative punishment rather than consequences to health.

Conclusion

The participants of this study did not support the government's attempts to control the use of synthetic drugs. They viewed their use as rational recreation under the perceived boundaries of ‘acceptable risks’. Even in the context of severe control, synthetic drugs have strong appeal to youths. Drug policy should acknowledge the experiences of users and consider the socio-cultural contexts of youth drug-taking. The personal experience of participants could help improve the Chinese Drug Control Act and regulations.

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Driving under the influence among frequent ecstasy consumers in Australia: Trends over time and the role of risk perceptions

Driving under the influence among frequent ecstasy consumers in Australia: Trends over time and the role of risk perceptions | Harm and Risk Reduction | Scoop.it
Background

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and illicit drugs is a serious road safety concern. This research aimed to examine trends in DUI across time and changes in attitudes towards the risks (crash and legal) associated with DUI among regular ecstasy users (REU) interviewed in Australia.

Methods

Participants were regular (at least monthly) ecstasy users surveyed in 2007 (n = 573) or 2011 (n = 429) who had driven a car in the last six months. Face to face interviews comprised questions about recent engagement of DUI and roadside breath (alcohol) and saliva (drug) testing. Participants also reported the risk of crash and of being apprehended by police if DUI of alcohol, cannabis, ecstasy, and methamphetamine.

Results

There were significant reductions in DUI of psychostimulants (ecstasy, methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD) but not alcohol or cannabis between 2007 and 2011. This was accompanied by increased experience of roadside saliva testing and increases in crash and legal risk perceptions for ecstasy and methamphetamine, but not alcohol or cannabis. When the relationship between DUI and risk variables was examined, low crash risk perceptions were associated with DUI of all substances and low legal risk perceptions were associated with DUI of ecstasy.

Conclusions

The observed reduction in DUI of psychostimulants among frequent ecstasy consumers may be related to increased risk awareness stemming from educational campaigns and the introduction of saliva testing on Australian roads. Such countermeasures may be less effective in relation to deterring or changing attitudes towards DUI of cannabis and alcohol among this group.

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The Association of Alcohol Outlet Density With Illegal Underage Adolescent Purchasing of Alcohol

Purpose

Although previous studies have suggested that greater community densities of alcohol sales outlets are associated with greater alcohol use and problems, the mechanisms are unclear. The present study examined whether density was associated with increased purchasing of alcohol by adolescents younger than the legal purchase age of 18 in Australia.

Methods

The number of alcohol outlets per 10,000 population was identified within geographic regions in Victoria, Australia. A state-representative student survey (N = 10,143) identified adolescent reports of purchasing alcohol, and multilevel modeling was then used to predict the effects for different densities of outlet types (packaged, club, on-premise, general, and overall).

Results

Each extra sales outlet per 10,000 population was associated with a significant increase in the risk of underage adolescent purchasing. The strongest effect was for club density (odds ratio = 1.22) and packaged (takeaway) outlet density (odds ratio = 1.12). Males, older children, smokers, and those with substance-using friends were more likely to purchase alcohol.

Conclusions

One mechanism by which alcohol sales outlet density may influence population rates of alcohol use and related problems is through increasing the illegal underage purchasing of alcohol.

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Flight Attendant to Festival Travellers: Flush Your Drugs Sniffer Dogs Waiting

Flight Attendant to Festival Travellers: Flush Your Drugs Sniffer Dogs Waiting | Harm and Risk Reduction | Scoop.it
Sniffer dogs waiting in airport.

Via Julian Buchanan
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Julian Buchanan's curator insight, July 30, 2014 10:31 PM

Respect to the flight attendant - but does it not seem strange that airport duty free shops are major pushers of dangerous legal drugs thrusting all sorts of cheap offers and adverts to encourage us to purchase large quantities of tobacco and alcohol - and then have sniffer dogs to detect, arrest and punish users of non approved (often less dangerous) drugs.

Does it not seem a little perverse or contradictory?

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A new review of research on e-cigarettes verifies their beneficial risk profile compared to tobacco cigarettes

A new review of research on e-cigarettes verifies their beneficial risk profile compared to tobacco cigarettes | Harm and Risk Reduction | Scoop.it
ecigarette-research.com | Electronic Cigarette (RT @FarsalinosK: A new review of research on e-cigarettes verifies their beneficial risk profile compared to tobacco cigarettes http://t.co…)...

Via J Johnson
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Electronic cigarettes: review of use, content, safety, effects on smokers and potential for harm and benefit

Electronic cigarettes: review of use, content, safety, effects on smokers and potential for harm and benefit | Harm and Risk Reduction | Scoop.it
AbstractAims

We reviewed available research on the use, content and safety of electronic cigarettes (EC), and on their effects on users, to assess their potential for harm or benefit and to extract evidence that can guide future policy.

Methods

Studies were identified by systematic database searches and screening references to February 2014.

Results

EC aerosol can contain some of the toxicants present in tobacco smoke, but at levels which are much lower. Long-term health effects of EC use are unknown but compared with cigarettes, EC are likely to be much less, if at all, harmful to users or bystanders. EC are increasingly popular among smokers, but to date there is no evidence of regular use by never-smokers or by non-smoking children. EC enable some users to reduce or quit smoking.

Conclusions

Allowing EC to compete with cigarettes in the market-place might decrease smoking-related morbidity and mortality. Regulating EC as strictly as cigarettes, or even more strictly as some regulators propose, is not warranted on current evidence. Health professionals may consider advising smokers unable or unwilling to quit through other routes to switch to EC as a safer alternative to smoking and a possible pathway to complete cessation of nicotine use.

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"We Want Beer" Parade 1932 labor protest of prohibition- Retronaut

"We Want Beer" Parade 1932 labor protest of prohibition- Retronaut | Harm and Risk Reduction | Scoop.it

Labor union members marching through Broad Street, Newark New Jersey, carrying signs reading "We want beer" in protest of prohibition]


Via k3hamilton, Julian Buchanan
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Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB): A Scoping Review of Pharmacology, Toxicology, Motives for Use, and User Groups

Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB): A Scoping Review of Pharmacology, Toxicology, Motives for Use, and User Groups | Harm and Risk Reduction | Scoop.it
(2014). Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB): A Scoping Review of Pharmacology, Toxicology, Motives for Use, and User Groups. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs: Vol. 46, No. 3, pp. 243-251. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2014.921746

 

Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a central nervous system depressant with euphoric and relaxant effects. Documentation of GHB prevalence and the underreporting of abuse remains problematic, given the availability of GHB and its precursors γ-butyrolactone (GBL) and 1,4-butanediol (1,4-BD) and the ease of synthesis from kits available on the Internet. The continued abuse of and dependence on GHB, and associated fatalities, present an on-going public health problem. As the drug GHB remains an underresearched topic, a scoping review was chosen as a technique to map the available literature into a descriptive summarized account. PRISMA was used to assist in data retrieval, with subsequent data charting into three key themes (pharmacology and toxicology, outcomes, and user groups). Administered orally, GHB is dose-dependent and popular for certain uses (therapeutic, body enhancement, sexual assault) and amongst user sub groups (recreational party drug users, homosexual men). Despite the low prevalence of use in comparison to other club drugs, rising abuse of the drug is associated with dependence, withdrawal, acute toxicity, and fatal overdose. Clinical diagnosis and treatment is complicated by the co-ingestion of alcohol and other drugs. Limitations of the scoping review and potential for further research and harm reduction initiatives are discussed.

Claudio Vidal Giné's insight:

Una revisión de la farmacología, toxicología, motivaciones para el consumo y grupos de consumidores de GHB

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Chemical analysis of substitute drugs of abuse -"legal highs"- from Lubuskie province, Poland

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Awash in a sea of ‘bath salts’: implications for biomedical research and public health

Awash in a sea of ‘bath salts’: implications for biomedical research and public health | Harm and Risk Reduction | Scoop.it

During the past several years, there has been a dramatic rise in the abuse of so-called ‘bath salts’ products that are purchased as alternatives to illicit drugs such as cocaine and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine [1]. Bath salts are purposely mislabeled and have no use as bath additives; instead, these products contain synthetic analogs of cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant found in the khat plant Catha edulis. The marketing of bath salts and related products (e.g. ‘research chemicals’) via the internet has fostered the widespread availability of synthetic cathinones on a global scale. Most bath salts powders are administered intranasally or orally, although some users self-administer by the intravenous route. Clinical evidence indicates that recreational doses of bath salts enhance mood and increase alertness, while high doses or chronic use can lead to serious medical complications, including psychosis, hyperthermia, tachycardia and sometimes death [2, 3]. Figure 1 shows three cathinones found commonly in bath salts products: 4-methyl-N-methylcathinone (mephedrone), 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylcathinone (methylone) and 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). MDPV is the main substance detected in blood and urine from patients hospitalized for bath salts overdose in the United States, whereas mephedrone is associated more commonly with adverse clinical outcomes in Europe [2, 3]. Due to public health risk posed by bath salts, the governments of many countries, including the United States, have passed legislation banning the sale, possession and use of mephedrone, methylone and MDPV [4, 5].

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Identification of an acetal derivative of the piperonyl methyl ketone in tablets seized for suspected drug trafficking

Identification of an acetal derivative of the piperonyl methyl ketone in tablets seized for suspected drug trafficking | Harm and Risk Reduction | Scoop.it

Structural elucidation of a new chemical compound found in tablets seized in the Naples area (Italy) and manufactured in the Netherlands was conducted using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, gas chromatography–mass spectrometry, and high-resolution mass spectrometry. The compound was identified as the acetal derivative of the piperonyl methyl ketone (PMKA). The structure of PMKA is unprecedented and remarkable for the lack of a nitrogen atom at the distal position of the methylenedioxyphenyl moiety. Surprisingly, PMKA was inactive by itself, but it enhanced the stimulant effects on locomotor activity at the central nervous system level induced by 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine in mice.

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25C-NBOMe: Preliminary Data on Pharmacology, Psychoactive Effects, and Toxicity of a New Potent and Dangerous Hallucinogenic Drug

25C-NBOMe: Preliminary Data on Pharmacology, Psychoactive Effects, and Toxicity of a New Potent and Dangerous Hallucinogenic Drug | Harm and Risk Reduction | Scoop.it

Introduction. The use of novel psychoactive substances (NPSs) has rapidly increased as well as their online availability. The aim of this paper is to provide a comprehensive review of the nature and the risks associated with 25C-NBOMe, which has recently appeared in the drug market. Methods. A systematic analysis of the scientific literature and a qualitative assessment of online and media resources (e.g., e-newsgroups, chat-rooms, and e-newsletters) in 10 languages were carried out. Results. 25C-NBOMe is sold online as legal LSD or as research chemical with different designations such as “Boom,” “Pandora,” “Holland film,” or “N-bomb.” It is a partial agonist of 5-HT2A receptors. It is usually ingested orally/sublingually and, less commonly, nasally, through injection, vaginally, rectally, and smoked. Its effects include sublingual numbing, stimulation, “body high,” hallucinations, dissociation, and anxiety. 25C-NBOMe presents high risk of overdoses; acute toxicity and fatalities have been reported. Conclusions. 25C-NBOMe consumption represents an emerging phenomenon with potential harmful effects. Its use is increased by its online availability at low costs. Health and other professionals should be informed about this new trend of substance use.

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A beginner's guide to drugs and crime: Does one always lead to the other?

A beginner's guide to drugs and crime: Does one always lead to the other? | Harm and Risk Reduction | Scoop.it

Abstract: The link between drug use and crime has long been established and is often reinforced by media and public interest in 'drug related crime'. This issue gained increased prominence in late 2013 focusing particularly on the intersection of alcohol, drugs and crime in the night time economy. Indeed, one outcome has been the rise of a new term: 'drug-fuelled crime'. But this link has many nuances. Examining the many complex factors that contribute to either people's drug use (both licit and illicit) and potential to commit crime, can highlight as many variations as links. In this article we highlight some of the common theories about the drugs-crime link, complexities in this relationship and key unknowns.

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