Australian Drug News
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Largest-ever tobacco study finds 'urgent need' for policy change

Largest-ever tobacco study finds 'urgent need' for policy change | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it

About half the men in numerous developing nations use tobacco, and women in those regions are taking up smoking at an earlier age than they used to, according to what is being called the largest-ever international study on tobacco use.


The study, which covered enough representative samples to estimate tobacco use among 3 billion people, "demonstrates an urgent need for policy change in low- and middle-income countries," said lead researcher Gary Giovino, whose report was published in the British medical journal The Lancet.


The figures bolster statements by the World Health Organization that while much of the industrialized world, including the United States, has seen a substantial reduction in smoking in recent years, the opposite trend is under way in parts of the developing world.

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More powerful, user-friendly heroin moving to the suburbs - Chicago Sun-Times

More powerful, user-friendly heroin moving to the suburbs - Chicago Sun-Times | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it
The image of the heroin user as a burnout, slumped in a city alley with a dirty tourniquet and a used needle, is fading. A spate of overdoses beyond the city limits highlights a growing problem.


Desperate and broke in 2007, he searched the Internet for stories about heroin arrests. Then he headed to the location he found online — the Austin exit off Interstate 290 — to see what he could score.


“I figured heroin was cheaper than pills,” Patrianakos, 25, a Web developer from Joliet, said in an interview. “I just kind of drove around the neighborhood and went up to every person I saw.”


One man agreed to give Patrianakos information about where to find the drug if he gave him a ride.


“You don’t really have friends when you’re a drug addict, but it was kind of like friends,” he said. “He was my connection. He would help me find it.”


The image of the heroin user as a burnout, slumped in a city alley with a dirty tourniquet and a used needle, is fading. Today’s heroin, more powerful and user-friendly than ever, is entrenched in the suburbs, which in recent years have seen a spate of overdoses, some of them fatal.

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Ministers clash over proposals to tackle abuse of alcohol

Ministers clash over proposals to tackle abuse of alcohol | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it

FINE GAEL and Labour Ministers are at odds over proposals to counter alcohol abuse which are due to come before Cabinet tomorrow.

A number of Fine Gael Ministers, including Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney, have expressed reservations about aspects of a plan on alcohol drawn up by Labour Minister of State at the Department of Health Róisín Shortall.


Consequently, Labour sources fear the proposals in Ms Shortall’s memorandum to Government may be put on the back-burner by Cabinet and deferred until autumn for consideration.

“There’s a lot of push back on this. We’re afraid they may kick to touch, just when leadership is needed on alcohol misuse,” said a Labour source last night.


Some Fine Gael Ministers, including Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald, are supportive of the proposals, as are Labour Ministers. However, some Fine Gael Ministers have argued that measures should be targeted at those who abuse alcohol rather than applying across the population. The document argues that people’s level of alcohol consumption generally is unhealthy.


They also have continuing reservations about plans to restrict drinks advertising and to curb, and eventually phase out, sponsorship by alcohol companies.


Earlier proposals to restrict arts and sports sponsorships by the drinks industry met with opposition from six Ministers but these have been since been watered down. Sponsorship was supposed to end in 2016 but Ms Shortall has agreed to extend the deadline by a number of years.

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Will Legalizing Illicit Drugs Save $85 Billion?

Will Legalizing Illicit Drugs Save $85 Billion? | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it

Harvard economist Jeff Miron argues that legalizing marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine would save $85 billion. UCLA professor, Mark A. R. Kleiman, says not so fast — but he does expect marijuana to be legalized in the not too distant future. I think Mr. Kleiman makes the better case.


A July 4 article in the New York Times mentioned that Mr. Miron, a Harvard University Economics Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies, estimated the benefits of legalizing illicit drugs at $65 billion.


In a July 8 interview, Mr. Miron told me that his estimate was $85 billion — the Times did not interview him. His calculation was based primarily on government budget reductions associated with not arresting, trying, and incarcerating people for violating the laws.

However, Mr. Miron does not consider this to be the full cost-benefit analysis. For that he would take into account other factors, such as the cost of corruption, quality control, and disruption of other countries that would be eliminated if legalization took place.


Mr. Miron, who teaches a Harvard course on Libertarianism, thinks it is worth considering how legalizing these drugs would benefit users, by eliminating the costs of having a criminal record and going to jail – the cost of which is much greater to the user than the use of the drug itself.


Mr. Miron believes that if legal, the retail prices of illicit drugs would drop. But the amount of the drop depends on the drug. He thinks marijuana's price would drop up to 50% — this market would be changed the least by legalization since there are countries like Portugal and the Netherlands where it's partially legal already, and in the U.S. there are states, like California, where it's legal under specific conditions.


With cocaine, heroin, and meth, Mr. Miron believes that current prices would be slashed. Meth's price would drop by a factor of 10, cocaine's by a factor of four or five, and heroin would drop in price by a factor of 20.

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Study shows exposure to tobacco smoke dropped with state ban

Study shows exposure to tobacco smoke dropped with state ban | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it

The percentage of Wisconsin residents who say they're exposed to tobacco smoke dropped by nearly half after the state's workplace smoking ban started two years ago, a new study says.
The law, which took effect on July 5, 2010, banned smoking in bars, restaurants, private clubs, schools, hotels, clinics and other workplaces.


Before the ban, 55 percent of residents reported being exposed to smoke outside the home and 13 percent at home. After the ban, 32 percent reported exposure to smoke outside the home and 7 percent at home.


"This state ban was an effective public policy to improve health," said Dr. Javier Nieto, chairman of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health's Department of Population Health Sciences.
Nieto said the reduction in exposure to secondhand smoke should reduce people's risk of asthma, cancer and heart disease, though the obesity epidemic is increasing the risk of some cancers and heart disease.


The study was part of the medical school's Survey of the Health of Wisconsin, an annual assessment of state residents on a range of health conditions. The findings, by a team led by UW medical student Alexis Guzman, will be published in the August issue of the Wisconsin Medical Journal.


The percentage of residents surveyed in the second half of 2010 who reported exposure to smoke was cut by nearly half compared to people surveyed from June 2008 to June 2010. Data for 2011 and this year haven't been analyzed.


Eighty percent of the post-ban group said they had no-smoking policies in their homes, up from 74 percent in the pre-ban group.


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Army probes drug use by soldiers in Afghanistan - San Jose Mercury News

The U.S. Army has investigated 56 soldiers in Afghanistan on suspicion of using or distributing heroin, morphine or other opiates during 2010 and 2011, newly obtained data shows. Eight soldiers died of drug overdoses during that time.
While the cases represent just a slice of possible drug use by U.S. troops in Afghanistan, they provide a somber snapshot of the illicit trade in the war zone, including young Afghans peddling heroin, soldiers dying after mixing cocktails of opiates, troops stealing from medical bags and Afghan soldiers and police dealing drugs to their U.S. comrades.
In a country awash with poppy fields that provide up to 90 percent of the world's opium, the U.S. military struggles to keep an eye on its far-flung troops and monitor for substance abuse.
But U.S. Army officials say that while the presence of such readily available opium -- the raw ingredient for heroin -- is a concern, opiate abuse has not been a pervasive problem for troops in Afghanistan.

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Protesters picket Phillippines tobacco show

Protesters picket Phillippines tobacco show | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it

Anti-smoking advocates have picketed a large international tobacco fair in the Philippines that has emerged as a battleground for the industry.

The World Health Organization also has criticized the gathering that opened Thursday. It says the event provides a platform for cigarette makers to promote "a deadly product in the Philippines and throughout Asia."

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III sent a welcome message with hopes the meeting would benefit the country's economy. Organizers said city authorities waived an indoor smoking ban for delegates.

But the government has also supported a new tax bill aiming to discourage smoking that has tobacco manufacturers worried.

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Marijuana Derivative May Offer Hope in Cocaine Addiction

Marijuana Derivative May Offer Hope in Cocaine Addiction | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it

A new study in mice has found that activating a receptor affected by marijuana can dramatically reduce cocaine consumption. The research suggests that new anti-addiction drugs might be developed using synthetic versions of cannabidiol (CBD), the marijuana component that activates the receptor—or even by using the purified natural compound itself.

Researchers formerly believed that the receptor, known as CB2, was not found in the brain and that therefore CBD had no psychoactive effects. But a growing body of research suggests otherwise. After THC, CBD is the second most prevalent active compound in marijuana.


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Speech: 6 March 2012, Andrew Lansley, Smoking and Health

Speech: 6 March 2012, Andrew Lansley, Smoking and Health | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it

When the NHS started in 1948, 82% of men smoked.

Fourteen years later, in 1962, there was the RCP’s ‘Smoking and Health’ report. It set out an agenda for controlling tobacco that doctors and governments followed for decades to come.

So in 1965, after calls from the RCP, all TV adverts for cigarettes were banned.

In 1984, smoking was banned on tube trains, and banned on stations a year later.

In 1995, Virgin and United Airlines banned smoking on transatlantic flights.

Then of course, there was the smoke free legislation of 2007.

Against the instincts of the Labour government, I worked hard to make that a free vote for MPs. By making sure it was a free vote in our Party, we pushed Labour to give a free vote to their MPs too – knowing that this would mean a full ban, not the partial one the Government had sought.

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“In the 21st century tobacco will kill 1 billion people worldwide” | Your Commonwealth

“In the 21st century tobacco will kill 1 billion people worldwide” | Your Commonwealth | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it

A bill waiting to be passed in the Jamaican Parliament would introduce a ban on smoking in public places and prohibit the sale of tobacco to minors. Alexis Goffe, 26, offers his take on the justification for the strict legislation.

On February 16, I attended the Jamaica Cancer Society’s Anti-Tobacco Forum, which was attended by over two hundred high school students. While much information was presented, three main facts stood out for me:

1) Tobacco is a serial killer – In the 20th century, tobacco killed 100 million people worldwide. If the current trend continues, by the end of the 21st century, tobacco will kill 1 billion people worldwide.

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Alcohol shrinks the brain - more research

Alcohol shrinks the brain - more research | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it
Consuming substantial amounts of alcohol shrinks critical brain regions in genetically vulnerable rodents, Brookhaven scientists have found in efforts to further map the biology of addiction in peop...
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Tobacco Smuggling Prospers in Spain

Tobacco Smuggling Prospers in Spain | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it

Spanish smokers, squeezed by higher taxes and a deepening recession, are increasingly relying on smugglers to feed their habit.
Illegal imports now account for 7 percent to 8 percent of Spanish cigarette sales, compared with almost nothing a year ago, according to the country’s tobacconists association. In southern provinces such as Cadiz, Seville and Malaga, the proportion is 20 percent.
“Smuggling and fake tobacco, which had been eradicated since 1993, came back strongly last year,” said Jaime Gil- Robles, corporate affairs director at Altadis, the Spanish unit of Imperial Tobacco Group Plc.
Smuggling, encouraged by a December 2010 increase in tobacco taxes and a ban on smoking in public places, has eroded both government coffers and company revenues. Spain, which has the European Union’s highest jobless rate, collected 14 percent less tobacco taxes in 2011 than a forecast of 9.05 billion euros ($12 billion), excluding value-added tax, according to Altadis.

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Funds Available for Drug, Alcohol Prevention Activities

Funds Available for Drug, Alcohol Prevention Activities | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it
Holcomb Behavioral Health Systems announced that the Committee on Prevention Education (COPE), an alcohol, tobacco and drug prevention support program, has extra funds available for drug and alcohol prevention activities.

The funding is available for grassroots community groups (Act 211 groups, PTO’s, civic associations, community tasks forces, etc.), post-prom committees, and/or non-profit organizations to implement activities, educational programming, and school or community events that are specific to preventing youth substance use, and/or increasing community awareness of substance abuse issues.

This community-based prevention program has supported a variety of activities including: family game nights, drug-free concerts and dances, high school after prom parties, town hall meetings, and evidence-based and parenting programs.

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Even implied alcohol makes people feel sexy

Even implied alcohol makes people feel sexy | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it

French, US and Dutch researchers carried out a pair of experiments which consistently found that the more participants had drunk, the more attractive they thought they were.


Picked up by trade website Drinks International, the study, published in the Journal of Individual Differences, asked 19 men and women drinking in a French bar to rate their own attractiveness and blow into a breathalyzer. The more alcohol in their bloodstream, the more highly they rated their own attractiveness.


Interestingly, a follow-up study among 86 young men also suggested that the mere insinuation of alcohol was enough to boost their own self-image.


In the second experiment, the men were given a minty lemon cocktail, some of which was alcoholic, some of which was not. They were then asked to record a fake advertisement for the drink.

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In Its Mad and Hopeless War on Cocaine, the US Has Destroyed the Lives of Millions of Innocent Farmers in Colombia

In Its Mad and Hopeless War on Cocaine, the US Has Destroyed the Lives of Millions of Innocent Farmers in Colombia | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it

Imagine for a moment that China, in an effort to reduce cigarette smoking and associated health costs among its population, declared war on U.S. tobacco production. Imagine Chinese planes flying over American tobacco fields, spraying crop-killing poison that destroys not just tobacco, but all vegetation, wiping out farmers’ livelihoods, displacing millions of families, and contaminating the environment.


Such an act of hostility and disregard for national sovereignty would provoke, at the very least, military aggression from the United States. Yet, unbeknownst to most Americans, for the past 20 years the U.S. has conducted just such a campaign against Colombian coca farmers.

I visited Colombia for the first time in January 2012 on a delegation with Witness for Peace, an organization focused on changing U.S. policy in Latin America. A public health worker, I’d signed up for the trip to understand the origins and motives of a drug trade that contributes to a violent illicit market and shatters countless lives through addiction. By the time I left Colombia, I realized that while people who suffer from drug dependence are clear casualties of the trade, the millions of Colombian small farmers poisoned and displaced by U.S. drug policy are perhaps its greatest victims.

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OxyContin addicts to heroin addicts: ‘utter failure’ of drug war | The Raw Story

OxyContin addicts to heroin addicts: ‘utter failure’ of drug war | The Raw Story | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it

The author of a landmark study on how the recent decline in abuse of the opium-based painkiller drug OxyContin has driven up heroin addiction rates slammed the “utter failure” of the American drug war’s myopic focus on “supply-side” strategies speaking to Raw Story this week, explaining that the strategy ultimately pushes addicts to embrace ever more dangerous drugs and increasingly destructive behaviors.


“What we need to focus on in government policy is not on the supply-side, which all of our policy has been toward heroin, cocaine and prescription opiods, trying to discourage their penetration into this country,” Dr. Theodore J. Cicero, Vice Chairman for Research at Washington University’s Department of Psychiatry, explained in an exclusive interview. “The reasoning is, if we cut down on the supply then the demand will eventually dry up. But our policy in that regard has been an utter failure.”


“Our conclusion, fundamentally, is that this is sort of like the balloon analogy: if you depress one location on the balloon, the volume doesn’t change and it just pops up someplace else,” he added. “Drug abuse is much like this balloon effect. You can decrease one drug, but they’re not going to stop using. The addicts who are interested in this to get high, they’re going to switch to something else.”

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Church of Scientology Backs UN Drug Demand Reduction Strategy

Church of Scientology Backs UN Drug Demand Reduction Strategy | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it

Hmmmmmm:


According to this year’s United Nations World Drug Report, drug-abuse kills some 200,000 each year and creates a “heavy financial burden” internationally. In a concerted effort to counter this epidemic, in the weeks leading up to the UN Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking June 26 through the first week of July, Scientology Churches, Missions and groups around the world, working with like-minded individuals and groups, organize, sponsor and contribute to drug awareness activities to prevent drug abuse before it begins.


The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was created by the UN General Assembly in December 1987 to encourage all sectors of society to work together to tackle drug abuse and addiction. Scientologists commemorated the day by organizing and sponsoring conferences, lectures and symposia, participating in cross-country running and cycling races, meeting with elected officials and manning drug education booths and kiosks.


In Tokyo, the Church helped organize a drug education symposium where legislators networked with representatives of civil society and journalists, sharing information on effective drug prevention strategies.
Sydney Scientologists set up drug information booths on busy streets, where visitors watched the Truth About Drugs documentary, Real People—Real Stories, and took home copies of The Truth About Drugs series of drug education booklets to share with friends and families.


Russian Scientologists ran hundreds of miles in a two-week anti-drug “marathon” from Nizhny Novgorod to Kaluga, on to Ivanovo, Yaroslavl and Orel and ending in Moscow. Along the way they lectured in schools and colleges and distributed thousands of copies of the Truth About Drugs series of drug education booklets. Moscow Scientologists also distributed copies of drug education booklets and fliers in street events on June 26, the same day that St. Petersburg Scientologists participated in a local anti-drug bicycle race.
Danish Scientologists ran in an anti-drug marathon and distributed drug education booklets in Gammeltorv (Old Market), the oldest square in Copenhagen.

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Methadone to blame for one-third of U.S. prescription painkiller deaths, CDC says - HealthPop - CBS News

Methadone to blame for one-third of U.S. prescription painkiller deaths, CDC says - HealthPop - CBS News | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it

Methadone accounts for only 2 percent of painkiller prescriptions in the United States - but the drug is behind more than 30 percent of prescription painkiller overdose deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday.

Fatal painkiller overdoses soar in U.S., CDC says
Study: Heroin may be cheaper and more effective at treating addicts than methadone
Five signs a loved one is abusing painkillers

Methadone is commonly known for treating withdrawal symptoms from heroin addiction, but the drug is also prescribed for pain. Health officials say most of the overdose deaths are people who take it for pain - not heroin or drug addicts.

According to the CDC, methadone carries more risks than other painkillers because levels build up in the body and may interfere with a person's normal heart rhythm or breathing.

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Ireland: Competition explores alcohol issues

Ireland: Competition explores alcohol issues | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it

Ireland’s relationship with alcohol is explored in nine short films and three multimedia projects which have been shortlisted in a competition for third-level students.

The dare2bedrinkaware.ie event is organised by the drinks industry-sponsored body drinkaware.ie with the support of the Digital Hub. The theme for this year’s competition – now in its fifth year - was drinking in a home environment.

The shortlisted projects include a film in which the characters try to piece together a night on the tiles the morning after. Another entry depicting how alcohol consumption has come to be viewed as ‘the norm’ in the home, shows a young child adding alcohol to the family’s shopping trolley at the supermarket.

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USA: New Surgeon General Report on Youth Tobacco Use

USA: New Surgeon General Report on Youth Tobacco Use | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it

Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults, the new report released today by U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, sends a powerful message: the failure of states to invest in proven policies and programs has resulted in 3 million new youth and young adult smokers, a third of whom will ultimately die from their addiction. The report also concludes that if states begin to invest in comprehensive programs today, youth tobacco use can be cut in half in just six years.

“This report underscores the critical importance of preventing tobacco use among youth and young adults,” said Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest. “This is a wakeup call to all policymakers and community leaders that tobacco addiction is a vicious and deadly cycle that can and must come to an end.”

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‘Baby & Me' — Tobacco Free’ Program Honored

‘Baby & Me' — Tobacco Free’ Program Honored | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it

In January, the National March of Dimes sponsored the Prematurity Prevention Symposium, in Washington.

The symposium raised awareness regarding premature births, risks associated with preterm births and interventions to help reduce the risk of premature births. The two-day event provided an opportunity to meet key opinion leaders, showcase successful prevention programs, share best practices, engage in problem solving and launch the Prematurity Prevention Network, a coalition of individuals and organizations dedicated to promoting premature births. The March of Dimes' mission is to help mothers have full-term pregnancies and research the problems that threaten the health of babies.

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US Navy and Marines to Require Breath Tests

US Navy and Marines to Require Breath Tests | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it

The Navy and Marines said Monday they plan to introduce random breath tests of personnel on duty as part of a broader health-and-safety push, a move officials concede will be a tough sell with weary troops after a decade of war.

The U.S. military already randomly tests members of all branches for illegal drug use. But resorting to breath tests—which detect blood alcohol levels from a breath sample—represents a first for military personnel.

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Whitney Houston and Alcohol’s Toll

Whitney Houston and Alcohol’s Toll | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it

“CRACK is wack.”


Remember that phrase? I heard many people repeat it last week as they appraised the waste of Whitney Houston’s later years and flashed back to her 2002 interview with Diane Sawyer, when she uttered those immortal words. She was bristling not at rumors that she abused drugs but at insinuations that she turned to cheap ones. With album sales like hers, you didn’t have to suck on a pipe.

Sawyer wanted to know what Houston was on. Everyone wanted to know what Houston was on, and news reports after her death took unconfirmed inventory of the pills in her hotel suite, wondering if they represented the extent of her indulgences.

No. By many accounts, Houston also drank. More than a little. In fact one early, leading theory about the cause of her death, which won’t be known until toxicology tests are finished, was that a mix of prescription drugs and alcohol did her in.

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7.5 million U.S. kids live with an 'alcoholic'

7.5 million U.S. kids live with an 'alcoholic' | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it
About 7.5 million U.S. children age 18 and under lived with a parent who has experienced an alcohol use disorder in the past year, health officials said.

The report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said 6.1 million of those children live with two parents, with either one or both parents experiencing an alcohol use disorder in the past year. The remaining 1.4 million of the children live in a single-parent house with a parent who has experienced an alcohol use disorder in the past year, and of this group, 1.1 million lived in a single-mother household 300,000 lived in a single-father household.


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Bikies recruit drug mules on social media sites

Bikies recruit drug mules on social media sites | Australian Drug News | Scoop.it
OUTLAW motorcycle gangs are using social media to recruit drug mules, Australia's top crime body has revealed.

The Australian Crime Commission, investigating "high-risk" crime groups in South Australia, is monitoring a number of drug recruits groomed through websites such as Facebook and has alerted South Australian Police.

Commission chief executive John Lawler told The Advertiser outlaw motorcycle gangs had used social networks to recruit associates and people to help with criminal activity, especially in illicit drug distribution.

Recruiting people on social media to traffic drugs has been a problem across Asia for three years, particularly in the Philippines and Malaysia.

In SA last year a man with no known history of drug crime was recruited online and later charged by police for possessing illegal chemicals.

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