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November 27, 2015

SHOULD PARENTS INTRODUCE THEIR CHILDREN TO ALCOHOL?

Many parents believe that introducing their children to alcohol will assist in teaching them responsible drinking.  European drinking practices are often cited as an example of the ways that parents can introduce responsible drinking.  However, there has been a growing body of evidence in Australia suggesting that this isn't the case.  A recent paper has been published in the journal BMC Public Health by a group of Australian researchers.  The article titled "Does the social context of early alcohol use affect risky drinking in adolescents? Prospective cohort study" tracked 1943 young people from the age of 14 - 17, examining where and how frequently they consumed alcohol.  The authors found that consuming alcohol with the family did not protect against risky drinking, and they advised that parents should limit their children's opportunities to consume alcohol in unsupervised settings.

Go to "Does the social context of early alcohol use affect risky drinking in adolescents? Prospective cohort study"

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November 20, 2015

BEHIND THE SCENES AT EROWID.ORG

The New Yorker magazine has recently published an article titled "The trip planners: The unusual couple behind an online encyclopedia of psychoactive substances."  The article focuses on Erowid.org, easily one of the most popular and comprehensive sources of online drug information, much of which is generated from user reports.  Recently, Erowid.org has celebrated it's 20th birthday, emerging at a time when the internet was becoming increasingly popular as a source of information about illicit drugs.  The website's founders, Earth and Fire Erowid, grew the website from humble beginnings to now receive 17 million unique visitors each year, accessing detailed profiles of over three hundred and fifty psychoactive drugs.  Erowid.org contains a vast array of "trip reports" - user reports of psychoactive substance use which includes the good the bad and the ugly side of substance use, long before case reports turn up in peer reviewed journals.

Go to "The Trip Planners: The unusual couple behind an online encyclopedia of psychoactive substances"

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November 20, 2015

UNDERSTANDING BETEL NUT

Areca nut (commonly known as betel nut) grows in tropical parts of Asia, the Pacific and parts of Africa.  It is widely used as an intoxicant, believed to be the fourth most common human intoxicant after alcohol, caffeine and nicotine.  Generally chewed in combination with slaked lime, betel nut turns the mouth and saliva a distinct red colour which many people who've travelled throughout South East Asia and the Pacific would be familiar with.  Betel nut is sometimes seen in northern parts of Australia, and it is known to produce dependence and withdrawal.  The active ingredient in betel nut is arecoline, however it has been previously unclear exactly how this chemical produces dependence, and there has been little information available about treatment approaches for people wanting to reduce or cease their use of betel nut. An article was recently published on PLos ONE titled "Nicotinic activity of arecoline, the psychoactive element of betel nuts, suggests a basis for habitual use and anti-inflammatory activity."  The authors found that the arecoline in betel nut works on nicotinic receptors in the body, and they hypothesise that smoking cessation therapies such as varenicline (Champix) may assist people who want to cease using.


Go to "Nicotinic activity of arecoline, the psychoactive element of betel nuts, suggests a basis for habitual use and anti-inflammatory activity."

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November 20, 2015

SUPPLY REDUCTION THROUGH LOW AROMATIC FUEL

Low aromatic fuel (LAF) is regular unleaded petrol that performs the same as regular petrol, but it has less of the toxic components that allow people to become intoxicated from the fumes.  The federal government has been supporting the rollout of LAF across northern Australia, including the Gulf region and Cape York.  LAF has been available in central Australia for around ten years.  Tristan Ray from the Central Australian Youth Link-Up Service (CAYLUS) has written a fact sheet for the Australian Drug Foundation's Drug Info service, titled "Supply reduction through low aromatic fuel (LAF) goes from strength to strength: A perspective on the LAW rollout from Central Australia." Tristan describes the success of the program and provides links to research which indicates significant savings to government and the community following the rollout of LAF.


For more information go to the Australian Government "Low Aromatic Unleaded" website.

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November 20, 2015

ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER CHILD AND FAMILY RESOURCES PORTAL

The Australian Institute of Family Studies has developed an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child and Family Resources Portal "Knowledge Circle", that brings together a broad range of information, including service provider profiles with examples of good practice, a comprehensive resource list, discussion board and a collection of webinars.

Go to "Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child and Family Resources Portal - Knowledge Circle"

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November 13, 2015

UPDATE ON SYNTHETIC CANNABINOIDS

Synthetic cannabinoids first emerged in Australia in 2009, with the product "Kronic" gaining widespread media attention.  Since this time, there have been hundreds of similar synthetic cannabinoids appearing on the drug market, and alongside this there has been evidence of significant harm.  An article has been published on The Conversation website, providing an update on some of the newer synthetic cannabinoids indicating the ever increasing potency of these products and evidence of harm.  The authors point out that in 2011 - 2013, the most commonly available synthetic cannabinoids were several times more potent than THC, the active ingredient in the cannabis plant.  By 2014 - 15, some synthetic cannabinoids were up to 700 times more potent than THC.

Go to "Labs make new, dangerous synthetic cannabinoid drugs faster than we can ban them."

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November 12, 2015

"HIDDEN HARM" FOUR CORNERS HIGHLIGHT ON FASD

The ABC Four Corners Program recently broadcast "Hidden Harm" highlighting the negative stigma, lack of support, and the difficulty accessing services that children born with FASD and their families face. The program showed, people born with FASD have the disability for life and the implications are far reaching.

Watch the program here.

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November 12, 2015

STEP-BY-STEP TOOLKIT

The Step-by-Step Toolkit is intended for harm reduction service providers with limited experience of working with children and young people who inject drugs. This tool is the result of a partnership between Harm Reduction International (HRI), Youth Rise, International HIV/AIDS Alliance and Save the Children and was developed in response to HRI research on injecting drug use among under 18s globally that highlighted gaps in the response for this group.

Read more and dwonload the toolkit here

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November 12, 2015

ALCOHOL RELATED HOSPITAL PRESENTATIONS POST 2014 LIQUOR LAW CHANGES

The Medical Journal of Australia has published an article from Gordian and colleagues called "Presentations with alcohol-related serious injury to a major Sydney trauma hospital after 2014 changes to liquor laws". The objective of this research was to determine whether changes to the liquor laws in 2014, had an impact on emergency department presentations in an inner city entertainment precinct. They conclude that there was a significant reduction in the number of presentations to the emergency department in the 12 months after the introduction of the new liquor laws.

Read the article here

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November 4, 2015

"WE DON'T GET TAUGHT ENOUGH" AN ASSESSMENT OF DRUG EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS IN ENGLAND

The findings from Mentor's recent work on school-based alcohol and drug education have been published by the peer-reviewed international journal, Drugs and Alcohol Today. The paper presents findings from the London Youth Involvement Project and the Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Information Service (ADEPIS). This research provides an insight in to the current provision of drug education in schools with implications for national policy and practice.

Read more about the paper here

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