New and emerging drugs - DrugInfo - Australian Drug Foundation

New and emerging drugs - DrugInfo - Australian Drug Foundation

New Zealand’s novel legislative approach P:02The Kronic chronicles P:04Communicating the risks of unknown harms P:06Tracking emerging drugs in Australia P:08Emerging drug laws: a minefield of complexity P:09Why the legal high industry is thriving P:10Australian Drug Foundation • Alcohol & Drug information ISSN 2201-9197April 2013OpinionWhat can Australia learnfrom the UK experience?Dr Adam Winstock P:03Your viewCould legal highs be a saferalternative to alcohol? P:10New andemerging drugsResponding to one of thebiggest challenges in thealcohol and other drugs sector.Join ouronlinemailing listDetails inside

Photo: Dr Ray McCruddenopinionDr Adam R Winstock is a Consultant Psychiatristat SLAM NHS Trust in the UK, Honorary SeniorLecturer at Kings College London, Founder andDirector of the Global Drug Survey, and the architectof the drugs meter ( anddrinks meter ( reduction: only collaboration betweenregulators, manufacturers and consumers will workIn the last five years, more new and emergingpsychoactive drugs have been notified to variousglobal monitoring agencies than over the last 50 years.Regulatory bodies are unable to keep abreast of therapid release of new drugs, and simply monitoring theirexistence does nothing to curb their potential for harm.So, different approaches must be considered that heedthe lessons learned from tobacco and alcohol control.Consideration must be given to a variety of strategies,including mandating manufacturers to take moreresponsibility for the effects of their products throughrisk assessments and advice to consumers, and ensuringthat users of these products are informed and aresupported to adopt harm minimisation strategies.UK experienceWhile declining purity of MDMA (or ecstasy) and cocainehas contributed to demand for new and emerging drugs,the successful commercial collaboration between basicpharmacological research, astute online promoters and thrivingmanufacturing capabilities in China, has led to a paradigm shiftin the supply of these substances. Often purchased online, theseunknown, untested and unregulated substances can simply arrivewith the morning post, exposing consumers to potential harm. Toavoid contravening existing non-drug control regulations (such asmedicines or food legislation) manufacturers often describe theirproducts as ‘research chemicals’ or ‘plant feeder’. While labellingthese products ‘not for human consumption’ conceals theirtrue purpose and protects vendors from prosecution in somecountries, it means they arrive with no dosing or harm reductioninformation. In the UK, where control of new and emergingdrugs falls under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, experience hasshown that while prohibiting specific substances reduces theirwidespread availability, banned drugs are swiftly replaced bynewer unknown compounds.One of the first substances categorised as a new and emergingdrug was mephedrone. It was banned across Europe beforemuch was known about it, except that people liked it and itwas cheap. Time and experience have changed our views andthose of users. While mephedrone’s effect profile was initiallyrather positive, this has since given way to concerns aboutoverdose-related toxicity, dependence potential and migrationto injecting communities. Experience from the UK suggeststhat while control under the Misuse of Drugs Act has reducedavailability, it may also have transitioned the drug to streetdealing, increased its price, and heightened the risk of harmwith reports that it is increasingly being injected in the UK andwider European Union. Banning mephedrone in the UK also ledsome of its users back to MDMA and cocaine. A recent increasein the quality of MDMA may also have been a response to theloss of business to these newer substances.Australian experienceWhile new and emerging drugs have made a real impact in theUK, other parts of Europe and the USA, evidence suggests thatthese substances are yet to make real inroads in the Australianmarket. Data from the recent Global Drug Survey of over 6500Australians found that only nine per cent of the sample reportedpurchasing drugs promoted as bath salts, legal highs or researchchemicals - common descriptors for new and emerging drugs - inthe previous 12 months. Drugs such as synthetic cannabinoids,mephedrone, 2-CB, DMT and 25BNBOMe were only reported by avery small minority....article continued page 4While new and emerging drugshave made a real impact in theUK, other parts of Europe and theUSA, evidence suggests that thesesubstances are yet to make realinroads in the Australian market.03

harm reduction...continued from page 3So, what can be done?While coordinated global monitoring of these newdrugs exists via such bodies as the European MonitoringCentre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), FocalPoint Network and the UN SMART project, monitoring ofa drug’s existence does not protect consumers withoutsome awareness of its risk and effect profile. Legislatorsin Australia could consider supporting an independentrisk assessment unit for new and emerging drugs, whichintegrates data from universal and targeted public healthsurveillance, subjective user effect and risk profiles, policeand emergency health services data, and basic scientificinformation. By supporting a flexible and responsive unit,assessments could target the compounds of most concern.A useful framework for such a risk assessment strategy hasalready been developed by the EMCDDA in Lisbon.Alternatives to control under the current drug legislationmust also be considered, and the lessons learned fromalcohol and tobacco control taken into account. We knowthat price, age and promotion restrictions work. We couldconsider the integration of familiar regulations for otherconsumables such as consumer protection, quality controland trading standards. Mandating producers to includedosing advice, contraindications, side effects and what todo in an emergency, would be an interesting approach. Forexample, including a warning such as, ‘May cause paranoia,psychosis and extreme mood swings’. A reporting systemfor side effects could also be set up, which is independentlymonitored by researchers and funded by manufacturers, toobserve longer term harms and emerging complications.Other approaches might include requiring producersto demonstrate that their product is ‘safe for humanconsumption’ or that it is fit for purpose by applying forapproval through the Therapeutic Goods Administration(TGA). Evaluating the ideas of New Zealand’s legislators mayalso be instructive, with the Advisory Council for the Misuseof Drugs in the UK calling for a similar review of how newdrugs should be assessed and controlled.Finally, we need to explore the best ways to supportinformed decision-making by individuals, the majority ofwhom are interested in their own health and wellbeing.While there is much talk about harm reduction, there hasbeen little research into what messages are most effective,how they are best communicated, and how acceptablecurrently recommended approaches are to users of newand emerging drugs. In the future, harm reduction willneed to explicitly incorporate the maintenance, andpossibly even the enhancement, of pleasure if we reallywant people who use drugs to see that harm reductionadvice is balanced and truly non-judgmental.In the future, harmreduction will need toexplicitly incorporatethe maintenance, andpossibly even theenhancement, of pleasure.The Kronic chroniclesA case study of the emergence of Kronic as the mostpopular brand of synthetic cannabis demonstrates howpolicy, media and drug-related harm intersect. Thestory of its rise and ineffective legal demise involvesseveral characters: entrepreneurial businessmen,medical experts, mining companies, policy makers,media and, of course, people interested in usingsynthetic cannabis.Kronic’s story began here when its owner, MatthewWielenga, expanded his synthetic cannabis business fromNew Zealand to Australia in 2010. By late April 2011, theAustralian media were reporting that workers on WesternAustralian (WA) mine sites were using Kronic to evade drugtesting. Since Australian mining companies must meet strictoccupational health and safety regulations, the WA mininglobby quickly persuaded the WA Government to respond. On13 June 2011, it was announced that seven of the chemicalsthat Kronic was suspected to contain would be bannedin WA from 17 June, prompting strong support from theAustralian Medical Association.The announcement also created significant publicity forKronic, with most media headlines referring to the brand. Themanufacturers of Kronic endeavoured to sell their remainingstock ahead of the ban, using social media to engage theircustomers. On the evening of 16 June, a party was organisedin Perth encouraging people to smoke their remaining Kronic,which was quickly shut down by police.Soon after the June 2011 bans came into effect, similar productsbecame available that were alleged to contain new chemicals.Kronic released a Black Label blend for its WA customers.The Kronic brand was further publicised when, on 30 June, themedia reported that a novel benzodiazepine had been detectedin Kronic by New Zealand authorities. Wielenga asserted thatthis benzodiazepine was not intended to be in Kronic, and thatthe company importing the chemicals that he used in Kronicmust have been at fault. This company, Stargate International,established the ‘legal highs’ industry in New Zealand.On 4 August 2011, a man with a pre-existing heart conditiondied after apparently smoking Kronic Black Label. TheWA Government reacted promptly, banning another 14chemicals from 6 August and other states quickly followedWA’s lead. New South Wales banned eight chemicals on 1July, while Tasmania and the Northern Territory took actionin early August. Later in 2011, Queensland and Victoria alsoscheduled several chemicals, while the federal governmentbanned eight chemicals in July 2011 and eight broadchemical categories in May 2012.The Kronic chronicles demonstrates the piecemeal responseto synthetic cannabis in Australia, which has essentially beenreactive and ineffective. There is little evidence that thesechanges have significantly reduced the availability of syntheticcannabis. In fact, each legislative action has raised awarenessof it through the media, and manufacturers have respondedto legislative actions by bringing new and lesser-knownchemicals onto the market. While Wielenga’s company is nolonger producing Kronic in Australia, a number of others havecapitalised on the Kronic brand, selling their own syntheticcannabis products as Kronic.04

Policy makers should take heed of the Kronic chroniclesand consider alternative legislative responses that bettermitigate harm than banning specific substances. As discussedby Dr Winstock, regulating markets for new and emergingpsychoactive substances is one option. Yet, if only new oremerging drugs are regulated, we may just shift trends indrug consumption towards lesser-known drugs and awayfrom traditionally prohibited drugs. Research indicates thatthe legal status of new and emerging drugs is attractive todrug consumers, who wish to alter their mind or experiencedrug-induced pleasure without breaking the law. In the case ofKronic, mounting evidence suggests that synthetic cannabisis more harmful than cannabis itself. If the goal of policy isto reduce drug-related harms in the community, endingprohibition of cannabis may achieve this goal by breaking thecycle of new and lesser-known products entering the market,and reducing the demand for a ‘legal’ cannabis-like alternative.The question shouldn’t be whether cannabis is regulated, butwhat model of cannabis regulation is most suitable.Stephen Bright is Coordinator of Addiction Studies andMonica Barratt is Research Fellow at the National DrugResearch Institute, both at Curtin UniversityThe Kronic timeline2010: Matthew Wielenga expands hisbusiness from New Zealand to AustraliaLate April 2011: Media reports of Kronicbeing used by workers on WA mine sites13 June 2011: WA Government announcesimpending ban on chemicals thought to becontained in Kronic16 June 2011: Party held for Kronic users toconsume remaining product ahead of bans17 June 2011: Bans come into effectJune/July 2011: Kronic releases Black Labelblend for WA customers4 August 2011: Man dies after allegedlysmoking Kronic Black Label6 August: WA Government bans a further14 chemicalsJuly 2011-2012: Other state and territorygovernments and the federal governmentfollow WA’s lead, banning a variety of chemicals2012-2013: Newer versions of Kronicreleased into the marketMounting evidence suggeststhat synthetic cannabis ismore harmful than cannabis.Kronic05

CommunicatingCommunicating the risks of unknown harmsThe use of new and emerging drugs raises manydifficult issues for workers and services attempting tominimise the potential harms. Many people who useillicit substances are wary of messages from healthprofessionals because of a lack of credibility. Officialsources often highlight only the potential negativeeffects of substance use without any real data. Likewise,mass media campaigns have had limited impact usingscare tactics. Devising credible health messages isessential to effectively communicate with people whouse drugs. This becomes extremely difficult however,when we, as health workers, are unsure of what thepotential harms might be. So, how then do we effectivelycommunicate the risks of unknown harms?Historically, drug prevention campaigns have relied on, atworst, scare tactics, and sometimes at best an over-statementof potential harms. This has been coupled with a denial of theexistence of positive side-effects of substance use. For example,one official government information source describes the signsor symptoms of ecstasy (MDMA) use as including, ‘increasedblood pressure, nausea, confusion, panic’ amongst a raft of othernegative effects. People who have never used MDMA wouldquestion why someone would pay for such a negative, if nottoxic, experience. Naturally, people who use drugs such as MDMAare sceptical of information that only focuses on the negativehealth effects, because it doesn’t always equate with their actualexperience of drug use where many people do not experience anysignificant negative health effects. 1Mass media campaigns also have a questionable history ofeffectiveness. A meta-analysis conducted in 2011 indicated thatpublic service announcements about anti-illicit drugs may havelimited impact on either intention to use or actual use of illicitdrugs 2 . Despite knowing this, we continue to see mass mediacampaigns that often go unevaluated. A recent example wasthe United States Navy advertisements titled, ‘Bath Salts: It’snot a fad… It’s a NIGHTMARE’. This campaign was in responseto issues experienced within the United States Navy, howeveradvertisements of this nature can be problematic for severalreasons. Some campaigns inadvertently instruct people in howto access substances. The US Navy ad, for example, began withthe arrival of a package - presumably MDPV - inferring that ithad been ordered online. Secondly, mass media campaignscan increase perceptions of the prevalence of substance use.We know from a range of research that young people are moreinclined to engage in behaviour when they perceive it to becommon amongst their peers 3 . A study published in 2009 testedthe effects of anti-marijuana advertisements on various groupsof young people including those considered at risk of cannabisuse, compared with those considered to be less at risk of usingcannabis 4 . The authors found that those more likely to usecannabis reacted negatively to ads with stronger argumentsagainst use. They also found that actual depictions of cannabisuse created even stronger reactions against the ads. 4These cautions need to be heeded as we consider how toeffectively communicate the potential harms from new andemerging drugs. Workers who interact with individuals usingthese drugs should attempt to ascertain the person’s actualexperience of the substance in question. Is the person concernedIt is important tocommunicate that whilewe have significantknowledge of thepossible impacts of manytraditional drugs, we donot yet understand thepotential harms of manynew and emerging drugs.06

Historically, drug prevention campaigns haverelied on, at worst, scare tactics, and sometimesat best an over-statement of potential harms.about his or her own, or a friend’s, use of these drugs? Has he orshe witnessed negative outcomes from their own or someoneelse’s use of these substances? It is important to communicate thatwhile we have significant knowledge of the possible impacts ofmany traditional drugs, we do not yet understand the potentialharms of many new and emerging drugs. Sadly, most of our currentknowledge of the negative outcomes experienced by people whouse these drugs comes from reports of adverse events as humanseffectively test these substances on themselves.References1Nutt D, King L & Phillips L 2010 “Drug harms in the UK: A multicriteria decisionanalysis” The Lancet, vol 376, issue 9752, 6-12 Nov 2010, pp. 1558-1565.2Werb D, Mills EJ, DeBeck K, Kerr T, Montaner J & Wood E 2011 “The effectiveness ofanti-illicit drug public service announcements: A systemic review and meta-analysis”Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, vol 65, issue 10, pp. 834-840.3Perkins HW 2002 “Social norms and the prevention of alcohol misuse in collegiatecontexts” Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Supplement no. 14, pp. 164-172.4Kang Y, Cappella J & Fishbein M 2009 “The effect of marijuana scenes in antimarijuanapublic service announcements on adolescents evaluation of adeffectiveness” Health Communication, vol 24, pp. 483-493.Cameron Francis is a social worker at Dovetailthe risks07

Tracking emerging drugs in Australia:the case of NBOMe drugsThe rapid proliferation of new drugs available toAustralians has necessitated the use of innovativetechniques to monitor their emergence. This article willuse the example of NBOMe drugs to outline four waysof monitoring drug use trends online and in real-time.These tools are freely available for use by clinicians,allied health and youth workers, and researchers who areseeking further information about new drugs presentedby clients, or that are talked about in their work.NBOMe (or 25-NBOMe) drugs are a new class of hallucinogens.These drugs have structural similarity to the 2C family ofhallucinogens, and blotter tabs containing NBOMe drugs havebeen sold as ‘legal LSD’. Other representatives of this class ofdrugs include 25C-NBOMe and 25D-NBOMe. According to Erowid(, an educational organisation that providesinformation about psychoactive drugs, these compounds havealmost no history of use by humans until 2010 when they firstbecame available online.To date, there have only been two peer-reviewed articles publishedabout the availability of these compounds in drug markets,both authored by Zuba et al. from Poland. While local Australianmonitoring systems have not yet reported NBOMe use, in 2012,Adelaide Now reported one death from an overdose of 25I-NBOMeand numerous non-fatal overdoses associated with NBOMe drugs.The online methods outlined below seek to answer the question:‘Are Australians using 25-NBOMe drugs?’1. Google trendsInterest in the NBOMe series can be tracked using Google Trends(see Figure 1). Limited to an Australian sample, Google Trendsreveal that Australians began searching for NBOMe drugs inMarch 2012, with increasing levels of activity since then. GoogleTrends also shows a positive association between the publicationof specific news articles and increased searching (see point A inFigure 1, which indicates the timing of the Adelaide Now article).2. Drug user forumsDrug user forums are an important source of current druginformation. When searching for experiences or harmsassociated with specific drugs, the geographical source ofthe information is not as important. However, to identify localtrends, the international nature of drug user forums poses aproblem. A search of Australian drug discussions for the term‘NBOMe’ on Bluelight ( found 29 threads. Mostwere posted within the last 12 months, with the oldest in 2010.These discussions may be further analysed to obtain specificinformation about availability, purity and the drug’s appeal toBluelight’s community of psychonauts.3. TwitterTwitter is another valuable resource for identifying breakingtrends. Using the search phrase ‘NBOMe near:adelaidewithin:1500mi’, which encapsulates all of Australia, no tweetswere found. However, searching globally for ‘NBOMe’ drew aboutfive tweets a day across the entire Twittersphere, includingdiscussions about its use, links to vendors, and tweets madeduring people’s trips on NBOMe drugs. Access to Twitter’s‘firehose’ (their complete archive of all tweets) comes at a highcost (e.g. through Datasift) but could possibly be used to tracktrends in new drug discussion similarly to the free Google Trends.4. Silk Road marketplaceFinally, an examination of the Silk Road marketplace for currentlistings of NBOMe drugs for sale revealed 214 listings, including25B, 25C, 25D and 25I. Vendors shipping from Australia toAustralia included 18 listings for NBOMe drugs. Given thatNBOMe is usually consumed on blotter paper and is thereforeeasily sent by post, the ‘ship to’ column for all listings wasanalysed and found to include mostly worldwide shipping.Figure 1: Google trends08

ConclusionUsing four online real-time monitoring methods, it is clearlyevident that some Australians are using NBOMe drugs. Thisup-to-date information could be used to add questions aboutNBOMe drugs to regular monitoring surveys. These four sourcesof information could also be monitored at regular intervalsover a 12 month period to detect any increases in interest,discussion, sales or use of this new category of hallucinogenicdrugs. These tools may also be useful to field workers whoencounter new substances described by their clients.Dr Monica Barratt is Research Fellow at the NationalDrug Research Institute at Curtin UniversityEmerging drug laws:a minefield of complexityNew and emerging drugs have long been a greyarea for legislators with inconsistencies in lawsacross state, territory and federal boundaries. Whilegovernments across Australia are now legislatingto criminalise these new substances, their effortsso far have been, without exaggeration, shambolic.The current strategy of banning substances asthey emerge means legislators are effectivelyseeking to outwit manufacturers and their endlessability to innovate and stay ahead of the law. In thisenvironment, prosecutions are difficult and keyparticipants, including sellers and consumers, areunsure of the law.New laws to amend the Criminal Code Act 1995 from May2013 were recently passed by the Commonwealth. Underthese new drug laws, ‘analogue’ is defined as a substancesuch as a stereoisomer, an isomer, an alkaloid, or structuralmodifications to a group of chemicals. However, stateand territory laws define analogues only in relation tospecific substances or drugs, or not at all. In Victoria, forexample, there is no reference to analogues. The law onlyreferences derivatives, which are defined as any form ofa prohibited drug, ‘whether natural or synthetic, and thesalts, derivatives and isomers of that drug and any salt ofthose derivatives and isomers’.The differing definitions of analogues and derivatives ineach of Australia’s nine criminal law jurisdictions means thatif ever ignorance of the law should be an excuse then this isit. Of course, ignorance is never really an excuse, however noother area of the law, whether criminal or civil, exhibits suchcomplexity caused by differences in definitions. The currentlaw means that a person can be charged with trafficking aprohibited synthetic analogue by the Commonwealth, butnot have committed an offence against state law.The current legislative environment for new and emergingdrugs is complex and largely ineffective. New drugsare emerging at such a rapid rate that legislators areconstantly playing catch up as manufacturers innovate tostay ‘legal’. This is also an area of law where the definitionsof words such as ‘analogues’ and ‘derivatives’ will be testedby defendants and prosecutors, and where forensic testingof substances will be disputed by both sides.Greg Barns is a barrister and former NationalPresident of the Australian Lawyers AllianceThese tools are freely available foruse by clinicians, allied health andyouth workers, and researchers whoare seeking further information aboutnew drugs presented by clients.09

industry perspectiveWhy the legal highindustry is thrivingIt may be coincidental, but as the internet reached anew peak in popularity some 10 to 12 years ago, a newgeneration of synthetic highs - known as ‘legal highs’- was born. And, like the internet, these drugs havebecome game changers for regulators, governments,businesses and consumers.In terms of availability and accessibility, legal high products are,in some ways, similar to pornography. In the 1970s and 80s,users of porn often had to source their products from sleazysex shops. Now, in the privacy of their own home they canaccess an infinite cornucopia of sexual material online.Similarly, in the past, a person seeking recreational drugs oftensought out a backyard drug dealer. Now, that same adult canwalk into a brightly lit store and discuss or request a specifictype of high. The purchaser will be provided with a productthat they can pay for with a credit card and on which the‘dealer’ has paid federal tax.Ironically, it was the internet that provided the platform for bothof these products to become widely available. In addition, aspornography has increasingly moved online, retail stores thatpreviously sold adult media have now allocated space to legalhighs. The two platforms are working well together.It may come as a surprise to many, but a lot of Australians likeand use drugs without becoming homeless addicts or helplessno-hopers. Over the past 10 years, the Australian market fornew and emerging drugs has grown quickly. According to salesfigures from our distributor and manufacturer members, it isnow worth an estimated $600 million per annum. This explosionhas mostly been due to the prohibition of natural cannabis,although the comparatively shorter and less intense experiencefrom synthetic cannabis has also attracted some people.Australian retailers have noted that the main demographic forpurchasing legal highs is 30-50 year olds, typically purchasinga three gram pack. Retailers report that a large proportionof customers, including many in the 65+ demographic, usesynthetic cannabinoids as analgesics and for the relief ofinsomnia. They also say that cancer patients are among thoseusing these substances for therapeutic purposes, presumablydue to their advertised similarity to cannabis.Anecdotally, adult retailers say that they have elderly peopleon walking frames in their shops for the first time, and haveestimated that less than one per cent of their customers reporthaving adverse reactions to the products.An industry growing this rapidly would benefit from regulation.Although the industry has begun self-regulating and hasadopted a code of practice, legislation would further ensurethat the industry was safe and that harm to consumers wasminimised. The New Zealand approach (discussed in thispublication) therefore has broad support from the industry.Fiona Patten is Executive Officer at TheEros Association - Australia’s nationaladult retail and entertainment association– and President of the Australian Sex PartyCould legalhighs be a saferalternativeto alcohol?New medicines sometimes replace older ones.This is because newer products are often safer andmore effective. Mercury, for instance, was onceadministered to patients with syphilis. It would nowbe considered crude and anachronistic.This is exactly how I feel about the ongoing use of alcoholand tobacco. It’s hard to believe we are still using them.Can we envision another millennium of recreationaluse of these substances? Why should we have to? Theremust be safer alternatives. A product less addictive andless carcinogenic would be a start. Some of the new andemerging drugs might fit the profile but are often caughtin knee-jerk, anti-drug legislation. Electronic cigarettesare facing a similar fate. Apparently they send the wrongmessage. What message? That we should stick with alcoholand combustible tobacco products for the next 5000 years?The situation is intolerable. Substances sold for nontherapeuticuse with a poor safety profile (such as alcoholand tobacco) should generally be abandoned and replacedwhere possible. New drugs could be engineered withsuperior safety profiles. Innovation in this domain is sorelylacking and drug policy should encourage rather thanprohibit it. If it is possible to develop new therapeutic drugsand review the safety of older ones, then it is possible to dothe same with substances designed for non-therapeutic use.Prohibition is retrogressive and has impaired our ability toformulate sensible drug policy. The emergence of novelpsychoactive substances gives us the perfect opportunity torethink it. Why has there never been a pathway to approvenew substances for non-medical use?Evert Rauwendaal, social workerSubstances sold for non-therapeutic usewith a poor safety profile (such as alcohol andtobacco) should generally be abandoned andreplaced where possible. New drugs couldbe engineered with superior safety profiles.Your ViewReaders are invited to submit articles to Preventionin Action. Subscribe to the DrugInfo Alert foradvance notice of the next topic and informationon how to submit articles

subscribeDrugs withoutthe hot air:Minimising the harmsof legal and illegal drugsby David NuttIn Drugs without the hot air, Nutt provides straightforwardexplanations of his various theories for minimising theharms caused by legal and illegal drugs. The book alsodescribes how drugs affect people and how drug harmscan be quantified using categories such as medical, social,economic and legal.Nutt provides a range of evidence-based information aboutdrugs, including the contexts in which they are used and theways that society has attempted to control them. He posessome very challenging and important questions, including:• How can we reduce the harm from alcohol?• What and when should I tell my kids about drugs?• Can addiction be cured?Readers with an interest in evidence-based informationabout drugs and their use, and recommendations for harmminimisation will find Nutt’s book very accessible. It is suitablefor parents, teachers, allied health and youth workers andpolicy makers.Reviewed by Ian Comben, Information Officer,Australian Drug FoundationBookBluelightwww.bluelight.ruBluelight is a place for people who use drugs to shareand find information in a safe, anonymous and nonjudgementalenvironment. It is also a great place forworkers to find out what is happening in the community,including insight into trends in new and emerging drugs.The site is funded by private donations, administeredby volunteers from around the world and supports thebelief that harms are best prevented through educationand harm reduction messages rather than scare tactics.To cater for a range of audiences, Bluelight providesmore than 50 moderated forums covering topicsas diverse as psychedelic drugs, healthy living andelectronic music.Discussion is fairly open. Contributors can askquestions, discuss their first-hand experiences orprovide warnings about the dangers of particulardoses or drug combinations. Comments about wheredrugs might be sourced are not tolerated and anycontributors involved are banned.The Bluelight Wiki provides general announcements andfrequently asked questions, including descriptions ofparticular types of drugs. It is great to see that it includesa lot of new and emerging drugs that have not yet beenthe subject of formal research.A sister site,, provides contributors’reports of pills available in each continent, includingimages, descriptions and quality.This is a large site so it’s advisable to read through theFAQs and become familiar with the breadth of contentavailable to identify relevant sections of interest.Reviewed by Linda Rehill, Web Content Editor,Australian Drug FoundationWebAustralia’s leading alcoholand drug search directoryAN INFORMATION SERVICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN DRUG

Look out for the nextprevention suite onleveraging social mediafor health promoters.Alcohol & Drug InformationWe provide information and resourceson a range of topics for allied healthand youth workers, clinicians, teachers,students, parents, people who usedrugs, policy makers, workplaces, localgovernments and sports clubs.Visit 1300 858 584Email Australian Drug FoundationWe are a leading source of evidence-basedinformation and resources about alcoholand other drugs. Since our creation in 1959,we have advocated for change, which hasimpacted on minimising harm caused byalcohol and other drugs in our society. Weare creating strong, healthy communitiesthrough: education and support for parentsand young people, and extending our reachinto sporting clubs and workplaces.The Prevention in Action publication issupported by the Victorian GovernmentStay people.Strong communities.Alcohol and drug informationCommunity programsPolicy and advocacyWorkplace servicesAustralian Drug FoundationLevel 12, 607 Bourke Street Melbourne PO Box 818 North Melbourne Victoria Australia 3051Phone 03 9611 6100 Fax 03 8672 5983 ABN 66 057 731 192DisclaimerThe Australian Drug Foundation has used its best endeavours to ensure thatmaterial contained in this publication was correct at the time of printing. TheAustralian Drug Foundation gives no warranty and accepts no responsibility forthe accuracy or completeness of information and reserves the right to makechanges without notice at any time in its absolute discretion. Views expressedin this publication are those of the individual authors and the informants, andmay not reflect the views or policies of the Australian Drug Foundation.Unless otherwise noted, images are for illustrative purposes only.Copyright © Australian Drug Foundation, April 2013. ABN 66 057 731 192.Content within this publication may be freely photocopied or transmittedprovided the author and the Australian Drug Foundation are appropriatelyacknowledged. Copies of this publication must not be sold. Authorisedand published by the Australian Drug Foundation, 12/607 Bourke Street,Melbourne, 3000.

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