The Metropolitan Police in the United Kingdom have come up with a unique way of showing the health damage from the use of illicit drugs.
In a series of before and after photos of young women that used cocaine the severe aging is clear.
The damaged faces of the women are shown at the police web site and have been produced on posters, beer mats and nightclub flyers.
The shocking images showing the degenerative effects of drug use indicate that drug use can prematurely age young women in as little at 3 years of drug use.
One teenager looks 20 years older after using cocaine.
(Drug damage images are at www.met.police.uk/drugs/crackdown.htm)
All illicit drug users suffer physical harm and damaged looks are one of the health consequences.
However premature aging from using illicit drugs means rising health costs to the community as medical conditions normally associated with aging are brought forward to an earlier stage in life.
Cannabis is known to suppress the human immune system and to cause cancer so the health risks extend beyond aging.
By using our courts to divert illicit drug users into detoxification and rehabilitation we can help users to avoid these future health burdens and save costs to the community.
These premature aging images MUST be used by Australian governments as part of their drug prevention education campaigns to turn teenagers away from future drug use.
Drug smugglers arrested with less than 3 kilos of cocaine at Amsterdam airport will not be prosecuted under plans by the Dutch government.
About 150 cocaine smugglers at arrested at the airport every month.
There are a rising number of arrests at the airport due to an influx of drug smugglers and the goals and courts cannot cope.
Previously the government stopped prosecuting drug smugglers with one and a half kilos of cocaine and now they have doubled the limit.
(Source: Geraldine Coughlan BBC correspondent in the Hague)
The Dutch have strongly embraced harm minimisation in drug policies and the drug problems have got worse.
The government clearly cannot cope with the drug smugglers so they ease the prosecution laws to stop their gaols and courts being flooded.
Australia has adopted harm minimisation in our drug policy adopting Dutch drug policies like injecting rooms, syringe distribution and allowing illicit drug possession.
Australian governments must provide detoxification and rehabilitation to illicit drug users to get them drug free.
International criminals and terrorists control the illicit drug trade so harm minimisation benefits these by providing a market for drugs.
A study of 146 deaths from cocaine use in NSW from the records of the Coroners Office showed-
89% of the cocaine death victims were not in any treatment program.
The number of cocaine deaths increased substantially between 1998 and 2001 with the worst years being 1998 and also 2001.
84% of cocaine death victims were males.
The average age at death was 34 years.
3 out of 4 victims were in a married or defacto relationship.
Half of the victims were employed and 26% of all cocaine victims worked in professional occupations.
3 out of 4 victims were born in Australia.
(Source: National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre)
Most of the cocaine death victims were long-term illicit drug users that were not receiving any assistance in getting themselves drug free.
Australian courts should direct arrested cocaine drug users into detoxification and rehabilitation programs with the clear aim to get them off all illicit drugs.
Providing illicit drug users with places to use drugs, clean syringes and other programs to maintain or change their drug use is not working.
Effective rehabilitation programs with the objective to get illicit drug users totally drug free is the only way to prevent cocaine deaths.
New research by the University of Chicago indicates that parental divorce leads to increased illicit drug use by their children.
The study of data collected between 1988 and 1992 by the US Department of Education showed that there was a strong and clear relationship between cocaine use and recent parental divorce.
Children from recently divorced single parent families were more likely than children from intact families to have consumed cocaine frequently.
These children from recently divorced families also more likely to be under the influence of cocaine whilst at school.
These children seek stonger illicit substances rather than weaker because a recent parental divorce causes increased emotional turmoil and stress in the child's life.
According to the researcher, the higher level of cocaine use amoung these teens of a recent divorce may reflect how upsetting and stressful an experience a parental divorce is.
(Source: Jeynes W.J. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, Vol 35, 2001)
This study reinforces the need for all illicit drug users to be provided with detoxification followed by comprehensive rehabilitation to a drug free state.
The underlying causes of drug use must be addressed by the rehabilitation for it to be successful.
Policies that maintain illicit drug use will NOT work.
A recent survey indicates that 770,000 Australians aged 14 years and over had ever used cocaine.
The same survey indicated that over 169,000 of these had used cocaine in the previous 12 months.
Sydney is the focal point of cocaine use in Australia.
Sydney is the major point of entry for cocaine into Australia and criminals' traffic cocaine to other states and territories via established trafficking routes.
It is estimated that almost 3 tonnes of cocaine are consumed each year in Sydney and Melbourne alone.
The market for cocaine is poly drug users that are unemployed with higher levels of criminal behavior, sex work and heroin use.
Cocaine is easy to obtain, with prices highest in Northern Territory at $600 per gram and cheapest in South Australia at $250 per gram.
(Source: Illicit Drug Data Report 2005/6, Australian Crime Commission)
Sydney with its illicit drug injecting facility is providing the key demand for cocaine.
The cocaine demand is funding criminal behavior in Australia and providing drug money for overseas criminal networks that use Sydney for their gateway into Australia.
Without a significant reduction in demand for cocaine then the criminal activity will continue.
Australian authorities must commit to reducing the demand for illicit drugs to close off the drug funds to criminal groups and ease the work of Australian border protection agencies.
Taking Action - Stopping Ice
United Nations Office of Drugs & Crime: Drug Prevention & Treatment
Medicinal Cannabis –
Access to medicinal Cannabis Products (TGA)
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Presentations, Statements & Conference Resources from WFAD 2018 Forum