No reasonable or meaningful discussion can take place on drug policy unless all parties understand the three levels of prevention in public health principles when dealing with epidemics - be they for example influenza, measles, smallpox, zika virus, cholera, dengue fever, Ebola etc. or drugs. The three levels of prevention are Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. Arguably the greatest failure of Primary prevention occurred during the 1918 influenza pandemic when an estimated 20-50 million people died from influenza, more than from the Black Death Bubonic Plague from 1347 to 1351.
PRIMARY prevention applies measures to prevent a disorder from occurring e.g. tetanus or flu vaccinations and health education/messages. In the case of illicit drug use, or abuse of legal drugs, areas of law enforcement can act as primary prevention - arguably the most prominent being the multiple tonnes of drugs seized by border control forces which stop hundreds of millions of street hits reaching us, especially our children. SECONDARY prevention applies to treatment measures of a disorder in its early/middle stages of development, and then preventing any further relapse (s) or recurrence. TERTIARY prevention is management of a case (s) at a later stage - to apply measures to slow down progression or reduce the number of relapses (often these are extreme cases of drug-related morbidity). In all 3 preventions, the overriding aim must be to maintain or restore normal lives - i.e. free of drugs. Observers will quickly link, analogously, any illicit drug policy with clearly unsuccessful primary prevention to a message to sailors in northern hemisphere seas that icebergs are uncommon and not really dangerous.
What decides essentially the progression or regression of a drug epidemic ? If the number of first-time users does not fall substantially the epidemic cannot be contained or diminished. Take opiates as an example. According to C/W Health figures issued in 1991, there were 9,100 persons on methadone in Australia. Leading health bodies now estimate this number has risen to 51,000 ! A rise in the numbers on methadone points to a rise in the number of opioid users (often heroin) and dependency.
In 2014 a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime found Australia had " the highest proportion of per capita recreational drug users in the world……… with the number of drug users continuing to rise steadily". The sad truth of course is that the Australian model referred to is Harm minimisation/Harm reduction, still in force. Treatment (secondary prevention) is essential but efficiently applied primary prevention will always reduce substantially and disproportionately resources needed for treatment, unless the treatment is laissez-faire (drug maintenance) and not successful in returning the drug afflicted to normal (drug-free) lives. So let's change the model. Sweden is recognised internationally as having one of the most successful drug policies in the world. Why do I say that ? In 2008the UN Office on Drugs and Crime conducted a study of 180 countries using serious drug problems as the principal benchmark - 180 being the best, and 1 the worst. Australia came in the first 12. Sweden came in at 162.
Sweden rationalises and justifies its drug policy by declaring it is common, nationally and internationally, to formulate aims which express a basic standpoint and indicate a direction, even if the aim can hardly be achieved in the short term. The UN conventions on human rights are one such example. They represent the international community's consensus view on the rights which are to apply to people the world over. Knowledge of the occurrence of worldly violations of human rights and of the aims being far beyond many countries' horizons makes it more important than ever to safeguard the vision of universal human rights. Acceptance of human rights violations relating to the situation in certain parts of the world would amount to capitulation.
By the same token, limiting the aims of drug policy to basically "reducing the harmful effects of drugs" is to capitulate to illegal drug trafficking and to accept that drugs have come to stay in our societies. A limited aim of this kind is in practice a lowering of society's ambitions, and sanctions the marginalization of certain groups in society. Limiting the harmful effects of drugs is one part of the efforts made in drug use care on behalf of persons who have become addicted to drugs, but if a strategy is formulated essentially in terms of alleviating the situation of those who have already become dependent/addicted, the role and effectiveness of primary prevention is severely hindered resulting in greater numbers of first-time users - a situation which if allowed to continue must derail the principles of public health governing epidemics which include the dimension of the numbers involved and the concept of prevention - primary (prioritised), secondary, and tertiary.
Recommendation 8 of the 2007 Commonwealth House of Representatives Standing Committee report "The impact of illicit drugs on families" recognised the above by saying that "The Commonwealth Government develop and bring to the Council of Australian Governments a national illicit drug policy that replaces the current focus of the National Drug Strategy on harm minimisation with a focus on harm prevention and treatment that has the aim of achieving permanent drug-free status for individuals with the goal of enabling drug users to be drug free"
Mr. Colliss Parrett
Member, Drug Advisory Council Australia
Australian youth are drinking and smoking less than before. AAP
School-aged Aussie kids are drinking less alcohol and smoking less tobacco and cannabis, The study is the work of researchers at Deakin University, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, and has been published in the Drug and Alcohol Review journal.
Better parental attitudes about the dangers have been linked to the trend, identified by an analysis of more than 40,000 student surveys completed in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia between 1999 and 2015.
But so, too, has the fact it’s become harder for kids to get their hands on harmful substances.
“Alcohol, tobacco and cannabis use all fell significantly from 1999 to 2015,” Australian researchers found, but noted higher levels of use in Victoria compared to the other two states.
Parental supply of alcohol has dropped from a high of 22 per cent in 2007, to 12 per cent.
The sale of alcohol to minors also has plunged from 12 per cent in 1999, to just one per cent.
“It is plausible that a reduced tendency for parents and other adults to supply adolescent alcohol are implicated in the reductions in adolescent alcohol use observed across Australia,” the study found.
“This is a game changer; we can see that parents are taking on the advice from our national health guidelines that even a small amount of alcohol is harmful to teenagers, And we believe this is what has seen Australia go from having one of the highest rates of alcohol use by high school students in the world, to one of the lowest…findings also point to the value of school drug education programs, restrictive underage purchase laws and market regulations.” Lead researcher Professor John Toumbourou, from Deakin University
25 December 2017 By Zawn Villines, Reviewed by Alan Carter, PharmD
Any drug that alters a person's consciousness in a way that makes self-defense or sound decision-making difficult can be a date rape drug.
Most estimates suggest that at least 25 percent or 1 in 4 of American women have been sexually assaulted or raped. Someone the victim knows, sometimes with the assistance of a date rape drug, commits most rapes.
Knowing the most common date rape drugs, their side effects, and the signs of a perpetrator planning to use one can prevent victimization.
Fast facts on date rape drugs:
Types and their side effects
Alcohol and benzodiazepines are commonly used date rape drugs, as they may cause physical weakness and loss of consciousness.
Date rape drugs make a sexual assault, including rape easier in one or more ways, such as:
Any drug that changes a potential victim's state of mind, including some prescription drugs, street drugs such as heroin, and popular drugs such as marijuana, can be a date rape drug.
The most common date rape drugs are:
Any drug that changes a victim's consciousness can be used to facilitate date rape.
In some cases, the victim might even ingest the drug willingly. A person who uses heroin, for example, may be so intoxicated that they do not realize a perpetrator is attempting to rape them. People who use drugs should, therefore, avoid taking them around certain acquaintances or in settings that might facilitate date rape.
The lethal potency of fentanyl is generally believed to be 10 times that of heroin, and the lethal potency of carfentanil is believed to be 100 times that of fentanyl. Therefore, both substances pose potential threats to first responder
By Bronwyn Herbert, 14 Oct 2015
More than 300 ice addicts a year are turning to controversial naltrexone implants at a Perth clinic in a bid to fight their drug addiction.
Professor Gary Hulse is an addiction specialist at the University of WA and believes naltrexone research should be fast tracked.
Taking Action - Stopping Ice
United Nations Office of Drugs & Crime: Drug Prevention & Treatment
Medicinal Cannabis –
Access to medicinal Cannabis Products (TGA)
Access to medicinal cannabis products: steps to using access ...
Presentations, Statements & Conference Resources from WFAD 2018 Forum