News

Drug use in Australia soars during COVID

Drug use in Australia during COVID-19

Drug use trends in Australia continue to rise despite the impact of COVID-19 and the implementation of lock down measures.

With state and federal governments adopting COVID lock down measures, many people expected that they could help curb drug abuse trends in the country. In theory, the move would severely limit people’s ability to buy and sell drugs especially on the streets.

But a new report from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) paints a drastically different picture from what was expected.

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Changing of the Guard – Drug Abuse During COVID-19

Drug abuse during COVID-19

As Australia continues to grapple with COVID-19, the country also has to deal with an ongoing drug abuse problem. The federal and state governments adopted lock-down measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. They closed down all non-essential businesses including pubs and clubs, where people sometimes meet to buy and sell illicit drugs.

But instead of helping curb substance abuse, the move seems to have only caused an inconvenience to drug users. People who had a hard time buying illicit drugs merely switched from one substance for another. Some have even found more potent alternatives to the ones they were using before.

Let’s take a look at how the COVID-19 pandemic is causing widespread changes in drug abuse trends in Australia.

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Is It Safe For Workers To Take Medicinal Cannabis?

Medicinal cannabis access in Queensland

Registered medical practitioners in Queensland can now prescribe medicinal cannabis to their patients if they think it’s clinically appropriate. Previously, only specialist doctors had the authority to issue such prescriptions. But a recent amendment to existing legislation effectively changed this requirement.

With more doctors allowed to issue medicinal cannabis prescription, it raises new concerns for the public. Is it safe for workers to use the drug? Will it affect their performance at work? Here’s our take on the matter.

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Addictive drugs disappear from Queensland hospitals

addictive prescription drugs missing from hospital shelves

Thousands of highly addictive medicines have been stolen from several Queensland hospitals presumably by the facilities’ own staff. In a recent ABC News article, journalist Allyson Horn brought light to a potential new drug ring in the state. Hospital workers have been stealing supplies of restricted drugs from their employers.

Among the medicines taken were highly potent opiates such as Fentanyl, Oxycodone, and Methadone. It is highly likely that these drugs will be sold on the black market.

What exactly happened? How could these workers manage to steal large amounts of controlled substances from under the employers’ noses Let’s take a closer look at what may be another brewing drug problem for the country.

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Benzodiazepines abuse continues to grow via the black market in Australia

Benzodiazepine trade via black-market in Australia

Australia has a long history of battling benzodiazepines abuse dating back to the 1970s. While the government was successful in controlling the supply of the drugs, it ultimately failed in stopping the demand. Regulatory measures only forced the drug trade underground, giving birth to a thriving and lucrative black market. Today, ‘benzos’ continue to fuel Aussies’ addiction to prescription drugs with no clear end in sight.

What exactly are benzodiazepines and how can they affect workers’ health and well-being? Our chief toxicologist Dr Phil Tynan breaks down the history and profile of these psychoactive drugs.

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Drug and Alcohol Use Continues, Despite Coronavirus Epidemic

Coronavirus epidemic Australia

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus continues to threaten the health and well-being of people around the world. In Australia, the virus has infected more than 8,000 people and killed over 100 since it broke out in January. This caused major disruptions to the economy in the form of limited manpower and slower production rates.

But the coronavirus epidemic may also be impacting Australians in another way. With the public health crisis, it’s easy to forget the ongoing drug and alcohol problem in the country. The issue is still there, and it’s still putting people’s lives in danger.

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Public Warning against GHB Abuse in Melbourne

GHB drug bust Melbourne

Melbourne police continue its crackdown on GHB abuse in the city, seizing $550,000 worth of drugs in recent raids.

Local authorities found large amounts of GHB in homes in Rowville, Hallam, and Seaford in April. They also arrested four individuals, who were all charged with trafficking the drug in large commercial quantities. The seizure of the drugs in three prominent Melbourne suburbs is a cause for concern for the community.

What GHB is and how can it affect your health and well-being? Our Chief Toxicologist Dr Phil Tynan explains.

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Are Drug Driving Laws in Australia Unfair?

Drug driving laws

With the rise in illicit drug use, federal and state governments adopted drug driving laws to help keep impaired drivers off the road. The reasoning was that some drugs may inhibit people’s ability to make sound decisions while driving. But not everyone thinks that the legislation is actually doing its job.

New South Wales magistrate David Heilpern recently criticised current drug driving laws for being ‘grossly unfair’. Mr Heilpern stated that the laws don’t necessarily prevent impaired drivers from hitting the road. He said there isn’t enough evidence to prove that drug driving laws are working, unlike other similar legislation.

But is Mr Heilpern right? Are drug driving laws really ineffective at curbing impaired driving? Our Chief Toxicologist Dr Phil Tynan doesn’t think so.

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