Showing posts from May, 2012

New drugs and what to do with them

A couple of weeks ago the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) released a report that reported on the large number of new drugs that had been detected in the European Union in 2011. According to the report, a total of 49 new psychoactive substances were officially notified for the first time in 2011. This represents the largest number of substances ever reported in a single year, almost one every week, up from 41 substances reported in 2010 and 24 in 2009. Many of these substances come under two main headings - 'synthetic cannabinoids' and 'synthetic cathinones'. Synthetic cannabinoids are the products often referred to in the Australia media as 'synthetic cannabis', with the best known of these being 'Kronic'. The cathinones are often described as being similar in effect to stimulant drugs like amphetamine, ecstasy and cocaine. The most popular of these is a substance called 'mephedrone'. There was a time when s

Finding your child is using drugs

Welcome to the first of many (hopefully!) posts on my new blog - 'Doing Drugs with Paul Dillon'. The title comes from the radio show I did for many years on the national youth radio station - Triple J. Looking back on it, it was a pretty brave thing for them to do and I very much doubt whether we would get away with some of the things that we spoke about way back then .... That said, I hope that readers of the blog find its content useful, and that it provides me an outlet to let off steam occasionally! It's going to take me a while to get going so if you happen to start reading this early in the piece and are disappointed that there isn't a lot here, I hope you will return later and take another look. Over time I'll try and post items like Opinion Pieces that I have written for newspapers and websites (I've put a couple up today), as well as make commentary on news stories of the day (particularly if they really get me angry) and highlight any new research th

Alcohol and young people

Here is an Opinion Piece I was asked to put together for the Newcastle Herald in February 2010 .... Alcohol has always played a role in some young people’s lives. No matter what your age, if you cast your mind back to your final years of high school there were surely at least a small group of your classmates who were well known for their partying habits! Are we to believe today’s headlines that things are so dramatically different now? Firstly, let me make something completely clear – we really have no evidence to indicate that we have more young people drinking than ever before. However, what we do appear to have is a hardcore group of risky drinkers who are drinking in a far more risky way than ever before. As already said, this group of risky drinkers have always been there – it’s just now they’re starting younger, drinking more, more often, and possibly most frighteningly their drink of choice is spirits, particularly vodka. So if they are such a small group why should

Alcohol and parenting

Here is an Opinion Piece that I wrote in February 2011 for Melinda Tankard-Reist's website : I often tell the story of my visit to a small country town waiting to give a presentation to a group of parents. I was waiting in a hotel room watching a news program and a story about young people and alcohol use was just about to begin. The piece started with a statistic, as they usually do, with the newsreader stating that “one out of every 10 young people binge drink”.   As you can imagine the story that followed was fairly alarming and I remember sitting on the bed with my head in my hands thinking what chance do our teenagers really have? That figure sounds pretty scary for parents and it is – drinking to excess is dangerous, particularly when you are dealing with the developing brain, but why must we always be pushing out a negative message when it comes to this issue? Wouldn’t it have been much more powerful and positive to have started the piece by saying that nine out of ten hav