Other Drugs

Similar to other fentanils, the most serious acute health risk from using carfentanil is likely to be rapid and severe respiratory depression, which in overdose could lead to apnoea, respiratory arrest, and death (Dahan et al., 2010; EMCDDA, 2017; Lindsay et al., 2016; Pattinson, 2008; Wax et al., 2003; White and Irvine, 1999). Factors that may exacerbate this risk include: the difficulty in diluting the substance, which can lead to a toxic dose being inadvertently used; the use of routes of administration that have high bioavailability (such as injecting, insufflation, and inhalation); a lack of experience with its effects and dosing; the use of other central nervous system depressants at the same time (such as other opioids, benzodiazepines, gabapentanoids, and alcohol); no or limited tolerance to opioids; and, using the substance alone (such as at home) which would make it more difficult for users to call for help in the case of poisoning. In addition, as discussed below, as carfentanil is being sold as or in heroin and other illicit opioids, many users will not be aware that they are using carfentanil. 

Complete report see attached PDF

 

Australian Crime Commission on GHB

Industrial chemicals legitimately imported for use as industrial solvents and cleaners are used to manufacture GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutyrate).

GHB has street names of Fantasy, Liquid X, Liquid E, Blue Nitro, Frankie G and Grievous Bodily Harm and is commonly used in rave or nightclub settings.

GHB has been identified as a potential date rape drug because of its effects of anesthesia and amnesia.

The December 2005 Party Drug Trends Bulletin reported that almost one in ten club drug users had used GHB in the last six months.

GHB is commonly taken in a liquid or powder form and is colourless and odourless so is hard to detect in victims.

(Source: Illicit Drug Data Report 2004-05, Australian Crime Commission April, 2006)

DRUG ADVISORY COUNCIL COMMENTS-

GHB use has caused a number of deaths in Australia.

The use of industrial chemicals for club drug use is highly dangerous and disturbing for the long term health of users.

Club drugs are popular with young, educated and high earning Australians who are ignorant of the dangers of the chemicals that they consume.

Australia must reduce the demand for club drugs by diverting users into detoxification and rehabilitation to get them drug free.

Countries that have successfully reduced the number of illicit drug users have cut off money flowing to criminal and terrorist groups by using their courts to direct users into detoxification and rehabilitation.

High overdose with GHB

A recent study in Melbourne has shown that more than a third of people who used the party drug called GHB in the past six months had overdosed.

GHB is known in street language as G, Grievous Bodily Harm, Juice, Liquid E or Fantasy and is available at pubs and clubs for as little as $19.

GHB is frequently used with ecstasy and a young Melbourne woman died of an overdose.

Heroin and GHB have similar overdose potential with at least 150 overdoses reported in just 30 months in Melbourne alone.

Almost all GHB overdose cases were transferred to hospital because of the serious medical risks.

(Source: Melbourne Herald Sun 2 December 2005)

DRUG ADVISORY COUNCIL COMMENTS-

GHB causes depression, seizures, tiredness, intoxication, aches, unconsciousness and death.

Party drug use in Australia is very high according to the United Nations.

Like other illicit drugs used at parties, most users are ignorant of the possible health consequences and the short-term possibility of overdose and death.

GHB is too new so the long tern consequences of its use are unknown but high overdose rates are an indication that in the long term GHB use may leave users with permanent health problems.

Australia MUST reduce its drug using population by providing voluntary or court ordered detoxification and rehabilitation to get illicit drug users free of drugs.

GHB Death

A 21 year old Melbourne woman died from using the party drug grievous bodily harm (GBH) at a Melbourne nightclub.

The woman had never used an illicit drug until a month before her death. The illicit drug GBH is cheap and easily available at parties, club, pubs and dance locations.

The cheap price of $5 per hit makes it easily available for children.The dead woman was encouraged to take the party drug ecstasy as her first experience in using party drugs.

(Source: Melbourne Herald Sun 18 July 2005)

DRUG ADVISORY COUNCIL COMMENTS-

Party drugs are known to cause death for new illicit drug users and this death is one of a number of party drug deaths in Australia.

Most party drug users do not know of the dangers of illicit drug use and there are no safe party drugs.

GBH causes depression, seizures, tiredness, intoxication, aches and unconsciousness.

Australia is a high user of party drugs with the United Nations claiming we use more ecstasy than any other country.

Truthful information about the dangers of all party drugs is essential to turn young people away from their use.

Australia needs detoxification and rehabilitation programs to help current party drug users to get off drugs.

Many overseas countries have successfully reduced illicit drug use- so can Australia.

No answer to drugs

A recent national summit on party drugs conducted by the Australian Medical Association was unable to come up with solutions to the increasing use of party drugs.

Party drugs are those that are usually found at nightclubs, rave parties, dance parties, bars and functions frequented by young people. They include cannabis, ecstasy, amphetamines and hallucinogens all of which are illegal.

Drug use is increasing.

At a media conference after AMA Drug Summit admissions were made that ecstasy use by children under 14 had doubled over the 7-year period to 1998 so that now 5% of those youngsters had used ecstasy. They guessed that the situation had got worse in the 4 years since 1998.

The summit admitted that there was an emerging health problem but they were unable to quantify it. The delegates puzzled over questions of "is there a safe level for recreational drug use?' and "how can we effectively prevent people from using drugs harmfully?".

It did not seem to occur to the delegates to the summit that the reason that more young people are using recreational drugs is because the minimizing harm approach that they were in love with, is an abject failure.

Dr. Kerryn Phelps AMA President when asked by a journalist - "Is there a safe level of recreational drug use?"- replied that she simply did not know, but they were probably safe in the short term and may have long-term effects.

That the AMA is unaware of the medical research clearly showing that all current illegal drugs have short term and long term effects on health is beyond comprehension.

Leaving aside the questions about an increasing number of drug affected children and young adults in our streets and on our roads and the social, legal and criminal problems that will come, the personal consequences are clear.

Harm minimization is flawed

The delegates backed a heroin trial, decriminalisation of existing illegal drugs and looking at cannabis as a medicine, in fact the whole liberal agenda on drugs.

Delegates representing drug addicts and nightclub owners were supportive of the harm minimization approach that had caused the illegal drug explosion in the first place.

What is most disappointing about the AMA drug summit is the narrow libertarian perspective of the delegates.

There was no acknowledgement that the harm minimization approach to drug policy had failed. It was more of the same. The number of drug users is increasing, yet there are no policy objectives to reduce the numbers of users. Calling for more research on illegal drug use is a waste of time; the reason that the so-called party drugs are illegal is that every one of them is harmful to human health in both the short term and long term.

Harm elimination does work

The research from overseas is clear, drug policies that divert users into detoxification and rehabilitation, such as those in Sweden and other countries have reduced the numbers of party drug users and the health and community consequences.

Delegates at the summit dismissed education campaigns that included shock tactics and scaring young people and current addicts believe they should get out the drug education message. There has never been a coordinated "Say No to Drugs" based on eliminating the harm to young people in Australia.

Why drug summits like the one conducted by the AMA will never come up with solutions is that this country has never had a policy objective of a drug free society. Sweden has a drug free society as a key objective of its drug policy and this has support across all political opinions. They do not delude themselves because they know that any use of recreational drugs causes harm. They understand that some users of illegal drugs do not wish to stop using them, so they use the judicial system to divert users into detoxification and rehabilitation. This has never happened in Australia.

Europe's drug problems are getting worse

In the last few months the Netherlands and Germany have moved to give free heroin to their "hard core" addicts because their harm minimization policies have failed.

Australia must not follow them.

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THE DRUG ADVISORY COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA SUPPORTS

More detoxification & rehabilitation that gets illicit drug users drug free.
Court ordered and supervised detoxification & rehabilitation.
Less illicit drug users, drug pushers and drug related crimes.

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