Wed, 29 June 2016
Professor Michael Farrell FRCP FRCPsych is the Director of NDARC (National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre). He moved to Sydney from London in March 2011 following his appointment to NDARC. Prior to joining NDARC he was Professor of Addiction Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His extensive research interests include treatment evaluation, including the development of the National Treatment Outcomes Profile, a brief outcomes measurement instrument for drug and alcohol dependence. He has a long standing interest in drug dependence in prisons and within the wider criminal justice system. He has been a member of the WHO Expert Committee on Drug and Alcohol Dependence since 1995 and chaired the WHO External Evaluation of the Swiss Heroin Trial.
From the paper presented at the Annual Congress of the Royal College of Psychiatrists:
FROM AN ORIGINAL PAPER ENTITLED:
Crystalline methamphetamine use and methamphetamine-related harms in Australia
Concerns about crystal methamphetamine use and harm have increased in multiple countries. The harms of regular methamphetamine use include mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, dependence and psychosis, physical health problems, violent and aggressive behaviour, involvement in criminal activity, injecting and sexual risk, and in some cases, overdose deaths.
The types of methamphetamine used range from amphetamine-type-stimulant pills and amphetamine powder to high purity crystalline methamphetamine. ‘Ice’ is the street name given to the relatively pure preparation of methamphetamine hydrochloride salt because its translucent crystalline appearance resembles ice (also referred to by the street names ‘shard’, ‘crystal’ and ‘skates’). This pure preparation of methamphetamine originated in Taiwan and South Korea, and subsequently spread to the USA where it was dubbed the ‘drug of the 1990s’.
The increased use of crystal methamphetamine raises concerns because the high purity of the drug allows a new route of administration, inhalation. Crystal methamphetamine vaporises when heated, and can be inhaled, affording high bioavailability and an almost immediate drug effect because the drug is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream via the lungs, bypassing the metabolic processes that reduce the proportion of the drug that reaches the brain.
Louisa Degenhardt1, Grant Sara2, Rebecca McKetin3, Amanda Roxburgh1, Timothy Dobbins1, Michael Farrell1, Lucinda Burns1 and Wayne D. Hall4,5
Sydney NSW Australia 2052
Northern Clinical School
University of Sydney
Sydney NSW Australia
Perth WA Australia 6008
University of Queensland
St Lucia QLD Australia
Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience
Kings College London
Corresponding author: Louisa Degenhardt