New book provides vital information about how illicit drugs affect health

April 2019

A new book on illicit drugs and health, written by experts from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at UNSW Sydney, provides vital information for health professionals on the impact of illicit drug use.

The book covers the major drug types: stimulants, opioids, cannabis, hallucinogens, and the new emerging class of ‘novel psychoactive substances (NPS)’.

“While there are excellent works on the major licit drugs, alcohol and tobacco, there is surprisingly little available on the major illicit drugs,” said lead author, Professor Shane Darke.

“Overall, it is estimated that a quarter of a billion people, some 5% of the global adult population, use an illicit drug at least once in a calendar year.”

The guide has an easy-to-follow structure that examines each major illicit drug class and focuses on its effects on the major organ systems: heart, brain, liver, lungs and kidney. Each drug class also has a section on pregnancy.

“As most illicit drug users take more than one drug type, we comment on the role of other substances, both licit and illicit, where relevant. In each chapter we present the patterns of use, user characteristics, dependence, drug toxicity and mortality,” says Professor Darke.

The Clinician’s Guide to Drugs and Health by Shane Darke, Julia Lappin and Michael Farrell will be published by Silverback Publishing on 16 April 2019. Price £18.99 (Paperback). £12.99 (PDF).

Copies are available for pre-order here