Drugs – 9News – Latest news and headlines from Australia and the world

Second alleged drug kingpin with Australian links arrested in ThailandA second alleged senior leader of a vast drug syndicate has been arrested, a Thai narcotics official said, as a transnational dragnet tightens on the Sam Gor group, which police say dominates the $91 billion annual Asia Pacific drug trade.drug6:47pm Feb 8, 2021

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Drugs for benign prostatic hyperplasia associated with increased risk of cardiac failure

Widely used medications for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) – also known as enlarged prostate – may be associated with a small, but significant increase in the probability of developing heart failure, suggests a study in The Journal of Urology®, Official Journal of the American Urological Association (AUA). The journal is pub lished in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

The risk is highest in men taking a type of BPH medication called alpha-blockers (ABs), rather than a different type called 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (5-ARIs), according to the new research by Dr. Robert Siemens, MD, and colleagues of Queen’s University, Kingston, Ont., Canada. “While no one should stop taking their BPH medications based on these results, our study contributes new evidence for understanding the complex interaction of factors affecting heart disease risk in men with BPH,” Dr. Siemens comments.

Do BPH drugs affect heart failure risk? New long-term, follow-up data

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a very common condition in men, especially at older ages. It occurs when the prostate gland becomes enlarged, causing urinary symptoms (such as frequent and difficult urination). Millions of men take medications to reduce BPH symptoms – most commonly ABs, 5-ARIs, or a combination of the two.

Both BPH and cardiovascular disease are common in older men, which may reflect shared risk factors or causes. Clinical trials have suggested that men taking ABs or 5-ARIs might be more likely to develop heart failure: a chronic condition where the heart can’t pump enough blood to keep up with demand. However, other studies have found no such link.

To clarify the association between BPH medications and heart failure, Dr. Siemens and colleagues used Ontario health data to identify more than 175,000 men diagnosed with BPH. About 55,000 patients were being treated with ABs alone, 8,000 with 5-ARIs alone, and 41,000 with a combination of ABs and 5-ARIs. The rest were not taking either type of BPH medication.

On analysis of follow-up data, men treated with ABs and/or 5-ARIs were more likely to be diagnosed with heart failure. The risk of developing heart failure were increased by 22 percent in men taking ABs alone, 16 percent for those taking combination therapy, and 9 percent for those taking 5-ARIs alone, compared to the control group of men not taking BPH medications. The associations were significant after adjusting for other characteristics, including heart disease risk factors.

Heart failure risk was higher with older “nonselective” ABs compared to newer “selective” ABs. Risk was higher in men taking ABs for a prolonged time: 14 months or longer.

Dr. Siemens and coauthors emphasize that while the increased probability of developing heart failure was statistically high, the absolute risk was relatively low. Risk factors such as previous heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes had a much greater impact on heart failure risk compared to BPH medications. The researchers also note the control group of patients not taking 5-ARIs or ABs may have had less severe BPH symptoms, with possible differences in heart disease risk factors.

Our study suggests men taking ABs and/or 5-ARIs are more likely to be diagnosed with heart failure. This is an important finding, given that BPH is so common among older men, and that these medications are so widely used.”

Dr. Robert Siemens, MD, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ont., Canada

Dr. Siemens adds: “Since men with BPH may continue these medications for several years, it is important physicians be aware of this risk, including both primary care physicians and urologists, perhaps especially in patients with previous heart disease or cardiovascular risk factors.”


Journal reference:

Lusty, A., et al. (2021) Cardiac Failure Associated with Medical Therapy of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: A Population-Based Study. Journal of Urology. doi.org/10.1097/JU.0000000000001561.

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Mark Bomber Thompson interview, sons, family, A Current Affair, drugs charges, court

An emotional Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson has recounted the beautiful act of love, during the AFL great’s darkest days, by his son that helped him begin to turn his life around.

In a lengthy TV interview with A Current Affair, Thompson said he hit “rock bottom” in January 2018 after police seized 481 ecstasy pills and ice during a raid of his Port Melbourne home. In July 2019, he was found not guilty of trafficking, but guilty of drug possession.

Thompson’s former housemate, Thomas Windsor, was sentenced to jail after pleading guilty to trafficking a drug of dependence and possessing equipment for trafficking.

Bomber’s emotional interview | 00:52

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Thompson, as he admitted in court two years ago, said he took drugs after his coaching career ended but denied ever being a dealer, reiterating on Monday night: “I never thought I’d get to prison at all. I was a drug user. At no point did I ever sell drugs.

“Thinking back now, I had no idea of the law. I had no idea that under my roof,

they (the drugs) are in my name.

“If I go back in time, should I have let that guy (Windsor) into my house? No.”

Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson avoided jail in July, 2019. Picture: Daniel PockettSource: AAP

Following the police raid three years ago, Thompson received a visit from former Essendon colleagues James Hird and Adrian Dodoro — “they just arrived and said ‘we’re taking you let’s go’” — who took him to see Melbourne-based psychologist, Sandy Rae.

Rae diagnosed Thompson with post traumatic stress disorder following the disastrous Essendon supplements saga, which eventually led to 34 past and present Bombers players copping 12-month bans and Thompson being fined $30,000 for his part in the program.

After walking away from the Bombers following the 2014 season, Thompson isolated himself away from family and friends and began to use ice.

“I was completely lost,” Thompson told Channel 9’s A Current Affair. “I lost faith in everything. In the end I didn’t have much hope for the future. I was fighting the fight I couldn’t win.

“It (drugs) took away my pain, let me get through every day without thinking about it every minute of every day.

Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson in front of his Port Melbourne warehouse. Picture: Mark StewartSource: News Corp Australia

“It was a long time ago and I don’t want to go back there.”

As part of his treatment in 2018, Thompson was urged to reconnect with his family and friends, including sons Daniel and Michael.

“Maybe they (Thompson’s sons) thought they lost me a bit because I sort of went away from them,” a teary Thompson said.

“I remember getting a message from my son (Michael), saying: ‘It doesn’t matter, Dad … we’re 100 per cent behind you.’ And I was so proud of that kid.

“To me, that was so powerful that my child could do that for me when I’d probably given him a fair bit.”

Thompson said being able to reconnect with loved ones was “the most powerful thing that’s ever happened to me” and that years of emotion and anger was “released”.

He said he learned a crucial lesson, which he wants others to hear: Don’t suffer in silence.

Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson. Picture: Wayne LudbeySource: News Corp Australia

“Think about what you’ve done and know that people who love you will forgive you for whatever you do – because they love you,” he said.

“Don’t avoid them, don’t hide from them, don’t do anything except for engage with them.”

Thompson has turned the corner, taking up woodwork and making tables and cheeseboards to keep himself busy.

His connection with his family has also strengthened.

“One of the best things that has happened is that I’ve found what I want to do. I’ve got the purpose and the purpose is to come and do some woodwork with my mates,” he said.

“I don’t know what round it is (of my fight), but I’ve thrown enough punches and I’m raising my body off the chair in the corner and putting myself back in the ring. Yeah, I’m winning the fight.”

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Organised Crime Squad seize cash, drugs and poker machine following the arrest of two men

Two men will face court today charged following a joint agency investigation into a criminal syndicate supplying prohibited drugs across Sydney.

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Police say overseas kingpins fuming at ‘bungling bikies’ over big seizures of cash, drugs in WA

“That’s a pretty hard hit for organised crime; that’s over 80 per cent of cash seizures in Australia right here in WA,” he said.

“Organised crime are hurting from these cash seizures and now the drug seizures of over 200 kilograms of meth and they’re pretty angry about it.

“We have pretty good intelligence at this time that says the overseas kingpins, the drug suppliers, are very upset over what WA Police are doing to them. They’re trying to find who to blame.

“I have it on good authority they are looking for the people who are responsible for … losing their drugs and losing their money.

“I know they call them ‘bungling bikies’. This is, in my terms, an organised crime fiasco for them.”

Detectives have charged four people they allege were driving the vehicles involved in the most seizure uncovered in regional WA.

“It’s not luck by police; it’s good, hard detective work by the organised crime division,” Mr Blanch said.

“The drug and firearm squad have really refined their capability over the last few months to achieve these outstanding results for the West Australian community.”

More than 80 per cent of Australian cash seizures has occurred in WA, according to state police.

A 37-year-old NSW man was arrested in Meckering, outside Northam in the Wheatbelt, allegedly driving a truck carrying more than 14.6kg of meth and just over $3.64 million cash on Friday, January 29.

A narcotics detection dog allegedly located the haul as part of a vehicle-stop operation set up on Great Eastern Highway at 7.20am.

Police will allege the drugs and cash were found concealed in one of the trailers of the truck bearing New South Wales registration plates, which has since been seized under proceeds of crime legislation.

The driver has been charged with possession of a prohibited drug with intent to sell or supply (methylamphetamine) and laundering money from proceeds of a major offence.

He was refused bail in Perth Magistrates Court and is next due to appear on Monday, February 15.

Another truck bearing New South Wales registration plates and two vans were searched five days later in Fairbridge, near Pinjarra in the South West.

Drug squad detectives allegedly discovered almost $4.5 million in cash in four suitcases aboard the truck pulled over along South Western Highway at 2.40pm on Wednesday, February 3.

Shortly after, two vans which had allegedly been seen taking boxes from the truck were intercepted and 15 boxes police said contained methylamphetamine packets were seized.

Three people have been charged with trafficking the 163 kilograms seized, with the 40-year-old NSW truck driver also facing laundering charges.

A 51-year-old South Yunderup man has been charged over allegedly driving a van with 11 boxes of meth aboard, while a 30-year-old Floreat man was allegedly caught driving a van in which four boxes of meth were found.

He was also charged with reckless driving after trying to evade police.

All three men were refused bail in Perth Magistrates Court and were next due to appear in Mandurah Magistrates Court on Friday, February 29.

Mr Blanch said WA Police also made several significant drug and cash seizures from organised crime last year, including the seizure of $13.15 million from a single truck.

He said any vehicles used to help facilitate the criminal activity would be seized, which meant the owners also risked losing their primary source of income.

“Every person involved in the distribution of drugs, from the top of the drug syndicate to the bottom, plays a role in spreading the misery of meth on our streets and they can all expect to be a focus of our operations,” he said.

“Our intelligence-sharing with other state and Commonwealth intelligence and law enforcement agencies will continue to make WA a hostile environment for drug syndicates to operate in.”

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Compared to Other Countries, Americans Pay Much More for Prescription Drugs

FRIDAY, Jan. 29, 2021 (HealthDay News)

Americans pay nearly three times more for prescription drugs than people in dozens of other countries, a new study shows.

Researchers analyzed 2018 data and found that prescription drug prices in the United States average 2.5 times more than in 32 other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations.

The cost of brand-name drugs is even more — an average of 3.4 times higher — in the United States than in other countries.

However, generic drugs are slightly cheaper in the United States than in most other nations. In this country, generic drugs account for 84% of drugs sold by volume but only 12% of drug spending, according to the researchers at the RAND Corp., a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization.

“Brand-name drugs are the primary driver of the higher prescription drug prices in the U.S.,” said study author Andrew Mulcahy, a senior health policy researcher at RAND. “We found consistently high U.S. brand-name prices, regardless of our methodological decisions.”

For their study, the researchers used manufacturer prices for drugs due to a lack of availability of net prices, which are those ultimately paid for drugs after negotiated rebates and other discounts are applied.

But even after adjusting U.S. prices downward based on estimated discounts, U.S. drug prices remained substantially higher than those in other countries.

Among other nations, the United Kingdom, France and Italy generally have the lowest prescription drug prices, while Canada, Germany and Japan tend to have higher prices, according to the study, which is available on the RAND website and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.

“Many of the most expensive medications are the biologic treatments that we often see advertised on television,” Mulcahy said in a RAND news release. “The hope is that competition from biosimilars will drive down prices and spending for biologics. But biosimilars are available for only a handful of biologics in the United States.”

Across all the nations in the study, total drug spending in 2018 was an estimated $795 billion. The United States accounted for 58% of sales, but just 24% of the volume.

U.S. drug spending surged 76% between 2000 and 2017, and is expected to increase faster than other areas of health care spending over the next decade as new, expensive specialty drugs are approved, according to RAND.

More information

The American Medical Association has more on prescription drug prices.

SOURCE: RAND Corp., news release, Jan. 28, 2021

Robert Preidt

Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


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Methamphetamine among drugs seized by police during raid on Morphett Vale industrial property

Police have arrested two men and seized several kilograms of drugs, cash and a pill press from a property in Adelaide’s south.

The industrial site at Morphett Vale was searched about 6:00pm on Thursday by officers from the Crime Gangs Task Force and STAR Group, who were assisted by a sniffer dog.

During the search, police allegedly found 6 kilograms of methamphetamine, 1 kilogram of cocaine and 150 ecstasy tablets.

A pill press and $26,000 in cash were also allegedly located at the premises.

Two men at the site were arrested and have been charged with drug trafficking offences.

They were refused bail and police said they would appear in the Christies Beach Magistrates Court.

Six kilograms of methamphetamine were allegedly uncovered, as well as cocaine.(Supplied: SA Police)

In a separate incident, a 39-year-old Semaphore Park woman was arrested early this morning after drugs and weapons were allegedly found inside her car.

Police said a patrol on Tapleys Hill Road spotted the woman sitting in the vehicle in a hotel car park in Seaton about 2:15am.

“Officers searched the woman’s car and allegedly found a substance believed to be methamphetamine, prescription drugs as well as a taser, axes and a knife,” police said in a statement.

The woman was charged with weapons and drugs offences as well as driving while disqualified, and her car has been impounded for 28 days.

She was bailed to appear in the Port Adelaide Magistrates Court in February.

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Alleged Australian Darknet Site Operator Arrested In Europe


An Australian, who is currently residing in Europe, has been arrest for being accused of running the biggest illegal marketplace on the darknet.

The site, known as DarkMarket, was shut down today according to German prosecutors.

Among the things offered for sale on the site were allegedly all sorts of drugs, forged money, stolen or forged credit cards, anonymous mobile phone SIM cards and malware.

The 34-year-old Australian national, who was suspected as the operator was arrested near the German-Danish border.

As what the Prosecutors revealed, a judge has ruled out to hold him in custody and pending for possible formal charges. So far, he hasn’t given any information to the investigators.

Australian police have also assisted German investigators in their months-long probe, alongside US authorities, British, Danish, Swiss, Ukrainian and Moldovan law enforcements.

To date, the marketplace records nearly 500,000 users and more than 2,400 vendors, according to prosecutors.

They alleged that the site processed more than 320,000 transactions, and exchanged Bitcoin and Monero crypto-currency to the value of more than 140 million euros ($219.8 million).

Along with the site shut down, more than 20 servers in Moldova and Ukraine were also seized, German prosecutors said. They opted to finding further information on those servers regarding other participants in the marketplace.

The darknet is a part of the web that is only with specialized identity-cloaking tools.

Prosecutors state the orders against DarkMarket were instigated in an investigation of a data processing center which was installed in a former NATO bunker in southwestern Germany. It hosted sites dealing in drugs and other illicit activities and was shut down in 2019.

AFL 2021: Willie Rioli drugs case, AFL Anti-Doping tribunal, West Coast Eagles, Adam Simpson, Elliot Yeo injury, return

West Coast coach Adam Simpson fears suspended forward Willie Rioli may not play at AFL level again, while Elliot Yeo appears unlikely to be ready for the start of the 2021 season.

Rioli finally had his case heard last month, having been provisionally suspended after allegedly tampering with a urine sample during a drug test after an Eagles training session in late 2019. Weeks later he tested positive for cannabis on game day.

A verdict from an AFL anti-doping tribunal hearing is expected this month and Simpson says he “absolutely” has concerns about the premiership player’s AFL future.

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“We’ll deal with it. He’ll get some clarity in the next couple of weeks and we’ll go from there,” Simpson said.

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Victoria road toll 2020: 213 dead from speed, drugs, mobile phones

There were 53 fewer deaths on Victoria’s roads this year, but it’s ‘cold comfort’ when the COVID-19 lockdown is taken into account, authorities say.

Two hundred and thirteen people lost their lives on Victoria’s roads on 2020, with speeding, drugs, drinking, and mobile phone use among the major drivers of deadly crashes.

The number equals 2018’s record low, with 53 fewer people dying compared to last year.

But rates of road trauma actually increased when adjusted for the fact fewer cars were on the road due to the COVID-19 lockdown, according to Victoria Police.

Assistant Commissioner Libby Murphy said the trend was “concerning” in a press conference on Friday.

“What we’ve actually seen is that per 10,000 vehicles on the road there’s been significantly larger amounts of trauma which is concerning for us,” she said.

Among the dangerous road behaviour that escalated during the peak of the pandemic was people speeding at over 145km/h, which Ms Murphy described as “staggering” in its overrepresentation.

“That’s backed off now that there’s more vehicles on the road,” she said.

Transport Accident Commission CEO Joe Calafiore said the fact there were fewer deaths than other years was “cold comfort”.

His organisation supports people who have sustained really serious injuries in road accidents, including people who become quadriplegic or paraplegic, and those with acquired brain injuries.

“This is not a tap on the bumper bar,” Mr Calafiore said.

His organisation gets 20,000 new clients each year.

Among the 213 dead were 13 bicyclists, 33 motorcyclists and 29 pedestrians.

Just over a third of deaths were caused by speeding. Drugs were involved in 32 per cent of fatal incidents, and 21 per cent were caused by alcohol.

Ms Murphy’s main message to drivers was simple: “Slow down. Be courteous. Be patient.”

“If someone does something bad to you, it’s not a challenge to have a fight, to have road rage, to speed up, to not let people in,” she said.

“Let it go by the wayside. You’re better people than that. You’re better humans than that.”

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