Addiction to Drugs/Expert Profile

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I am a psychologist committed to Harm reduction, a philosophy that acknowledges people will continue to use drugs despite all of the effort put into stopping it (case in point - US government drug war ... trillions of dollars spent fighting and more people using). I advocate to support people who use drugs by reducing the harms associated with their use through needle and syringe programs (NSP), advocating for drug law reform, non-judgmental health services and reducing the stigma associated with drugs. I have worked in harm reduction in Australia (NSP, primary health care, drop in centre) for 10 years and also have 18 months managing a service providing care coordination for people with multiple and complex problems. I spent two years living and working in Cambodia as a Harm Reduction Advisor for a local Khmer NGO, primarily focusing on methamphetamine use. Now I am back in Australia and have worked in a prison providing drug treatment and currently work as a psychologist in a dual diagnosis service (for people with mental health and substance use problems). I have a Masters in Clinical Psychology so can also answer questions around mental health and drug use. Happy to answer questions about blood borne viruses such as HIV and hepatitis C, questions about opiates, amphetamines, cocaine, benzos and other substances. Questions about treatment (particulary methadone and buprenorphine). Questions about harm reduction and why it is the best approach. I will try to answer questions about drug tests. I DO NOT JUDGE PEOPLE NEGATIVELY DUE TO THEIR DRUG USE, AND DON'T DEMAND PEOPLE MARCH STRAIGHT OFF TO REHAB! If anyone has taken a sip of a coffee, or drunk a beer, then ... well we are all drug users, and I don't think we are going to see an end to it! Deal with the real.

Experience in the area

Worked in the field in Australia and Cambodia for 15 years. Psychologist with Clinical Masters. Two significant research projects on drug use (one on HIV risk and its link with trauma and one on drug related stigma). Presentation at two international conferences and two Australian conferences.


Registered as a psychologist with the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Agency.


Conference proceedings - IHRC 2004 (Chiang Mai), 2005 (Melbourne) & 2010 (Bangkok). Anex Conference 2005 (Melbourne) Stigma-Pleasure-Practice conference 2006 (Sydney).


Bachelor of Arts (Humanities), Bachelor of Psychology (Honours), Masters of Psychology (Clinical). And a multitude of training courses including advanced first aid, pre & post test counselling accreditation for HIV, significant amount of training on hepatitis C, etc.

Awards and Honors

Have presented at international conferences including the International Harm Reduction Conferences in Chiang Mai Thailand; Melbourne, Australia and Bangkok, Thailand. Also national conferences in Sydney and Melbourne Australia.

Past/Present Clients

I maintain confidentiality about my clients.

What do you like about this subject?

People who use drugs are interesting ... well actually people who use drugs are all around us!

What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

I would like to see less judgment towards people who use drugs. We can't stop it, so stop judging it!

Something interesting about this subject that others may not know:

You think the drug user is the homeless guy in the gutter. The problem with perceptions of drug use is that the people who're using and are fine never get seen! If I was using heroin 1 or 2 times a month, because of the stigma, I wouldn't be telling my friends. So, people never know about the functional drug users! They only know about people who are visible and have problems ..

Something controversial or provocative about this subject

My whole profile is controversial in the US! Want a controversial statement ... America, your war on drugs is a war on your own people .... it just isn't working!

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Recent Reviews from Users

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    K = Knowledgeability    C = Clarity of Response    P = Politeness
James09/07/16101010Thank you.
eggplant06/07/16101010Thankyou very much ! I really appreciate .....
Susan03/03/16101010Thanks, I will find someone.

Recent Answers from Jacqui

2016-09-06 Drugs:

Hi James,    I have no idea why anyone would reject this question, it's a great question.    I don't think there is a clear answer however.  It is a complex topic.  But I will give it a go:       I would

2016-06-02 Dragging temporary girlfriend into Heroin:

Hey Eggplant,    Thanks for your question and apologies for the delayed response.  There are a couple of things in your message that concern me in regard to your friend.  Although you have mentioned the

2016-04-10 Huffing:

HI Faith,    Thanks for your question and I hope you are okay.  Huffing, or inhaling volatile substances, has quite a lot of risks involved.  The chemicals themselves can cause problems and there is risks

2015-03-14 please daignose my problem:

Hi Wasim,    I would never laugh at someone on this site.  People ask questions because they need help.  Unfortunately, however, it would not be appropriate for me to make any kind of diagnosis regarding

2015-01-19 nose one side going in:

Hi,    I am guessing this is related to cocaine use although I can't be sure as it isn't clear i your email.      Unfortunately there are some limitations on online forums like this and in this case you


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