Welcome to our series of lectures on Drugs and the Body. In this series of nine lectures, we examine in detail the effects of the major licit and illicit drugs on the body and mind. 

Professor Shane Darke engages topics such as withdrawal, toxicity, mortality, the effects on the major organ systems and mental health. This series rigorously engages each major drug class, listed below. We hope that these lectures will be a valuable resource for medical practitioners, physicians in training, nurses, and community organisations interested in how drugs affect the body. 

Professor Shane Darke introduces ‘Drugs and the Body’ video series:

The major drug classes covered in this series: 

Alcohol, Nicotine & Tobacco, Hypnosedatives

In these three videos, we examine the health effects of the major licit drugs: Alcohol, Nicotine & Tobacco and Hypnosedatives. Together these drugs make major contributions to the burden of disease associated with problematic substance use.

View here: Alcohol, Nicotine & Tobacco, Hypnosedatives

Psychostimulants & Opioids 

Psychostimulants and Opioids are the two major illicit drug classes of the greatest clinical concern. In this series, we examine their health effects, specifically, their major impacts worldwide on morbidity and mortality. We also examine the major forms that these drugs take, and how they are consumed.

View here: Psychostimulants & Opioids


Cannabis is one of the most widely consumed drugs worldwide. It is of particular clinical and public health interest as it has recently been legalised in a great many jurisdictions worldwide. The lecture will cover the effects of cannabis on each of the major organ systems, as well as on mental health. 

View here: Cannabis 

Hallucinogens & New Psychoactive Substances

In these lectures we cover two broad drug classes that have arisen as a particular concern in the past two decades: Hallucinogens and New Psychoactive Substances. Additionally, topics such as: withdrawal syndromes, the toxicity of these substances, mortality, their effects on each of the major organ systems and mental health are explored.

View here: Hallucinogens & New Psychoactive Substances

Injecting Drug Use 

Injecting drug use is a major public health problem worldwide and is associated with extremely high rates of mortality and morbidity. In this lecture we examine the major blood-borne viruses associated with injecting drug use, soft-tissue infections, vascular pathology, and the effects of this route of administration upon the major organ systems. 

View here: Injecting Drug Use  

‘Drugs and the Body’ is a nine-part video series being released in 2023 by NDARC featuring Professor Shane Darke. The video series will be covering material found in the following books The Clinician‘s Guide to Illicit Drugs and Health  and The Pocket Guide to Drugs and Health, Co-Authored by NDARC’s Director, Professor Michael Farrell, Professor Shane Darke, and Associate Professor Julia Lappin.