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December 12, 2014

ALCOHOL CHOICES OF YOUNG PEOPLE

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education and the Centre for Policy Research has published a research report titled "Just because it's really, really cheap: An examination of Victorian young adults' alcohol product choices".  The study used both qualitative and quantitative techniques to better understand the drinking preferences of young people who consume alcohol at risky levels.  The study found that the main reason for choosing a particular drink type was cost, enhancing or reducing intoxication, avoiding feeling sick and choosing a drink which suited a particular occassion.  The study found that those who consumed cask wine stood out: 37% of these consumers stated that they intend to drink to get drunk "often" or "always".

Read "Just because it's really, really cheap: An examination of Victorian young adults' alcohol product choices".

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December 12, 2014

THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT...

Croakey, the health blog of Crikey, has just published a challenging article titled "We need more than gimmicks to face up to alcohol and other drugs."  The article is responding to the ever-increasing number of apps and other online tools that, while well intentioned, are probably largely ineffective at reducing alcohol and other drug related harm.  The article refers to data that shows that once health related apps are downloaded they are usually rarely used.  Apps and other online tools require careful consideration, yet as a new technology there's been a tendency to rush headlong into the latest craze. The author states "Gimmicks might be good for generating media coverage, but are unlikely to lead to behavioural change."

Read "We need more than gimmicks to face up to alcohol and other drugs."

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December 12, 2014

PROFILE AND PERSPECTIVES OF PEOPLE WHO USE PERFORMANCE AND IMAGE ENHANCING DRUGS

A research report has been published by an Irish alcohol and drug service titled "Examining the profile and perspectives of individuals attending harm reduction services who are users of performance and image enhancing drugs."  While the report is based on a sample of people from Ireland, there are many similarities with Australian people who use performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs).  This research report involved a survey of people attending needle and syringe programs, and sought to find out demographics, motivations for use, the nature of the participants use of PIEDs, side effects experienced, patterns of poly-substance use, training / exercise profile, injecting practices and risk behaviours.

Download "Examining the profile and perspectives of individuals attending harm reduction services who are users of performance and image enhancing drugs."

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December 12, 2014

PRAGMATICS AND PLEASURE IN EFFECTIVE HARM REDUCTION

Dr Magdalena Harris recently presented at the HIT Hot Topics Conference in Liverpool, UK.  She presented research which focused on people who injected illicit drugs for over 7 years but did not contract hepatitis C, in order to understand what was different about this cohort.  Most health promotion for hepatitis C has been traditionally focused on highlighting health risks from shared injecting equipment. Dr Harris's research found that risk-based messaging doesn't hit the mark. She found instead that messaging that focused on pragmatics and accepted pleasure seeking as a prime motivator for people using drugs was more likely to be effective.

Watch Dr Magdalena Harris presenting "Pragmatics and pleasure in effective harm reduction"

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December 5, 2014

FAMILY DRUG SUPPORT

Family Drug Support was founded in 1997 by Tony Trimingham, following the loss of his son to a heroin overdose.  In searching for support for himself and his family, he realised that there was very little available.  In speaking out about his concerns in the media he was contacted by other families who told of similar experiences,  and this combined with an overwhelming response to a public meeting led to the formation of Family Drug Support.  Family Drug Support has grown as an organisation since these humble beginnings and now offers a wide range of support for families and also for service providers.  For families, FDS offer regular national support meetings, 24 / 7 telephone support line, bereavement support, and courses to increase family members' understandings and skills in responding to substance use and bereavement support.  FDS also offer training and upskilling of staff on "family inclusive practice".

To find out more about family Drug Support go to http://www.fds.org.au or contact the Queensland worker Dom Shelley on 0419 689 857 or email dom@fds.ngo.org.au

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December 5, 2014

MISSION AUSTRALIA YOUTH SURVEY 2014 RESULTS OUT NOW

Every year Mission Australia conduct a survey of young Australians aged 15 - 19 to find out what young people value, their issues of concern, where they turn to for help and their feelings about the future.  The 2014 survey was completed by 13 600 young people, with just over 20% of responses coming from Queensland.  The survey revelaed that young people valued friendships, closely followed by family relationshops, and then school or study satisfaction.  The issues that most concerned young Australians included coping with stress, school or study problems, and body image.  Alcohol and other drugs rated relatviely low down the list of concerns, with 7.8% of young people either "extremely concerned" or "very concerned" about drug use and 5.8% either "extremely concerned" or "very concerned" about alcohol.

Find out more about the Mission Australia Youth Survey 2014

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December 5, 2014

THE NEW ZEALAND APPROACH TO NEW PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCES

Public health authorities around the world have been grappling with the issue of new psychoactive substances - those designed to mimic the effects of other illegal substances while avoiding regulatory control.  A number of different approaches are being employed around the world, but New Zealand has attracted a lot of attention for its unique approach.  New Zealand's "Psychoactive Substances Bill" sought to regulate substances if manufacturers could demonstrate the substances were "low risk of harm."  An article has been published in the November 2014 edition of the New Zealand Drug Foundation's magazine "Matters of Substance" and republished on the Public Address website titled "The twilight state of the Psychoactive Substances Act" which provides an overview of the evolution of this approach to regulation, with a focus on the challenges of regulating new psychoactive substances.

Go to "The twilight state of the Psychoactive Substances Act"

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November 28, 2014

NATIONAL DRUG STRATEGY HOUSEHOLD SURVEY 2013

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has published the full results of the "National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2013."  The National Household Survey is the largest study of its kind in Australia with almost 24 000 people aged over 14 surveyed about their use of substances and perceptions of substance related issues.  The survey found continued declines in rates of smoking, declines in rates of alcohol consumption (including declines in rates of risky drinking), and stable rates of most illicit substances.  The survey also found significant differences in rates of substance use across the community - people in remote or very remote areas were twice as likely as people in major cities to smoke daily, drink alcohol in risky quantities and use methamphetamine in the previous twelve months.

Go to "National Household Survey 2013"

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November 28, 2014

ALCOHOL AND ENERGY DRINKS: INCREASING RISK TAKING BUT ONLY FOR SOME

Dr Amy Peacock from the University of Tasmania presented research at the recent APSAD conference on the risks associated with combing alcohol with energy drinks.  Previous research has shown that some young people who combine alcohol and energy drinks are less likely to take risks when consuming alcohol with caffeine, while other researcH has found the combination can cause significant negative physical and psychological effects.  Dr Peacock's most recent research has found that alcohol and energy drink consumers varied in regards to their behaviour after consuming.  Most young people who consumed alcohol with energy drinks experienced low levels of risk taking behaviour, however a small proportion (about one tenth) reported high levels of risk taking behaviours.  These young people also were more likely to be male, more likely to engage in other risk taking behaviours, more impulsive in general, and they reported more frequent use of alcohol, higher levels of alcohol consumption and greater risk taking behaviour after alcohol consumption.


Read more about Dr Amy Peacock's research here.

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November 28, 2014

ALCOHOL MARKETING AND YOUNG PEOPLE

Victoria's Alcohol Policy Coalition is producing a series of webinars on alcohol related harm.  The first of these has been published on their website, and features a presentation from David Jernigan, Director of the Centre on Alcohol Marketing and Youth and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  David Jernigan describes the independent monitoring of marketing practices undertaken in the United States, the different ways that various US states have responded to alcohol advertising, the links between alcohol marketing and youth drinking and the role of public health advocates.

Watch "Alcohol marketing and young people"

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