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May 27, 2016

Alcohol: Taking a population perspective

An article has been published in the journal "Nature Reviews: Gastroenterology and Hepatology"" titled "Alcohol: Taking a population perspective." The article provides a comprehensive overview of alcohol consumption and harm across the world. It includes an overview of the global burden of disease caused by alcohol, data on alcohol consumption patterns in various countries including Australia and the evidence around effective interventions. The most effective population strategies to reduce alcohol related harm involves increasing the price and reducing the availability of alcohol. Restricting alcohol advertising has also found to be an effective way to reduce alcohol related harms at the population level. This article provides an excellent synthesis of current evidence.

Go to "Alcohol: Taking a population perspective"

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May 27, 2016

The Wheel of Well-being

We came across a great website from the UK recently, and we thought it's worth sharing. The "Wheel of well-being" is a web-based well-being program developed by the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and Uscreates. The wheel has six aspects of well-being: body, mind, spirit, people, place, planet. Each wheel is linked with a suggestion for action. If you create a free account, you can develop a personalised well-being plan and track progress overtime. It includes a Google Maps integration, which will suggest places nearby that others have found to enhance their well-being, like places to keep active or places to engage in learning and development.

Go to "The Wheel of Well-being"



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May 20, 2016

IS ADDICTION A BRAIN DISEASE?

An article authored by Dr Sally Satel has been published on The Conversation website titled " Is addiction a brain disease?"  Sometimes referred to as the "hijacked brain" hypothesis, the theory that addiction is a brain disease is based on our understandings of the changes that occur in the brain when exposed to substance use for a period of time.  However, in this article, Dr Satel states: "Addiction is not a problem of the brain: it is a problem of the person."  She goes on to provide an overview of research into this area, which is sometimes framed as the "disease versus choice" dichotomy.  Dr Satel goes on to describe the benefits of treatments that rely on improving a client's ability to make choices and develops their sense of self-control.

Go to "Is addiction a brain disease?"

 

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May 20, 2016

WHAT MAKES AN EFFECTIVE TREATMENT SERVICE?

A fascinating article has been published on the UK-based "Drug and Alcohol Findings" website, titled "What makes an effective treatment service." The article provides an overview of a broad range of evidence into effective service delivery. They describe one study which found highly marginalised clients more effectively assisted by alcohol and drug workers who were non-conformist and who valued hedonism and stimulation, over more conservative alcohol and other drug workers.  The authors also describe an innovative study from the United States that involved workers conducting a "walk through" - experiencing the treatment system themselves through a live action role play, that starts at the telephone intake, through to assessment and intervention.  These live action role plays revealed poor staff engagement, impersonal interactions, inadequate equipment, convoluted administrative procedures and more.  The article provides a number of other examples of research into service improvement from around the world.

Go to "What makes an effective treatment service?"


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May 20, 2016

THE UNFULFILLED PROMISE OF ANTIDEPRESSANT MEDICATIONS

An article has been published in the latest edition of the Medical Journal of Australia titled "The unfulfilled promise of antidepressant medications". The article describes Australia's high rate of antidepressant use, despite evidence showing that these medications are less effective than previously thought. The authors describe meta-analytic approaches that have shown smaller effect sizes for the use of antidepressants on children and young people than previously reported, as well as demonstrating an increase in suicidal thoughts and behaviours in some young people on these medications. The authors state that antidepressants have been shown to be more effective when combined with psychotherapy, and that all patients should be offered psychotherapy where it is available.  The authors point out that some patients do have strong positive responses to antidepressants and that there is evidence that antidepressants are effective at preventing relapse to depression.

Read "The unfulfilled promise of antidepressant medications"



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May 13, 2016

CANNABIS USE IN PEOPLE WITH PSYCHOSIS

An article has been published in The Lancet Psychiatry titled "Continued versus discontinued cannabis use in patients with psychosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis".  The authors looked at 24 studies that included 16 565 participants.  They found that people who were diagnosed with psychosis and continued to use cannabis had a greater increase in relapse of psychosis than those who ceased cannabis use.  The people who continued using cannabis also had longer hospital admissions than non cannabis users.  The authors conclude with "Continued cannabis use after onset of psychosis predicts adverse outcome, including higher relapse rates, longer hospital admissions, and more severe positive symptoms than for individuals who discontinue cannabis use and those who are non-users."  This article is followed by a response titled "Correlation still does not imply causation" which urges caution in these findings, with the authors describing the "shared vulnerability hypothesis".


"Continued versus discontinued cannabis use in patients with psychosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis"

 

"Correlation still does not imply causation"

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May 13, 2016

NATIONAL FAMILIES WEEK

National Families Week is running from the 15th and 21st of May.  The theme of the week is "Stronger Families, Stronger Communities" and there are a broad range of events happening around Queensland.  In Brisbane, the Brisbane Metro Interagency Forum (part of Children's Health Queensland) are running an event  on Thursday 19th of May at the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital.

More details on the Brisbane event here.

To find other events in Queensland go here.

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May 13, 2016

WORKING TOGETHER FOR BETTER HOUSING AND SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES

The Queensland Government has released a discussion paper titled "Working together for better housing and sustainable communities".  The purpose of the discussion paper is the seek feedback on a range of housing issues from homelessness and social housing through to affordable rental and home ownership.  The Queensland Government has developed a short online survey, as well as a longer survey with specific questions from the discussion paper.  There are also a number of community engagement sessions planned around the state for people who want to provide feedback in person.  Housing and homelessness are significant issues for many young people, and this process will allow services and young people to have their say.

Find out more here.

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May 6, 2016

MISSION AUSTRAILA 2016 YOUTH SURVEY

Every year, Mission Australia conduct a survey of young Australians, in order to understand young people's concerns and hopes for the future.  The 2016 survey is now open, and all young people aged 15 - 19 are invited to share their views.  It's important that the survey gets the views of marginalised young people, as well as young people in regional and remote areas.  You can download the 2015 Mission Australia Youth Survey here (3.7MB PDF).

Complete the 2016 Mission Australia Youth Survey.

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May 6, 2016

RECENT CHANGES IN EUROPE'S MDMA / ECSTASY MARKET

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) have published a report titled "Recent Changes in Europe's Ecstasy / MDMA Market".  The report describes recent trends in MDMA manufacture, which have seen global purity increase. Evidence from the Netherlands indicates that a large proportion of Ecstasy tablets being tested at drug checking services contain very high doses of MDMA.  There is also evidence from the United Kingdom of increasing availability of high purity crystal MDMA.  These changes in the European Ecstasy market will impact on Australia, as much of the world's MDMA is produced in Europe.  Given the regular fluctuations in Ecstasy purity, there are increased risks of overdose and other adverse health outcomes.

Go to "Recent changes in Europe's MDMA / Ecstasy Market"

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