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July 31, 2015

SUICIDE ASSESSMENT KIT

The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) and the Network of Alcohol and Drug Agencies has developed a "Suicide Assessment Kit (SAK)".  The kit is designed to assist alcohol and other drug services in assessing and responding to suicide risk. It includes a suicide risk screener, a risk formulation template and policies and procedure pro-forma. The website also has some videos featuring roles plays and interviews with service providers.  All of the materials are freely available from the NDARC website.

Go to the "Suicide Assessment Kit"

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July 31, 2015

INTERIM ICE TASKFORCE REPORT RELEASED

The federal government "National Ice Taskforce" presented its interim report to the Council of Australian Governments meeting in Sydney last week.  According to the publicly available information, the report has identified six areas for action including: 1) target primary prevention, 2) improve access to early intervention, treatment and support services, 3) support local communities to respond, 4) improve tools for frontline workers, 5) focus law enforcement actions, 6) improve and consolidate research data.  The next phase of activity will be based around detailing initiatives under each of these areas, and will be released before the end of the year.

Find out more at the National Ice Task Force website.

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July 31, 2015

UNDERSTANDING E-CIGARETTES

The Australian Drug Foundation has developed a handy fact sheet on E-cigarettes.  In recent years, E-cigarettes have increased in popularity globally and in Australia.  The battery operated devices can be used to inhale vapour from a disposable cartridge / capsule which could contain nicotine or other flavouring agents.  Some people use e-cigarettes to reduce the harm from smoking tobacco, however there is currently not enough research to conclusively recommend e-cigarettes for harm reduction purposes.  The lack of regulation around the manufacture of the devices has also led to concerns of possible contamination or other problems.

Go to the Australian Drug Foundation Fact Sheet "E-Cigarettes"

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July 24, 2015

UNDERSTANDING RECENT TRENDS IN AUSTRALIAN ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

The Centre for Alcohol Policy Research and the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) has published a report by Dr Michael Livingston titled "Understanding recent trends in Australian alcohol consumption".  The report looks at data from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey from 2001 until 2013, which has shown decreasing rates of alcohol consumption, particularly amongst young people.  The proportion of the Australian population aged over 14 who report abstaining from alcohol has increased from 9.4% in 2001 to 14.1% in 2013.  Amongst young people aged between 14 and 17, the number who report abstaining from alcohol has increased from 28% in 2001 to 57.4% in 2013.  However the paper also shows that there have been minimal changes in drinking patterns amongst those who drink most heavily.

Download  "Understanding recent trends in Australian alcohol consumption"  (1MB PDF)

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July 24, 2015

WORKING WITH WOMEN ENGAGED IN AOD TREATMENT

The Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies (NADA) has published a practice resource tited "Working with women engaged in alcohol and other drug treatment".  The guide aims to improve AOD services for women, and to enhance gender responsive, family inclusive and trauma informed practice. A wide range of services contributed to the development of the guide, and 51 women from six services shared their views on seeking and receiving AOD treatment.  The guide includes an overview of women in AOD treatment, strategies for developing a gender responsive service, working with women from diverse backgrounds and much more.

Find out more about "Working with women engaged in alcohol and other drug treatment"

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July 24, 2015

ALCOHOL: HURTING PEOPLE AND HARMING COMMUNITIES

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs has published the final report from the inquiry into the harmful use of alcohol in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.  The report, titled "Alcohol, hurting people and harming communities" makes a broad range of recommendations including the introduction of a minimum alcohol price, banning alcohol sponsorship of sporting teams, prioritising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community driven strategies to reduce alcohol related harms, and re-establishing the National indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee - NIDAC.

Go to "Alcohol, hurting people and harming communities"

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July 24, 2015

QUICK GUIDE TO INCOME MANAGEMENT

Over the past few years, a number of different versions  of "income management" have been implemented across Australia.  While there are variations in these programs, essentially it involves quarantining part of a person's welfare payments. The federal government have produced a handy overview of these programs, titled "Income management: A quick guide."  It includes the full range of income management measures from voluntary through to compulsory, along with the various triggers for implementing income management.   The quick guide also includes links to evaluation reports, an overview of the "Basics Card" and information on future directions in income management.

Go to "Income Management: A quick guide"

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July 17, 2015

MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAWS AND ADOLESCENT MARIJUANA USE IN THE USA

An article has been published in The Lancet titled "Medical marijuana laws and adolescent marijuana use in the USA from 1991 to 2014: results from annual, repeated cross-sectional surveys".  The paper considers rates of cannabis use amongst young people in states where medical marijuana has been legalised, with those in states where it remains restricted.  The authors found that while cannabis use is higher in states that have legalised medical marijuana, these higher rates of use preceded legislative changes.  The authors conclude that "passage of state medical marijuana laws does not increase adolescent use of marijuana."

Go to "Medical marijuana laws and adolescent marijuana use in the USA from 1991 to 2014: results from annual, repeated cross-sectional surveys".

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July 17, 2015

ALCOHOL BRANDS CONSUMED BY YOUNG PEOPLE IN TREATMENT IN 2015

The UK-based Alcohol Concern have published a research report titled "Alcohol brands consumed by young people in treatment 2015".  The research involved surveying 223 children and young people aged between 12 and 20 who were currently in alcohol and other drug treatment about their preferred alcohol brands.  It is the third time this particular research report has been completed and the researchers found remarkable consistency across the UK over this time period - the same alcohol brands are consumed by at-risk young people year after year.  The preferred alcohol brands are cheap, potent and heavily marketed.  The most common brand nominated by these young people was Fosters beer, followed by generic / own brand vodka.  This research adds to the significant body of research that indicates that price and marketing are powerful influencers of problematic alcohol consumption.

Download "Alcohol brands consumed by young people in treatment 2015" (1.2MB PDF)

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July 17, 2015

DRUG PREVENTION FOR PARENTS

Mentor International have published a guide to prevention resources for parents.  The guide is divided into three sections including "Home", "School" and "Community" and provides a brief overview of the research into effective AOD prevention across each of these domains.  The guide contains links to evidence-based resources from around the world, including Australia.  The guide is also useful for workers who engage with parents, with useful strategies to assist parents in supporting their children.

Download "Drug prevention for parents" (900KB PDF)

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