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August 28, 2015

FACT CHECK: IS ICE MORE DANGEROUS AND ADDICTIVE THAN ANY OTHER DRUG?

The Conversation website has published an article by Associate Professor Nicole Lee titled "Fact check: Is ice more dangerous and addictive than any other illegal drug?".  The article considers the research into the current rates of methamphetamine use, which has shown that population rates of use have not increased, however the form used by those who do use methamphetamine has shifted to the more potent crystalline form.  This means that while there aren't larger numbers of people using methamphetamine, those who do use are experiencing more harm.  The article then goes on to consider the research into the harms of methamphetamine.  In Victoria there are an average of 4.7 methamphetamine-related ambulance attendances per day, which is less than alcohol (34 call-outs per day), benzodiazepines (8.3 attendances per day) and heroin (5.1 attendances per day).


Go to "Fact Check: Is ice more dangerous and addictive than any other drug?"

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August 28, 2015

QUEENSLAND ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUG ACTION PLAN

The Queensland Mental Health Commission are currently in the process of developing a whole of government Queensland Alcohol and Other Drug Action Plan 2015 - 2017.  QNADA, the peak body for non-government alcohol and other drug organisations, is undertaking consultation on behalf of the Mental Health Commission.  This will include consultation events in the regions, but also online consultation.  QNADA has developed two online surveys: one for individual clients / people who use drugs, and another for families / carers and support people.  It's important that a wide range of views are included in the consultation, particularly young people.  If you work with young people who use alcohol and other drugs, or parents / carers please consider sharing this online survey. The survey only takes 5 - 10 minutes to complete and it's open until Friday 12th of September.  If you've got any questions about the survey, contact QNADA on (07) 3023 5050

For individual clients of treatment services / people who use drugs click here.

For family / carers / support people click here.

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August 28, 2015

E-CIGARETTES: AN EVIDENCE UPDATE

Public Health England has published a research report titled "E-cigarettes: An evidence update". E-cigarettes, devices which heat a capsule of nicotine in a propylene glycol or glycerine base into a vapour, mimics the sensation of cigarette smoking, but without lots of the dangerous chemicals in tobacco smoke.  E-cigarettes remain illegal in Queensland, while there has been a dearth of evidence about their safety or efficacy. This latest research review from Public Health England is a welcome addition to the literature.  They found that e-cigs are 95% less harmful to health than normal cigarettes, and when supported by a smoking cessation service, they help most smokers quit altogether.  They found that while there has been a steady increase in the use of e-cigs in England, rates of tobacco smoking in young people have continued to decline.  They found that e-cigs are used almost exclusively among people who have already smoked, reducing the fear that e-cigs could be a gateway to commence tobacco smoking.  The report also found that e-cigs release a negligible level of nicotine into ambient air, with no risks to bystanders through passive consumption. There remain concerns about quality control of specific e-cig products, with some variation noted amongst particular devices and nicotine capsules.


Go to "E-cigarettes: An evidence update"

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August 28, 2015

CULTURAL COMPETENCY IN DELIVERING HEALTH SERVICES FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

The "Closing the Gap" clearinghouse has published an Issues paper titled "Cultural competency in the delivery of health services for Indigenous people."  This comprehensive guide includes an overview of what works and what doesn't work and an overview of what we don't know.  The authors found that cultural awareness training is not enough - cultural competence is a set of behaviours, attitudes and policies across systems that allow effective engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  The authors found that there needs to be more research into culturally competent interventions, and there needs to be a range of validated indicators to measure progress in culturally competent health services.

Download "Cultural competency in the delivery of health services for Indigenous people." (1.6MB PDF)

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August 21, 2015

DR MICHAEL UNGAR WORKSHOP

Internationally renowned family therapist and co-director of the Resilience Research Centre, Dr Michael Ungar is presenting a full day workshop in Brisbane on Tuesday the 6th of October.  The workshop is called "20 Skills to build resilience: Working with young people with complex needs" and will show how young people use "problem" behaviours to enhance their wellbeing.  The workshop will provide participants with skills to build resilience in young people and it will provide an overview of the Child and Youth Resilience Measure, as assessment tool designed to better understand resilience in young people.  The full day workshop is brought to you by Dovetail, YSAS, The Centre for Youth AOD Practice Development and YoDAA.  Tickets are $100.

Find out more about Dr Michael Ungar: 20 Skills to build resilience

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August 21, 2015

MENTAL HEALTH WEEK 4TH - 11TH OF OCTOBER

Queensland Mental Health week is fast approaching.  The week takes place in the week of World Mental Health Day, which is October 10th.  The theme of this year is "Value mental health" and a range of events are planned for right across Queensland.  There is still time to register events in your community, and a range of supporting merchandise is available as well.

To find out more go to the Queensland Mental Health Week website.

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August 21, 2015

THE CHEMIST WHO UNWITTINGLY HELPED SPAWN NEW PSYCHOACTIVE CANNABINOIDS

In recent years, a wide range of new psychoactive drugs have been developed which mimic the effect of already illegal drugs, but remain psychoactive. Probably the largest class of these new psychoactive drugs is the synthetic cannabinoids, such as "Kronic."  The actual chemical in "Kronic" is a drug known as JWH-018, named after its inventor John W. Huffman.  Huffman was investigating the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids, and invented a number of synthetic cannabinoids.  The Washington Post has tracked down John W. Huffman and interviewed him about his thoughts on what has occurred with his inventions.  Huffman never intended his substances to end up as recreational drugs, and he has a number of concerns about the potential health effects.


Go to "How this chemist unwittingly helped spawn the synthetic drug industry"

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August 21, 2015

AUSTRAIAN WINTER SCHOOL 2015: PRESENTATIONS AVAILABLE

The recent Australian Winter School conference was a huge success, with almost 400 delegates from around Australia coming together for two days of engaging speakers.  The conference, organised by Lives Lived Well, has now made most of the presentations avaialble online, and a number of the presentations have been filmed as well.  Some of the highlights include the key note speaker Dr Igor Koutsenok presenting "The myths and realities of working with people who use drugs", Dr Peter d'Abbs presenting "The 'community' as an agent of alcohol management in Aboriginal communities: A critical examination" as well as Dovetail's own Cameron Francis presenting "Back to basics: Top harm reduction tips for working with young people."  The dates for the next Australian Winter School have been set: 21 - 22nd of July 2016.

Go to the Australian Winter School 2015 website to watch or download the presentations.

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August 14, 2015

IMPROVING SERVICES FOR LGBTI PEOPLE

The Queensland AIDS Council has published a good practice guide "Many Shades of Blue: Enhancing service delivery to address the mental health needs of LGBTI populations".  The guide provides an overview of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people who access mental health services.  It includes strategies for services to improve the attractiveness to LGBTI people as well as strategies to support disclosure by LGBTI people.  The guide also has a comprehensive list of resources to support service delivery for LGBTI people.

Download "Many Shades of Blue: Enhancing service delivery to address the mental health needs of LGBTI populations". (888KB PDF)

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August 14, 2015

WHY DO DRUNK PEOPLE GET SO LOUD?

Ever wondered why a group of people consuming alcohol seem to get louder and louder as the night goes on?  It's because alcohol affects hearing: the more alcohol you consume, the less effective your hearing becomes, especially around 1000Hz range which is crucial for speech discrimination.  A great paper from 2007 tested the theory. Thirty healthy volunteers were given a pre-set amount of alcohol and their hearing was tested pre and post alcohol consumption.  The researchers found a positive association between increasing breath alcohol concentration and hearing impairments for most hearing frequencies, particularly those associated with hearing human speech.


Upile, T., Sipaul, F., Jerjes, W., Singh, S., Nouraei, S., El Maaytah, M., Andrews, P., Graham, J., Hopper, C., Wright, A. (2007) "The acute effects of alcohol on auditory thresholds" in Ear Nose Throat Disorders  Vol 7, No. 4

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