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January 23, 2015


An article was published in The Lancet towards the end of 2014 that we think is worth revisiting.  The article titled "Drugs, alcohol and the First World War" looks at the ways that the First World War influenced and contributed the drug control treaties that later came to dominate the developed world. The article describes the first "drug scare" in the UK, where Canadian soldiers were suspected of using and smuggling cocaine and morphine.  At the same time in the West End of London, sex workers were suspected of selling drugs to soldiers. These early drug scares contributed to a sense that any attempt at drug control required a global approach.  This eventually evolved into the international drug control treaties administered now by the United Nations.

Go to "Drugs, alcohol and the First World War"

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January 23, 2015


Dovetail are proud to announce the release of our fourth Youth Alcohol and Drug Good Practice Guide - Learning from Each Other: Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Young People. This Guide was developed over a period of 18 months in consultation with frontline Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services from across Queensland and contains valuable commentary, information, tools, case studies and practical resources to assist workers, services and communities to enhance their practice with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.


We wish to extend a hearty thanks to all members of the Learning From Each Other Network (listed on Page 6 of the Guide) for their considerable time and effort brainstorming, contributing and editing the Guide.  We would also like to acknowledge the fantastic work of Anne Elliott and her team at Encompass Family and Community Pty Ltd for their expert consultation and writing services.


An electronic version of the Guide can be downloaded free-of-charge here. Alternatively, if you are in Queensland and wish to order hard copies please phone 3837 5621 or email


PS: To accompany this Guide Dovetail plans to produce a toolkit of culturally secure youth AOD materials, templates and resources over the next 12 months, so stay tuned! See the FebFast story below for more details.

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January 23, 2015


Would a break from alcohol, nicotine, sugar, junk food or social media overload make you feel healthier and more in control of your life? FebFast is a charity that raises money to fight youth substance dependence by challenging you to refrain from your favourite vice for just 28 days - and this year Dovetail has been selected as one of its beneficiaries!  Yes that's right, just by abstaining for the shortest month of the year you can feel a whole lot healthier (not to mention smug and morally superior) AND help us to raise funds to develop, print and distribute a toolkit for working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in Queensland.  And to raise the stakes, Dovetail's very own Jeff Buckley has promised to give up alcohol not just for the month - but for the whole entire year! (OMG what did you just say?).  Yes, if Jeff can do a year, surely you can do a piddly 28 days?  They also offer office challenges (sorry Cam, Leigh and Ben, you should have returned from holidays earlier to have averted this huh?).


Sign up at the FebFast website here

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January 23, 2015


The organisers of the Walk on the Wild Side event have date-claimed Friday 15 May 2015 for their annual one-day symposium for health professionals examining substance use and society. The theme for this year is curiously titled "Harm Maximisation" and, like last year, the event will be held at the Education Centre at the Royal Women's and Brisbane Hospital in Brisbane.  The full program will be released in mid February.  For information phone 07 3646 1525.  Mark it in your diaries now!

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January 16, 2015


Happy New Year everybody!  We trust you have had a safe and relaxing break and are all refreshed and revigorated for a big 2015.  And with the Queensland state election called for the end of the month we are already on track for an action-packed year.  After a brief stint on the couch watching the cricket the Dovetail Weekly Email Digest is also back this week to grace your inboxes with the latest news, research, information and events in the Youth AOD sector in Queensland.

So best wishes for the upcoming year and, if you've got a few minutes spare while you work out your to-do list, please feel free to fill out our Annual Consumer Feedback Survey.  It should only take about 2 minutes and we're dangling the chance to win a Dovetail Prize Pack under your nose to get you in.  The survey closes on the 2nd of February and we'd love to hear your thoughts.

Take the survey here.

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January 15, 2015


InSight have released their training calendar for 2015.  The program features its regular Core AOD Skills Training alongside a range of specialist workshops.  A number of these workshops will be of interest to Dovetail subscribers including our Young People and Drugs course (23/04/15 and 17/11/15), Working with Significant Others, Carers and Families (04/06/15), NCPIC's "Adolescent Cannabis Check Up" (17/03/15 and 29/10/15) and Responding to Methamphetamine (16/06/15).  All workshops are held in Brisbane at the Biala Building and are either free or cost $220 for non-Queensland Health staff, whilst Queensland Health staff can access the entire program free-of-charge.

Download the InSight Training Calendar 2015 here

Download the Application Form here

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January 14, 2015


The organisers for The Australian Winter School (AWS) 2015 - presented by Lives Lived Well - are currently seeking submissions for conference speakers and workshops to inspire delegates and introduce them to new ideas and ways of thinking and working in AOD treatment. Abstracts are welcome on a wide range of drug and alcohol topics including: early intervention, prevention & health promotion; working with Indigenous communities; young people, alcohol & drugs; pharmaceuticals; NSPs, PIEDs; measuring impacts & outcomes; partnerships; domestic and family violence; child safety; alcohol, drugs and the justice system; family and child centred practice; social marketing; and FASD.

Unleash Potential is the theme for 2015, and if it's anything like last time, it will be the must-attend conference of the year!

For the full list of abstract topics, guidelines and templates, please visit the conference website at Deadline for abstracts has been extended to Friday, 6 February 2015.

For more information contact the conference organisers at or call 07 3834 0204.

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January 13, 2015


In December last year the Hon Fiona Nash, Assistant Minister for Health, announced a new look advisory council on drugs and alcohol identifying methamphetamine - in particular "ice" - as its priority focus.  Formerly the Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD), the new Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drugs (ANACAD) will have the role of providing advice to the Government on a range of national drug and alcohol issues, including emerging issues and new substances. In her media release Minister Nash acknowledged the outgoing Chair , Dr John Herron AO, and announced the new chair as former National Party MP Ms Kay Hull, who controversially champions an abstinence policy on drugs over harm minimisation.

Read the full media release outlining the new Council membership here

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December 12, 2014


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


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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