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A legend, often mentioned together with the "holes in the brain" myth, is that MDMA causes Parkinson's disease. This was partially based on an animal study that found neurotoxicity to dopaminergic neurons after administering the drug to monkeys. However, the study was eventually retracted by the researchers because they had accidentally given methamphetamine instead of MDMA to the animals. Ironically, it is now being investigated as a possible treatment for Parkinson's disease.
 

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March 14, 2014

A WIDE LENS: FREE ONLINE LEARNING RESOURCE FOR WORKING WITH CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

Youth Worker Peter Slattery has created a free online learning resource on his website YouthWorkMatters.com.  The training, titled "A wide lens", goes for around one hour and could be used by any worker wanting to brush up on their approach to working with children or young people. The free training uses video, audio and other interactive elements and is designed to help workers map their approach to working with children and young people by asking some key questions including: what helps kids and young people grow well?  And what can we do to assist this process?

Go to "A wide lens: Free online learning resource for working with children and young people"

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March 14, 2014

DEATHS OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE IN QUEENSLAND 2012-13

The Queensland Commission for Children and Young People and the Child Guardian has published their annual report "Deaths of children and young people Queensland 2012-13".  The report considers all deaths of young people but focuses on the circumstances and risk factors surrounding non-natural causes of death.  The report identified 22 children and young people aged between 12 and 17 years who suicided during 2012-13, 27.3% of whom were identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.  Half of the 22 children who suicided were known to the child protection system, while nine of the young people who suicided were known to use alcohol or other drugs.

Download "Annual Report: Deaths of children and young people in Queensland 2012-13"

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March 14, 2014

THE ALCOHOL INDUSTRY AND PUBLIC HEALTH: HOW THE BATTLE LINES WERE DRAWN

An article has been published on Croakey, the Crikey Health blog, titled "The alcohol industry and public health: How the battle lines were drawn."  The article describes the debate about alcohol industry funded public health campaigns and the conflict between commercial interests and public health outcomes.  One of the focal points of this debate has been around alcohol industry advertising self-regulation, which many in the public health arena believe to be ineffective, given the commercial imperatives that are directly in conflict with public health outcomes of reducing alcohol consumption.  This debate shows no signs of ending soon.

Read "The alcohol industry and public health: How the battle lines were drawn"

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March 7, 2014

METHAMPHETAMINE: FACTS VS. FICTION AND LESSONS FROM THE CRACK HYSTERIA

Associate Professor Carl Hart from Columbia University in conjunction with his colleagues has published a controversial article titled "Methamphetamine: Fact vs fiction and lessons from the crack hysteria."  This report critically examines the evidence on illicit methamphetamine use, in order to dispel some of the myths about the effects of the drug.  The authors examine the so-called "crack cocaine scare" that occurred in the United States in the 1980s and draw parallels between the response to crack cocaine then and methamphetamine now.  The final part of the report reviews the scientific literature on the effects of methamphetamine on the brain, the body and behaviour.

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March 7, 2014

"HARD TO COUNT": TRACKING UNRECORDED AOD TREATMENT

In an increasingly fiscally restrained environment, accurately reporting AOD treatment episodes is more important than ever.  However we know that, particularly in the youth sector, "drug treatment" may take on a variety of forms - from drop-in centres, outdoor adventure based learning programs, to school-based programs - the diversity of approaches can make it difficult for policy makers and planners to measure exactly how much AOD treatment activity is occurring in the community.  The Drug Policy Monitoring Program (DPMP) at the University of New South Wales are currently reviewing alcohol and other drug treatment across Australia and they've published a working paper titled "Hard to Count" or unrecorded treatment utilisation for alcohol and other drugs."  This paper sets out the issue, and the authors have invited services to comment.  The working paper contains a section specifically looking at counselling services provided in secondary schools and tertiary education settings, and also a section on "generalist non-health services" which includes youth services.

Download "Hard to Count" or unrecorded treatment utilisation for alcohol and other drugs." (257KB PDF)

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March 7, 2014

QUEENSLAND DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH FUNDING FOR NON-GOVERNMENT AOD AND COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

Queensland's Department of Health has released a "request for offer" (RFO) inviting non-government agencies involved in community mental health and alcohol and other drug treatment to apply for funding.  The community mental health RFO closes on Monday 31st of March and the NGO AOD services RFO closes on Wednesday 2nd of April.  There are information sessions planned for services who would like more information.  To find out about these funding opportunities click the links below.

Go to Non-government alcohol and other drug services request for offer

Go to Community managed mental health services and consumer participation in the community managed mental health sector request for offer

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March 7, 2014

ANCD SURVEY OF SECONDARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS

The Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD) has published a report titled "Survey of secondary school principals on the use of alcohol and other drugs in schools."  The report compiles the results of a survey of over 200 secondary school principals, finding that principals were concerned about all aspects of student wellbeing, but particularly mental health and cyber bullying, alcohol use, cannabis use and the roles of parents and other role models.  The report also found that 75% of schools had their own alcohol and drug policy or one developed by their respective education department.  Questions were raised about the effectiveness and the appropriateness of prevention programs, with one principal stating "schools can no longer carry the workload on this - we don't have the time, we don't have the resources and I don't think the type of programs we offer make a difference to behaviour, though they do give information."

Download "Survey of secondary school principals on the use of alcohol and other drugs in schools" (1.6MB PDF)

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February 28, 2014

THE EFFECTIVENESS OF REGULATIONS GOVERNING ALCOHOL ADVERTISING

The Australian National Preventative Health Agency (ANPHA) has published a draft report titled "Alcohol Advertising: The effectiveness of current regulatory codes in addressing community concern".  The report has been released in draft form to allow stakeholders to input into the "Review of the Effectiveness of Current Regulatory Codes" currently underway, with the final report due in July 2014.  Alcohol advertising is an issue that has concerned many in the youth sector, with a significant body of evidence indicating that young people aged under 18 are exposed to and influenced by alcohol advertising, particularly during sporting events.  This report considers this evidence and provides an overview of the situation both in Australia and overseas.

Download "Alcohol Advertising: The effectiveness of current regulatory codes in addressing community concern" (2.6MB PDF)

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February 28, 2014

MONITORING TRENDS IN THE PREVALENCE OF PETROL SNIFFING IN SELECTED ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES

The Menzies School of Health Research has published a report titled "Monitoring trends in prevalence of petrol sniffing in selected Aboriginal communities: An interim report".  The report authored by Peter d'Abbs and Gillian Shaw provides an overview of current trends in petrol sniffing in communities across Australia - some of whom have significant coverage of low aromatic fuels (that contains negligible amounts of chemicals that can cause intoxication) and other communities that have low or no access to low aromatic fuels.  This report looked at 41 communities located in the Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland.  In those communities where comparable data was available from earlier research in 2005-07, declines in petrol sniffing were observed - indicating that the rollout of low aromatic fuel has been successful in reducing petrol sniffing in communities that have access to it.

Download "Monitoring trends in prevalence of petrol sniffing in selected Aboriginal communities: An interim report" (406KB PDF)

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February 28, 2014

FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR CONFERENCE ATTENDANCE

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) has announced that they are accepting applications for funding under their Alcohol and Other Drugs Conference Program.  There are two streams of funding available: up to $10 000 is available for people wanting to run an alcohol and other drug conference, otherwise individuals (with their managers support) can apply for up to $2000 to attend a relevant alcohol and other drug conference.  Applications for funds close on the 19th of March so start planning now.

Find out more from the FARE website.

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