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August 15, 2014

BRIEF COUNSELLING MAY NOT HELP WITH MOST DRUG PROBLEMS

An article has been published on the United States-based website of the National Public Radio titled "Brief counselling may not help with most drug problems."  The article considers two recent papers published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that tested whether brief interventions were effective.  In one of the studies 500 people who had all been identified by a verbal drug screening at a primary care clinic were divided into three groups: the first two groups received two different brief interventions and the third group received nothing.  At 6 month follow up there were no differences between the three groups.  The second study was similar: patients received a brief counselling session along with a follow-up phone call two weeks later, but this resulted in no changes in substance use, although those people with the most severe problems were more likely to go on to seek out specialist treatment.

Read "Brief counselling may not help with most drug problems."

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August 15, 2014

REVIEW OF INTERVENTIONS FOR VOLATILE SUBSTANCE MISUSE IN REGIONAL NORTH QUEENSLAND

Cairns based youth service YETI (Youth Empowered Towards Independence) has published a research report titled "Dignity, Diversion, Home and Hope: A review of interventions for volatile substance misuse in regional North Queensland."   This research report involved interviews with youth and AOD workers in Cairns, Mt Isa, Rockhampton and Townsville, as well as interviews with current and former inhalant users who access services at YETI.  The report includes a series of practice principles and insights directly from young people who use inhalants about what they believed were the most useful approaches workers should use when providing effective services.

Download "Dignity, Diversion, Home and Hope: A review of interventions for volatile substance misuse in regional North Queensland." (620KB PDF)

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August 15, 2014

PROHIBITING PUBLIC DRINKING IN AN URBAN AREA: WHAT'S THE IMPACT?

The National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund has published a paper titled "Prohibiting public drinking in an urban area: Determining the impacts on police, the community and marginalised groups."  The report looked at the impacts of public drinking laws in three inner-urban areas of Melbourne: Cities of Yarra, Darebin and Maribyrnong.  The report found that public drinking laws had no impact on alcohol-related crime or harm, but there was differing impacts in the different regions on the impacts of the laws in terms of reducing congregations of public drinkers.  The report found that public drinking laws made residents feel safer and improved amenity from the perspective of residents and traders.  The report also found that public drinking laws negatively impacted on marginalised people with many of these people unable to pay fines and forced to move to different spaces that may increase harm, such as alleys or railway tracks.

Go to "Prohibiting public drinking in an urban area: Determining the impacts on police, the community and marginalised groups"

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August 8, 2014

BUILDING BLOCKS: BEST PRACTICE PROGRAMS TO IMPROVE THE WELLBEING OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

The Western Australian Commissioner for Children and Young People has published a document titled "Building Blocks: Best practice programs that improve wellbeing of children and young people".  This document identifies 44 programs from around Australia that have been shown to have a positive impact on the wellbeing of children and young people.  The document considers eight areas of wellbeing including health and safety, education, behaviours and risks amongst others and programs are listed as either "best practice" or "promising" based of the strength of the evidence base.  Each program is described in terms of the objectives, evidence base, and outcomes as well as links to find out more information.  This guide is a very useful starting point for services looking at developing evidence-based programs to improve the wellbeing of young people.

Download "Building Blocks: Best practice programs that improve wellbeing of children and young people". (1.45MB PDF)

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August 8, 2014

WE ARE DRUG USERS: VOICES FROM THE GLOBAL MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE WHO USE DRUGS

The recent 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne featured a screening of "We are drug users: Voices from the global movement of people who use drugs" - the story of drug user activism throughout the world.  When HIV was first identified in the early 1980's, it was clear that any effective response had to involve the engagement of the communities most impacted by the virus.  In Australia, drug user organisations were formed around the country - QuIVAA in Queensland and similar organisations in most states and territories.  This documentary tells the story of similar drug user organisations and activism throughout the world.  Drug user organisations have been crucial to the HIV response - developing peer education programs, fighting stigma and discrimination, and advocating for greater access to harm reduction services.

Watch "We are drug users: Voices from the global movement of people who use drugs" here.

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August 8, 2014

ALCOHOL'S BURDEN OF DISEASE IN AUSTRALIA

Turning Point in conjunction with the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation has published a report titled "Alcohol's burden of disease in Australia."  The report estimates that per capita adult alcohol consumption in Australia in 2010 was 10.42 litres of pure ethanol per person per year, with Northern Territory having the highest estimate of greater than 12 litres per person per year.  The report estimates that there were 157 132 hospitalisations attributable to alcohol in 2010 made up of 101 425 males and 55 707 females.  In males, injuries were the most common reason for alcohol-related deaths with 36% of deaths, whilst for females the most common reason for alcohol-related death was cardiovascular disease with 34% of deaths.

Download "Alcohol's burden of disease in Australia." (3.5MB PDF)

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August 1, 2014

DRINKING IN THE SUBURBS: THE EXPERIENCES OF ABORIGINAL YOUNG PEOPLE

The National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University has published a report titled "Drinking in the suburbs: The experiences of Aboriginal young people."  The report came about as Perth based Aboriginal organisation Maamba expressed concern about their young people consuming alcohol and getting into trouble on the suburban train network.  In this study, young people from the south and south-east metropolitan area of Perth were asked about their level of alcohol consumption, contexts of drinking, knowledge of health effects, responses to health promotion messages and their ideas for more effective health promotion.  The report has implications for includes suggestions for more effective health promotion including activity based health promotion and peer-based health promotion strategies.

Download "Drinking in the suburbs: The experiences of Aboriginal young people" (2MB PDF)

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August 1, 2014

RESILIENCE AMONGST ABORIGINAL YOUTH

The Telethon Kids Institute has published an article titled "Resilience amongst Australian Aboriginal youth: An ecological analysis of factors associated with psychosocial functioning in high and low risk family contexts".  The article uses data from the Western Australia Aboriginal Child Health Survey to look at the individual, family, cultural and community factors that impact on psychosocial outcomes from families considered either low-risk or high-risk.  They found that in high risk family contexts, pro-social friendships and low area-level socioeconomic status protected psychosocial functioning.  In low risks family contexts the perception of racism increased the likelihood of poor psychosocial functioning.

Download "Resilience amongst Australian Aboriginal youth: An ecological analysis of factors associated with psychosocial functioning in high and low risk family contexts". (245KB PDF)

 

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August 1, 2014

REMEMBERING THE GIN CRAZE

The BBC news magazine recently published a fascinating article remembering the "Gin Craze" that swept through England in the 18th century.  The article was prompted because 2014 is the 250th anniversary of the death of artist William Hogarth, who became famous for his "Gin Lane" depiction of the impacts of gin consumption.  This image led to the government introducing restrictions on the production and consumption of gin which was consumed by poor people, often adulterated and resulted in increases in criminal and anti-social behaviour.  Widely regarded as the first moral panic around substance use, the various policy positions employed in order to address the "Gin Craze" bring up wider issues of class, gender and race - issues that continue to be relevant when we consider policies to reduce AOD related harm in Australia today.

Read "When gin was full of sulphuric acid and turpentine"

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July 25, 2014

YOUTH SOCIAL EXCLUSION IN AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITIES

The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling at the University of Canberra has published a report titled "Youth social exclusion in Australian communities: A new index".  The report considers a number of domains that can lead to social exclusion including socio-economic background, education, caring responsibilities, access to health services and housing.  The report incorporates geographic data in its analysis of social exclusion, using specialised data from the 2011 census to create the first nation-wide geographically disaggregated index of young peoples' social exclusion in Australia.

Download "Youth social exclusion in Australian communities: A new index" (1.1MB PDF)

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