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June 23, 2011

HEARING FROM YOUNG PEOPLE ABOUT CANNABIS AND ECSTASY

As a part of National Drug Action Week, students from Charles Sturt University have created two podcasts:  one focusing on cannabis and the other on ecstasy.   We know that young people don't really like hearing older folk go on about the dangers of drugs, and so these podcasts are made by young people for young people. Both podcasts are short and to the point.

Click here to listen to the cannabis podcast.

Click hereto listen to the ecstasy podacast.

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June 23, 2011

NEW PERSPECTIVES ON YOUNG PEOPLES' HEALTH AND WELLBEING

In a developed country such as Australia, it's often taken for granted that overall health and wellbeing is improving, as medical science advances and life expectancy increases.  Researcher and writer Richard Eckersley challenges these assumptions with regards to young people, in a piece he wrote for Croaky, Crikey's health blog.  The author argues that the significance of material and structural determinants of health has been declining, while there has been growing importance of existential and relationship factors like a sense of identity, belonging and purpose.   He describes a shift from economic deprivation to a problem of excess.   He believes that these changes are evidenced by a shift from physical health problems to mental health problems:  problems which aren't as easily defined by social determinants.

Click here to read more.

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June 23, 2011

YOUTH WORK IN REMOTE AUSTRALIA

Bush Telegraph on ABC Radio National recently featured a story about the difficulties faced by youth workers in remote parts of Australia.   The story features an interview with Dr Judy Kulisa from Edith Cowan University, who has been looking at the experiences of youth workers in remote parts of Western Australia.  Dr Kulisa found the average working life of youth workers in remote parts of Australia was five years.   The youth workers needed to have a much broader array of skills, given the bredth of issues they are required to deal with, however Dr Kulisa found that often these workers had less qualifications than their city counterparts, and much less access to professional development and support.

Click here to listen to an interview with Dr Kulisa and Hayley Harris, and youth worker from remote Western Austarlia.

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June 23, 2011

ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION ON THE SLIDE

The Australian Bureau of Statistics have published their annual "Apparent Consumption of Alcohol, Australia, 2009-10" report, which looks at the total amounts of alcohol consumed in Australia by type of alcohol.   Since the "alco-pops" tax increase in 2008, overall alcohol consumption has declined.    The alcohol industry was vocally warning about young people shifting from alco-pops to straight spirits, however the data demonstrates that this is not the case.  While there was some increase in consumption of straight spirits, it still has resulted in overall declines in alcohol consumption.  In 2008 before the alco-pops tax, annual per capita consumtion of pure alcohol was 2.26 litres per person per year.  In 2010, it has declined to 2.00 liters per person per year.

Click here to read the full report.


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June 16, 2011

TRENDS IN JUVENILE DETENTION IN AUSTRALIA

The Australian Institute of Criminology have published a paper looking at the rates of young people in detention from the early 1980's until now.   The findings include declining rates of young people in detention as a proportion of the overall population, however there was a concerning increase in young people remanded in custody.   The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in detention continues to increase, although the authors of this report believe that this is due to declining rates of imprisonment of white young people rather than an actual increase in imprisonment rates for Indigenous young people.   The authors encourage policy makers to consider "what works" for keeping white young people out of detention, and to see if lessons can be learned and applied to Indigenous young people.

Click here to read the full report.

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June 16, 2011

YOUNG AUSTRALIANS: THEIR HEALTH AND WELLBEING 2011

The Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing have published their latest report looking at the health and wellbeing of young people in Australia.   A number of interesting results have come out of this report, including evidence of continuing declines in death rates of young people, mostly due to reduce rates of accidental injury.   Rates of cigarette smoking in young people have almost halved in the last decade, a trend which has been mirrored in rates of cannabis use.   The report did highlight areas for improvement, most notably in the mental health arena, where young people still experience high rates of mental health problems and difficulty in accessing treatment.

Click here to read the full report.


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June 16, 2011

MEASURING OUTCOMES OF AOD TREATMENT

Outcome measurement is a tricky issue in the alcohol and other drug sector.  It's hard to find an outcome measure that's suitable to both worker and the young person they're working with.  Lots of outcome measures were designed by researchers for researchers, making them difficult to apply to the "real world" of working with young people.   Back in 2009, the Network of Alcohol and Drug Agencies (NADA - the NSW peak body for NGO alcohol and drug services) were asked to look at this issue, and the end result is an amazing publication titled "A Review of Screening, Assessment and Outcome Measures for Drug and Alcohol Settings."  It includes an overview of all the various measures, information on cost (if any) as well as any particular training requirements to administer some of the tools.  It's a very handy guide that covers a huge number of tools which you might come across in your work.

Click here to download "A Review of Screening, Assessment and Outcome Measures for Drug and Alcohol Settings."

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June 16, 2011

ARE MASS MEDIA CAMPAIGNS AGAINST DRUG USE EFFECTIVE?

A recent meta-analysis published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found the answer was fairly clear: no they don't and in some cases they actually increased people's intentions to use.   This study looked all the published research on this issue and narrowed down the field to 11 studies, 7 using randomised control trials (RCT) and 4 observational studies which met the inclusion criteria.  One of the RCT studies found positive benefits on the mass media campaigns in reducing intentions to use illicit drugs, while two of the RCTs found the opposite:  increased intentions to use illicit drugs by those who viewed the campaigns.  The observational studies yielded mixed results.   The authors conclude that mass media campaigns are unlikely to be effective at reducing illicit drug use.

Click here to read the whole article.


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June 8, 2011

WELCOME TO THE NEW LOOK DOVETAIL WEBSITE!

The team here at Dovetail are very excited to announce the launch of our re-vamped website.  We've made information even easier to find, chopped out some parts and included a few new extras.   You can follow us on twitter, friend us on facebook, or link with us through LinkedIn.   Let us know what you think!

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June 6, 2011

NEW LOOK DRUGINFO WEBSITE

The folks at the Australian Drug Foundation (ADF) have recently re-lauched their DrugInfo website.   The site is now easier to use than ever before, with info suitable for a range of audiences.  It contains printable info sheets on the full (and expanding) range of drugs, as well as different audiences include parents, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Click here to check out the all new DrugInfo website.

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