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December 15, 2017

NATIONAL ALCOHOL STRATEGY: CONSULTATION OPEN NOW

The Department of Health is inviting stakeholders to provide feedback on the National alcohol strategy 2018-2026.  As a sub-strategy of the National drug strategy 2017-2026, the National alcohol strategy aims to ideintify national priority areas and opportunities for action, as well as promoting collaboration between the government and non-government sector.  The strategy is also attempting to reduce harmful alcohol consumption by 10%. The online submission process is now open and will close on 11 February 2018.

You can view the draft National alcohol strategy 2018-2026 here.

To lodge a submission, please email the nationaldrugstrategy@health.gov.au

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December 15, 2017

2017 NEEDLE AND SYRINGE PROGRAM NATIONAL MINIMUM DATA COLLECTION REPORT

The 2017 Needle Syringe Program (NSP) National Minimum Data Collection Report has recently been released.  This is the second annual national data report which presents national and state/territory NSP data for the 2016/17 financial year.  Australia currently operates 3,627 NSPs around the country and during the 2016/17 reporting year, 49 million needles and syringes were distributed in Australia.  Of that amount, over 10 million needles and syringes were distributed by Queensland NSPs.

Data was collected on a nominated snapshot day in February 2017 for participating NSPs. Among young people (aged less than 25 years) attending NSPs on the snapshot day, 35% reported injecting stimulants, 31% reported injecting anabolic steroids and 20% reported injecting opioids. NSPs play a key role in the prevention of blood-borne viruses, including the provision of safe injecting equipment, information on reducing drug related harms and referral to support services.

Read the full report here (2.90MB PDF)

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December 8, 2017

REALITY BITES: AUSTRALIA'S YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT IN A MILLENNIAL ERA

The Brotherhood of St Laurence has published a report titled "Reality Bites: Australia's Youth Unemployment in a Millennial Era."  Despite widespread media reporting on Australia's falling unemployment rate, the unemployment rate amongst young people is more than double that for the whole population. This high rate of unemployment amongst young people accelerated following the global financial crisis in 2008, and alongside this increase has been an increase in the number of young people who are unemployed long term (more than one year).

Download "Reality Bites: Australia's youth unemployment in a millennial era" (420KB PDF)

 

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November 24, 2017

DMT: A TRIP THROUGH THE GARDEN VIDEO

Dovetail is currently producing a series of short videos, covering a wide range of substances. The first series of videos are going to be focused on naturally occurring substances - psychoactive plants and fungus. DMT is a naturally occurring hallucinogen, in the tryptamine family. It occurs in a number of native Australian acacias, and there is some evidence of increasing rates of use in the community. This video provides an overview of the forms of DMT, prevalence, and effects.

Watch DMT (Episode 1 - A Trip Through the Garden - A Short Guide to Plant-based Substances) here.

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November 24, 2017

DRUG TESTING IN SCHOOL

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has published a paper titled "Drug testing in schools."  The paper considers the research into random drug testing of school students, to consider whether it is an effective deterrent, or whether it has unintended consequences.  The authors located seven studies all conducted in the united States, among students aged between 13 and 19 years.  The authors found that drug testing school students had little or no effect on actual rates of drug use among those tested and their peer group.  The paper found that student drug testing was associated with increased use of illicit drugs other than cannabis.

Go to "Drug Testing in Schools"

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November 24, 2017

PRESCRIPTION KILLER: AUSTRALIA'S IMMINENT FENTANYL EPIDEMIC

ABC Radio National's "Background Briefing" has broadcast a radio documentary titled "Prescription killer: Australia's imminent fentanyl epidemic". Fentanyl and its derivatives killed over 20 000 people in the United States in 2016, and new research is showing increasing numbers of Australians are dying from fentanyl overdose. In the past, fentanyl has been prescribed mostly for late stage cancer pain. However, there is evidence that it is increasingly being prescribed for other types of pain, leading to increased availability in the community.

Go to "Prescription Killer: Australia's imminent fentanyl epidemic"

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November 17, 2017

DRUG HUNTERS: MEET THE SCIENTISTS BUILDING A LIBRARY OF DESIGNER DRUGS

The technology website The Verge recently published an article titled "Drug Hunters: Meet the scientists building a library of designer drugs."  The article describes the rise of novel psychoactive substances - new drugs, designed to mimic the effects of existing drugs, but modified in order to subvert drug laws.  The article focuses on the role of forensic chemists in identifying and describing these drugs, often following health related emergencies.

 

Go to "Drug Hunters: Meet the scientists building a library of designer drugs"

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November 17, 2017

AUSTRALIA'S WELFARE 2017

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare have published their annual "Australia's Welfare 2017" report.  The report includes information on the amount of money spent on welfare services, along with the population factors that influence the demand for these services.  It includes information on young people with regards to child protection, youth justice and domestic and family violence, as well as data on the community services workforce, indigenous specific data, a special focus on housing and homelessness and more.  This report collates data from a broad range of services, giving a comprehensive overview of some of the key indicators of the wellbeing in the community.

Go to "Australia's Welfare 2017"

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November 17, 2017

THE HEALING FOUNDATION: ADDRESSING THE TRAUMA CAUSED BY THE STOLEN GENERATIONS

The Healing Foundation is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that works with communities to address the ongoing trauma caused by actions like the forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. Their website includes a number of resources to support communities, including stories of healing projects from across Australia, and at various times, funding for projects to address trauma within communities.


Go to "The Healing Foundation" website for more information.

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November 10, 2017

DRUG CHECKING FOR HARM REDUCTION: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has published a paper titled "Drug checking as a harm reduction tool for recreational drug users: Opportunities and challenges".  The paper provides an overview of the history of drug checking (sometimes known as "pill testing") and describes the variety of programs that are currently in operation in Europe.  The article describes the type of testing equipment that is available at each site, and provides a simple overview of the accuracy of each type of test employed. The article covers some of the common criticisms of drug checking programs, as well as the proposed benefits, and provides references for various research studies that have considered these factors.

Go to "Drug checking as a harm reduction tool for recreational drug users: Opportunities and challenges".

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