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June 29, 2018

SCRATCH AND SNIFF CARDS FOR DRUG EDUCATION?

Dovetail are often contacted by workers who have been approached by external companies, promoting school drug education resources. Recently, we heard of a company offering "Scratch and Sniff" cards, which contain scents similar to illegal drugs. These cards are being marketed to schools as a way of helping young people to identify illegal drugs.  But are they effective? As with any school alcohol and drug prevention program, we consider the following three questions when considering a school alcohol and other drug prevention program:


  1. Does the program comply with the Federal Government's "Principles of School Drug Education?"
  2. Has the program been evaluated and found to change behaviour (not just "the students enjoyed it")
  3. Has the program been developed, endorsed or supported by a university or a government department like Queensland Health or Education Queensland?

If the answer is "no" to these questions, the program might not be appropriate, and in some cases, poorly designed school alcohol and drug education programs can backfire, and result in increased alcohol and other drug use and related harm.

If you are unsure about a school alcohol and other drug program, contact Dovetail and we'll be happy to help you decide if the program is suitable for your school.

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June 29, 2018

STA-SAFE CONSORTIUM PILL TESTING PILOT REPORT

The Safety Testing Advisory Service (STA-SAFE) consortium have prepared a report following the pill testing pilot conducted at a Canberra music festival. Pill testing (also referred to as drug checking) involves using analytical instruments to determine to chemical content of substances that are intended to be consumed by people attending venues and music festival.

 

The pill testing pilot collected data on the substances analyzed and delivered an intervention providing information about the risk of consuming the substances identified, education on harm reduction strategies and information about health service referrals. The drug testing component was undertaken using infrared spectroscopy, which is the technology used by 'We are the Loop' in the UK. There were a range of forms in which substances were submitted for testing, including 41 capsules, 25 pills, 10 in powder form, 6 in crystal form and one unclassified. The analysis found 46% of the chemicals identified are likely to be of reasonably high purity MDMA, other compounds identified included cocaine, ketamine, and N-ethylpentylone (a cathinone), caffeine and other filler and cutting agents. N-ethylpentylone is a dangerous substance that has recently emerged and has been responsible for casualty overdoses in New Zealand.

 

The report details the concordance between participant expectation and the test results. Of the 81% of patrons who participated by submitting a substance they expected to be MDMA, 45%  did have MDMA identified as the major component, none of the participants who expected they had purchased cocaine we found to have cocaine. Some of the findings of the pilot and the report is that the Australian MDMA market has higher rates of substitution and impurities compared with the UK. Three quarters of those who had their substances tested, received an AOD brief intervention and 42% reported that their drug consumption behaviour would change as a result of the testing and 18% reported that they would discard the substances in the amnesty bin provided.

 

Download "Report on the ACT GTM Pill Testing Pilot: A harm reduction service" (1.2 MB PDF)


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June 21, 2018

DOVETAIL SAYS FAREWELL TO LEIGH BERESFORD

This week the team at Dovetail said goodbye to our wonderful nurse Leigh Beresford, who has decided to retire. Leigh has been with Dovetail since the project started in 2010, and over the years many Dovetail subscribers will have met Leigh at conferences and training events, or spoken with Leigh on the phone. Leigh's smile, warmth and passion is infectious. Wherever the Dovetail team travel throughout Queensland, we are greeted with hugs and laughter from workers who have developed a connection with Leigh. There are so many workers that Leigh has connected with over the years that we decided to film a short goodbye video, so Leigh can say farewell to everyone that she's worked with. If you would like to pass on a message to Leigh, send us an email to info@dovetail.org.au and we'll make sure she gets it.

Watch Leigh's farewell video here.

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June 21, 2018

FARE ANNUAL ALCOHOL POLL: ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOURS IN 2018

The annual poll produced by FARE (Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education) has recently been released. The report examines community attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol use and gives an understanding of self-reported use in Australia. The survey sampled 1820 respondents and found that a large number of respondents were concerned about alcohol. Some of the findings include 73% of respondents reported they believe Australia has a problem with excess drinking, and 76% believe that more needs to be done to reduce the harm caused by alcohol. The poll demonstrates that Australians continue to have low awareness of the long-term health conditions associated with alcohol. Fewer than half of those surveyed are aware of the link between alcohol misuse and stroke (38%), mouth and throat cancer (26%) and breast cancer (16%).  More than one third of those surveyed (37%) indicated that they have been affected by alcohol-related violence in this year's Poll, with almost half of these (47%) indicating they have been affected by alcohol-related violence in the last 12 months.

 

Download "Annual Alcohol Poll 2018: Attitudes and Behaviours" (3.8MB PDF)

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June 21, 2018

METHAMPHETAMINE: FACT VS. FICTION & LESSONS FROM THE CRACK HYSTERIA

Dr Carl Hart is a Associate Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Columbia University. In this conference presentation from 2016, Dr Hart describes his research which attempts to replicate some of the findings from the famous 'rat park' experiment in human participants - experiments that show how environmental factors contribute to substance problems. He shows how 'attractive alternatives' decrease drug use and that these alternatives are often unavailable in impoverished communities. In one of Dr Hart's studies, people who were dependent on methamphetamine were offered a hit of pure meth or an alternative reinforcer of $20USD. The methamphetamine dependent participants chose $20 on nearly every occasion. Dr Hart's research shows how substance use disorders involve more factors that just the drug itself, with other factors including co occurring illness such as chronic pain and psychiatric conditions, along with broader social conditions. He advocates for a holistic assessment of people to determine what is driving the addiction including all other individual and societal factors.


Watch Dr Carl Hart's "Methamphetamine: Fact vs Fiction & Lessons from the Crack Hysteria here (1h15m)

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June 21, 2018

NIDAC18: NATIONAL INDIGENOUS DRUG AND ALCOHOL CONFERENCE

The 5th National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Conference (NIDAC18) returns this year and will be held from 6 - 9 November 2018 in Adelaide, South Australia. The conference has the theme of "Responding to Complexity" and will aim to explore the complexity of working with people using alcohol and other drugs, including the range of different health, mental health and social concerns associated.

 

For more information check out the website.

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June 14, 2018

DOVETAIL GOOD PRACTICE GUIDE 4 “LEARNING FROM EACH OTHER: WORKING WITH ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER YOUNG PEOPLE”

Working with young people who are using alcohol and other drugs in a problematic way can be a tricky space. Throughout the Dovetail lifespan five good practice guides have been developed, drawing from worker's practice wisdom and research in the field. We have recently re-printed "Learning From Each Other: Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Young People" and free copies are available for order now. This Guide was developed over a period of 18 months in consultation with frontline Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers and services from across Queensland. It 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.


If you'd like to order a free hard copy, email info@dovetail.org.au with your postal address.  To read online go here.

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June 14, 2018

HOW TO CLOSE THE GAP IN INDIGENOUS EDUCATION: FLEXI SCHOOLS MIGHT BE THE KEY

A recent article published by The Conversation explores the potential of flexischools to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Flexischools are alternative education providers for young people who have been excluded from mainstream education, either formally through expulsion, or for those young people who simply don't fit in the mainstream schooling system. Recent estimates show that 35% of young people attending flexischools in Australia are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, which is a high representation considering that Indigenous students represented 5.6% of all school students in 2017.  Flexischools could present an opportunity for learning - how can we look at translating what is working well within flexi schools to mainstream schools to ensure all Indigenous young people receive an education?

 

Read "How flexischools could help close the gap in Indigenous education"

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June 14, 2018

UPCOMING WEBINAR: ABORIGINAL WOMEN, VIOLENCE, SUBSTANCE USE AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

There is a free webinar being hosted by the Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre about young Aboriginal women, violence, substance use and the criminal justice system on Wednesday 20 June at 12pm (QLD time). Presenters from the National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) will describe three research projects looking at the experiences of young Aboriginal women and incarcerated women around the issues of violence, substance use and contact with the criminal justice system.


To learn more about this upcoming webinar visit the Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre

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June 14, 2018

EUROPEAN DRUG REPORT 2018

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has released its annual report on the trends and developments in the European drug market for 2018. The key trends include: an increase in cocaine seizures and increase of cocaine in wastewater residues alongside a rise in first time treatment presentations due to cocaine use. Cocaine purity at the street level has reached the highest level in a decade. Fewer new psychoactive substances (NPS) have been reported for the first time although an increase in NPS related harm has been recorded. This was particularly associated with synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic opioids, with fentanyl derivatives being increasingly detected. The EMCDDA has found an increase in the number of opioid overdose deaths which has lead to a renewed focus on take-home naloxone. The online supply of substances continues to pose public health challenges with a reported 100 darknet markets operating on the internet.


Read the full report click here.

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