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November 30, 2012

NEW QUEENSLAND OPIOID TREATMENT PROGRAM CLINICAL GUIDELINES

The Queensland Health Drugs of Dependence Unit have published new guidelines for the opioid treatment program. These guidelines describe the current best practice in treating opioid dependence, including information on methadone and buprenorphine treatment as well as best practice assessment processes, admission to opioid treatment programs, guidelines around take away doses and dealing with other treatment related issues. These comprehensive guidelines will give practitioners an idea of how the opioid treatment program operates in Queensland.

Download the "Queensland Opioid Treatment Program: Clinical Guidelines 2012" (4.1MB PDF)

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November 30, 2012

Culturally Secure Youth Alcohol and Drug Practice: Dovetail good practice guide

Dovetail was recently successful in securing Closing the Gap funds to develop a Good Practice Guide on the topic of working with Indigenous young people who use substances. Entitled "Culturally Secure Youth Alcohol and Drug Practice" (working title only), this Guide will contain a range of information, tools, direct practice case studies and other resources to assist workers, services and communities to better respond to vulnerable young people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds across Queensland.

We want this Guide to be developed by the sector, for the sector, so we need your help in a couple of ways:

1) We want to establish a Project Reference Group to oversee the development of the Good Practice Guide and are seeking expressions of interest from leading practitioners in the field who have the necessary experience and expertise to advise on the content and direction of the document; and

2) We also need your hints and tips about existing tools, resources, guidelines, books, activities - whatever! - that you think might be useful to include in this Guide. Perhaps you use a tool or resource in your day-to-day practice already and find it really useful? If so we'd love to hear about it.

If you think you can contribute in either (or both!) of the ways above, please email us at info@dovetail.org.au with your name and contact details and we'll get back in touch with you to discuss your thoughts and ideas further.

Please note: for practical and logistical reasons there are limited spaces on the Project Reference Group, so we may not be able to accommodate everyone who is interested. However, there will be multiple ways to be involved or contribute to this Guide so rest assured your views will be included.

Thanks everyone, we look forward to hearing back from you.

Regards

Jeff and the Dovetail team.

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November 23, 2012

WHAT SHOULD WE DO ABOUT SYNTHETIC CANNABIS?

A recent article on The Conversation website poses the question: "Legal highs: What should we do about synthetic cannabis?".  The article by Stephen Bright and Dr Monica Barratt provides an overview of the current situation where legislators are attempting to play "catch-up" by regulating substances once they have been identified.  Alternatives include regulating whole classes of substances based on chemical structure or pharmacological activity, although it remains unclear if this could be effective.  Another option is regulation via consumer safety or medicine regulations (similar to those used by natural therapies), although again there are potential limits to the effectiveness of this strategy.  The authors describe the New Zealand approach, whereby a specific regulatory regime has been developed for new psychoactive substances, requiring manufacturers to establish the safety of their products in order for them to remain on sale.  Whatever approach is eventually employed here in Queensland, evidence from overseas indicates that just like the more common illicit drugs, it is likely that many of these new substances will remain in use, despite attempts to regulate their availability.

Go to Legal Highs:  What should we do about synthetic cannabis?

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November 23, 2012

THE STIGMA OF DRUGS: A GUIDE FOR JOURNALISTS

There are very few areas of life left where a journalist could use a pejorative term like "junkie" in a headline without raising any complaints.  Yet when drug use is dealt with in the media, we still frequently see stigmatising terminology in use.  The shame involved in AOD dependence is well known and this shame forms a significant barrier to help seeking for both the person with an AOD dependence, but also for their families and loved ones.  The UK based Society of Editors in conjunction with the UK Drug Policy Commission have developed a resource titled "The Stigma of Drugs: A guide for journalists".  The guide provides an overview of the impact of stigma and sets about providing suggestions for good practice reporting of AOD issues.  A number of very sensible suggestions are included, such as avoiding stigmatising language such as "junkie" but also suggestions with regards to appropriate images associated with drug related media articles.

Go to "The Stigma of Drugs: A guide for journalists"

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November 23, 2012

MOTIVATIONAL INTERVIEWING NO MORE EFFECTIVE THAN OTHER INTERVENTIONS

A recent article from the UK based "Drug and Alcohol Findings" website provides a great summary of a recent Cochrane Review of the efficacy of motivational interviewing for substance use.  The review analysed 55 studies which employed motivational interviewing, covering 13 342 participants.  The authors found that while those people who received a Motivational Interviewing intervention improved their substance use more so than people who received no treatment, the Motivational Interviewing did not appear to be any more effective than other interventions such as cognitive behaviour therapy or even a simple assessment with feedback.  This adds to the body of evidence which suggests that other factors such as therapeutic alliance have a significant impact on treatment outcome - perhaps more impact than the actual therapeutic technique employed.

Read "Motivational interviewing works but no better than other therapies"

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November 23, 2012

CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE AT RISK OF SOCIAL EXCLUSION

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare have published a research report titled "Children and young people at risk of social exclusion: Links between homelessness, child protection and juvenile justice".  The paper attempts to link data from the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP), juvenile justice supervision and child protection notifications and substantiations from Victoria and Tasmania.  Unsurprisingly, the authors found that involvement in one of the three sectors increased the likelihood of involvement in another of the sectors - thus highlighting the links between various types of social exclusion.  For example, young people with a child protection history were more likely to enter into the juvenile justice system at a young age - with 21% of the cohort entering supervision between the age of 10 - 13.

Go to "Children and young people at risk of social exclusion: Links between homelessness, child protection and juvenile justice".

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November 16, 2012

CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE SUPERVISION

The Victorian Dual Diagnosis Initiative have produced a number of useful resources as a part of the "Our Healing Ways" project, focused on enhancing the capacity of Aboriginal workers who are addressing  mental health and alcohol and other drug issues.  The third resource they have developed is titled "Supervision: A culturally appropriate model for Aboriginal workers" and it contains a range of useful information including a culturally appropriate definition of supervision, an overview of the supervisory relationship, supervision agreements as well as guidelines for working through complex issues.  The guide also contains a comprehensive list of resources which workers and supervisors can draw on.

Go to "Supervision: A culturally appropriate model for Aboriginal workers"

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November 16, 2012

ADDRESSING FAMILY AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN AOD TREATMENT SERVICES

The National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) have launched a research report titled "Breaking the Silence: Addressing family and domestic violence in AOD treatment services".  The report considers the relationship between AOD use and domestic and family violence with particular focus on child protection implications.  The report also looks at ways that AOD services can better work with domestic and family violence services in order to improve responses, including an overview of the barriers to effective responses.  It concludes with some practical steps that agencies can employ to better address family and domestic violence.

Download "Breaking the Silence: Addressing family and domestic violence in AOD treatment services" (2.2MB PDF)

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November 16, 2012

YOUNG WOMEN AND BINGE DRINKING

Back in June this year, Youth Studies Australia published an article which we think is worth re-visiting.  Titled "A discrepancy of definitions: Binge drinking and female students at an Australian university", the research involved interviews with 20 female students from an Australian university, to consider their perceptions of binge drinking, including how they define of binge drinking.  While the latest National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines avoid the term "binge", they instead refer to "single occasion drinking", with a limit of four standard drinks recommended.  The women in the study mostly considered that binge drinking was not so much related to the actual number of drinks consumed, but by the behaviour of an individual while intoxicated.  As one study participant states: "Binge drinkers are embarrassing people who make fools of themselves… I think 'binge' has a sort of crappy behaviour attached to it."

Download "A discrepancy of definitions: Binge drinking and female students at an Australian university" here. (1.1MB PDF)

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November 16, 2012

THE HISTORY OF THE CIGARETTE

Described as one of the deadliest inventions in human history, having killed around 100 million people in the 20th century, the history of the cigarette is a fascinating story.  Recently, the BBC published an article on their news website focused on the person credited with the invention of the cigarette - James Duke.  Throughout the late 1800s and into the early 1900s, most people preferred to chew tobacco or to smoke it through a pipe.  There was a small market for hand rolled cigarettes, but the labour intensive process meant this remained a niche.  James Duke employed the services of a mechanic James Bonsack to develop a mechanised cigarette rolling machine capable of producing 120 000 cigarettes per day, a significant increase on the 200 cigarettes a factory worker could produce by hand.  The number of cigarettes that Duke and Bonsack's machine could produce was so large that the company was at risk of over-supplying the market.  Instead, they embarked on a marketing campaign designed to increase consumption of cigarettes right across the world.

Read "James Buchanan Duke: Father on the modern cigarette" here.

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