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January 25, 2018

2017 NATIONAL WASTEWATER DRUG MONITORING PROGRAM

The University of Queensland and University of South Australia have been commissioned to provide drug consumption data to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission using a National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program. Wastewater analysis is a technique for delivering population-scale consumption of substances. The 2017 collection covers 61 per cent of Australia's population, approximately 14.2 million Australians. A total of approximately 50 wastewater treatment sites were assessed, bimonthly in the case of capital city sites and every four months for regional sites.

 

Drug specific parameters in the data showed that alcohol and nicotine were consistently the highest consumed drugs in all states and territories. Compounds of concern that were tested include nicotine from tobacco, ethanol from alcohol intake, pharmaceutical opioids with abuse potential, illicit substances such as methylamphetamine, MDMA and cocaine, as well as a number of new psychoactive substances. The wastewater analysis did not test for cannabis. Data comparisons from August 2016 and August 2017, show an increase in population averages for cocaine consumption in capital city and regional sites.

 

Elevated consumption levels of fentanyl were observed at several regional sites, with weighted average consumption in regional sites more than double that of capital city sites. The fourth report of the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program is scheduled to be released in March 2018.

Find out more at the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program website.

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January 25, 2018

MISSION AUSTRALIA YOUTH SURVEY REPORT 2017

Every year, Mission Australia conducts a survey of young people, in order to find out the issues of concern for young people.  A total of 24 055 young people aged 15-19 completed the survey in 2017, with 19.1% of participants from Queensland, with 4.1% of those young people identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.  The Queensland young people identified "Coping with stress" as their top issue of concern, with 42.5% of young people indicating they were either extremely concerned or very concerned with this.  The second most commonly nominated issue of concern was "School or study problems", with 34.1% of young people indicating they were either extremely or very concerned.  The third most nominated issue of concern was "Body image" with 28.2% of respondents either extremely or very concerned.


Read more about the Mission Australia Youth Survey Report 2017

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January 19, 2018

DOVETAIL'S TOP BLOG POSTS FOR 2017

As we slowly return to work, we thought it would be worthwhile to have a look back at the most popular Dovetail blog stories from 2017.  So here are the top five stories from the Dovetail blog in 2017.

5) "So your school has been approached by an external organisation"

4) "Lifeline Coping Kit Resource"

3) "The effects of methamphetamine on the brain and body webinar"

2) "Strategies for managing abuse related trauma"

1)  "Dovetail's Drug Slang and Acronym List Version 2.0"

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January 19, 2018

YOUTH DETENTION POPULATION IN AUSTRALIA 2017

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) "Youth Detention Population in Australia 2017" bulletin reports on rates of young people aged 10 and over in youth detention over a 4 year period from 2013-2017. On an average night during the reporting period more than 950 young people were in detention. Over half (53%) of those in detention identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. This level of Indigenous over-representation can be expressed as a rate ratio; there were 37 Indigenous young people per 10 000 in detention on an average night compared with 1.5 per 10 000 non-Indigenous people, therefore as a national average Indigenous young people aged 10-17 were 24 times as likely as non-Indigenous young people to be in detention. Excluding Victoria, 64% of young people in detention on an average night in the June quarter 2017 were unsentenced. The state of Queensland had the second largest rates of young people in detention after New South Wales. 

 

Read the full report here.

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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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