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November 9, 2012

PODCAST ON THE EFFECTS OF CANNABIS

The Australian Drug Foundation have released a podcast featuring Professor Dan Lubman discussing the effects of cannabis on young people.  He describes the ways cannabis effects the brain, short and longer term consequences, as well as tips on approaching a friend who might be experiencing problems from their cannabis use.  This podcast is part of a series which the Australian Drug Foundation are running addressing cannabis use, with their previous podcast on the topic of "Talking with your child about cannabis" also worth checking out.

Listen to ADF podcasts here.

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November 9, 2012

BUILDING SKILLS IN ADDRESSING SUBSTANCE MISUSE

The UK based Substance Misuse Skills Consortium website is designed to assist workers in all aspects of alcohol and drug treatment work, from engagement through to exiting clients.  The site breaks information down into the particular phase of treatment and contains links to key resources from around the world. The site is constantly being updated with the latest research and insights into good practice so it's worth saving this one to your bookmarks.

Go to the Skills Consortium Website

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November 9, 2012

SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE AOD SECTOR

The Victorian peak body for the alcohol and other drug sector, VAADA, have published a discussion paper on "Social Media and the AOD Sector".  The paper provides an overview of the ways that social media could add value to the core business of alcohol and other drug services, but it also considers the potential risks to services and service users.  As many agencies are currently looking at better ways to engage with their clients in the online space, this paper will provide a good overview of the issues to consider when establishing agency policy and procedures around this issue.

Download "Social Media and the AOD Sector" (190KB PDF)

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November 9, 2012

HOME VISITING FOR VULNERABLE FAMILIES AND CHILDREN

The Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) commissioned a literature review looking at the evidence around home visiting family support services where there are potential child protection concerns.  Given the current Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry, this literature review is timely.  We know that "early intervention" services which can reduce the incidence of young people being removed from families are ideal.  The research in this area has indicated mixed results, so this literature review seeks to understand the key elements of the successful home visiting services.  A number of key factors to successful early intervention have been identified in this report including shared decision making between parent and professional, non-stigmatising presentation of the intervention, and also cultural awareness and sensitivity.

Download "Sustained home visiting for vulnerable families and children" (1.65MB PDF)

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November 2, 2012

SMILING MIND: WEB-BASED MINDFULNESS TOOLS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

Smiling Mind is a free web and app based mindfulness program, which is specifically designed for children and young people.  Developed by a partnership between a range of universities from Australia and overseas, the program contains guided meditation and relaxation exercises designed to improve mood and reduce the impacts of stress.  The program involves an initial 8 or 10 session program, and after completing this participants can access the full library of relaxation exercises and meditation sessions which can be accessed online or via the app on a smart phone.

Find out more about Smiling Mind

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November 2, 2012

DSM 5 AND THE REVIVAL OF "ADDICTION"

A recent article on The Conversation website looks at the upcoming Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM 5) and the apparent revival of the term "addiction".  The DSM is published by the American Psychiatric Association and provides definitions and diagnostic criteria for mental health disorders, so whatever is published in this next edition will have profound impacts on the way we see mental health problems, including substance use.  The previous edition DSM 4 doesn't use the term "addiction", favouring instead "dependence" and "abuse" within the category of substance related disorders.  The next edition looks to be going back to the term "addiction" in order to incorporate addictive behaviour which may not involve substance use - for example "internet addiction".

Read more at The Conversation website

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November 2, 2012

INCREASING DEATHS FROM PRESCRIPTION OPIOIDS

There has been growing evidence that deaths from prescription opioid use is on the increase across Australia.  Drugs like oxycodone and fentanyl have been increasingly prescribed for chronic non-cancer pain, leading to concerns that doctors may be over-prescribing.  Professor Louisa Degenhardt from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) has written an article for the ABC's Drum Opinion site titled "Prescription opioids: a painful problem".  Professor Degenhardt explains these trends by showing that there are in fact a number of complex factors at play which has led to the increasing use of opioids in Australia.  This includes the aging population, leading to increasing numbers of people living with chronic pain, but also the overlap between chronic pain and mental health problems like depression.  There also seems to be a disproportionate focus on people who inject illict drugs, despite most of the evidence suggestsing this population consume only a very small amount of the oxycodone being prescribed.

Read "Prescription opioids: a painful problem" here

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November 2, 2012

CLINICAL GUIDELINES FOR NURSES AND MIDWIVES

Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia have published a resource which we think is worth sharing.  "Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs: Clinical Guidelines for Nurses and Midwives" is a comprehensive resource which contains detailed information for health professionals dealing with a wide range of substance use issues.  The guideline contains information around specific drugs, but also contains a number of clinical tools such as screening tools, assessment forms, drug history forms as well as various withdrawal scales.  While this resource isn't specific to young people, it contains information that many workers will find useful.

Download "Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs: Clinical Guidelines for Nurses and Midwives" (3.1MB PDF)

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October 26, 2012

DOVETAIL LAUNCHES FREE ONLINE TRAINING PACKAGE

We are very excited to announce the launch of Dovetail's "An Introduction to Youth AOD (Alcohol and Other Drugs)". This self-paced online educational program is designed for workers who are new to youth AOD work and includes an overview of key terminology, state and federal policies, practice approaches and some information on key sources of information and resources.   We'd love to get your feedback or suggestions to improve the package, so please get in touch if you'd like to have some input.  Also, we'll be developing more of these short online training package in future.  If you've got ideas for future packages, let us know!

Check out "An Introduction to Youth AOD (Alcohol and Other Drugs)" here.

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October 26, 2012

THE ROLE OF ALCOHOL IN CRIME AND DISORDER

The Australian Drug Foundation (ADF) have published their "Prevention Research Quarterly" looking at "The role of alcohol in crime and disorder".  The report considers a broad range of evidence showing the links between alcohol and crime including things as diverse as social disorder (for example noise, litter, offensive behaviour and vandalism), drink driving and inter-personal violence.  The report also assesses the evidence behind various interventions, including liquor accords, "lock-outs" and policing interventions.

Download "The role of alcohol in crime and disorder" (570KB PDF)

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