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February 23, 2018


The Queensland Government has launched a whole-of-government "Action on Ice" plan, which addresses the use and harms caused by crystal methamphetamine.  Throughout 2017, the Queensland Government engaged with the community, seeking input to understand the impacts of methamphetamine, particularly in rural and regional communities. The plan contains a broad range of actions including the establishment of a new residential rehabilitation service in Rockhampton, expanded access to specialist family support services, and an increase in alcohol and other drug treatment services provided through the non-government sector.

Find out more about the Queensland Government's "Action on Ice"

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January 25, 2018


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 19, 2018


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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July 20, 2017


The National Drug Strategy 2017-2026 has been released by the Commonwealth Department of Health and maintains the harm minimisation focus on supply, demand and harm reduction. The National Drug Strategy is a long term framework for reducing and preventing the harms associated with alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. This latest strategy is built on the principles of partnerships, coordination and collaboration, national direction and evidence informed responses with the aim of building safe healthy and resilient Australian communities.

Read and download the National Drug Strategy here

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July 20, 2017


The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Orygen, has published a clinical practice guide called " Addressing barriers to engagement-Working with challenging behaviour". The guide is designed to support service providers who are engaging young people, 12 - 25 years of age, who present with behaviour that is seen to be 'challenging'.The practice guide explains how to respond appropriately to challenging behaviour, better understand the contributing factors, manage personal responses and identify the barriers associated with different types of behaviour.

Read and download the practice guide here

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July 20, 2017


QLife have put together a series of Guides focused around some of the frequently asked questions about working with people who identify as LGBTI. The QLife Guides cover complex topics using plain language to help build the capacity of service providers to feel more able to work with clients on a wide range of LGBTI matters. The QLife project is a counselling and referral service for LGBTI people and provides early intervention, telephone and web based services Australia wide.

Check out the QLife Guides here

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April 21, 2017


The recent Australian Story, 'Breaking Good', has created some discussion about what works in treatment. Professor Nicole Lee from the National Drug Research Institute and Stephen Bright from Edith Cowan University have published an article in 'The Conversation', examining how anecdotal evidence of success in treatment can be convincing but this does not mean the treatment is "evidence based". The authors discuss evidence based treatment, success rates and finding effective treatment and highlight the fact that there is no "one size fits all" approach when it comes to health care.

Go to the article "What is 'success' in rehab?"

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March 17, 2017


ABC's Foreign Correspondent recently featured an episode that focused on ayahuasca tourism in South America, and some of the risks faced by foreign tourists.  Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic tea that contains DMT.  It is traditionally used in South America by shamans who use it as a medicine. Ayahuasca has become popular amongst tourists, with ayahuasca retreats operating in several South American countries.  In 2015, a young New Zealander travelled to Peru to try ayahuasca.  Prior to using the ayahuasca, he was given a tea that contained tobacco as a part of a cleansing process, which led to his death. This Foreign Correspondent episode tells the story of ayahuasca tourism, and the reporter travels to Peru to the retreat where this young New Zealander died.

Go to "Foreign Correspondent: It doesn't happen to people like me"

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September 30, 2016


Julaine Allan, a senior research fellow at Charles Sturt University, has published an article on The Conversation titled "LSD - dangerous, mystical or therapeutic?". The article describes how the Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann discovered LSD by accident while trying to create a chemical to assist with blood circulation. The article outlines some of the historical uses of LSD in research settings, including American psychotherapists using low doses of LSD to assist the therapeutic process. The article describes how LSD works, the possible harms associated with use, as well as some recent statistics on rates of use in the Australian community. The article concludes with some interesting facts, including the activities of Timothy Leary - the man who Richard Nixon described as "the most dangerous man in America" for his promotion of the use of LSD.

Go to "LSD: Dangerous, mystical or therapeutic?"

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