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June 9, 2017

DOVETAIL GOOD PRACTICE GUIDE: LEGAL AND ETHICAL DIMENSIONS OF PRACTICE - BACK IN STOCK

Back in 2012, Dovetail released our second good practice guide  "Legal and Ethical Dimensions of Practice".  The guide has been very popular, and we ran out of print copies some time ago.  We've been lucky enough to re-print the guide, and we have free hardopies in stock now.  The guide covers issues such as consent, Gillick Competence, confidentiality as well as issues relating to the various ethical dilemmas which can arise through our work with young people experiencing alcohol and other drug concerns.  Further good practice guides are in the pipeline so stay tuned.  Queensland based workers can order hard copies of the guide free of charge by emailing info@dovetail.org.au or you can download an electronic copy here.

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May 12, 2017

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN CANNABIS IS LEGALISED?

There are a number of places around that world that have either legalised cannabis, or are in the process of legalising.  But what happens after legalisation? The Volteface drug policy website has recently published an article titled "Let's learn from the mistakes of drug reform pioneers."  The article provides an overview of a recent edition of the International Journal of Drug Policy, which considered a broad range of implications of legal cannabis markets including controlling the use of pesticides, the interface between medical cannabis markets and recreational cannabis markets, and impacts on public health.

Go to "Let's learn from the mistakes of drug reform pioneers"

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March 10, 2017

THE VIEWS OF CHILDREN IN FAMILY COURT DISPUTES

Many workers have found themselves involved in Family Court proceedings.  Whether it's just supporting a young person through a custody dispute, or something more involved like being subpoenaed to give evidence, Family Court proceedings can be lengthy and complicated.  Recently, Radio National's "Law Report" featured an episode titled "The views of children in Family Court disputes."  The 30 minute radio program looks at a recent High Court decision that overruled the views of two children aged 17 and 15 in a Family Court dispute.  The case highlights the role of the Independent Children's Lawyer, and provides an overview of the complexity of these decisions.


Go to "The views of children in Family Court disputes"

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October 28, 2016

BACKING BOURKE: JUSTICE REINVESTMENT IN ACTION

ABC's Four Corners recently screened an episode that looks at justice reinvestment in action.  The episode titled "Backing Bourke" looks at the NSW town of Bourke, which has one of the worst crime rates in Australia.  The community is trialing a justice reinvestment approach, whereby the money spent on policing and jailing people is instead reinvested into community driven crime prevention initiatives.  The justice reinvestment approach has come from the United States, which has one of the highest imprisonment rates in the world.  The approach uses highly targeted, customsied programs to reduce crime.  In the case of Bourke, this included offering free driving lessons, to reduce the number of young people being charged with unlicensed driving.  The approach has been so successful in American states like Texas, the state has actually been closing down prisons.

Go to "ABC 4 Corners: Backing Bourke"

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March 4, 2016

DECRIMINALISATION OF DRUG USE AND POSSESSION IN AUSTRALIA

The Drug Policy Monitoring Project at the University of New South Wales has published "Decriminalisation of drug use and possession in Australia: A briefing note."  The briefing note contains an overview of research into decriminalisation of substance use and possession from both Australia and overseas.  The researchers found evidence that decriminalisation of drug use reduces to costs to society (particularly criminal justice system costs), reduces costs to individuals, does not increase drug use, does not increase other crime, but may in some circumstances increase the numbers of people in contact with the criminal justice system.  The briefing paper provides examples of the ways that Australia has implemented decriminalisation schemes in some areas for particular substances.

Go to "Decriminalisation of drug use and possession in Australia: A briefing note"

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March 4, 2016

THE EFFECTIVENESS OF COMPULSORY DRUG TREATMENT: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW

An article has been published in the International Journal of Drug Policy titled "The effectiveness of compulsory drug treatment: A systematic review".  In this review, the authors identified 430 potential studies, with nine quantitative studies meeting inclusion criteria.  The compulsory treatment services included a range of modalities including short and long term inpatient treatment, community based treatment, group based treatment and prison based treatment.  Three studies found no significant impacts from compulsory treatment, two studies found ambiguous results, two further studies found negative impacts on criminal recidivism, and the final two studies found positive impacts on drug use and criminal recidivism.  The authors conclude that: "The evidence does not, on the whole, suggest improved outcomes related to compulsory treatment approaches, with some studies suggestion potential harms.  Given the potential for human rights abuses within compulsory treatment settings, non-compulsory treatment modalities should be prioritized by policy makers seeking to reduce drug-related harms."

Go to "The effectiveness of compulsory drug treatment: A systematic review"

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September 11, 2015

THE DETERRENT EFFECTS OF AUSTRALIAN POLICING STRATEGIES

There is limited research into the extent that policing strategies can deter, discourage or prevent drug use. In recent years, there have been increasing concerns about adverse impacts from policing strategies, particularly the use of sniffer dogs at music festivals.  The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) is conducting a study into this issue.  The first component of the study is an online survey of people aged over 18 who attend outdoor music festivals and licensed entertainment venues, to see what impact various policing strategies may have on their alcohol and other drug consumption.  If you engage with young people that you think could participate, please share the survey with them.  It's important that as many young people as possible participate, from a variety of locations.

For more information or to complete the online survey go here.

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August 7, 2015

UNDERSTANDING THE VARIETIES OF DECRIMINALISATION

The International Drug Policy Consortium have developed a handy online tool to assist people in considering the various types of decriminalisation policies currently employed across the world.  Decriminalisation refers to a range of policies that alter the sanctions for illicit drug use such that the sanctions might be administrative or entirely abolished.  The "decriminalisation Comparison Tool" allows users to compare various types of decriminalisation policies - from those that are legislated, through to those policies that are de facto.  The examples of types of policy that can be compared includes "police discretion" versus "police diversion".  Explanations of the various policy types are provided, along with links to countries where the specific policy is in place, in order to find out more information.


Go to the "Decriminalisation Comparison Tool"

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July 24, 2015

QUICK GUIDE TO INCOME MANAGEMENT

Over the past few years, a number of different versions  of "income management" have been implemented across Australia.  While there are variations in these programs, essentially it involves quarantining part of a person's welfare payments. The federal government have produced a handy overview of these programs, titled "Income management: A quick guide."  It includes the full range of income management measures from voluntary through to compulsory, along with the various triggers for implementing income management.   The quick guide also includes links to evaluation reports, an overview of the "Basics Card" and information on future directions in income management.

Go to "Income Management: A quick guide"

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February 20, 2015

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONSIDERS BAN ON KAVA

Kava is traditionally used in Pacific Island communities, and current import regulations have allowed individuals to import 2 kilograms per person into Australia.  This has allowed kava to be used by Pacific Islanders who live here in Australia, however the federal government are considering a blanket ban on all kava importations.  There is some evidence of kava misuse in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, which has led to Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister and Northern Territory Senator Nigel Scullion to believe that an outright ban on kava importation would reduce harm.

For more information on the proposed ban on kava this news article from SBS news article explains the different views on the issue.

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