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March 10, 2017

ALCOHOL LEADS TO MORE VIOLENCE THAN OTHER DRUGS, BUT YOU'D NEVER KNOW FROM THE HEADLINES

The Conversation has published an article written by Stephen Bright from Edith Cowan University and Martin Williams from Monash University called "Alcohol leads to more violence than other drugs, but you'd never know from the headlines". The article highlights the way mainstream media report stories about illicit drugs rather than alcohol as the media is more likely to link illegal drugs to violent crime when a significant percentage of these crimes are alcohol related. How the brain responds to alcohol and drugs is discussed and the authors also point out that media reporting shapes people's opinion and therefore illicit drug users are considered to be more violent and tend to experience further marginalisation.

Go to "Alcohol leads to more violence than other drugs, but you'd never know from the headlines"

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February 28, 2017

AOD MEDIA WATCH

The media plays an important role in shaping public opinion and attitudes towards alcohol and other drugs (AOD) in the community. Research has demonstrated that sensationalist media reporting of AOD related issues can be harmful by counter-intuitively leading to increased AOD use and perpetuating stigma about people who use certain drugs.

AOD Media Watch is a blog focused on correcting AOD misinformation in the media by exposing poor examples of journalism regarding AOD related issues. The blog challenges journalists to report more responsibly by using evidence rather than perpetuating myths. The AOD Media Watch blog is run by a reference group made up of researchers and clinicians who work in the field of AOD.

Check it out here


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September 16, 2016

REHAB INC: THE HIGH PRICE PARENTS PAY TO GET THEIR KIDS OFF ICE

ABC's 4 Corners recently screened a report titled "Rehab Inc: The high price parents pay to get their kids of ice."  The report describes the difficulties parents experience in getting their loved ones access to residential treatment in Australia.  Publicly funded places are limited, and an unregulated private industry has emerged, charging up to $30 000 for treatment which in some cases may not be evidence based or ethical.  The episode highlights the difficulties families face when attempting to assist a loved one accessing treatment.

Watch "Rehab Inc" here.

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June 3, 2016

THE EFFECTIVENESS OF MASS MEDIA CAMPAIGNS FOR PREVENTING ILLICIT DRUG USE

Dovetail's own Cameron Francis did a presentation a couple of weeks back, which is now available to view online.  The presentation titled "The effectiveness of mass media campaigns for preventing illicit drug use" covers a long history of research demonstrating that these campaigns are at best ineffective and at worst can increase intentions to use substances.  The presentation is based around the 2015 Cochrane Review which found "Contrary to common belief, anti-drug media campaigns may be damaging and their dissemination is ethically unacceptable without a prior assessment of their effectives.  New campaigns should be implemented in the framework of rigorous evaluation studies."

 

Watch "The effectiveness of mass media campaigns for preventing illicit drug use"

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March 10, 2016

BREAKING THE ICE PODCAST

This Radio National podcast "Breaking the Ice" from the All in the Mind program looks at the effects of methamphetamine use, treatment and a personal account of methamphetamine dependence.

Listen to the podcast here.

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November 12, 2015

"HIDDEN HARM" FOUR CORNERS HIGHLIGHT ON FASD

The ABC Four Corners Program recently broadcast "Hidden Harm" highlighting the negative stigma, lack of support, and the difficulty accessing services that children born with FASD and their families face. The program showed, people born with FASD have the disability for life and the implications are far reaching.

Watch the program here.

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June 12, 2015

METH IN THE MEDIA

While there continues to be community concern around the use of methamphetamine ("ice") there are growing numbers of media reports that are not based on fact.  A recent example which gained global media coverage was the incorrect report from the News Ltd press "Ice addict 'gouged out eyes and ate them'".  These types of incorrect reports increase fear in the community, and leads to  inappropriate responses to methamphetamine use.  It is important that youth and health workers don't contribute to these incorrect reports, and instead provide information to media outlets based on facts.  When fear and stigma around illicit drug use increases in the community, it leads to families feeling disempowered and people who use drugs less likely to present for treatment.


Find out about the recent incorrect media reports here at ABC Media Watch


Read "Dealing with the stigma of drugs: A guide for journalists" for information on responsible media reporting of alcohol and other drug issues.

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January 13, 2015

NEW NATIONAL DRUG AND ALCOHOL COUNCIL ANNOUNCED

In December last year the Hon Fiona Nash, Assistant Minister for Health, announced a new look advisory council on drugs and alcohol identifying methamphetamine - in particular "ice" - as its priority focus.  Formerly the Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD), the new Australian National Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drugs (ANACAD) will have the role of providing advice to the Government on a range of national drug and alcohol issues, including emerging issues and new substances. In her media release Minister Nash acknowledged the outgoing Chair , Dr John Herron AO, and announced the new chair as former National Party MP Ms Kay Hull, who controversially champions an abstinence policy on drugs over harm minimisation.

Read the full media release outlining the new Council membership here

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July 19, 2013

MASS MEDIA CAMPAIGNS FOR THE PREVENTION OF ILLICIT DRUG USE IN YOUNG PEOPLE

The Cochrane Library has recently published a review of the evidence for effectiveness of mass media campaigns to prevent illicit drug use in young people. The review considered papers that looked at national campaigns, public service advertisements, television messages and internet-based campaigns. The authors conclude that there was mixed evidence of effectiveness for mass media campaigns to prevent illicit drug use, and there was some evidence of increased drug use following exposure to the campaigns.

Go to "Media campaigns for the prevention of illicit drug use in young people" (1.2MB PDF)

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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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