Drug and Alcohol Sector News

Report: Exploring drug treatment and homelessness in Australia: 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2014

There is much research to suggest a considerable overlap between people experiencing precarious housing, and drug and alcohol misuse. Linking client data from specialist homelessness services and alcohol and other drug treatment services, this report provides a picture of the intersection of these two issues on a national scale. It reveals a vulnerable population, in which Indigenous Australians and experiences of domestic and family violence and mental health issues were all over-represented. Their poorer drug treatment and housing outcomes highlight the level of difficulty faced in assisting these people to achieve long-term outcomes. Click here for further information and to download the report.

Updated Comorbidity Guidelines

The NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) has updated and revised the Guidelines on the management of co-occurring alcohol and other drug and mental health conditions in alcohol and other drug treatment settings (the Comorbidity Guidelines). These aim to:

Hard copies can be collected at ATODA. Contact info@atoda.org.au or call (02) 6255 4070. For more information visit the Australian Government website or call (02) 6289 1555.

2014 - 2015 Alcohol / Drug Information

 The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released a new web report Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2014 - 15. In this time approximately 850 alcohol and other drug treatment services provided just over 170,000 treatment episodes to around 115,000 clients.The top 4 drugs that led clients to seek treatment were alcohol (38%), cannabis (24%), amphetamines (20%) and heroin (6%). Read more here.

2014 Illicit Drug Reporting

ATODA is the peak body representing the non-government and government alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) sector in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). In their news  they have recently reported on The 2014 Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS), an annual study that aims to identify health related trends associated with drug use. You can read the full report here and below are some of the findings in relation to mental health.

Teen Drug Research

The Lancet Psychiatry has released a 3 part series into teen trends in alcohol and drug use. The study examines Australian teen substance use compared to other world regions, highlights risk factors pertaining to drug use, effects of drug use (including use in later life) and potential intervention strategies to reduce use and harms. Read more here

Cannabis Legislation?

The Turnbull Government has introduced landmark legislation to allow controlled production and administration of cannibis for medical purposes. The Narcotics Drugs Act 1976 would be amended to allow patients living with pain or chronic conditions to access the drug (via doctor prescription) and a nationally consistent cultivation scheme. Cannibis is currently restricted to use in clinical trials and a limited number of approved patient groups. For the media release click here.

Family and Friends for Drug Law Reform (ACT) Inc.

Click here for the February 2016 newsletter

ATODA response to the ACT Budget 2016-2017 Public Consultation

The submission has highlighted the need for greater investment and more importantly ongoing funding to support and increase participation in treatments such as take home naxolone (opioid reversal) therapy and full access to Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). This document has pin-pointed the need for increased drug training for staff including managing e-Assist to help refer and support moderate drug users accessing other services. Click here to read the submission 

The 'We CAN Project'; aiming to improve access to nicotine replacement therapy in the ACT. 

Workers in specialist alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) non-government organisations (NGOs) in the ACT have identified limited access to nicotine replacement therapy as a significant barrier to smoking cessation. In a recent paper by ATODA, they describe a model of NRT delivery through the We CAN (Communities Accessing all-types-of NRT) Program in Canberra. Through a partnership with specialist ATOD NGOs and local pharmacies, service users will be able to access all-types of NRT at no cost and without seeing their general practitioner prior.  The We CAN Program is currently being rolled out in the ACT and early feedback is very positive. 
Click here to read the paper. 

Funding for Treatment, Not Stigma and Discrimination

Alcohol and other drug specialists are urging the Federal Government to commit resources to treatment and rehabilitation programs, reducing methamphetamine-related harm and reducing demand for the drug.
Peak bodies for the alcohol and other drug sector in each state and territory represent not-for-profit alcohol and other drug services delivering prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and harm reduction programs. The peaks are working together to call for a genuine commitment from the Australian Government to addressing alcohol and other drug-related harm.
Click here to read the full media release and for more information contact Jill Rundle at jill.rundle@wanada.org.au.

The Methamphetamine Focus, ASPI report on the 'ICE Taskforce'

Australian Strategic Policy Institute has released a report on the ICE taskforce developed under the Abbott government. They look at the treatment of ICE only as a criminal issue and not examining the social, psychological, medical and educational impacts that are also a large part of the story. Click here to read the report.  

Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform (FFDLR) Newsletter

This newsletter includes information about topics of concern for FFDLR and ACT and national developments in the alcohol and other drug sector. Click here to read the newsletter. 

Drug trial praised for saving more than 50 Canberrans from overdoses

More than 50 Canberrans have been saved from fatal heroin and opioid overdoses thanks to an Australia-first trial that has equipped users with take-home naloxone kits. Developed in Canberra, this program has had very positive results and is being expanded. For more information see this article

Researchers investigating possible treatment for ice addiction

Drug researchers are investigating whether a pill that has helped smokers kick their habit could double as a treatment for ice addiction. Click here to read the article. 

Mental health problems and psychological distress

ATODA Research E-Bulletin June 2015

Click here for the latest ATODA Research eBulletin, providing a summary of newly-published research findings and activities of relevance to ATODA.

Foundation of Alcohol Research and Education; trends in binge drinking

A recent paper from the Foundation of Alcohol Research and Education has found that in the past 13 years, binge drinking in 14-17 year old  Australians had decreased by 50% and that the number of young people abstaining had doubled. To read the full article click here.  

New treatments for Hepatitis C

A new antiviral medicine for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C will become accepted by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme if the Federal Government accept it. This comes as good news for the estimated 4,000 Canberra residents are living with Hepatitis C. The full article can be found here.


Drug and alcohol treatment court in the ACT could save money and reduce prison numbers

Directions ACT CEO Fiona Trevelyn calls for a specialist drug court in the ACT, similar to drug courts in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. Read the full Canberra Times article here.


80% of pharmacotherapy clients treated with Methadone

ACT has the highest rate of methadone use to treat opioid dependence in Australia. The full Canberra Times article can be found by clicking here.


New alcohol study into attitudes and behaviours

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education has recently released its 2015 report into attitudes towards alcohol in Australia such as consumption behaviours, awareness and experiences of alcohol harms and perspective on alcohol-related policies. A copy of the report can be found here.


NADA Toolkit for Change

The Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies (NADA) has published a toolkit for service providers on working more effectively with families.  The publication was developed as part of the Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Family and Carer Project, and was funded by the Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Office (MHDAO), NSW Department of Health.   The toolkit outlines the assumptions of family inclusive practice. A copy of the toolkit can be found here.


Investigative journalist researches the social causes of addiction

Investigative author and Journalist Johann Hari details his 3.5 year journey making the argument that drug addiction is a result of social isolation, not chemical dependency. Click here for a full article and an interview with Johann.


Alcohol Tobacco & Other Drug Association (ATODA) - Research eBulletin Feb 2015

Click here for the latest ATODA Research eBulletin, providing a summary of newly-published research findings and activities of relevance to ATOD.


Latest research into the impacts of alcohol on children and families

The Hidden Harm: alcohol's impact on children and families is the latest report to examine the effects of heavy drinking on families and children, including family and domestic violence. For key findings, and a full copy of the report, click here.


Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Research

A review of interventions for prevention and management of Foetal alcohol spectrum disorders in indigenous communities has just been released by the Closing the Gap Clearing House. Research was completed by the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. A full copy of the report can be found by clicking here.

Course for Family Members and Friends Supporting Someone with Alcohol and Other Drug Problems

Family Drug Support (FDS) have been active in the ACT for over 10 years. Every year, they run our award winning flagship course Stepping Stones to Success.

Stepping Stones to Success
A structured and interactive course specifically designed to cater for the needs of family members and friends supporting someone with alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems.

Essentials of the course
- Participants must be currently supporting someone with AOD problems
- Participants must be able to complete the course which takes place over two weekends

Click here to view the flyer for more information and to find out how to register.


ACT Health Alcohol and Drug Services

All referrals and initial contact with ACT Health’s Alcohol and Drug Service can be made by calling the 24 Hour Helpline - 6207 9977.

24 Hour Helpline - 6207 9977

ACT Health, through the Division of Mental Health, Justice Health, Alcohol and Drug Services, offers a 24 Hour Alcohol and Drug Service Intake and Helpline, seven days a week. This service is also available for carers and family members. Professional staff located in the Counselling and Treatment Service will provide you with information, referral, intake, and support between 8.00am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday. After hours and weekend staffing is through the Withdrawal Service. 

ACT Health Alcohol and Drug Services deliver a range of services. For information about the six different areas, click here. This issue of E-Bulletin also includes additional information on the following service:

For more alcohol, tobacco and other drug news, visit ATODA at: http://www.atoda.org.au/news/.

Mental Health News