NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Alcohol : Cashless welfare card in Indigenous communities ‘cuts use of alcohol and drugs says new report

“But what we had before the card, which is just open sort of slather of people buying heaps of alcohol with the money that they get, the amount of damage it was doing, I think that this is definitely an improvement on what we had previously,”

I  would support the card being rolled out across the country.

Yes I do, I think this is a more responsible way of actually delivering support and social services to our people regardless of what colour they are,”

Ian Trust, the executive director of the Wunan Foundation, an Aboriginal development organisation in the East Kimberley in Western Australia, said his support for the card had come at a personal cost. SEE ABC Report Photo: A Kununurra resident in WA’s Kimberley holding a cashless welfare card. (ABC News: Erin Parke)

“Inevitably, people would prefer to have fewer restrictions than more restrictions, particularly if you are an alcoholic, but the evaluation and the data shows that it is having a positive net impact on reducing alcoholism, gambling and illicit substance abuse.

The rights of the community, of the children and of elderly citizens to live in a safe community are equally important as the rights of welfare recipients.”

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said while the card was not a “panacea”, it had led to stark improvements in the trial communities, warranting an extension of the card, despite it not being popular with all welfare recipients. Reported by Sarah Martin in Todays Australian

A cashless welfare card that stops government benefits being spent on drugs and alcohol will be made permanent in two remote communities and looks set to be ­expanded, after trials found it greatly reduced rates of substance abuse and gambling.

The 175-page government commissioned review by Orima Research of the year-long trial.

The evaluation involved interviewing stakeholders, participants and their families.

It found on average a quarter of people using the card who drank said they were not drinking as often.

While just under a third of gamblers said they had curbed that habit.

The Turnbull government will today release the first major independent audit of the cashless welfare system and announce that the card will continue in Ceduna and East Kimberley, subject to six-monthly reviews.

Establishing a clear “proof of concept” in the two predomin­antly indigenous communities also paves the way for the ­Coalition to roll out the welfare spending restrictions further, with townships in regional Western Australia and South Australia believed to be under consideration.

In October, Malcolm Turnbull flagged that an expansion of the welfare card was dependent on the results of the 12-month trial, but praised the scheme’s ­initial success in reducing the amount of taxpayer money being spent on alcohol and illicit drugs.

Under the welfare shake-up, first flagged in Andrew Forrest’s review of the welfare system in 2014, 80 per cent of a person’s benefit is restricted to a Visa debit card that cannot be used for spending on alcohol or gambling products or converted to cash. After year-long trials at the two sites capturing $10 million in welfare payments, the first quantitative assessment of the scheme has found that 24 per cent of card users reported less alcohol consumption and drug use in their communities, with 27 per cent of people noting a drop in gambling.

See full details support and Q and A below from DSS

Binge drinking and the frequency of alcohol consumption by card users was also down by about 25 per cent among those who said they were drinkers ­before the trials began.

Those not on welfare saw even greater benefits, with an average of 41 per cent of non-participant community members across the two trial sites reporting a ­reduction in the drinking of alcohol in their area since the trial started. The report concluded that, overall, the card “has been effective in reducing alcohol consumption, illegal drug use and gambling — establishing a clear ‘proof-of-concept’ and meeting the necessary preconditions for the planned medium-term outcomes in relation to reduced levels of harm related to these behaviours”.

However the audit, undertaken by ORIMA Research, found that despite the community improvements, many people remained unhappy with the welfare restrictions, with about half saying it had made their lives worse, and 46 per cent reporting they had problems with the card.

This view was reversed in the wider community, with 46 per cent of non-participants saying the trial had made life in their community better, and only 18 per cent reporting that it had made life worse.

Many of the reported problems with the card were attributed to user error or “imperfect knowledge and systems” among some merchants. Of the 32,237 declined transactions between April and September last year, 86.2 per cent were because of user error, with more than half found to be because account holders had insufficient funds.

While there was a large amount of anecdotal evidence in favour of the card, there were also reports of a rise in humbugging — where family members are harassed for money — and some reports of an increase in crime linked to the need for cash, including prostitution.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said while the card was not a “panacea”, it had led to stark improvements in the trial communities, warranting an extension of the card, despite it not being popular with all welfare recipients. However, he stressed that no decision had been made to expand the card to new sites, which would require legislation.

“Inevitably, people would prefer to have fewer restrictions than more restrictions, particularly if you are an alcoholic, but the evaluation and the data shows that it is having a positive net impact on reducing alcoholism, gambling and illicit substance abuse,” Mr Tudge said. “The rights of the community, of the children and of elderly citizens to live in a safe community are equally important as the rights of welfare recipients.”

The government has introduced the card only to regions where it has the support of community leaders, allowing the Coalition to secure the backing of Labor for the two trial sites despite opposition from the Greens and the Australian Council of Social Service.

Liberal MP Melissa Price, who represents the vast West Australian regional electorate of Durack, said yesterday she was hopeful the card could be rolled out across the Kimberley, the Pilbara and the Goldfields, estimating that about half of the 52 councils in her electorate had expressed an interest in signing up.

“I know it is not popular with everybody, but we are in government and we need to make these decisions to improve people’s lives; if we don’t make changes, nothing changes,” Ms Price said.

Cashless Debit Card Trial – Overview

The Commonwealth Government is looking at the best possible ways to provide support to people, families and communities in locations where high levels of welfare dependence exist alongside high levels of harm related to drug and alcohol abuse.

The Cashless Debit Card Trial is aimed at finding an effective tool for supporting disadvantaged communities to reduce the consumption and effects of drugs, alcohol and gambling that impact on the health and wellbeing of communities, families and children.

How the cashless debit card works

The cashless debit card looks and operates like a normal bank card, except it cannot be used to buy alcohol or gambling products, or to withdraw cash.

The card can be used anywhere that accepts debit cards. It will work online, for shopping and paying bills. The Indue website lists the approved merchants (link is external) and excluded merchants (link is external) for the trial.

Who will take part in the trial?

Under the trial, all recipients of working age income support payments who live in a trial location will receive a cashless debit card.

The full list of included payments is available on the Guides to Social Security Law website.

People on the Age Pension, a veteran’s payment or who earn a wage can volunteer to take part in the trial. Information on volunteering for the trial is available. Application forms for people who wish to volunteer can be downloaded from the Indue website (link is external).

How will it affect Centrelink payments?

The trial doesn’t change the amount of money a person receives from Centrelink. It only changes the way in which people receive and spend their fortnightly payments:

  • 80 per cent is paid onto the cashless debit card
  • 20 per cent is paid into a person’s regular bank account.

Cashless debit card calculator

To work out how much will be paid onto your cashless debit card, enter your fortnightly payment amount into the following calculator.

Enter amount of fortnightly Centrelink payment Calculate

Money on the card 

Use it for:

  • Groceries
  • Pay bills
  • Buy clothes
  • Travel
  • Online

Anywhere with eftpos except:

  • No grog
  • No gambling
  • No cash

   Note: 100% of lump sum payments will be placed on the card. More information is available on the Guides to Social Security Law website.

More information

For more information, email debitcardtrial@dss.gov.au (link sends e-mail) or call 1800 252 604

This weeks NACCHO Aboriginal Health News Alerts will  include

Wednesday Job alerts Thursday NACCHO Members Good News

How to submit ? Email to Colin Cowell NACCHO Media   4.30 pm  day before publication

NACCHO #IWD2017 Aboriginal Women’s #justjustice :Indigenous, disabled, imprisoned – the forgotten women of #IWD2017

 

” Merri’s story is not uncommon. Studies show that women with physical, sensory, intellectual, or psychosocial disabilities (mental health conditions) experience higher rates of domestic and sexual violence and abuse than other women.

More than 70 per cent of women with disabilities in Australia have experienced sexual violence, and they are 40 per cent more likely to face domestic violence than other women.

Indigenous women are 35 times more likely to be hospitalised as a result of domestic violence than non-Indigenous women. Indigenous women who have a disability face intersecting forms of discrimination because of their gender, disability, and ethnicity that leave them at even greater risk of experiencing violence — and of being involved in violence and imprisoned

Kriti Sharma is a disability rights researcher for Human Rights Watch

This is our last NACCHO post supporting  International Women’s Day

Further NACCHO reading

Women’s Health ( 275 articles )  or Just Justice  See campaign details below

” In-prison programs fail to address the disadvantage that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners face, such as addiction, intergenerational and historical traumas, grief and loss. Programs have long waiting lists, and exclude those who spend many months on remand or serve short sentences – as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people often do.

Instead, evidence shows that prison worsens mental health and wellbeing, damages relationships and families, and generates stigma which reduces employment and housing opportunities .

To prevent post-release deaths, diversion from prison to alcohol and drug rehabilitation is recommended, which has proven more cost-effective and beneficial than prison , International evidence also recommends preparing families for the post-prison release phase. ‘

Dying to be free: Where is the focus on the deaths occurring post-prison release? Article 1 Below

Article from Page 17 NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper out Wednesday 16 November , 24 Page lift out Koori Mail : or download

naccho-newspaper-nov-2016 PDF file size 9 MB

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, this week  I think of ‘Merri’, one of the most formidable and resilient women I have ever met.

A 50-year-old Aboriginal woman with a mental health condition, Merri grew up in a remote community in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. When I met her, Merri was in pre-trial detention in an Australian prison.

It was the first time she had been to prison and it was clear she was still reeling from trauma. But she was also defiant.

“Six months ago, I got sick of being bashed so I killed him,” she said. “I spent five years with him [my partner], being bashed. He gave me a freaking [sexually transmitted] disease. Now I have to suffer [in prison].”

I recently traveled through Western Australia, visiting prisons, and I heard story after story of Indigenous women with disabilities whose lives had been cycles of abuse and imprisonment, without effective help.

For many women who need help, support services are simply not available. They may be too far away, hard to find, or not culturally sensitive or accessible to women.

The result is that Australia’s prisons are disproportionately full of Indigenous women with disabilities, who are also more likely to be incarcerated for minor offenses.

For numerous women like Merri in many parts of the country, prisons have become a default accommodation and support option due to a dearth of appropriate community-based services. As with countless women with disabilities, Merri’s disability was not identified until she reached prison. She had not received any support services in the community.

Merri has single-handedly raised her children as well as her grandchildren, but without any support or access to mental health services, life in the community has been a struggle for her.

Strangely — and tragically — prison represented a respite for Merri. With eyes glistening with tears, she told me: “[Prison] is very stressful. But I’m finding it a break from a lot of stress outside.”

Today, on International Women’s Day, the Australian government should commit to making it a priority to meet the needs of women with disabilities who are at risk of violence and abuse.

In 2015, a Senate inquiry into the abuse people with disabilities face in institutional and residential settings revealed the extensive and diverse forms of abuse they face both in institutions and the community. The inquiry recommended that the government set up a Royal Commission to conduct a more comprehensive investigation into the neglect, violence, and abuse faced by people with disabilities across Australia.

The government has been unwilling to do so, citing the new National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Quality and Safeguard Framework as adequate.

While the framework is an important step forward, it would only reach people who are enrolled under the NDIS. Its complaints mechanism would not provide a comprehensive look at the diversity and scale of the violence people with disabilities experience, let alone at the ways in which various intersecting forms of discrimination affect people with disabilities.

The creation of a Royal Commission, on the other hand, could give voice to survivors of violence inside and outside the NDIS. It could direct a commission’s resources at a thorough investigation into the violence people with disabilities face in institutional and residential settings, as well as in the community.

The government urgently needs to hear directly from women like Merri about the challenges they face, and how the government can do better at helping them. Whether or not there is a Royal Commission, the government should consult women with disabilities, including Indigenous women, and their representative organizations to learn how to strengthen support services.

Government services that are gender and culturally appropriate, and accessible to women across the country, can curtail abuse and allow women with disabilities to live safe, independent lives in the community.

Kriti Sharma is a disability rights researcher for Human Rights Watch

 

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How you can support #JustJustice

• Download, read and share the 2nd edition – HERE.

Buy a hard copy from Gleebooks in Sydney (ask them to order more copies if they run out of stock).

• Send copies of the book to politicians, policy makers and other opinion leaders.

• Encourage journals and other relevant publications to review #JustJustice.

• Encourage your local library to order a copy, whether the free e-version or a hard copy from Gleebooks.

• Follow Guardian Australia’s project, Breaking the Cycle.

Readers may also be interested in these articles:

NACCHO Invites all health practitioners and staff to a webinar : Working collaboratively to support the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal youth in crisis

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NACCHO invites all health practitioners and staff to the webinar: An all-Indigenous panel will explore youth suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The webinar is organised and produced by the Mental Health Professionals Network and will provide participants with the opportunity to identify:

  • Key principles in the early identification of youth experiencing psychological distress.
  • Appropriate referral pathways to prevent crises and provide early intervention.
  • Challenges, tips and strategies to implement a collaborative response to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in crisis.

Join hundreds of doctors, nurses and mental health professionals around the nation for an interdisciplinary panel discussion. The panellists with a range of professional experience are:

  • Dr Louis Peachey (Qld Rural Generalist)
  • Dr Marshall Watson (SA Psychiatrist)
  • Dr Jeff Nelson (Qld Psychologist)
  • Facilitator: Dr Mary Emeleus (Qld GP and Psychotherapist)

Read more about the panellists.

Working collaboratively to support the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in crisis.

Date:  Thursday 23rd February, 2017

Time: 7.15 – 8.30pm AEDT

REGISTER

No need to travel to benefit from this free PD opportunity. Simply register and log in anywhere you have a computer or tablet with high speed internet connection. CPD points awarded.

Learn more about the learning outcomes, other resources and register now.

For further information, contact MHPN on 1800 209 031 or email webinars@mhpn.org.au.

The Mental Health Professionals’ Network is a government-funded initiative that improves interdisciplinary collaborative mental health care practice in the primary health sector.  MHPN promotes interdisciplinary practice through two national platforms, local interdisciplinary networks and online professional development webinars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Drug #Ice :Applications close 8 February for local community drug action teams to tackle ice

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“These Local Drug Action Teams will provide a structure to unite communities so they can work together more effectively, They will drive community action to reduce demand for drugs such as ice and reduce the harm associated with alcohol and other drugs more broadly.

“Stronger prevention action will help individuals and families to avoid the destruction that ice is causing, especially in rural and regional communities.”

Minister for Health, Sussan Ley

A program to help local communities tackle the impact of ice through 220 community-based local action teams across Australia over the next four years was announced just before Xmas by the Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, as part of the National Ice Action Strategy.

She said that local councils, schools, police, youth services, primary health and treatment services, community groups, non-government organisations (NGOs) and community members would be eligible to be members of a Local Drug Action Team.

More info : http://adf.org.au/community/our-programs/local-drug-action-teams/

Funding of $19.2 million has been provided to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (formerly the Australian Drug Foundation) to administer the community-based action teams. Applications for communities wishing to form a local team opened  (23 December 2016) and will close on 8 February 2017.

Ms Ley said development of community-based teams was a direct response to the Government’s National Ice Taskforce’s call for more locally-tailored strategies to address local issues to strengthen prevention activities and reduce demand for drugs such as ice.

There will be ongoing opportunities through 2017 and 2018 for communities who want to form teams but miss out in the first application process. The first group of 40 local community teams will be determined by early 2017.

Interested groups and individuals can find more information on the program on the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s website.

The Local Drug Action Team initiative is part of the Australian Government’s investment of $298 million investment over four years to reduce the impact of drugs and alcohol.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation chief executive officer John Rogerson welcomed the partnership with the Australian Government.

“Building community partnerships to develop locally-based and locally-delivered solutions is the key to reducing alcohol and drug related harm,” he said.

“These community teams will be on the ground in your neighbourhood playing a key role in implementing unique prevention programs that are tailored to their community’s issues.

“They will also give much-needed support to those impacted by ice, other illegal drugs and alcohol.”

Ms Ley has also announced funding for expansion of a program run by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation to tackle illegal drugs by providing education and awareness programs through 1200 local sporting clubs.

The new program is an extension of the Foundation’s successful grass-roots Good Sports program, which encourages cultural change in behaviours and attitudes to drug and alcohol use in sporting clubs. The program has helped more than 7,000 clubs nationwide.

“People aged 20 to 29 years are among the highest users of illicit drugs and many people in this age group are also members of local sporting clubs,” Ms Ley said.

“This program will be an important part of encouraging these young people to talk about drugs, as well as providing information for people who might need help and support.”

For more information on Local Drug Action Teams see www.adf.org.au/ldat

For more information on Good Sports see www.adf.org.au/good-sports

and from Team NACCHO

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For NACCHO Media Contact

Colin Cowell Editor 0401 331 251

Email mailto:nacchonews@naccho.org.au

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Alert #GetonTrack Report : The ten things we need to do to improve our health

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” Australia’s Health Tracker reports that 25.6% of children and 29.5% of young people are overweight or obese, with even higher prevalence reported in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Over-consumption of discretionary or junk foods contributes to Australia’s inability to halt the rise of diabetes and obesity. Australia’s Health Tracker also reports that junk foods contribute, on average, to approximately 40% of children and young people’s daily energy needs.

These foods and drinks tend to have low levels of essential nutrients and can take the place of other, more nutritious foods. They are associated with increased risk of obesity and chronic disease such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer.

Obesity during adolescence is a risk factor for chronic disease later in life and can seriously hinder children’s and young people’s physical and mental development. ”

From the Getting Australia’s Health on Track

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Download the report here getting-australias-health-on-track-ahpc-nov2016

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NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Newspaper What Works Part 3 : Healthy Futures for our Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services the 2016 Report Card will say

Report from the Conversation

In Australia, one in every two people has a chronic disease. These diseases, such as cancer, mental illness and heart disease, reduce quality of life and can lead to premature death. Younger generations are increasingly at risk.

Crucially, one-third of the disease burden could be prevented and chronic diseases often share the same risk factors.

A collaboration of Australia’s leading scientists, clinicians and health organisations has produced health targets for Australia’s population to reach by the year 2025.

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These are in line with the World Health Organisation’s agenda for a 25% global reduction in premature deaths from chronic diseases, endorsed by all member states including Australia.

Today the collaboration is announcing its top ten priority policy actions in response to a recent health report card that identifies challenges to meeting the targets.

The actions will drive down risk factors and help create a healthier Australia.

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1. Drink fewer sugary drinks

One in two adults and three out of four children and young people consume too much sugar. Sugary drinks are the main source of sugar in the Australian diet and while many other factors influence health, these drinks are directly linked to weight gain and the risk of developing diabetes.

Putting a 20% tax on sugary drinks could save lives and prevent heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. The tax would also generate A$400 million each year that could be spent on much needed health programs.

2. Stop unhealthy food marketing aimed at kids

Almost 40% of children and young people’s energy comes from junk food. Children are very responsive to marketing and it is no coincidence almost two-thirds of food marketing during popular viewing times are unhealthy products.

Restricting food marketing aimed at children is an effective way to significantly reduce junk food consumption and Australians want action in this area. Government-led regulation is needed to drive this change.

3. Keep up the smoking-reduction campaigns

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Australia, although the trends are positive.

Campaigns that highlight the dangers of smoking reduce the number of young people who start smoking, increase the number of people who attempt to quit and support former smokers to remain tobacco free.

4. Help everyone quit

About 40% of Aboriginal people and 24% of people with a mental illness smoke.

To support attempts to quit, compliance with smoke-free legislation across all work and public places is vital. Media campaigns need to continue to reach broad audiences. GPs and other local health services that serve disadvantaged communities should include smoking cessation in routine care.

5. Get active in the streets

More than 90% of Australian young people are not meeting guidelines for sufficient physical activity – the 2025 target is to reduce this by at least 10%.

Active travel to and from school programs will reach 3.7 million of Australia’s children and young people. This can only occur in conjunction with safe paths and urban environments that are designed in line with the latest evidence to get everyone moving.

6. Tax alcohol responsibly

The Henry Review concluded that health and social harms have not been adequately considered in current alcohol taxation. A 10% increase on the current excise, and the consistent application of volume-based taxation, are the 2017 priority actions.

Fortunately, the trends suggest most people are drinking more responsibly. However approximately 5,500 deaths and 157,000 hospital admissions occur as a consequence of alcohol each year.

7. Use work as medicine

People with a mental illness are over-represented in national unemployment statistics. The 2025 target is to halve the employment gap.

Unemployment and the associated financial duress exerts a significant toll on the health of people with a mental illness, and costs an estimated A$2.5 billion in lost productivity each year.

Supported vocational programs have 20 years of evidence showing their effectiveness. Scaling up and better integrating these programs is an urgent priority, along with suicide prevention and broader efforts.

8. Cut down on salt

Most Australian adults consume in excess of the recommended maximum salt intake of 5 grams daily. This contributes to a high prevalence of elevated blood pressure among adults (23%), which is a major risk factor for heart diseases.

Around 75% of Australian’s salt intake comes from processed foods. Reducing salt intake by 30% by 2025, via food reformulation, could save 3,500 lives a year through reductions in heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

9. Promote heart health

Heart disease is Australia’s single largest cause of death, and yet an estimated 970,000 adults at high risk of a cardiovascular event (heart attack or stroke) are not receiving appropriate treatment to reduce risk factors such as combined blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications. Under-treatment can be exacerbated by people’s lack of awareness about their own risk factors.

National heart risk assessment programs, along with care planning for high-risk individuals, offer a cost-effective solution.

10. Measure what matters

A comprehensive Australian Health Survey must be a permanent and routine survey every five years, so Australia knows how we are tracking on chronic disease.

All of these policies are effective, affordable and feasible opportunities to prevent, rather than treat, Australia’s biggest killer diseases

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper and #JustJustice Evidence What Works Part 6 : Prevention and Healing needed

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Updated Sunday 27 the November

The #JustJustice book is being launched at Gleebooks in Sydney today by Professor Tom Calma AO, and readers are invited to download the 242-page e-version. see invite below

For news about the launch, follow #JustJustice on Twitter; we also hope to do some live Periscope broadcasts.

Print

As well, during the week ahead, Summer May Finlay and Dr Megan Williams will be tag-tweeting about #JustJustice from @WePublicHealth.

Croakey warmly thanks all who have contributed to the #JustJustice project, including the authors, tweeters, donors and supporters.

They also thank a number of organisations that have supported our launch, including the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses (CATSINaM), Amnesty International, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), Indigenous Allied Health Australia, the Healing Foundation, the Close the Gap secretariat, the Public Health Association of Australia, the Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia, the Australian Science Media Centre, the University of Canberra, Western Sydney University, and Curtin University.

Thanks to journalist Amy McQuire for covering the book on radio at Let’s Talk, and hope other media outlets will also engage with the issues raised in the book.

Statement by Amnesty International

The Federal Government must make good on its promise to listen to, and work with, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including engaging with the solutions put forward in the forthcoming #JustJustice essay collection.

The book includes more than 90 articles on solutions to protect the rights of Australia’s First Peoples. These include pieces by Amnesty’s Indigenous Rights Campaigners Roxanne Moore and Julian Cleary, who offer solutions to the stark overrepresentation of Indigenous children in detention.

‘Lock-em-up’ punitive approach has failed

In the book, Noongar woman Roxanne Moore decries the solitary confinement, teargassing and use of dogs against children in the Don Dale Detention Centre. She lays out how Australia has breached international human rights law by detaining Indigenous children at astronomical rates, and through the harsh treatment and conditions endured by children in detention.

#JustJustice articles by Julian Cleary also condemn the detention centre, and call for funding to be shifted into youth services and programs to keep kids out of detention in the first place. He writes that the ‘lock-em-up’ punitive approach has failed to heal trauma in Indigenous people in detention, and argues that Indigenous kids respond best to Indigenous role models.

He acknowledges the vital work of Indigenous people and organisations around the country – from rapper Briggs in NSW, to the Darwin-based Larrakia Night Patrol and the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service.

Amnesty International research has found that Governments’ best chance to reduce offending and lower Indigenous incarceration rates is to fund prevention and diversion programs led by Indigenous communities. Indigenous-led, therapeutic programs best connect with Indigenous people, helping them to heal their trauma and deal with the life problems that lead to offending in the first place.

Listen, understand

In a statement last week, Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion expressed the Federal Government’s commitment to “genuine partnership” with First Peoples. He stated the Government’s determination “to listen and to understand to ensure we get it right.”

“This #JustJustice collection represents one opportunity for the Federal Government to listen and to understand,” said Roxanne Moore.

“Across the country we’re seeing unacceptable rates of Indigenous children being separated from their families and locked up. At the same time, Indigenous people also experience violence at far higher rates than the non-Indigenous population. This is not just a Northern Territory injustice – it is nationwide and Prime Minister Turnbull must seek national solutions.

“We call on Mr Turnbull to work with all States and Territories in developing a national plan to address the twin issues of high rates of Indigenous incarceration and experience of violence. We hope to see positive outcomes from the COAG meeting next month, where Mr Turnbull has pledged to put Indigenous incarceration on the agenda.”

See the statement here.

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 ” In-prison programs fail to address the disadvantage that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners face, such as addiction, intergenerational and historical traumas, grief and loss. Programs have long waiting lists, and exclude those who spend many months on remand or serve short sentences – as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people often do.

Instead, evidence shows that prison worsens mental health and wellbeing, damages relationships and families, and generates stigma which reduces employment and housing opportunities .

To prevent post-release deaths, diversion from prison to alcohol and drug rehabilitation is recommended, which has proven more cost-effective and beneficial than prison , International evidence also recommends preparing families for the post-prison release phase. ‘

Dying to be free: Where is the focus on the deaths occurring post-prison release? Article 1 Below

Article from Page 17 NACCHO Aboriginal Health Newspaper out Wednesday 16 November , 24 Page lift out Koori Mail : or download

naccho-newspaper-nov-2016 PDF file size 9 MB

 “Readers of this NACCHO communique and newspaper are invited to attend the launch in Sydney on November 27 of #JustJustice, a book profiling solutions to the over-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Professor Tom Calma AO, a social justice champion and Chancellor of the University of Canberra, will launch the book, which will also be freely available as an e-book via Croakey.org.

The launch comes amid mounting pressure on federal, state and territory governments to address over-incarceration, which the #JustJustice book makes clear is a public health emergency.

Just Justice Prevention and Healing needed Article 2 and Invite Below

Amid calls for a new federal inquiry into the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to result in concrete actions), a more profound concern has rated barely a mention.

Many people may not realise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely to die in the days and weeks after release from prison than they are in custody, according to University of Melbourne researchers

Where non-Indigenous people are more likely be at risk of post-release death from accidental overdose, and preventative opioid substitution therapy is reasonably available to them, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely to die from alcohol-related harm preventable health conditions and suicide

The majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in prison have been there before, often multiple times. High rates of re-incarceration and post-release death signal that they do not receive enough assistance under current programs and policies.

Jack Bulman, CEO of the well-recognised health promotion charity, Mibbinbah, recently collaborated on the design of health promotion program Be the Best You Can Be which accompanies the film Mad Bastards. He has worked with many men post-prison release and says “many get out of prison with very little support, money, plans, or hope.”

In-prison programs fail to address the disadvantage that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners face, such as addiction, intergenerational and historical traumas, grief and loss. Programs have long waiting lists, and exclude those who spend many months on remand or serve short sentences – as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people often do.

Instead, evidence shows that prison worsens mental health and wellbeing, damages relationships and families, and generates stigma which reduces employment and housing opportunities .

Some European countries, however, have achieved a dramatic reduction in prisoner numbers and harms.

To prevent post-release deaths, diversion from prison to alcohol and drug rehabilitation is recommended, which has proven more cost-effective and beneficial than prison International evidence also recommends preparing families for the post-prison release phase.

Mibbinbah’s work also shows that men’s groups are a low-cost measure for prison-to-community continuity of care, and Elder engagement in prison programs has received overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Locally, evaluation of three Returning Home post-prison release pilot programs delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled health organisations found that intensive, coordinated care in the first hours, days, and weeks after release is required, along with strategies to better identify newly-released prisoners in clinical and program settings, to provide them with appropriate care

However, for these improvements to occur, better integration between prisons and community-based services is required.

International human rights instruments assert that people in prison have the right to the same care in prison as they do in the community.

Prisons should be places where public health and criminal justice policies meet, particularly given that the overwhelming majority of people in prisons have addiction and mental health issues.

But because prisoners have no right to Medicare, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in prison have reduced access to the types of comprehensive primary healthcare available in the community, including health assessments, care plans and social and emotional wellbeing programs.

Instead, providing such healthcare in prisons comes at an additional cost to community organisations, if it is done at all.

The Public Health Association of Australia and the Australian Medical Association have called on the Australian Government for prisoners to retain their right to Medicare.

Renewed attention to bring about this change will enable continuity of care between prison and the community, which is vital for preventing post-release deaths.

Waiting until after prison is too late.

Further reading: The Change the Record Coalition calls for the Australian Law Reform Commission to develop the terms of reference for its inquiry into over-imprisonment in close consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander bodies.

https://changetherecord.org.au/blog/news/australian-law-reform-commission-inquiry-into-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-imprisonment-must-focus-on-solutions

Just Justice Prevention and Healing needed

Megan Williams writes: Readers of this newspaper are invited to attend the launch in Sydney on November 27 of #JustJustice, a book profiling solutions to the over-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Professor Tom Calma AO, a social justice champion and Chancellor of the University of Canberra, will launch the book, which will also be freely available as an e-book via Croakey.org.

The launch comes amid mounting pressure on federal, state and territory governments to address over-incarceration, which the #JustJustice book makes clear is a public health emergency.

The book – which resulted from a crowd-funding campaign – profiles the breadth and depth of work by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations to address incarceration and related issues.

The inaugural Closing the Prison Gap: Cultural Resilience Conference, recently held in northern NSW, also heard about many such initiatives.

Prevention and healing needed

The first conference theme explored prevention and early intervention with Professor Muriel Bamblett, Yorta Yorta woman and CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency discussing Alternatives to Child Removal including leadership, healing and diversionary programs.

The second conference theme focussed on court, prison and post-release programs. Compelling information about the over-representation of people with disabilities in the criminal justice system was provided, including concerns about fitness to stand trial and under-assessment of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Mervyn Eades, Nyoongar man and Eddie Mabo Social Justice Award winner explained the trusting relationships developed with ex-prisoners through the Ngalla Maya program, and their contribution to supporting prisoners in employment post-prison release.

The third conference theme of healing reviewed the work by Gamarada Healing the Life Training, the well-evaluated Kids Caring for Country and Learning our Way Program from Murwillumbah, and web-based resources of the Lateral Peace Project.

Plans for the Mount Tabor Station Healing and Rehabilitation Centre in central Queensland were unveiled by Keelen Mailman, Bidjara woman, author of The Power of Bones and Mother of the Year winner, developed in partnership with Keith Hamburger, ex-Director of the Queensland Corrective Services Commission.

The final conference session focussed on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led solutions to addressing underlying factors for incarceration, which Professor Harry Blagg from the University of WA argued are an extension of colonial dispossession. Chris Lee from the University of Southern Queensland and Gerry Georgatos from the Institute for Social Justice and Human Rights in WA described tangible strategies for improving in-prison and post-release education and training, citing some excellent results from their programs.

NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Tauto Sansbury reflected on his own life journey and how his understanding of the need for a Treaty developed over time. He envisions a Treaty as an opportunity for new relationships and accountabilities in law, which will promote self-determination and reduce incarceration rates.

But the question remains: Why won’t Australian leaders embrace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander solutions to the criminal justice crisis? Perhaps this will be the theme of the 2017 Closing the Prison Gap gathering? The organising committee is looking for contributions for next year’s event and program.

This is an abbreviated version of an article that first appeared at Croakey.org. Dr Megan Williams is a member of the #JustJustice team, a Senior Research Fellow in the Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Research team at Western Sydney University, and a Wiradjuri descendant through her father’s family. Other #JustJustice team members are Summer May Finlay, Marie McInerney, Melissa Sweet and Mitchell Ward

Why won’t Australian leaders embrace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander solutions to the criminal justice crisis?

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NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #JustJustice – Accessing Justice for Aboriginal People with Disabilities

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“It’s clear we need to change to law to prevent indefinite detention, but we also need to make sure the supports are available on the ground. People with disabilities who come into contact with the criminal justice system need to be connected to appropriate support,

 “This is especially the case for young people with disabilities in contact with the criminal justice system. We should be intervening as early as possible in a child’s life to identify and address disabilities, and support their parents to care for their child as much as possible.”

Professor Kerry Arabena, a chief investigator on the project Press Release 1 Below

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 “At the same time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are experiencing high rates of violence, being 34 times more likely to be hospitalised for family violence related assault.

“We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rates, and experience of violence, are strongly linked to social and economic disadvantage and so the inquiry must include a focus on early intervention, prevention and diversion programs”

Change the Record Coalition ( CTR ) Co-Chair Shane Duffy Press Release 2 Below

Laws that are meant to protect persons with disabilities in the criminal justice system can lead to detention without an end date.

This is particularly so for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with Disabilities according to researchers at the University of Melbourne and University of New South Wales.

Researchers have collaborated with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency to deal with the support needs of accused persons with mental disabilities.

The Unfitness to Plead and Indefinite Detention of Persons with Cognitive Impairments project is about providing support to people with disabilities in the criminal justice system to prevent their indefinite detention.

The researchers recently gave evidence to a Senate Committee Inquiry into the Indefinite Detention of People with Cognitive Impairment in Darwin last week.

The research team, which includes a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and advocates, have just concluded a six-month trial of supports for accused persons with disabilities when they reach the court system.

Professor Kerry Arabena, a chief investigator on the project, says Indigenous people with disabilities are clearly over-represented in the criminal justice system.

“It’s clear we need to change to law to prevent indefinite detention, but we also need to make sure the supports are available on the ground. People with disabilities who come into contact with the criminal justice system need to be connected to appropriate support,” she said.

“This is especially the case for young people with disabilities in contact with the criminal justice system. We should be intervening as early as possible in a child’s life to identify and address disabilities, and support their parents to care for their child as much as possible.

It is a travesty that in 2016 we can have over representation in the criminal justice system because we haven¹t prevented or addressed early health, developmental vulnerabilities or intergenerational trauma in the first 2 years of life.  We do not need prison solutions for health issues.” Professor Arabena said.

In many places, the right support is unavailable. Jody Barney, one of the National Advisory Panel members for the project is a leading Aboriginal Disability consultant. She has assisted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities in the criminal justice system all over Australia.

“The Unfitness to Plead Project tries to make sure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities not only have the right communication access and supports but the physical presence of an advocate and interpreter to assist their understanding of the justice system.”

“While the project doesn’t focus on young people, we have identified the unmet needs of the young people with disabilities during the course of the project. The work needs to be extended to include youth and reduce the recidivism of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in detention.” she said.

Another member of the advisory panel, Ms Elizabeth McEntyre, a criminal justice social worker has conducted research with Aboriginal communities in NSW and NT on Aboriginal people with mental and cognitive disabilities in the criminal justice system.

”Better education and information are needed for police, teachers, lawyers, magistrates, health, corrections, disability and community service providers regarding understanding and working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and men with cognitive impairment and complex support needs, ” she said.

The researchers call for a suite of reforms to ensure accused persons with disabilities get the support they need to access justice on an equal basis with others.

Mr Lenny Clarke, a First Persons Disability Network representative and one of the project’s advisors says that people with disabilities are often subject to prejudice, discrimination and exclusion.

“Most people don’t understand disability and or don’t feel affected – for them it is a case of  ‘That’s other peoples and families problems.’ “

The project team recommends that it should be mandatory for all sections of Law enforcement agencies and administrators of the judicial system to participate in extensive training and awareness programs on disability.

health-justice

Watch live link Here

Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment must focus on solutions

From

Change the Record (CTR) Coalition

A major national inquiry into the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples must focus on identifying tangible solutions that address the underlying causes of imprisonment, says the Change the Record (CTR) Coalition.

In welcoming today’s announcement of an Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) inquiry into the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the coalition of peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, human rights and legal organisations has said it is essential that the inquiry focus on practical measures that invest in and strengthen communities.

CTR Co-Chair Shane Duffy said, “For a long time we have been calling for the Federal Government to take a leadership role on these issues, and so we welcome the Turnbull Government beginning to step up to the plate”.

“This year marks 25 years since the landmark Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC), but our people continue to experience imprisonment and violence at crisis rates.

The new ALRC inquiry offers an important opportunity to shine a comprehensive light on these issues at a national level, and identify tangible actions for all levels of government” said Mr Duffy. At the time the RCIADIC report was handed down Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were seven times more likely to be in prison, now in 2016 that figure has risen to 13 times.

At the same time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are experiencing high rates of violence, being 34 times more likely to be hospitalised for family violence related assault.

“We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rates, and experience of violence, are strongly linked to social and economic disadvantage and so the inquiry must include a focus on early intervention, prevention and diversion programs” said Mr Duffy.

Co-Chair Antoinette Braybrook said, “Whilst the announcement of an ALRC inquiry to examine the factors leading to the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is welcome, it is essential that the inquiry also consider issues relating to the prevention of family violence and reducing barriers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims/survivors of family violence to access quality, holistic, culturally safe legal services and supports.”

“It is also critical that the Terms of Reference for the inquiry are developed in close consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies, and those who are members of Change the Record. To ensure that the inquiry has a meaningful outcome, all levels of Government must commit to implementing the recommendations in full.”

“The Federal Government should also take immediate steps to highlight its commitment to improving justice outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including by setting meaningful national justice targets through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and committing to review the implementation of RCIADIC” said Ms Braybrook.

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1. Call to action to Present
at the 2016 Members Conference closing 8 November
See below or Download here

2.NACCHO Partnership Opportunities

3. NACCHO Interim 3 day Program has been released

4. The dates are fast approaching – so register today
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NACCHO #APSAD @APSADConf Aboriginal Health and #ICE : New Online counselling support service to help ice users

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 “An innovative national online counselling service will help people affected by substance misuse to get the support they need.

The Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, said as part of the Australian Government’s $298.3 million National Ice Action Strategy, Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre will provide an enhanced national online counselling service to support people affected by substance misuse. “

The Counselling Online website is accessible at

http://www.counsellingonline.org.au

on a range of mobile devices including smart phones and tablets.

“This new national service complements the Australian Government’s additional drug and alcohol treatment funding to Primary Health Networks ensuring a range of treatment options are available for people affected by ice or other methamphetamines and their families – no matter where they may be around the country – who want to take that vital first step and reach out to seek help,” Minister Ley said.

“The 2015 National Ice Taskforce Final Report recommended improving access to online interventions, including ice-specific counselling and self-help options, as a priority in delivering treatment and support for users and families.

“There’s also evidence that online interventions are successful in engaging people affected by drug and alcohol misuse including ice, who are less likely to seek help through more conventional face-to-face treatment services.

“More than 60 per cent of those who previously contacted Turning Point’s 24 hour counselling service were making contact for the first time, so the expansion of this service is an important resource in the fight against the scourge of ice.”

Turning Point’s expanded services now include:

  •  a moderated peer forum that provides online communities with support and information for drug and alcohol-related issues, as well as opportunities to discuss strategies for recovery;
  •  self-help modules with tailored guidance for individual needs; and
  •  new tools, such as an SMS subscriber service, which sends supportive messages at critical time periods throughout the week to reduce the risk of relapse.

Minister Ley said the new free service is now available and will provide the community with 24/7 support.

If your preference is to speak to someone by phone, there are 24 hour Alcohol and Drug Information Services (ADIS) in your State:

 

Australian Capital Territory (02) 6207 9977
New South Wales 1800 422 599 (Regional)
(02) 9361 8000 (Metropolitan)
Northern Territory 1800 131 350
Queensland 1800 177 833 (Regional)
(07) 3837 5989 (Metropolitan)
South Australia 1300 131 340
Tasmania 1800 811 994
Victoria 1800 888 236 (DirectLine)
Western Australia 1800 198 024 (Regional)
(08) 9442 5000 (Metropolitan)

Our Service

Operated by Turning Point in Victoria and funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health, Counselling Online provides assistance to Australian residents concerned about alcohol & other drugs.

Our primary service is online text-based counselling for people concerned about their own drinking or drug use. The service is equally available to people concerned about a family member, relative or friend.

Our service also provides:

  • support by email
  • tools such as self-assessments and self-help modules
  • an SMS service to keep you focused and on track
  • an online community forum to connect you with peers for support.

Counselling Online services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Our Story

Counselling Online has been in operation since 2006 providing an online method for people affected by alcohol & other drugs to seek help.

We understand that the stigma associated with alcohol and drug use can make it difficult for individuals to reach out for help.  We provide a safe, anonymous and confidential space for people to disclose their problems and receive information and options about next steps.  We aim for this interaction to be positive and judgement free so that the next step can feel far less daunting and achievable.

We aim to provide service for people at all stages of help seeking:

  • for first time help seekers
  • for people waiting for treatment
  • people in treatment that require additional support, particularly after hours
  • people who have completed treatment and want to stay on track
  • for people in recovery wanting to connect with others or prevent relapse
  • for people supporting a significant other with a drug and alcohol problem.

We understand that recovery from a drug and alcohol issue can be difficult and prone to lapse and relapse. We believe that every moment counts and even the most difficult times can be opportunities to learn, so stay connected and join our community.

Our Counsellors

Counselling Online services are provided by counselling staff with professional qualifications and experience in alcohol and drug counselling and treatment. These staff are employed by Turning Point in Victoria.

Our staff have a range of qualifications in health sciences, including Psychology, Social Work, Nursing, Psychiatric Nursing and Welfare Studies. Counselling Online staff also have specialised experience in alcohol and drug treatment delivery. This often includes experience in face-to-face alcohol and drug treatment services in the community.

Counselling Online services are delivered within a harm minimisation framework. Our counselling and support services are provided with reference to current clinical practice standards and guidelines for alcohol and drug service delivery.

Further information on the profile and training of Counselling Online staff is available on request via the feedback form.

 

 

 

NACCHO #APSAD @APSADConf Aboriginal Health and #ICE :New study show #Ice use in rural Australia has more than doubled since 2007

 

An ice pipe in Melbourne, Monday, July 2, 2007. The item was one of 76,00 dangerous products seized last financial year, a record total haul for an Australian state or territory. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING

” The study has raised particular concerns given rural Australians already have poorer health outcomes, with shorter life expectancies and significantly higher mortality rates, mental illness, chronic disease, family and domestic violence and more.

 A complex, variable picture has emerged of methamphetamine use across the country, What is clear is that there has been a disproportionately larger increase in the misuse of methamphetamine, including crystal methamphetamine, in rural locations compared to other Australian locations.

 At the same time, it’s very concerning there has been no increase in the number of people accessing help in rural areas. We need to urgently establish whether existing support services simply don’t have the capacity to deal with demand for drug treatment, or whether there are there significant reasons.

 Contributing factors to rural drug problems include lower educational attainment, low socioeconomic status, higher unemployment, isolation and the deliberate targeting of rural communities by illegal distribution networks.

Professor Ann Roche, Director of the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction at Flinders University.

Read 51 NACCHO Articles about Aboriginal Health and Ice

 

Australians is on the rise have now been confirmed with the first documented evidence released today at the APSAD Scientific Alcohol and Drugs Conference.

The study – the most detailed examination to date – found lifetime and recent methamphetamine and recent crystal methamphetamine (ice) use is significantly higher among rural than other Australians, at rates double or more.

In addition, recent crystal methamphetamine use in rural Australia has more than doubled since 2007 – increasing by 150 per cent from 0.8 per cent to 2.0 per cent of people reporting lifetime and recent use.

“For some time now there have been anecdotal reports suggesting a high and increasing level of methamphetamine use in rural Australia, but this was unsupported by evidence.

Now we have this proof, the next challenge is to understand why and determine how we can best tackle this problem,” said Professor Ann Roche, Director of the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction at Flinders University.

Significantly, more rural men and employed rural Australians use methamphetamine than their city, regional or Australian counterparts, with use most prevalent in men aged 18-25 years.

Recent methamphetamine use in rural teens aged 14-17 years also appears to be much higher than in urban areas.

The study has raised particular concerns given rural Australians already have poorer health outcomes, with shorter life expectancies and significantly higher mortality rates, mental illness, chronic disease, family and domestic violence and more.

“Our findings warrant targeted attention, especially given the pre-existing health and social vulnerabilities of rural Australians. We need tailored strategies and interventions to address this growing health problem,” said Professor Roche.

The research is being presented for the first time at the annual summit of the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD), the APSAD Scientific Alcohol and Drugs Conference, held in Sydney from 30 October to 2 November.

Ice campaign/youth: Did the federal government’s campaign, ‘What are you doing on ice’ really work?

Barriers to treatment: What are the most significant obstacles preventing people seeking treatment for their methamphetamine use? Available upon request

Women/Methamphetamines: A look at the specific treatment barriers faced by women and how to overcome them.

The global burden of methamphetamine disorders: An overview of the proportion of disease burden attributable to substance use disorders and differences in the distribution and burden of amphetamine use disorders between countries, age, sex, and year.

New treatment for methamphetamine addiction: Treatment options for methamphetamine dependence are currently limited, but a drug licensed in Australia for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder could be an important innovation.

Comorbid mental and substance use disorders: The top 10 causes of burden of disease in young Australians (15-24 years) are dominated by mental health and substance use disorders.

OTHER MONDAY HIGHLIGHTS

 Opening by The Hon. (Pru) Prudence Jane Goward, MP NSW Minister for Medical Research, Minister for Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, and Assistant Minister for Health

Cannabis as Medicine in Australia: Where are we now, where are we heading to, where might we end up? Professor Nicholas Lintzeris

Friend or Enemy? Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Gallop, Director, Graduate School of Government, University of Sydney and Former Premier of Western Australia

About APSAD Sydney 2016

The APSAD Scientific Alcohol and Drugs Conference is the southern hemisphere’s largest summit on alcohol and other drugs attracting leading researchers, clinicians, policy makers and community representatives from across the region. The Conference is run by the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD), Asia Pacific’s leading multidisciplinary organisation for professionals involved in the alcohol and other drug field.

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This year’s theme: Strengthening Our Future through Self Determination

As you are aware, the  2016 NACCHO Members’ Meeting and Annual General Meeting will be in Melbourne this year 6-8 December
1. Call to action to Present
at the 2016 Members Conference closing 8 November
See below or Download here

2.NACCHO Partnership Opportunities

3. NACCHO Interim 3 day Program has been released

4. The dates are fast approaching – so register today

An ice pipe in Melbourne, Monday, July 2, 2007. The item was one of 76,00 dangerous products seized last financial year, a record total haul for an Australian state or territory. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING

NACCHO Aboriginal Health News : Woman behind watershed non-sniffable fuel rollout in Central Australia honoured 10 years on

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“The petrol sniffing problem was like a monsoon rain that flowed down and affected everyone

The liquid petrol was just pouring onto our lands and it was pushing people, particularly young people … and so we needed help with that, and that help came in the form of a different kind of liquid, which was Opal fuel.

That was a really triumphant moment and we knew that it would bring good things, and it has.

Everyone has been so happy since then because of the instant reduction in petrol sniffing. ”

Ms Inyika  ( Her other name is ‘never give up’ ) said through a Pitjantjatjara interpreter. She is now terminally ill and wanted to see her legacy recorded. CAYLUS estimated there had been a 94 per cent reduction in the number of sniffers in the region.

It is the 10-year anniversary since the roll out of non-sniffable Opal fuel in Central Australia and the APY lands, and the woman who led the fight against petrol sniffing has reflected on her triumphant campaign directed at the Federal Government in an interview with the ABC

For decades petrol sniffing devastated the beloved Aboriginal communities of fuel campaigner Janet Inyika.

Ms Inyika fought tirelessly to introducer get non-sniffable low aromatic fuel, known as Opal.

Janet Inyika at fuel launch, 2005

In a wheelchair, Janet Inyika wears a yellow carnation – the same type of flower she held during the launch of Opal fuel in Amata in the remote APY Lands of South Australia’s far north in 2005.

Back then she had everyone wearing the yellow flower, the colour of the fuel, as a symbol of change.

“That was a really triumphant moment and we knew that it would bring good things, and it has,” Ms Inyika said.

“Everyone has been so happy since then because of the instant reduction in petrol sniffing.

“They were so proud of me, and people have been coming up to me ever since and thanking me for all the work that I did to get to that point.”

Her other name is ‘never give up’

Janet Inyika, 2008

Current CEO of the NPY Women’s Council, Andrea Mason, said Ms Inyika was the face of council advocacy long before Opal was introduced.

Ms Inyika was also a leader with Aboriginal corporation NPY Women’s Council for many years.

“She actually has another name and her other name is ‘never give up’,” Ms Mason said.

“Her family was being impacted by sniffing. She was seeing people die around her, become brain injured, disabled for life, and she put herself right in the middle of the fire.”

Ms Mason was working on the APY Lands in the 1990s and saw the problem first-hand.

“I look at this community of Central Australia and there is a line drawn in the sand – the life before Opal fuel and the life after Opal fuel, and the important for us living in the life after Opal fuel is we must never forget how devastating petrol sniffing is,” she said.

Tony Abbott changed position to back fuel rollout

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was the health minister when the Federal Government backed the rollout of Opal across bowsers in the region.

Mr Abbott initially said petrol sniffing could be solved by “parents taking petrol away from their kids”.

However, veteran youth worker Tristan Ray said Mr Abbott was ultimately persuaded by voices on the ground.

“I think that it was just so obvious that it was making a really big difference and there were politicians on all sides of politics that saw the benefit,” Mr Ray said.

Mr Ray said there was still resistance from a handful of fuel retailers, but most have made the switch to Opal.

CAYLUS estimated there had been a 94 per cent reduction in the number of sniffers in the region.

It said on the edges of Opal zones, there were about 20 sniffers remaining