Aboriginal Health Alcohol and Other Drugs : Minister @KenWyatt and John Havnen #NACCHO deliver #NIDAC18 keynotes : What is currently being done to reduce the high levels of alcohol and other drug use within Aboriginal communities? 

 ” All of us want to see better health for First Nations Australians. 

We know that the excessive consumption of drugs and alcohol is associated with health problems in all societies.

It has been linked to chronic conditions such as cancer and liver disease, the spread of hepatitis and HIV, injuries and deaths from motor vehicle accidents and assaults, increased encounters with the law, deaths in custody, suicides and family breakdown.

The reasons why First Nations’ people engage in high risk drug and alcohol consumption are indeed, complex.

When families, communities, local organisations and governments join hands, we are powerful together.

Alcohol and other drugs, tobacco, lifestyle risk factors and social determinants represent more than half of the quest for health and life equality.

It’s now been 10 years since the launch of the Closing the Gap initiative.

The agenda is being refreshed and it’s time to refresh our approach – including by acknowledging the complexity of the drug and alcohol challenge and making even greater efforts to address it.

This conference NIDAC18 will be an important part of that solution – and I look forward to hearing the outcomes. ” 

Minister Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt see full speech Part 2 below

Read over 200 NACCHO Aboriginal Health Alcohol and Other Drugs articles we have published over past 6 years 

Part 1 NACCHO Keynote by John Havnen Senior Policy Officer 

The harmful use of alcohol is a problem for the Australian community as a whole – alcohol misuse and alcohol-related disease remains a recognised as a nationwide problem.

It is estimated that in 2011 alcohol misuse caused 5.1% of the total burden of disease in Australia.

Alcohol related harm has clear social and economic determinants and it is closely related to disadvantage.

As such Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, which as we all know rate disproportionately in all measures of disadvantage, experience higher rates of alcohol misuse and alcohol-related harm than non-indigenous Australians.

This discrepancy leads to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing significant health and social problems in a rate unequal to non-Indigenous Australians. But not all of us drink, in the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, Indigenous Australians aged 14 and over were more likely to abstain from drinking alcohol than non-Indigenous Australians.

This abstinence rate has been increasing over the last decade with more and more of us deciding not to drink.

So although there are proportionately more Indigenous people than non-Indigenous people who refrain from drinking, those of us who do drink are more likely to do so at high-risk levels.

In 2014-15 the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey found 19% of Indigenous Australians over the age of 15 exceeded the lifetime risk guidelines for alcohol consumption.

This is no more than 2 standard drinks per day on average or no more than 4 drinks per occasion.

Even though the rate of harmful drinking has declined in recent years, this has been mainly in non-remote areas, so there is still high rates of harmful drinking in remote areas and drinking at risky levels puts a person at risk of medical and social problems.

Due to these high levels of risky drinking, Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders are more likely to be hospitalised for alcohol-related conditions and accidents than non-Indigenous Australians including acute intoxication, liver disease, injuries, suicide or self-harm and cancer.

There is big differences in the rates with Indigenous males over 9 times more likely to need hospitalisation and Indigenous females 13 times more than non-Indigenous Australians.

These drinking patterns highlight that it is possible that risky drinking and binge drinking has been normalised within some communities and this could potentially act as a barrier to seeking treatment when needed.

However, alcohol is not the only substance that presents a major concern for in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

In 2014-15, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey stated that 30% of Indigenous Australians over the age of 15 years reported using an illicit substance in the previous 12-months.

This was an increase from 23% in 2008. The substances most commonly used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders were cannabis with 19% reporting, non-prescription analgesics and sedatives (such as painkillers, sleeping pills and tranquillisers) at 13%, and amphetamines or speed with a rate of 5%.

Smoking has overtime become common place in Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander communities and whilst tobacco smoking is declining in Australia, rates remain disproportionately high among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Indigenous Australians more than twice as likely to be current daily smokers as non-Indigenous Australians.

Despite declines in rates of smoking in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the last 20 years there appears to have been no change to the gap in smoking prevalence between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian adult population.

Tobacco-related disease is responsible for between 1.5 and 8 times more deaths in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander community than in non-Indigenous Australians.

The harmful use of alcohol, in addition to tobacco and other drugs, are both the cause and effect of serious harm to physical health.

The health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is considerably lower than for non-Indigenous Australians with 71.0% of Indigenous Australians reporting having a long-term health condition compared with 55.3% of non-Indigenous Australians.

Those with long-term health conditions are also more likely to be a daily smoker or misuse alcohol and other drugs. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who experience multiple diagnoses are more likely to have more difficulty accessing treatment and have poorer outcomes when they do receive treatment than either a physical health condition or an alcohol or other drug disorder alone.

There is a well-known high rate of co-morbidity of substance use disorders with other mental health / social and emotional wellbeing issues, and medical conditions in particular chronic diseases.

These issues tend to cluster in individuals and communities along with other markers of social, economic and intergenerational disadvantage.

These high rates of comorbidity contribute to complexities in the treatment and causality of disorders and remains a significant challenge for the delivery of effective healthcare services for our people.

This is in part due to the complexity of the mental and physical health issues individuals display, and in part because of the burden of multiple disadvantages including; poverty and intergenerational disadvantage and this can reduce the capacity to engage consistently and meaningfully in treatment.

So, what is currently being done to reduce the high levels of alcohol and other drug use within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities?

Existing mainstream models of practice in the alcohol and other drug field have been developed within Western systems of knowledge and focus on a biomedical model with an emphasis on biological factors and discounts any psychological, environmental, and social influences. As a result, it is not generalisable to Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander culture and ignores important indigenous perspectives and needs.

Including the need for access to culturally appropriate and comprehensive services to address multiple problems, and the need for local links with Indigenous services.

Western alcohol and other drug services are based on an abstinence model and focuses on residential rehabilitation which is aimed more on the needs of alcohol users and not illicit drug users.

Residential alcohol and drug programs provide care and support for people within a residential community setting and can be medium to long-term duration of anywhere from 4 weeks to 12 months and but again only supports residents’ psychological needs only.

This model also lacks consideration to the prevention and early intervention strategies of risky drinking and drug use, lacks acknowledgement of family, culture and community which we know are important aspects in the holistic model of care.

Despite a paucity of data, the knowledge of how to prevent alcohol misuse among the general population – while not consistently translated to policy and practice – is extensive.

The evidence for the effectiveness of such programs for Indigenous Australians, however, remains scant.

Racism is still present in mainstream services so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders might have limited access to mainstream health services.

Systemic racism in the health system directly influences Indigenous Australians’ quality of and access to healthcare.

The severity of this impact intensifies levels of psychological stress, which is closely linked to poorer mental and physical health outcomes.

Racism not only provides a major barrier to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ access to health care but also to receiving the same quality of healthcare services available to non-Indigenous Australians.

There is also a tendency to stereotype Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as ‘drunks’ or ‘alcoholics’ which, as I have previously discussed today is not necessarily the case.

So, what will work if mainstream alcohol and other drug services have limited evidence for our people?

Historically, reactions to the concerns of alcohol and other drug misuse among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were driven not by governments, but by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people themselves who recognised the fact that mainstream services were non-existent or largely culturally inappropriate.

Today, Indigenous Australians are acutely aware of the impacts of alcohol and other drugs and have been actively involved in responding to alcohol and other drugs misuse in their communities.

Any initiative to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol and other drugs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities should be developed with, and led by, those communities.

There is value in supporting these communities, including the evaluation of strategies implemented so that communities can learn from their own and from other communities’ experience.

Any action that attempts to treat alcohol and other drugs needs to come from a holistic model of care that is comprehensive and culturally appropriate.

Awareness of the land, the physical body, clan, relationships, and lore, it is the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of the whole community and not just the individual.

This is why western models of treatment just won’t work.

Comprehensive primary health care is a key strategy for improving the health of Indigenous Australians and is an important platform from which to address the complex health and social issues associated with alcohol and drug misuse.

A holistic approach locally designed and operated by Indigenous people is favoured in its ability to be tailored to community needs and in a cultural context that is owned and supported by the community. 

Despite inadequate funding and resources, the ACCHOs sector has been identified as having a unique role in making alcohol and other drug treatment services more accessible.

One of the unique attributes of Aboriginal controlled drug and alcohol services is that they are a practical expression of Aboriginal peoples’ self-determination, reflected in their governance and treatment models.

A recent example of what works is the pilot of an integrated model of care within Central Australian Aboriginal Congress based in Alice Springs.

Congress developed an integrated non-residential treatment model for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with alcohol and other drug issues and it is based on providing care for all aspects of health through three streams of care:

Social and cultural support – which is delivered by Indigenous workers with cultural knowledge, language skills and an in-depth knowledge of the Aboriginal community alongside social workers. This stream includes case management and care coordination, advocacy on behalf of clients, social support, cultural support, access to medical care, and opportunistic alcohol and other drug counselling and brief interventions.

Psychological therapy – which is carried out by qualified therapists delivering evidence-based treatments including cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and related psychological therapies and access to neuropsychological assessment and treatment. And:

Medical treatment – which is provided by Congress GPs and other members of the primary health care team, and includes medical assessments of alcohol and other drug clients, management of chronic disease and prescription of pharmacotherapies where appropriate to assist with alcohol withdrawal.

This model recognises the comorbidities that occur with alcohol and other drug clients and sought to address within a holistic approach that is adaptable based on needs of individuals.

In 2016-17, in the presenting alcohol and other drug clients, 28% received only one stream of care, 59% received two-streams and the remainder, 13% received all three streams of care.

The Congress ‘three streams model’ of care for alcohol and other drug treatment has been developed over many years to provide a single, integrated multidisciplinary service organised around social and cultural support; psychological therapy; and medical care.

In doing so, it reduces demands on clients presenting with alcohol and other drug issues to navigate multiple health care providers, and attempts to address their holistic needs, including advocacy and support around the social determinants of health and wellbeing including housing, welfare and employment, criminal justice, and basic life needs.

This is a great example of how well it can work when the system is correct and can be used as a model for other ACCHOs to learn from.

The diversity of Aboriginal Australia means that no service model can be simply transferred from one place to another. Instead, the strength of Aboriginal community-controlled health services is their capacity to adapt successful models to the particular needs, strengths and histories of the communities they serve.

But funding is a barrier in implementing optimal services in many regions.

A recent report on organisations conducting Indigenous-specific alcohol and other drug services found that a lack of government commitment to funding community-controlled organisations has compromised the capacity of Indigenous Australians to address alcohol and other drug issues within their own communities.

In addition, the capacity of Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to deliver services was severely constrained by staff shortages, lack of trained and qualified staff, and very limited access to workforce development programs.

Treatment is also not the only key, continuing to increase the community awareness and education about the effects of alcohol and other drugs and the treatment options for dealing with issues is vital.

Including a range of health promotion activities and groups including exercise and nutrition programs, tobacco use treatment and preventions groups to address the holistic needs is essential and well help to reduce the levels of risky drinking and the efficacy of treatment once in treatment.

We need to enable our people to have control over their health and improve health literacy on risky behaviours to help stop the impacts of alcohol and other drugs.

 Part 2 Minister Indigenous Health Ken Wyatt keynote 

Good morning. In West Australian Noongar language I say “kaya wangju” – hello and welcome.

I acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we’re meeting, the Kaurna people, and pay my respects to Elders past and present.

The 5th National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Conference is a positive opportunity to make progress on a difficult issue.

The conference theme is Responding to Complexity – and there certainly is no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges our people face.

This is why we have to attack the scourge of drug and alcohol dependency and abuse on multiple fronts.

To form new partnerships.

To speak and to listen, with open minds and hearts.

All of us want to see better health for First Nations Australians.

We know that the excessive consumption of drugs and alcohol is associated with health problems in all societies.

It has been linked to chronic conditions such as cancer and liver disease, the spread of hepatitis and HIV, injuries and deaths from motor vehicle accidents and assaults, increased encounters with the law, deaths in custody, suicides and family breakdown.

The reasons why First Nations’ people engage in high risk drug and alcohol consumption are indeed, complex.

Working together, we are making progress, reducing binge drinking rates among our people from 38 per cent to 31 per cent between 2008 and 2014–15.

But there is still much work to be done.

As we see in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework report, social determinants are estimated to make up 34 per cent of the gap in health outcomes between First Nations’ people and other Australians.

Together, with behavioural risk factors, such as alcohol, drug and tobacco use, they account for 53.2 per cent of the health gap.

Alcohol and drug abuse has a broad and insidious impact.

We have a moral and social imperative to work together to put an end to violence and dysfunction and the drug- and alcohol-driven neglect of children in our communities.

Our Government is committed to working with families and individuals to address substance misuse and to break the cycle of disadvantage that prevents children from attending school, and adults from going to work.

Particularly for the protection of children, we have invested over $10 million to provide better diagnosis and management, develop best practice interventions and services to support high-risk women.

A 10-year FASD Strategic Action Plan is in the final stage of development.

Just as important, we see outstanding examples of local warriors for health – like June Oscar and her team in Fitzroy Crossing – who have tackled alcohol in their communities, with life-changing results for children and families.

We must try harder to understand and address the underlying causes of alcohol and drug misuse.

The percentage of First Nations’ people who drink is no greater than for other Australians – in fact, there are many of our people who do not drink at all.

Equally, the impacts of trauma on the health of our communities cannot be ignored, because they add to the complexity of the challenge.

Trauma is no excuse for substance abuse, violence or neglect – but understanding its history can help us reduce its impact.

It reaches across generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and must be acknowledged and addressed.

Significant health impacts have resulted from displacement from family and country, institutionalisation, racism, abuse and neglect.

This has led to increasingly high rates of incarceration and juvenile detention, suicide, family violence, children being taken into care, and poorer physical and mental health.

63 per cent of First Nations’ prisoners are incarcerated as a result of violent crimes and offences that cause harm.

First Nations’ offenders are also more likely to be under the influence of alcohol when they offend.

It’s a sad fact, that alcohol was involved in 80 per cent of cases of domestic homicide, where both the offender and the victim were First Nations’ people.

That’s more than three times the level of domestic homicides involving other Australians.

It’s also known that First Nations people who engage in alcohol-related crime are themselves more likely to be the victims of such offences.

The question is, how do we reduce high-risk levels of alcohol consumption?

Harm reduction programs can minimise the immediate danger posed by alcohol misuse; but our broader aim should be to reduce alcohol intake.

Our Government is investing in a series of activities which have been shown to be effective.

These range from alcohol restrictions to treatment and rehabilitation.

Under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, the Government has committed around $70 million in 2017–18 to support over 80 Indigenous alcohol and other drug treatment services.

They are located in places with high First Nations’ populations, in capital cities and regional centres as well as outer regional and remote areas.

Alcohol is a particular problem in the Northern Territory.

Our Government recognises this and is providing more than $91 million over seven years for targeted local action to reduce alcohol related harm.

A significant part of our national support to reduce risk also includes primary healthcare and population health programs addressing smoking and alcohol, in urban, regional and remote locations across Australia.

Poor mental health as a result of drug and alcohol problems is a huge issue and one which I am pleased will be addressed during this important conference.

It is equally high on our Government’s agenda.

The Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council recently endorsed the National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Mental Health and Social and Emotional Wellbeing 2017–2023.

The council has prioritised development of a national Indigenous Health and Medical Workforce Plan, which aims to increase the number of Aboriginal doctors, nurses and health workers on country and in our towns and cities.

Primary Health Networks across Australia also have mental health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health among their priorities.

I am very keen to ensure Primary Health Networks provide a strong platform for culturally comfortable drug, alcohol and mental health services.

To that end, we have targeted more than $85 million to improve access for integrated, culturally appropriate and safe mental health services for First Nations people.

Our Primary Health Networks are also currently investing a further $79 million on the provision of alcohol and other drug services specifically designed to meet the needs of First Nations people, at the local level.

While the effects of alcohol and drugs can be dire, the insidious damage caused by tobacco is significant.

Statistics show that smoking is responsible for 23 per cent of the gap in health outcomes between First Nations’ people and other Australians.

That is why reducing smoking rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is central to our efforts to close the gap.

By supporting locally linked projects within a national campaign, we are seeing some success.

The daily smoking rate for First Nations’ people aged 15 years and over has declined from 49 per cent in 2002 to 39 per cent in 2014–15, with most of this since 2008, when targeted measures commenced.

However, the daily smoking rate in remote areas is still 47 per cent, and worryingly, the number of First Nations’ women smoking while pregnant remains far too high, at 46 per cent.

To continue supporting change for the better – through funding certainty and proven programs – we have gone to a four-year, $300 million funding commitment for the successful Tackling Indigenous Smoking program.

We are supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific education programs, as part of the National Tobacco Campaign.

“Don’t Make Smokes Your Story” targets First Nations’ smokers aged 15 years and over.

Since its third phase concluded at the end of June, evaluation has shown its effectiveness.

86 per cent of First Nations smokers were aware of the campaign.

7 per cent had quit and 26 per cent said they had reduced the amount they smoke.

If we can maintain this sort of momentum, I am we will see significant improvements in health in future.

We have also had significant success in reducing petrol sniffing, which can cause brain damage and even death.

Independent research undertaken since 2005 indicates that in communities with low aromatic fuel, petrol sniffing has dropped by 88 per cent.

Low aromatic fuel, subsidised by the Government, has now replaced regular unleaded in around 175 outlets in the Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia.

There were special factors related to petrol sniffing which make it impractical to apply the same approach to alcohol and drug misuse.

But there is one big lesson from that success.

When families, communities, local organisations and governments join hands, we are powerful together.

Alcohol and other drugs, tobacco, lifestyle risk factors and social determinants represent more than half of the quest for health and life equality.

It’s now been 10 years since the launch of the Closing the Gap initiative.

The agenda is being refreshed and it’s time to refresh our approach – including by acknowledging the complexity of the drug and alcohol challenge and making even greater efforts to address it.

This conference will be an important part of that solution – and I look forward to hearing the outcomes.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Alcohol and Illicit Drugs : @AIHW 1 in 20 Australian deaths caused by alcohol and illicit drugs :burden due to alcohol use at 3.1 times and illicit drug use at 4.2 times the rate of non-Indigenous

 

” Alcohol and illicit drug use is also prevalent among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons.

Estimates reported from the ABDS 2011 indicated that Indigenous Australians had rates of attributable burden due to alcohol use at 3.1 times and illicit drug use at 4.2 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians in 2011 (AIHW 2016b).

An analysis of the effect of alcohol and illicit drug use in the Indigenous population would be an important area of work for future burden of disease studies.”

From Page 24 AIHW Report

For example, there is more to learn about the links between alcohol and drug use and mental health problems or the health impact of fetal alcohol syndrome—using multiple data sources to understand these links and their impacts on people is critical to responding to people’s needs,’

‘It is important to continue to report using the latest available information as well as work towards filling gaps in the data. This is essential to improving the evidence base on this important issue.’

AIHW CEO Barry Sandison noted that the report demonstrated the value of using data to build the evidence base in important areas of public policy and service delivery.

Download here the 173 Page AIHW in PDF

aihw-bod-19.pdf

Read over 194 Aboriginal Health Alcohol and other Drugs articles published by NACCHO over the past 6 years

‘Alcohol and illicit drugs have a significant impact on the health of Australians, together responsible for nearly 1 in every 20 deaths, according to new analysis from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

‘The report, Impact of alcohol and illicit drug use on the burden of disease and injury in Australia, uses data from the 2011 Australian Burden of Disease Study published in 2016 (the next study due out in 2019) to calculate the health impact—or ‘burden’—of alcohol and illicit drugs.

‘This is calculated in terms of years of life lost from early death (the ‘fatal burden’), as well as the years of healthy life lost due to living with diseases or injuries caused by alcohol and drugs (the ‘non-fatal burden’).

‘The report shows that alcohol and illicit drugs were collectively responsible for 6.7% of Australia’s combined fatal and non-fatal disease burden. This compares to 9% from tobacco smoking and 2.6% from physical inactivity.

‘The burden was much higher in males than females—alcohol and illicit drugs were responsible for 9.1% of all disease burden in males, compared to 3.8% in females,’ said AIHW spokesperson Dr Lynelle Moon.

‘The report also shows that a higher proportion of the burden of alcohol and illicit drugs was ‘fatal’—that is, due to early death—than ‘non-fatal’.

‘Overall, 8.1% of Australia’s fatal burden was due to alcohol and illicit drugs, while 5.2% of all non-fatal burden was caused by alcohol and illicit drugs.

‘Combined, alcohol and illicit drugs were responsible for 4.5% of all deaths in Australia in 2011—equating to 6,660 deaths, or about 1 in every 20 deaths,’ Dr Moon said.

‘By itself, alcohol use was responsible for 4.6% of all disease burden. One-third of this burden was due to alcohol dependence.

‘Alcohol use was responsible for almost one-third of the burden of road traffic injuries.

‘On its own, illicit drug use was responsible for 2.3% of Australia’s disease burden. Opioids accounted for the largest proportion (41%) of the illicit drug use burden, followed by amphetamines (18%), cocaine (8%) and cannabis (7%). In addition, 18% of the burden was from diseases contracted through unsafe injecting practices.

‘Despite the significant contribution of alcohol to Australia’s disease burden, the report predicts improvements will be seen in the coming years. However, this does not look to be the case for many illicit drugs.

‘The burden from alcohol use fell by around 7% between 2003 and 2011 and further reductions are expected by 2020 based on these trends,’ Dr Moon said.

‘Between 2011 and 2020, burden from the use of amphetamines is expected to rise by 14%, while the burden of disease from cannabis use is expected to rise by 36% for females and remain steady for males. The burden of disease from cocaine use is expected to fall by 24% for males and remain steady for females.

‘The burden caused by unsafe injecting practices is expected to fall by 21% for males and 17% for females.

‘Projections are not yet available on the likely future impact of opioid use; however, AIHW analysis from last year highlighted the significant health consequences caused by the rising non-medical use of pharmaceuticals, including prescription opioids.

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Alcohol and other #drugs : New online tools for the Aboriginal #AOD Sector

The Australian Indigenous Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre (AODKC) have added a suite of online resources which are now available on the website.

Read over 170 NACCHO Alcohol and other Drugs articles published over past 5 years  

Designed to inform and educate the sector these new resources include:

1.Two short animated films on illicit drug use and volatile substance use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

2.Two infographics providing the key facts about illicit drug use and volatile substance use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

2.1 Download as PDF  Key facts illicit drug use

2.2  Download as PDF  Key facts illicit drug use

3. Two HealthInfoBytes; one about the Knowledge Centre’s tobacco web resources and the other about the latest Volatile substance use review.

These resources are in addition to two recently published eBooks and webinar recordings on topics which include ice and alcohol harm reduction.

HealthInfoNet Director, Professor Neil Drew says ‘These latest additions to our digital communication media takes into account the many ways people learn, what their level of education is and how much time they have or how much detail they need.

These new AOD resources complement our existing suite of digital tools and new platforms to deliver knowledge and information to the sector.

We know that there is a need for up to date evidence-based information to assist those working in the AOD sector.’

You can view all of the Knowledge Centre HealthInfoBytes and Webinars on the HealthInfoNet YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/c/healthinfonet

The Knowledge Centre provides online access to a comprehensive collection of relevant, evidence-based, current and culturally appropriate alcohol and other drug (AOD) knowledge-support and decision-support materials and information that can be used in the prevention, identification and management of alcohol and other drug use in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

A yarning place, a workers portal and community portal are other key resources.

The work of the Knowledge Centre is supported by a collaborative partnership with the three national alcohol and other drug research centres (the National Drug Research Institute, the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction, and the National Drug and

Drug and Alcohol Research Centre). www.aodknowledgecentre.net.au

NACCHO #Ice NEWS: Ice education for families rolls out

ICE2

Too many families are dealing with the devastating effects of ice. This innovative education program will provide them with the knowledge and skills to look after themselves and support their loved ones through treatment.”

“We know that a strong, supportive family can make all the difference for people struggling with ice addiction. That’s why the Ice Action Plan is investing $4.7 million to support families, particularly in regional areas where we know ice has hit hard.”

Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley

Victorian families affected by ice can now access a new, specialised education program as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s $45.5 million Ice Action Plan.

Breakthrough: ice education for families will help Victorians to recognise when a family member has a problem with ice, encourage the affected person to get treatment and support them through their recovery.

Turning Point, Self Help Addiction Resource Centre (SHARC) and the Bouverie Centre developed the program and will deliver it to more than 1000 Victorians.

ABOUT THIS WORKSHOP

Turning Point, SHARC and Bouverie Family Therapy Centre, are pleased to offer BreakThrough, Ice education for families. Facilitators from Turning Point and SHARC will be delivering a number of four hour education sessions to families who have been affected by ICE, a potent crystalline form of methamphetamine. Over the course of the workshop the following information will be discussed.

Topic 1 – The Facts

  • Types of drug use
  • ICE and effects
  • Withdrawal and recovery
  • Stages of change
  • Treatment options


Topic 2  – Family Strategies

•  Responding to challenging behaviours
•  Self-care for family members
•  Outline a safety plan for all family members

Topic 3  – Help Seeking
•  Seeking support, assistance and professional help

Among the scheduled workshops for 2015 are:

 Cranbourne – Wednesday 18 and 25 November

 Traralgon – Tuesday 24 November

 Fitzroy – Wednesday 25 November and 9 December

 Melton – Friday 27 November

 Bacchus Marsh -Sunday 6 December

 Werribee – Wednesday 2 and 9 December

 Prahran – Wednesday 9 and 16 December

More workshops will be scheduled across the State for 2016.

Victoria’s Ice Action Plan is investing $4.7 million to support families affected by ice. This involves $1.48 million for new family ice education and $3.2 million for 16 community health services across Victoria to expand family support services.

For more information on the workshops or to register your interest, call 1800 ICE ADVICE or visit http://www.turningpoint.org.au/education/breakthrough

 

Quotes attributable to Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre Director Dan Lubman

“This is a great opportunity for three major state-wide services to work collaboratively to reduce the harms associated with ice use in our community.”

“This program aims to provide an insight into what ice is, how it affects people and how to support family members into treatment. We will also provide practical approaches in caring for a family member who might be using ice.”

 

NACCHO Health News: How can you take a stand against ice and domestic violence in our communities ?

ICE

This isn’t just Brewarrina’s problem. There are no country towns that are unaffected by drugs or violence. And this place has always had its share of troubles. But ice is relatively new here. It has grabbed people tighter and brought them down faster than anything that’s come before. It amplifies violence, it’s killing hope and it’s driving away some of the people best placed to help.

FROM THE 7.30 ABC TV Report VIEW HERE (Full Transcript below)

URGENT ACTION IS NEEDED: You are invited to submit your views by 29 May

A National Taskforce is seeking the views of the Australian community about how Australia can combat the growing problem of ‘ice’ in our community.

You are invited to submit your views, including:

  • What is the impact of people using ice on our community?
  • Where should federal, state and territory governments focus their efforts to combat the use of ice?
  • Are there any current efforts to combat the use of ice that are particularly effective or that could be improved?
  • What are the top issues that the National Ice Taskforce should consider when developing the National Ice Action Strategy?

Fact sheets are available on

What is the ice problem?,

How is the government combatting ice?

and National Ice Taskforce.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ice?

Methylamphetamines are a group of powerful stimulant drugs that include speed, base and crystal also known as ‘ice’, with ice usually the purest form.

Ice can cause psychosis and long term psychological issues and is linked to violent criminal attacks against innocent bystanders, risk taking behaviour, road deaths, robberies and vicious assaults against frontline health workers and law enforcement responders.

Why is ice a growing issue in Australia?

Australian illicit drug users pay a premium price for most illicit drugs compared to prices in key foreign markets. This makes Australia an attractive marketplace for the manufacture and importation of ice.

Like other forms of methylamphetamine, the ice market is unique among Australian illicit drug markets because there is significant domestic manufacture and importation of the drug. More than 60% of Australia’s most significant organised criminal groups are involved in the methylamphetamine market.

There appears to be an increase in the availability and use of methylamphetamine, in particular ice, in areas where the drug has not been previously prevalent – particularly regional, rural and disadvantaged communities.

The small town taking a stand against ice and domestic violence

FROM ABC NEWS

The violent death of a teenage girl in the north-western New South Wales town of Brewarrina on Anzac Day has prompted locals to speak up about the scourge of ice and domestic violence in Indigenous communities.

Police said the young woman was killed by her boyfriend who bashed her to death during a party at their house.

They were both users of the drug crystal meth, or ice.

In response, Trish Frail helped organise a rally in the town to say no to both violence and drugs, amid concern many Indigenous people simply accepted domestic violence.

Brewarrina GP Dr Ahmed Hosni said half his patients admitted to using ice.
Photo: Brewarrina GP Dr Ahmed Hosni said half his patients admitted to using ice “. (ABC)

“It’s starting to get that way that now, within the Aboriginal community, people believe it’s cultural,” Ms Frail said.

“We’ve got to get that message out there — no, it’s not part of our culture.”

Local doctor Ahmed Hosni said the problem in Brewarrina was so bad that he routinely had to ask his patients about drug use.

“In any other place I used to work, I used to ask about alcohol and cigarette smoking. But here I have to ask about cannabis and ice,” Dr Hosni said.

The responses he received are staggering.

“At least 50 per cent of patients say they took it [ice] in the last 48 hours,” Dr Hosni said.

Dee Kennedy and her partner Chris were both ice users and she speaks openly about their violent relationship while on the drug.

“I was sort of hurt by a stranger, but the stranger was my partner that I’d lived with for 18 years,” she said.

“He wasn’t himself and I think it was a lot to do with that drug.”

Do you know more about this story? Email 7.30syd@your.abc.net.au

In a brutal fight on New Year’s Eve, her partner knocked her teeth out.

But Ms Kennedy conceded she too was prone to violence.

“It was usually me. I’d become quite violent, we’d threaten a lot of violence. I really feel really embarrassed, disgusted, but I think it’s important to talk about it,” she said.

The couple have managed to stay off ice for four months — a rare achievement in Brewarrina.

Dee Kennedy said she and her partner were both ice users and both prone to violence.
Photo: Dee Kennedy and her partner were both ice users and both prone to violence. (ABC)

Ms Kennedy said she was enjoying her new, clean life.

“It’s funny, we drove into town the other day and we were in the best of moods, my partner and I,” she said.

“I touched him on the leg when he was driving and I said, ‘sweetie, look, it’s not so bad after all — life’.

“We’re straight. What the bloody hell were we thinking, trying to be high all the time? What was the problem? What were we trying to cover? Look at the view, look at the weather.”

But not everyone is seeing such a rosy picture in the area. The violence and the drug use is driving people away.

“It’s very stressful. I don’t imagine myself working in this town for more than two years,” Dr Hosni said.

“I’ve worked here two years already and this is too much. I’ve had enough — I can’t cope any more.”

Ms Frail, who organised the anti-violence rally, is likewise in two minds about staying.

“My car has recently been stolen,” she said.

“To me it was, like, oh, I’ve had enough, I want out. Unfortunately, parts of me want out and others want to stay. I love my community but I don’t really know what to do.”

Transcript 7.30 report

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: In Australia’s remote Indigenous communities, domestic violence is rarely spoken about. But there’s one small town in north-western New South Wales where people are now breaking that taboo after the death of a young mum.

Police say she was the victim of domestic violence and that woman’s tragic case is far from isolated.

The town’s doctor says the situation is so out of control, with ice use amplifying aggression and paranoia when it comes to users, that he can’t take it anymore.

Adam Harvey and Dale Owens filed this report from Brewarrina.

TAMARA BONEY: And we came home on the Saturday morning and they were sitting there in the kitchen, they were drinking a can of Jack Daniels.

ADAM HARVEY, REPORTER: An 18-year-old woman was killed in this house during a party on Anzac Day.

Tamara Boney was one of the last to see her alive.

TAMARA BONEY: They were just all in the lounge room after that, after we had a munch and stuff and then we were all dancing and that was it.

ADAM HARVEY: Police say the young mother was bashed to death by her boyfriend.

Her family has asked us not to name her or show her photograph for cultural reasons.

TAMARA BONEY: I went for a walk and then I came back and I saw the police car down, out the front there and then – and then it was like, “What’s happening in the street?” And then saw my Auntie walking down the street (becoming emotional) and that’s when she told me that she’d died.

ADAM HARVEY: The young victim and her boyfriend were both using the drug ice.

The death has devastated a tiny community plagued by domestic violence and drugs.

On the wettest day in years, locals rallied to say: enough.

TRISH FRAIL: It’s starting to get that way now that, within the Aboriginal community, people believe that it’s cultural, and so they’re accepting domestic violence. And so we’ve got to get that message back out there to say, “No, it’s not a part of our culture.”

ADAM HARVEY: Trish Frail is a community leader in Brewarrina who helped organise the rally.

TRISH FRAIL: People are now more interested in that drugs than their family and their culture, and scoring and selling, that’s what everybody thinks of nowadays.

ADAM HARVEY: Ice, the crystallised form of methamphetamine, is now the drug of choice in remote Indigenous communities.

DEE KENNEDY: I was sort of hurt by a stranger, but the stranger was my partner I’d lived with for 18 years. He wasn’t himself and I think it’s a lot to do with that drug.

ADAM HARVEY: For Dee Kennedy, ice turned a volatile relationship into a vicious one. Both she and her partner were using the drug.

DEE KENNEDY: The worst for us was the arguments, like, who was this person? I’d scream and yell obscenities at my partner like I hated him.

ADAM HARVEY: They were also spending all their spare cash on ice.

DEE KENNEDY: At Christmas time, there wasn’t as many things under the tree as there were the previous years before and we’ve always had big Christmas’ and just – yeah, just the presents, it wasn’t as much as …

ADAM HARVEY: ‘Cause the money was gone.

DEE KENNEDY: The money was gone, yep.

ADAM HARVEY: On New Year’s Eve, her teeth were knocked out in a brutal fight with her partner.

Do you mind showing me what happened? I know you – and that was New Year’s Eve.

DEE KENNEDY: Yep.

ADAM HARVEY: Was that your rock bottom?

DEE KENNEDY: Yep, I think.

ADAM HARVEY: And you’re not angry with your partner about this?

DEE KENNEDY: Initially I was and I sucker punched him the next morning in the nose and made his eyes water. But, you know, it’s important to talk about it because a lot of people are doing it, they don’t realise just how savage, you know, it makes their lives.

ADAM HARVEY: Dee and her partner Chris have not used ice for four months and the pair have joined the campaign for change. But in Brewarrina, the violence and injuries seem unstoppable.

AHMED HOSNI, GP AND EMERGENCY DOCTOR: So we get fractured ribs, fractured shoulders, various types of fractures, dislocations, head injuries.

ADAM HARVEY: Ahmed Hosni sees the brutal reality of domestic violence. For the past two years, he’s been the town’s only doctor.

AHMED HOSNI: I believe that it’s a great per cent of the homes here in Brewarrina which experienced domestic violence in the last year. I would say it’s more than half. It’s very, very bad here. I couldn’t imagine I will find it like that. And I believe it’s – it has something to do with drug and alcohol as well. For some reason, I don’t know why, ice and speed are exceptionally very, very high in this town.

ADAM HARVEY: Now the doctor routinely asks all patients about their use of ice.

AHMED HOSNI: I believe that at least 50 per cent of my patients, they say yes, we took it yesterday or the day before. And …

ADAM HARVEY: 50 per cent of your patients have taken ice in the last 48 hours?

AHMED HOSNI: Yes.

ERNIE GORDON: It’s more fearsome now than what alcohol was. I see there’s more things where when a bloke bashes his woman, he bashes – he completely bashes, he don’t just give here one punch and then walk away.

ADAM HARVEY: Ernie is a recovering alcoholic and admits he used to beat his wife, Chrissie.

ERNIE GORDON: At some point in my time, mate, I was a real big drinker.

ADAM HARVEY: How much would u drink in a session?

ERNIE GORDON: I’d drink a couple of cartons.

CHRISSIE GORDON: But if I knew he was drinking or ya didn’t come home from work and went to the pub, I packed my kids up at night and we’d go and stay with friends.

ADAM HARVEY: Ernie, what was the worst thing u did to Chrissie?

ERNIE GORDON: Punch her. I knew I’d done the wrong thing ’cause she got a scar there on her lip there. I cut her lip. Man, the next day when I sobered up and I seen it, I felt that big, look – I felt that small but. Like, the woman that I loved, I punched her. I punched her in rage. It wasn’t me, it was something else.

ADAM HARVEY: Ernie has seen close up how ice escalates domestic violence. His son used the drug.

ERNIE GORDON: The way I see it, it turn people into demons. Like, when I look at them fellas like there, they’re like the devil. There’s something inside ’em. They’re not the same people,

ADAM HARVEY: This isn’t just Brewarrina’s problem. There are no country towns that are unaffected by drugs or violence. And this place has always had its share of troubles. But ice is relatively new here. It has grabbed people tighter and brought them down faster than anything that’s come before. It amplifies violence, it’s killing hope and it’s driving away some of the people best placed to help.

AHMED HOSNI: It’s of course – of course it’s very stressful and I don’t imagine myself working in this town for more than two years. I work here two years already and this is too much. I had enough. I can’t – I can’t cope more.

TRISH FRAIL: My car had recently been stolen and to me it was just like, “Oh, had enough, I want out.” And unfortunately, parts of me want out and the others parts of me want to stay because I just so love my community and I really do want to stay here and work with ’em, but I don’t know what I’m gonna do.

 

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NACCHO News Alert: Drug and alcohol services Aboriginal Health – funding crisis needs to be resolved.

Picture ABC

 

Any cuts to Indigenous health programs will make access to life-saving medical services more difficult, We are particularly concerned about the future of the Close the Gap Indigenous chronic disease package, which aims to prevent diseases through GP services, medications and tackling smoking,” he said.

Public Health Association’s Michael Moore

All the evidence shows support is needed for preventive health care and timely interventions that reduce the likelihood of expensive hospitalisation. Services provided by the community sector are integral to the achievement of key health and economic goals and maintaining funding is vital to achieving the key targets for Closing the Gap in health outcomes for Indigenous Australians,” .

Janine Mohamed, chief executive of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives

NACCHO looks forward to continuing to work with the Federal Government to achieve this generational change.Funding security for other Aboriginal preventative health programs needed to be the next order of priority for the Federal Government. Funding for specific health programs under the Closing the Gap Indigenous Chronic Disease Package still remain uncertain with some set to cease at the end of March 2015. We look forward to hearing more from the government in the near future on these important initiatives. Aboriginal health program funds currently within Medicare Locals, which are soon to be abolished, should now be transitioned to the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector under the new funding agreements. Aboriginal people respond best to primary health care provided by Aboriginal people.

Matthew Cooke NACCHO chair

Todays Aboriginal Health News Alert comes from the ABC website Sophie Scott reporting

Australia’s key health organisations say thousands of people needing vital drug and alcohol services will be turned away unless an urgent funding crisis is resolved.

The Federal Government has slashed almost $200 million from health flexible funds over the next three years, with the cuts to take effect from the end of June.

Public Health Association of Australia spokesman Michael Moore said the organisations affected provide essential services in rural, regional and remote Australia.

He said the organisations worked to close the gap in health outcomes for Indigenous Australians, manage vital responses to communicable diseases, and deliver substance-use treatment services around the country.

A coalition of 11 peak health organisations is calling on the Federal Government to reverse its planned cuts.

“Obviously it’s of great concern to all the services and organisations potentially affected,” he said.

“To cut the best part of $200 million from frontline services in drug and alcohol, frontline services in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and frontline services in rural and remote health is inexcusable.”

Alcohol and Other Drugs Council spokeswoman Rebecca MacBean said alcohol and drug rehabilitation services would be severely impacted by any funding cuts.

It comes at a time when drugs such as methamphetamine or ice are creating serious social problems across Australia, particularly for rural and regional Australia.

“To think that funding for these vital services is currently under threat beggars belief,” Ms MacBean said.

She said the foreshadowed cuts would significantly reduce the capacity of non-government organisations and peak bodies to deliver services across the country.

Experienced drug and alcohol workers already quitting

Several drug and alcohol treatment services across Australia contacted the ABC are worried about the impact the funding uncertainty is having.

Brendan Pont, from the Queensland Network of Alcohol and Other Drug agencies, said highly trained drug and alcohol workers were already leaving the sector.

“While we keep hearing about the need for alcohol and other drug treatment services and particularly the ‘ice epidemic’, this uncertainty is meaning that quality clinicians who have years of experience in the sector are starting to look for work elsewhere as they have no guarantee of work post June 30,” he said.

Experts said Indigenous health services were also under threat.

Any cuts to Indigenous health programs will make access to life-saving medical services more difficult, Public Health Association’s Michael Moore said.

“We are particularly concerned about the future of the Close the Gap Indigenous chronic disease package, which aims to prevent diseases through GP services, medications and tackling smoking,” he said.

Indigenous health workers said further funding cuts for non-government health agencies would lead to worse health outcomes.

Janine Mohamed, chief executive of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives, said all the evidence shows support is needed for preventive health care and timely interventions that reduce the likelihood of expensive hospitalisation.

“Services provided by the community sector are integral to the achievement of key health and economic goals and maintaining funding is vital to achieving the key targets for Closing the Gap in health outcomes for Indigenous Australians,” she said.

A spokesperson said the Government had committed more than $8 billion over the next three years from the flexible funds for a range of health initiatives, including drug and alcohol services.

The spokesperson said this decision was announced as part of the 2014/15 federal budget.

Mental health services funding cuts

It comes on top of growing uncertainty about the provision of mental health services.

Thousands of Australians seeking help for mental health problems face growing uncertainty because federal funding for hundreds of contracts has not been guaranteed after June 30.

Seventy mental health groups — including Mental Health Australia, Headspace, and the Black Dog Institute — have written an open letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Health Minister Sussan Ley.

The letter reads: “We have not received any definitive advice regarding the future of programs.”

“Some agencies have indicated that without this advice, they will have to give staff notice of termination of employment in a matter of days.

“This ongoing uncertainty is causing a huge disruption to organisations and increasingly, deep anxiety amongst the people they serve.”

The Federal Government said they were hoping to resolve mental health funding as soon as possible.

Opposition health spokesman Catherine King called on the Government to clear up the confusion over funding.

“Minister Ley must immediately end the uncertainty by making an announcement on funding, and explaining how demand will be met for services following the $197 million cut,” she said.

“The flexible funding debacle is yet another example of the chaos and confusion which is a hallmark of this Government’s health policy.”

The ABC has sought comment and reaction from Ms Ley.

NACCHO political alert :Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia to be shut down

iStock_000017692761Small%20prison%20resized-crop

An open letter from past and incumbent Presidents of the
Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia dated
22 January 2014

“The Australian community is finally waking up to the grim reality that our nation has a major drinking problem which, if we are to counter it, will require the development of and commitment to effective strategies.

The Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA) has a key role to play in this critically important policy conversation. In this context, the decision to defund the organisation looks like a cynical ploy to stifle public debate. It is at best hasty and poorly-considered and should be revoked.”

Show your support ADCA website

Other info ADCA website

This sentiment is typical of responses contained in a well-supported petition calling on the Prime Minister to overturn what we all consider to be the government’s completely unwarranted action in shutting ADCA down.

ADCA has been the national representative of people and organisations involved in the drug and alcohol sector for nearly half a century. It has been extensively involved in advocacy on their behalf, developing policy based on decades of research and evidence, raising important issues with successive governments at federal and state level. It has assisted governments and non-government organisations in our region to introduce evidenced-based prevention and treatment programs.

For your info current Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol organisation

Previous NACCHO Alcohol and other drugs 28 articles

National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Biennial Conference

Call for Abstracts Extended to 31 January 2014

NIDAC have extended the abstract submission date for presentations and workshops that address the Conference theme What Works: Doing it our way. For the opportunity to be part of the program, showcase your achievements in the AOD sector and share your knowledge, submit your abstract by the new submission date of 31 January 2013
BACKGROUND TO ADCA

Since its establishment as an initiative of, among others, the eminent Australians Sir Edward (Weary) Dunlop and Sir William Refshauge, it has dealt with governments of all persuasions, always from an evidence-informed stance. There is no other organisation in Australia that has the depth of corporate knowledge in this field. Nor is there another body that so completely represents those who work in the sector.

A key example of ADCA’s national leadership has been in medical education, with the now well-established principle of alcohol and other drugs (AOD) being a central part of medical schools curricula.

As past and present heads of the organisation, we are deeply disappointed by the Abbott government’s seemingly non-negotiable stance on the issue. Neither the assistant Health Minister Senator Nash, whose decision it apparently was, nor Health Minister Peter Dutton have had any contact with ADCA; we doubt that either of them have any idea of the work that ADCA and its subsidiary the National Drug Sector Information Service (NDSIS) do. The NDSIS plays an important role in professional and para-professional workforce development within the AOD sector.

The ministers certainly haven’t told their fellow coalition members that they’ve put an end to Drug Action Week, the highly successful ADCA-run awareness program that has gone from strength to strength over the past 13 years, with more than 1000 events run Australia wide in 2013. ADCA was astounded to receive a call from a Liberal backbencher’s staff this month asking whether we’d decided on the timing of DAW 2014.

ADCA was presented with a fait accompli at the end of November 2013 based on the dubious claim that the government’s decision was entirely based on debt reduction. There’s simple arithmetic here; how does the government reconcile the saving of $1.5 million a year against the estimated annual cost of $50 billion in harm from alcohol and other drugs – not to mention the loss of nearly five decades of experience, expertise and policy development?

ADCA and other organisations in the sector have written to a succession of national political leaders over the past decade urging action on the emergence of the major problem that Australia’s thirst for alcohol is causing our health and social systems and the broader Australian society. Despite our approaches, the sorry lack of government action means the problem has compounded to crisis point, a crisis recognised in part by the New South Wales government only this week.

The undersigned are concerned that the Prime Minister’s new awakening to the country’s alcohol problems, while welcome, hardly seems credible in light of his government’s recent actions. We call on Mr Abbott to overturn this “socially backward step” as one of us has described the decision, and to restore ADCA to the vital role it plays in Australian society.

Dr Mal Washer  ,Dr Neal  Blewett , Prof. Ian Webster , Prof. Robin Room ,Dr Nanette Waddy AC

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