Researchers say a new app has the potential to more accurately reflect the nation’s drinking habits.
The ADAC and app researchers hoped the app would be available to download by the end of the year.
Key points :
App developers say it will get a more accurate drinking history than a face-to-face interview with a trained health professional
The Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council says the app could replace the National Drug Strategy Household Survey
Researchers say alcohol consumption among Aboriginal women is under-represented by up to 700 per cent in national surveys
The Grog App was designed for use by Indigenous Australians but could be used by anyone.
Dr Kylie Lee, a senior research fellow at the Centre of Research Excellence in Indigenous Health and Alcohol who was also involved in the app’s development, said the new technology would create a more accurate database.
“Aboriginal women, their drinking is under-represented in the national surveys by up to 700 per cent and 200 per cent in men.
“Undeniably we need to do better … this app offers a great opportunity to do that.”
Participants answer a range of broad and specific questions on the app about alcohol and based on that information, they are allocated into a category on a sliding scale from ‘non-drinker’ to ‘high risk’.
Dr Lee said immediate feedback was very helpful.
She said the app could alleviate issues in the way alcohol data was typically collected, for example participants were more likely to be asked about standard drinks but not non-standard containers.
“Like a soft drink bottle, a juice bottle, a sports bottle et cetera so the app has facilities to show how much you put in the bottle,” Dr Lee said.
“It’s very exciting the level of detail you’re going to get.”
Professor Kate Conigrave, the app’s chief investigator and an addiction specialist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, agreed the new technology could provide greater clarity.
“I’m aware of the traps,” she said.
“One patient I saw had been recorded by a doctor as drinking three standard drinks a day but when I took a drinking history I said, ‘what do you drink them out of?’, and he showed me a sports bottle,” Professor Conigrave said.
“He was drinking three full sports bottles of wine a day, so that’s about 30 standard drinks a day.”
Professor Conigrave said the national health survey often contained “tiny” numbers from Indigenous communities.
“The sample sizes are so small, it’s hard to get a meaningful picture,” she said.
She said the app would provide a level of comfortability and anonymity which may lead to more accurate data, than an interview with a trained health professional.
“People can be a bit embarrassed about what they’re drinking and it can be a bit hard to admit to someone you know, ‘when I drink I have 12 cans of beer,'” she said.
Taking it to the communities
The app is in its second phase of testing.
In the first phase, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in remote, regional and urban parts of South Australia and Queensland were asked to describe their drinking habits.
Research on the app has now progressed to the second round, during which the focus was on the technology’s validity as an on-the-ground survey tool.
Scott Wilson, who was leading the development of the app at the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (ADAC), said the second phase was a “major prevalence study” which would include participants from the local hospital and prison.
The location for the trial has not been made public.
“In the big major surveys people in those areas are always excluded,” Mr Wilson said.
“When you consider that I might be in hospital for an alcohol-related illness or I might be in jail because of an alcohol or drug-related crime, my voice or results are never included.”
The ADAC and app researchers hoped the app would be available to download by the end of the year.
In the meantime, they planned to have discussions with the government over the future use of the app and pursue grant opportunities.
Dr Lee said she was excited for the potential of the new technology.
“Eventually I think it would be a great tool to roll out nationally … using it in the same way as the National Drug Strategy Household Survey,” she said
“ First Nations people in crisis will be left without a place to go after Minister Scullion announced the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council in South Australia, the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health in Brisbane and the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council will all have their alcohol and other drug support funding cut.
This is yet another example of the Government doing things ‘to’ and not ‘with’ First Nations people and clearly demonstrates why First Nations people need a Voice to Parliament.”
Senator Patrick Dodson and The Hon Warren Snowdon Press release See Part 3 Below
“We believe at the current time this must be some kind of oversight. It will take Aboriginal health in this country backwards in a massive way if there is no Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council.
We urge the Prime Minister and Minister Scullion to reconsider urgently and to announce that our funding will continue ”
The CEO of the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (ADAC) urges the Prime Minister to reconsider following shocking news from the Federal Government that the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council is to be closed down. See Part 2 below
Scott Wilson says the news is devastating and will have a massive negative impact on Indigenous Australian highlighting that ADAC helps close to 30,000 Indigenous people a year and costs the Federal Government just $700,000.
Part 1 Press Coverage SBS
An Indigenous rehabilitation centre in South Australia could be forced to stop taking clients from September because of funding cuts, its chief executive says.
The head of an Indigenous drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre believes it will have to stop taking clients from September because of federal government funding cuts.
Services provided by the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council in South Australia can’t continue without ongoing funding for its main body, its chief executive Scott Wilson says.
The council receives $4.5 million a year from the federal government to operate a residential rehabilitation centre in Port Augusta and two day centres in Ceduna and Port Augusta.
But Mr Wilson says he received a call last week, during reconciliation week, to say while funding for the facilities would continue they’d stop receiving $700,000 a year for administrative facilities and wages, including his own, from January 1.
“When you don’t actually have the legal entity being funded you can’t actually operate the other services at all,” he told Sky News.
“It’s almost like having an airline but no airport to land.”
A spokesman for Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said the government has provided $1.38 million a year to continue the alcohol and drug treatment service until June 2020.
“The Minister is absolutely focused on delivering the best outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and does not apologise for holding service providers like Mr Wilson to account for the outcomes they deliver,” the Minister’s spokesman said.
He said the government was also assessing the effectiveness of the service.
Mr Wilson said the cut would mean staff could only be offered six-month contracts and the residential treatment centre would probably stop taking clients from September this year.
“Without us there is simply no voice,” Mr Wilson said in a statement.
“We need the funding back. We have so many clients in crisis who need our help.”
Part 2 Press Release
The CEO of the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (ADAC) – which was set up as a direct result of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Black Deaths in Custody – is urging the Federal Government not to close the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council.
On May 31st 2018, the Prime Minister’s Office called Scott Wilson indicating that from January 1st of next year there will be no funding for ADAC.
Scott Wilson says the news is devastating and will have a massive negative impact on thousands and thousands of Indigenous Australians.
The Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council helps over 20,000 Indigenous people through its day centres’ diversionary programs. A further 10,000 people use other services. ADAC costs the Federal Government just $700,000 a year.
Scott Wilson says minor savings in money will lead to massive drug and alcohol problems for the Aboriginal community. He says the cutback is a false economy.
ADAC has been operating for 25 years. It represents the only collective voice for over 30 Indigenous community controlled member organisations across South Australia.
ADAC provides alcohol and other drugs resources to close to 2,000 community organisations across the nation. 30 Aboriginal community organisations across South Australia are members of ADAC.
ADAC is the largest provider of alcohol and other drugs services for Indigenous people in the State and employs 57 staff across South Australia.
CEO Scott Wilson has had numerous Ministerial appointments including twoPrime Ministerial appointments onto the Australian National Council of Drugs (now called ANACAD) for a decade and he is the founding director of the Alcohol Education Rehabilitation Foundation (now called FARE).
Scott Wilson said, “We cannot believe that the Federal Government is intending to close the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council. The impact would be massive.
ADAC runs a wide range of services across the State including doing all the payroll and purchasing. I have absolutely no idea how staff would get paid without us.”
“To be clear, we advocate on behalf of Aboriginal people facing drug and alcohol issues. Without us there is simply no voice. We don’t believe day centres and rehabilitation centres will be able to continue without ADAC so we are talking about 57 jobs going.”
“We ask the Federal Government to urgently review and reconsider its decision.
We need the funding back. We have so many clients in crisis who need our help. If the Federal Government pursues this track, staff will leave all parts of ADAC in droves because there will be no job security.
We won’t be able to offer contracts to people and everything will be very different indeed.” ADAC was formed in 1993 as a South Australian community response to the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody. It was recommended that there should be a community controlled response through a statewide peak substance misuse organisation.
ADAC has received consecutive funding from the Australian Federal Government for 25 years. Scott Wilson says it is well known that the most effective and sustainable approaches to alcohol and drug misuse are those that are actually delivered by Indigenous community controlled organisations.
Staff at ADAC include five Aboriginal people with either a Master in Indigenous Health or a Graduate Diploma.
They also have registered nurses, enrolled nurses, counsellors and a range of other experts.
ADAC expertise has been recognised by the Federal Government over numerous years with ADAC staff being members of nearly every national drug strategy committee since 1998.
ADAC has held over 15 community forums on alcohol and other drugs and ice in the past 12 months.
ADAC is also involved with four National Health and Medical Research Council grants.
Since taking over, day centre client contacts have climbed massively from 900 a year to 20,000 per year.
Scott Wilson added, “We believe at the current time this must be some kind of oversight. It will take Aboriginal health in this country backwards in a massive way if there is no Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council.
We urge the Prime Minister and Minister Scullion to reconsider urgently and to announce that our funding will continue.
Formed in 1993 (25 years ago) as a South Australian Community response to the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) recommendations to provide a community-controlled response through a statewide peak substance misuse organization.
With recurrent funding from the Australian Government, ADAC has successfully provided Peak Body AOD services in South Australia for over 25 years.
It is well known that the most effective and sustainable approaches to alcohol and drug misuse are those delivered by Indigenous community-controlled organisations.
Saggers & Gray (2010) therefore, ADAC is unique as it is the only Indigenous peak body of its kind in Australia and represents the only collective voice for over 20 Indigenous community-controlled member organisations across South Australia.
30 Aboriginal community organisations across SA are members of ADAC
ADAC employ 57 staff across SA and is the largest provider of AOD for indigenous people in the state. Our staff include 5 Aboriginal people with either a Master in Indigenous health or Graduate Diploma, Registered Nurses, enrolled nurses, Counselors and a range of other qualifications including aboriginal Primary Health.
ADAC expertise has been recognized by the Commonwealth government over numerous years with ADAC staff being members of nearly every National drug Strategy Committee since 1998.
The CEO Scott Wilson has had numerous Ministerial appointments including 2 Prime Ministerial appointments onto the Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD) for 10 years and the founding Director of the Alcohol Education Rehabilitation Foundation for 11 years.
Part 3 Labor Press Release
First Nations people in crisis will be left without a place to go after Minister Scullion announced the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council in South Australia, the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health in Brisbane and the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council will all have their alcohol and other drug support funding cut.
This is yet another example of the Government doing things ‘to’ and not ‘with’ First Nations people and clearly demonstrates why First Nations people need a Voice to Parliament.
CEO of the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council in South Australia Mr Wilson received a call during reconciliations week, to inform him of the cut, which includes his own wages from January 1.
The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health received a call yesterday confirming their Inner City Referral Service will face cuts. The Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health council will lose the equivalent of two full-time alcohol and other drug workers.
This is just the beginning, with other state and territory bodies anticipating similar cuts.
You can’t make this stuff up, the Turnbull Government has cut critical rehab services during reconciliation week.
Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol services support members of the First Nations community at their most vulnerable. Alcoholic and drug dependant patients have a high incidence of entering the criminal justice system, it is only through rehabilitative services that people get the second chance they deserve. First Nations people need access to crisis alcohol and other drug support, not a hall pass to correctional centres.
Alarmingly, the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia (AHCSA),Institute for Urban Indigenous Health in Brisbane (IUIH), Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) were not consulted prior to the decision to cease funding.
Labor calls upon the Government to rethink their ill-advised decision to cut funding to critical Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol services across Australia.