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The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) believes the drug testing trial at this weekend’s Groovin the Moo music event in the ACT, will help to reduce drug-related harms.
The trial is Australia’s first official drug checking service at a music event and is aimed at preventing festivalgoers from using especially dangerous substances.
Drug checking does not promote or condone illegal drug taking. The services give people who have already purchased drugs and are intending to use them, the opportunity to test the drug’s strength and key ingredients.
Drug checking services provide safe environments where young people also learn about the risks associated with drug use and can be connected to support or health services.
“Drug checking can save people’s lives and leads to less dangerous drug taking,” said the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s CEO Dr Erin Lalor.
Austrian research shows that half of people who had their drugs checked said their results affected their consumption. Two thirds of people in the same study said they would not take a drug if negative results were found.
“The reality is, people are bringing drugs to music events with the intention of taking them. When people use drug checking services, they are more likely to ditch their drugs or take less after learning the results,” Dr Lalor said.
“Drug checking services overseas are seeing significant success, so the ADF is really looking forward to seeing the results from the Groovin the Moo drug checking trial,” Dr Lalor added.
For more facts about drug checking, please visit https://adf.org.au/insights/drug-checking-a-harm-reduction-strategy/
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) says the report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) into the impact of alcohol and illicit drug use on the burden of disease and injury, reaffirms the need for ongoing initiatives to prevent and reduce harms.
The document highlights the extent of the avoidable short-term and long-term health effects associated with alcohol and other drugs, including several cancers, mental health disorders and dependency.
The report also outlines the various contributing factors to alcohol and other drug harms, including the impacts of social, cultural, economic and physical environments.
“The latest AIHW report demonstrates that further support is essential for the groups most vulnerable to alcohol and other drug harms, including people of low socioeconomic status and those living in remote and rural communities,” said Dr Erin Lalor, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Chief Executive officer.
Whilst the AIHW report shows there was a slight downward trend in the overall burden of disease and injury from alcohol between 2003-2011, the ADF is concerned by projections that by 2020, Australia will see an increase of amphetamine use by 14% and a rise in cannabis use among women by 36%.
“Australia cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to alcohol and other drug harms. It’s essential we continue to focus on prevention and harm reduction programs and policies to ensure a healthier Australia,” Dr Lalor said.
The AIHW report acknowledges the protective factors that can help reduce alcohol and other drug-related harms, including education, employment and income.
“The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is committed to working with communities right across Australia to increase the protective factors against alcohol and other drug harms. The evidence shows that this type of primary prevention work helps save lives,” Dr Lalor added.
The ADF also believes that addressing stigma around people who use drugs is a critical factor in further reducing and preventing the burden of disease from alcohol and other drugs.
The not-for-profit encourages governments to use the AIHW report as an opportunity to continue important discussions around harm prevention and reduction.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) and Harm Reduction Australia (HRA) welcomes the report by the Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee into drug law reform in Victoria.
The two not-for-profits commend the committee for listening to the evidence around some of the best ways to reduce and prevent drug-related harms and save Victorian lives.
If the recommendations are implemented, they would help to reduce stigma around people who use drugs, increase public awareness of the harms associated with legal and illegal drug use, and improve relations between young people and parents.
The ADF particularly praises the recommendations around primary prevention.
“Strengthening communities through education, enhancing people’s sense of belonging, and increasing access to healthy recreational and relaxation activities, are all vital in preventing drug-related harms,” said Dr Erin Lalor, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer.
Dr Erin Lalor applauds the committee for recognising how negative language can impact on the health and wellbeing of people who use drugs.
“Stigma is a huge barrier for people needing to seek help for drug problems. Having respectful conversations with people who use drugs is essential to building a healthier Victoria,” Dr Lalor added.
HRA commends the committee for its recommendations around strategies to prevent fatal overdoses and for supporting evidence-based practices such as pill testing at festivals and events.
“Many people and their families are harmed when we fail to act on the evidence from different drug policies and programs. In an ideal world no-one would take any risks but in the real world we all do at times. Putting in place policies and programs that ensures that risks associated with drug use are reduced is both common sense and humane,” said Gino Vumbaca, President of Harm Reduction Australia.
The ADF and HRA also congratulate the committee on recommending that an independent expert Drug Advisory Council be set up to guide the government around drug-related issues.
The two organisations encourage all Victorian politicians to use the recommendations as an opportunity to have open discussions around the reduction and prevention of drug harms across Victoria.
More than 15,000 members of South Australia’s sporting community are set to benefit from additional funding into the Tackling Illegal Drugs (TID) Program.
The South Australian Government has announced it’s committing $300,000 over the next 18 months into the TID Program.
The funding will allow an extra 75 clubs across a number of different sporting codes to participate in the TID Program, which offers sporting clubs information, training and support on how to best prepare for potential drug-related incidents, including the use of crystal methamphetamine (‘ice’).
The TID Program builds on the success of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Good Sports Program – which has helped around 800 sporting clubs across South Australia and more than 8,000 nation-wide – to build healthier, safer, more family-friendly environments.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s South Australia Manager Margie Fahy welcomed the funding announcement by the State Government.
“The latest investment into the Tackling Illegal Drugs Program means many more clubs will now be able to participate in the program, with thousands of members of South Australia’s sporting community expected to benefit,” Ms Fahy said.
“Sporting clubs are the beating heart of many local communities and can play a vital role in preventing drug-related harms,” she said.
“Sporting clubs are a snapshot of society and because illegal drug use can affect all areas of society, no club is immune. The Tackling Illegal Drugs Program builds healthier sporting clubs and gives them the information and tools they need to prepare for potential drug-related issues,” she added.
This funding is in addition to the $4.6 million provided for the national program by the Australian Government under the National Ice Action Strategy.
For more information about the Tackling Illegal Drug Program, please go to Good Sports.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) and the Australian Government are calling on community-based organisations to come together and form Local Drug Action Teams to prevent harms from alcohol and other drugs, including crystal methamphetamine (‘ice’).
Applications for the Local Drug Action Team (LDAT) Program are now open and close on 19 February 2018.
The application process is a gateway for interested community-based organisations who wish to make change in their local area to prevent and reduce alcohol and other drug-related harms.
The ADF has simplified the application process, making it far easier for interested communities and organisations to join the LDAT Program and make a difference.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for organisations to take action in their local area,” said the ADF’s Head of Program Delivery, Mr Allan Murphy.
“The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is committed to helping organisations strengthen existing partnerships and create new ones to prevent and reduce harms from alcohol and other drugs in their community,” Mr Murphy said.
“By working on the ground and building on the strengths and knowledge of their own areas, Local Drug Action Teams develop evidence-informed approaches to prevent alcohol and other drug-related harms,” he added.
LDATs receive an initial $10,000 of funding and are supported by the ADF to develop a Community Action Plan within the first six months of joining the program. LDATs have the opportunity to receive up to $40,000 per year, to support the implementation of their plan.
Organisations can find more information about how to join the LDAT program. They can also reach out to ADF staff who can assist groups to get their applications in.
The Local Drug Action Team program is part of the Australian Government’s investment of $298 million over four years under the National Ice Action Strategy to prevent and reduce harms from alcohol and other drugs, including crystal methamphetamine (‘ice’).
There are currently 80 Local Drug Action Teams across Australia, and by 2020, there will be up to 220 partnerships nation-wide.
For more information about the LDAT program please visit the community hub.
$338,000 ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR LOCAL DRUG ACTION TEAMS
The Australian Government and the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) have announced $338,000 in additional funding for Local Drug Action Teams (LDATs) working in their communities to prevent harms from alcohol and other drugs, including crystal methamphetamine (‘ice’).
Sixteen community partnerships in the LDAT program receive the extra money to further support their community led action plans to address alcohol and other drug issues in their local areas.
The LDAT program is part of the Australian Government’s investment of $298 million over four years under the National Ice Action Strategy to prevent and reduce harms caused by alcohol and other drugs.
The ADF’s Head of Program Delivery Allan Murphy says supporting communities to be at the heart of the solution is critical if we are to address alcohol and other drug-related harms.
“The Australian Government has listened to calls from communities for more support to prevent harms from alcohol and other drugs, and as a result has provided funding for Local Drug Action Teams to deliver projects that are locally relevant,” Mr Murphy said.
“By building community partnerships, Local Drug Action Teams work together to deliver evidence- informed initiatives tailored to the particular needs of their own community,” he said.
Some of the initiatives being funded include mentoring programs, awareness raising activities, campaigns targeting stigma, Indigenous projects that promote social inclusion and connection to culture, and hospitality skills training to increase employment pathways for disengaged youth.
Australia currently has 80 Local Drug Action Teams and by 2020 there will be up to 220 across the nation, with a particular focus on remote, regional and at-risk communities.
The Australian Government and the ADF encourage more partnerships to apply to join the LDAT program when the next round opens in January 2018. There will be further opportunities to be part of the program later next year and in 2019.
Below is the full list of the Local Drug Action Teams receiving extra funding:
Marumali Aboriginal Action Against Drugs (NSW)
Gosford LDAT (NSW)
Newcastle LDAT – Making FASD History (NSW)
Marrickville LDAT (NSW)
Mentoring Matters (QLD)
T@Y – Thursdays @ the Y LDAT Program (QLD)
St George QLD LDAT (QLD)
Regional Victoria LGBTIQ Local Drug Action Team
Southeast LDAT (VIC)
Geelong Drug Action Network (VIC)
Hepburn LDAT (VIC)
Wodonga LDAT (VIC)
Mansfield LDAT (VIC)
Communities That Care Stonnington (VIC)
Stirling Local Drug Action Team (WA)
Bunbury Geographe Aboriginal LDAT (WA)
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) welcomes new Chief Executive Officer Dr Erin Lalor, who officially starts in the role today.
Dr Lalor brings to the ADF her extensive experience in for-purpose organisations. Erin most recently worked as CEO of the National Stroke Foundation, leading the charity for more than a decade.
“I’m really excited to be joining the Alcohol and Drug Foundation at such a pivotal time in its history, as it strengthens its role in the primary prevention of alcohol and other drug related harms,” Dr Lalor said.
Erin replaces Mr John Rogerson who led the Alcohol and Drug Foundation for the past nine years.
“John Rogerson has left an important and valuable legacy. He has built the Alcohol and Drug Foundation into a strong organisation with a highly reputable team and leaves very big shoes to fill,” Dr Lalor said.
The ADF’s Chairman Michael Doery said Dr Lalor’s values and her experience in the health promotion sector will greatly complement the organisation.
“Erin brings a vast range of skills and experience to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, which will help lead the organisation into its next phase of growth and development,” Mr Doery said.
Dr Lalor said the ADF’s commitment to evidence-informed approaches in preventing harms from alcohol and other drugs was a key attraction to the role of CEO.
“I believe that primary prevention is critical to reducing the harms caused by alcohol and other drugs,” Dr Lalor said.
“The ADF has developed a solid reputation in the primary prevention space, so I’m really pleased to be joining this amazing organisation and to be part of it going forward,” she added.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) commends the Victorian Government for its decision to approve a pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) in North Richmond.
“The Victorian Government has listened to the overwhelming evidence in support of a pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in North Richmond and is showing leadership and compassion in approving a trial,” said the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s CEO John Rogerson.
“A pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in North Richmond will save lives and give clients access to treatment services that are critical in helping them in their recovery journey,” Mr Rogerson added.
The pilot MSIC will be the second of its kind in Australia, following Sydney’s Kings Cross, where a successful MSIC has been running since 2001. In that time, staff have managed around 6,000 overdoses without any fatalities and more than 12,000 referrals have been made to support services.
The establishment of the MSIC in Kings Cross has also seen a huge reduction in the number of syringes left on the streets. The trial of an MSIC in North Richmond will no doubt see similar results, improving community safety.
“The approval of a pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in North Richmond is a win for the community. It will help reduce the number of overdoses and discarded needles on the streets, as well as improving the lives of people battling addictions and local residents,” Mr Rogerson said.
With fewer public overdoses, a trial MSIC in North Richmond will reduce the number of ambulance call outs, freeing up ambulance staff to attend other emergencies. The MSIC will also help reduce the number of blood borne infections such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C.
With around 90 MSICs around the world, it is indisputable that trialing one in North Richmond will reduce overdose deaths and provide clients access to much needed health and welfare services.
The Federal Government and the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) have today announced a further 40 Local Drug Action Teams (LDATs) across Australia to help prevent harms from alcohol and other drugs, including crystal methamphetamine (‘ice’).
This brings the total number of LDATs around Australia to 80.
The Federal Government will provide each team with an initial $10,000 and will be supported by the ADF to develop and deliver community led action plans. Importantly, each of these projects focus on preventing drug use, and is tailored to the particular needs of individual communities.
The LDAT program is part of the Federal Government’s investment of $298 million over four years under the National Ice Action Strategy to help local communities prevent drug misuse. By 2020, there will be up to 220 LDATs across the nation, with a particular focus on remote, regional and at-risk communities.
The ADF’s Head of Program Delivery Allan Murphy congratulates the latest successful applicants.
“We acknowledge that every community is different and with government support the Alcohol and Drug Foundation assists Local Drug Action Teams to build on local strengths and knowledge to create a community-owned culture of alcohol and other drug harm prevention”, Allan said.
“By working on the ground, these community partnerships deliver evidence-informed social change activities that help prevent harm from alcohol and other drugs, including ‘ice’”, he said.
The LDAT program builds the capacity of communities and encourages local groups to look at opportunities within their region and start building or extend partnerships to work together to tackle alcohol and other drug issues facing their local areas.
The third round of LDAT applications will open in late 2017, with more opportunities to be part of the program in 2018 and 2019.
For more information about the LDAT program please visit www.adf.org.au/ldat or call the ADF’s Media and Stakeholder Manager Carmel Green on 0430 948 380.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) is urging Victorian MPs to show leadership and compassion by voting in favour of piloting a medically supervised injecting centre (MSIC) in North Richmond.
A parliamentary committee report released today outlines compelling evidence in support of an MSIC in North Richmond, which had 34 preventable deaths around the area last year alone.
“Failure to support a pilot medically supervised injecting centre in North Richmond would be bewildering given the indisputable evidence that it would save many lives, and the overwhelming expert support for a trial,” ADF CEO John Rogerson said.
An MSIC is urgently needed in North Richmond. Too many lives are being lost – the evidence is incontrovertible, overdose victims could still be alive today if they had access to a medically supervised injecting centre.
The MSIC in Sydney’s Kings Cross has been a huge success. Since opening in 2001, staff have successfully managed around 6,000 overdoses without any fatalities.
The parliamentary committee heard about the important role an MSIC in North Richmond would play in referring users to health and social services. Many users struggle with mental health issues and take drugs to deal with traumatic events like abuse, family problems or the loss of a loved one.
“A medically supervised injecting centre in North Richmond would play a key role in providing support for people going through a really hard time, kick-starting their recovery journey,” Mr Rogerson said.
The parliamentary committee was also given evidence that an MSIC would improve the safety of Richmond. Crime has not increased in the Kings Cross area since the establishment of the MSIC there. A medically supervised injecting centre in North Richmond would see fewer used syringes lying on the streets.
“The evidence shows that a medically supervised injecting centre would not just help people battling addictions, it would also improve the lives of local residents. It’s a win-win situation,” Mr Rogerson said.
“Failing to trial a medically supervised injecting centre in North Richmond ignores the well-being of drug users, the concerns of residents and the advice of many health experts.”
“Enough is enough! Richmond’s drug problem has been going on for decades. Our politicians need to show leadership and get on with fixing the problem. We’re merely asking for a trial of a medically supervised injecting centre. Why not try something that we know saves lives?”
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation has created an executive summary of evidence that was put to the Inquiry into the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Centre) Bill 2017.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) is calling for greater public education about the dangers of prescription drug use.
The ABC’s Lateline program highlighted the issue in last night’s show, discussing the rising rates of prescription opioid addiction in Australia and the US.
“People are at risk of serious harm – and they don’t even know it,” said Julie Rae, the ADF’s National Program Manager – Knowledge and Information.
“We’re talking about your mums, dads, construction workers, healthy individuals. Average Australians are dying from these addictive medications. Most shockingly, the majority of overdoses are accidental, which means they could have been prevented.”
“Chronic pain, anxiety, stress, trauma and insomnia are all very serious conditions but are often treated long-term with addictive medicine like pain killers or relaxant-type medications.”
“Strong painkillers – like codeine, Oxycontin™ and Endone™ – help a lot of Australians manage intense pain after surgery or dental work. But they are also opioids, just like heroin, and they can be fatal.”
Ms Rae says that many Australians do not know that opioids are specifically designed to treat pain in the short-term only.
“The scary thing is, almost half of all prescriptions handed out in Australia are not for treating these conditions. People are using opioids for everything from the common headache to dealing with a bad day at work.”
“We need to get the message out that legal drugs can be harmful if overused.”
“GPs need better training in pain management, particularly for advising their patients of alternatives to medication, such as counselling and lifestyle changes, and all states and territories must implement the Electronic Recording and Reporting of Controlled Drugs system to prevent prescription shopping.”
For more information download our Prevention Research report “Is there a pill for that?”
The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) has won the Prevention and Education Award at the 2017 Alcohol and other Drugs Excellence and Innovation Awards in Canberra tonight.
The prestigious Awards, which acknowledge the work of individuals and organisations within the alcohol and other drugs (AOD) sector, are supported by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) and the Australian Government.
NDARC runs the Climate Schools programs, which are innovative, online, school-based courses designed to prevent alcohol, cannabis and psychostimulant use. The highly effective programs reduce the uptake and harmful use of AOD for up to three years following the interventions. They are now available in schools world-wide.
ADF CEO, John Rogerson, said: ‘These Awards recognise the commitment, hard work and passion of those in the AOD sector.’
‘A lot of work is done by many anonymous people within the AOD sector. It is very important we shine the spotlight on the significant contribution that organisations like NDARC make.’
‘We congratulate everyone who entered the Awards. Choosing a winner is always a difficult decision because of the high calibre of entrants and this year we received a record number of nominations.’
There were nine categories in the 2017 Alcohol and other Drugs Excellence and Innovation Awards:
Local leaders across Australia are being encouraged to create a community-owned approach to reduce the harm from alcohol and other drugs, including Ice, that is relevant to their local area.
The second round of the national Local Drug Action Team (LDAT) Program is now open for community groups to join the 40 partnerships already in place.
The LDAT program is an initiative under the Australian Government’s $298 million investment over four years under the National Ice Action Strategy.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) will provide resources to help deliver evidence-informed social change activities that strengthen protective factors to minimise harm from alcohol and other drugs, including Ice.
Successful LDATs will receive a minimum of $10,000 to support the further development of their Community Action Plan (CAP) and/or on-the-ground prevention activities. A community action plan provides the basis for coordinated collaborative efforts to reduce alcohol and other drug related harm.
All LDATs with an approved CAP in place will be invited to apply for additional funding between $10,000 and $40,000 per annum to support the prevention activities and priorities identified in their plan.
‘Every community is different, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, which is why the Australian Government established this program to empower grass roots organisations to tailor their work to their area’ said ADF Head of Program Delivery Allan Murphy.
‘Education and employment opportunities, social disadvantage and isolation are some of the factors that contribute to drug use, particularly in regional areas. This program supports community leaders from health, Councils, health and welfare, youth, police, Indigenous leaders and business to join together and with other organisations as one cohesive group’ he said.
More information about the LDAT program here
More Australians are dying from pharmaceutical overdoses than all illegal drugs combined
The number of people dying after using the most common form of opioid painkiller – codeine – has doubled in the past decade
Most overdoses are accidental – and often the result of misuse such as mixing alcohol with medications or mixing medications
Pharmaceutical overdoses are overtaking our national road toll
A growing number of Australians are dependent on addictive pharmaceutical medication but have no idea they are hooked or putting their lives at risk.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) has today released a hard-hitting campaign in a bid to save lives, as research reveals the majority of overdoses are accidental.
In a series of powerful videos, everyday Australians reveal how they nearly lost everything after battling dependency to addictive medications.
The ADF has also released its Prevention Research report “Is there a pill for that?” which reveals the shocking truth behind a nation dependent on quick fixes.
“People are at risk of serious harm – and they don’t even know it. The average Australian is dying from these addictive medications,” said ADF spokesperson Ilka Burnham-King.
“But the most shocking finding is how many overdoses were accidental – which means they could have been prevented,” said Ms Burnham-King.
“Chronic pain, anxiety, stress, trauma and insomnia are all very serious conditions but are often treated long-term with addictive medicine like painkillers or relaxant-type medications.
“Strong painkillers – like codeine, Oxycontin™ and Endone™ – help a lot of Australians manage intense pain after surgery or dental work. But they are also opioids, just like heroin, and they can be fatal.
“The scary thing is, almost half of all prescriptions handed out in Australia are not for treating these conditions. People are using opioids for everything from the common headache to dealing with a bad day at work.
“Many Australians do not know that opioids are specifically designed only for short-term use.
“The number of people dying after using the most common form of opioid – codeine – has doubled in the past decade. In fact, in Victoria more people die from a codeine overdose than heroin.
“Medications like Valium™ and Diazepam™ can be used to help people deal with short periods of very intense stress, anxiety, or trauma. But just like the painkillers, they are addictive, and don’t actually treat the root cause of the problem.
“It’s time Australia took action to change its’ pill-popping culture and that’s why we are launching our campaign today called, Are you taking a risk?”
Dr Hester Wilson: Medical practitioner and an expert in addictive medication
Soula Mantalvanos: Overcame her dependency to both pain and strong relaxant medication
Chris Phillips: Overcame his pain medication dependency after a serious accident
Anna McMahon: Mother who lost her son to a prescription overdose
Media enquiries: 0430 948 380