Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong

What really causes addiction — to everything from cocaine to smart-phones? And how can we overcome it? Johann Hari has seen our current methods fail firsthand, as he has watched loved ones struggle to manage their addictions. He started to wonder why we treat addicts the way we do — and if there might be a better way. As he shares in this deeply personal talk, his questions took him around the world, and unearthed some surprising and hopeful ways of thinking about an age-old problem.

 

Understanding Recent Trends in Australian Alcohol Consumption

The Centre for Alcohol Policy Research and the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) has published a report by Dr Michael Livingston titled “Understanding recent trends in Australian alcohol consumption”.  The report looks at data from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey from 2001 until 2013, which has shown decreasing rates of alcohol consumption, particularly amongst young people.

The proportion of the Australian population aged over 14 who report abstaining from alcohol has increased from 9.4% in 2001 to 14.1% in 2013.  Amongst young people aged between 14 and 17, the number who report abstaining from alcohol has increased from 28% in 2001 to 57.4% in 2013. However the paper also shows that there have been minimal changes in drinking patterns amongst those who drink most heavily.

Download Understanding recent trends in Australian alcohol consumption  

NACCHO Chair Press Release : Aboriginal mental health in crisis

 

“Clearly Australia’s mental health system is failing Aboriginal people, with Aboriginal communities devastated by high rates of suicide and poorer mental health outcomes. Poor mental health in Aboriginal communities often stems from historic dispossession, racism and a poor sense of connection to self and community. It is compounded by people’s lack of access to meaningful and ongoing education and employment. Drug and alcohol related conditions are also commonly identified in persons with poor mental health.”

NACCHO Chairperson, Matthew Cooke

Today’s roundtable convened by the Federal government is a welcome step toward acknowledging the ongoing suicide crisis in Aboriginal communities and the need for an urgent concentrated effort to improve the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal people and address the transgenerational trauma impacting on our communities.

Nash

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) Chairperson, Matthew Cooke said while there was no quick fix for the crisis, an integrated strategy led by Aboriginal community controlled health services is a good starting point.

He said the recently released National Mental Health Commission Review recommended the establishment of mental health and social and emotional wellbeing teams in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, linked to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specialist mental health services.

“Clearly Australia’s mental health system is failing Aboriginal people, with Aboriginal communities devastated by high rates of suicide and poorer mental health outcomes.

“Poor mental health in Aboriginal communities often stems from historic dispossession, racism and a poor sense of connection to self and community.

“It is compounded by people’s lack of access to meaningful and ongoing education and employment. Drug and alcohol related conditions are also commonly identified in persons with poor mental health.

“None of these can be fixed overnight but we can’t ignore the problems. We are on the brink of losing another generation of Aboriginal people to suicide, poor health and substance abuse.”

Mr Cooke said the answers lay with Aboriginal people.

“What we do know is the solution must be driven by Aboriginal leaders and communities – a model that is reaping great rewards in the Aboriginal Community Controlled health sector.

“It must be a community based approach, backed up by governments of all levels.

“I commend the Government for convening the roundtable and welcome the inclusion of NACCHO and its members to developing the solutions with Government as an integral element to the success of any strategy.

“We can’t waste a day. We are losing our sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters. Every life that is lost to suicide is a life that should have been saved.

The National Mental Heath review recommended a target to reduce suicides and suicide attempts by fifty per cent over the next decade in the general population.

Hence, any strategy developed needs to include a specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide reduction target aligned to broader strategy.”

Register for or more information on NACCHO events

 

National Ice Taskforce – Update on Progress

The Taskforce members – Mr Ken Lay APM, Dr Sally McCarthy and Professor Richard Murray – are most grateful for the valuable advice they have received from you and others in recent weeks and months, and wanted to provide you with an update on progress and next steps for the development of the National Ice Action Strategy.

Today in Sydney, the Taskforce presented their interim report on the use and impacts of crystal methamphetamine (ice) on the Australian community to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).  The interim report provides COAG leaders with the Taskforce’s initial analysis of this complex issue, an overview of existing efforts and gaps to tackle the problem, and advice about what more needs to be done.

The Prime Minister, all Premiers and Chief Ministers, and the President of the Australian Local Government Association noted the interim report, which was shaped by the experiences and advice the Taskforce heard from its many discussions held across Australia. The outcomes of the meeting can be viewed here.

The feedback received from the Australian community paints a worrying picture about the impact of ice.  During its consultations the Taskforce heard from many experts and community members who are concerned about the impact of ice and received over 1300 written submissions.

The Taskforce has identified six areas for action where they believe more work needs to be done by all governments, and where the greatest benefits can be gained to assist ice users, their families, communities and the workforce to tackle this complex problem.

These six areas are:

  1. Target primary prevention
  2. Improve access to early intervention, treatment and support services
  3. Support local communities to respond
  4. Improve tools for frontline workers
  5. Focus law enforcement actions
  6. Improve and consolidate research and data

These six areas will form the basis for the next phase of activity, as the Taskforce completes its final report to the Prime Minister and works with all governments to develop the National Ice Action Strategy.

The Strategy will comprise detailed initiatives under each of these areas, and will be brought back to COAG for endorsement before the end of this year.

Many thanks again for your contribution to this important work – we look forward to providing you with a further update later in the year.

National Ice Taskforce Secretariat

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

 

1105 jobs for First Australians

Media Release

Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion

Leader of the Nationals in the Senate

Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory

Thursday 23 June 2015

More than 1100 First Australians will be employed across the country through a partnership between the Australian Government and facility services company, ISS.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said the partnership was part of the Employment Parity Initiative (EPI) under which major Australian employers work with the Government to build their Indigenous workforce.

“The jobs with ISS will be located in at least 12 communities across Australia, in a range of industry sectors, from resources to aviation, health, catering and cleaning,” Minister Scullion said. “Getting First Australians into work is one of the Government’s highest priorities in Indigenous Affairs.

“The EPI encourages Australia’s largest employers to increase their Indigenous workforce to 3 per cent – employment parity – to get 20,000 more First Australians into private sector jobs by 2020.

“Under this initiative, the Government tailors supports that are available to employers to assist with any additional costs of employing and retaining Indigenous Australians, including people with extreme barriers to employment.

“Employment Parity contracts already signed with two other companies have secured an additional 1,700 jobs for Indigenous Australians and talks are continuing with other major employers. “All payments are linked to 26-week outcomes and net increases in the number of Indigenous employees.  This is the key to ending the endless cycle of training for training’s sake.”

ISS Australia and New Zealand chief executive officer, Dane Hudson, said his company was extremely proud to have been invited to take part in this important initiative, which will improve employment opportunities for First Australians.

“We have finalised our first ever Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) which demonstrates our achievements over the past six years and recognises that we are now in a strong position to further our commitments.

“The EPI, and our RAP, will enable us to continue to build and foster stronger relationships with these peoples and communities,” Mr Hudson said.

Media Contact: Jan Le Maitre 0477721360