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Global Drug Survey reporting

14 April 2014

The results of the Global Drug Survey (GDS) "Risky drinkers in denial", 14 April 2014) gives an exaggerated view of Australian drug use compared with the much more comprehensive National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS). The NDSHS reports annual population cannabis use at 10% and cocaine use at 2%, while the respective GDS figures are 35% and 20%. Even allowing that the NDSHS typically underestimates illegal drug use, the GDS survey is not remotely representative of the whole population.

The article didn't provide relevant demographic details of the respondents, nor how they were recruited. The survey's website acknowledges its severe limitations: "the self-nominating sample were typically in their 20s and 30s". As the reports fail to mention this sample bias, they also fail to give readers a clear understanding of the meaning of the survey.

This lack of disclosure is particularly problematic when the article ends with a member of the Drug Law Reform party using the exaggerated reports of drug use to call for 'an end to prohibition.'

Alcohol and other drug policy remains a key issue for our community, and readers deserve a fairer reading of this issue than is served up by this exaggerated and sensationalised account.

Geoff Munro
National Policy Manager
Australian Drug Foundation

 
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New Psychoactive Drugs: No Easy Answer

 

Friday 11 April 2014

New Zealand's new synthetic drug legislation raises as many questions as it answers, but deserves close observation in Australia, according to a new report released today.

Drug prevention expert Geoff Munro from the Australian Drug Foundation and Dr Chris Wilkins from Massey University in New Zealand have published a paper New Psychoactive Drugs: No Easy Answer examining the trans-Tasman responses to new psychoactive substances (NPS) – commonly referred to as 'synthetic drugs'.

Mr Munro said they found that New Zealand's move to regulate synthetic drugs is radically different to Australia's approach and leaves many issues unresolved.

"In Australia, governments have banned specific new substances, or groups of substances, on the basis that they are unknown, and likely to cause harm. However, drug manufacturers can modify a banned synthetic chemical and produce a new one in order to sidestep the bans," Mr Munro said.

"New Zealand has introduced a radical new approach to dealing with these drugs that is generating a lot of interest, but there are many issues yet to be worked out."

"Under New Zealand law drug manufacturers can gain approval to sell a synthetic drug legally if they can prove the substance has a 'low-risk' of producing harm to the user.

"The key issue at the moment concerns the testing regime: it is not clear how 'low-risk' will be defined; nor is it clear whether manufacturers or the government could be liable for damages if they approve a drug for sale that is later found to cause harm?

"Another important issue is whether more people will start using the drugs when they are legal, and whether young people will gain access to them."

Other issues identified in the paper which are yet to be addressed include:

- How the drugs will be packaged, and labelled, and how consumers will be warned of the possible side effects;

- the price these drugs will be sold for;

- how much tax will be collected by the government and whether it will be calculated on the drug strength, or per dose or by weight; and

- how the new drugs will impact on workplace safety and road safety.

"These new classes of drugs are posing significant challenges for governments across the world. It's important that we observe the effects of the New Zealand approach and evaluate the new approach to dealing with illegal drugs. The choices we make now could have a big effect on the health and wellbeing of our citizens in the future."

The PolicyTalk paper New Psychoactive Drugs: No Easy Answer is available to read online.

ENDS

 

Geoff Munro is available for comment

Media enquiries: Jennifer Willis 0430 948 380 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 
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100 sports clubs commit to culture change in SA

10 April 2014

The cricket season might be over, but that hasn’t stopped Tea Tree Gully District Cricket Club from achieving outstanding results for their community, recently becoming the one hundredth sports club in South Australia to reach Level 3 accreditation with Good Sports.

The Australian Drug Foundation’s Good Sports program works in communities to make sports clubs safe and healthy. Level 3 is the highest level clubs can attain as part of the program which helps clubs to manage alcohol responsibly to become more family-friendly.

Being a Good Sports club means changing practices and adopting Good Sports policies, such as safe transport options, smoke-free club rooms, alcohol alternative fundraising and training in Responsible Service of Alcohol.

Club President John Davey said that Good Sports was helping to promote positive messages and examples around alcohol.

“The TTGDCC has benefitted greatly from its association with Good Sports. Our volunteers, members and players, through education and appropriate signage, are now aware how to regulate, manage and control alcohol consumption.”

Scott Edgecombe, Good Sports State Manager for SA, said alcohol is a leading cause of preventable illness and death in Australia, and breaking the link between alcohol and sport has never been more important.

“By joining Good Sports and achieving accreditation, Tea Tree Gully District is showing the community that they care about the health and wellbeing of their players and members,” he said.

“Congratulations to the club for leading the way in changing Australia’s binge drinking culture.” 

For more information about Good Sports visit www.goodsports.com.au or find us on Facebook.com/GoodSportsClubs

 
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eBooks: Getting you on the right page

9 April 2014

The specialist online library, ADF SEARCH is making quality information even more accessible by making available a wide range of eBook titles.

Released late last year, the Australian Drug Foundation’s ADF SEARCH service provides access to licensed content from about 4000 scholarly journals, the Australian Drug Foundation’s own DrugInfo resources, literature from other not-for-profit organisations and governments, and now a great selection of eBooks.

The eBook collection covers a variety of topics of interest for those working or studying in the field of alcohol and other drugs. Included in the collection are key textbooks, clinician handbooks and reference texts about addiction, prevention, substance use, treatment, drug use in different settings as well as research and practise about psychology, politics and economics of drug use.

More than 60 eBook titles are available for download on your tablet, smartphone or desktop.

To hire an eBook, users can search the ADF SEARCH catalogue and download the digital version suitable for their device. Users will need to first become a member of ADF SEARCH.

eBook users can select the borrowing period, anywhere from a few hours to seven days. Loaned eBooks can be accessed from multiple devices and users also have the option of printing pages and adding notes, annotations and bookmarks.  

For more information on ADF SEARCH’s eBooks collection please refer to the DrugInfo FAQ page. Further assistance is available for ADF SEARCH members.

To access ADF SEARCH and download the free eBooks go to www.druginfo.adf.org.au.

 
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Basketball QLD to promote healthy food and drink in sport with Good Sports

7 March 2014

Basketball Queensland has become the first state sporting body to form a partnership with the Australian Drug Foundation’s Good Sports program.

Good Sports works in communities to make sports clubs safe and healthy. Through the program, clubs learn about managing alcohol responsibly to become more family-friendly. In Queensland, the program has an added benefit, providing advice to sports clubs around healthy eating as well.

Graham Burns, Basketball Queensland CEO, said that by working with Good Sports to promote healthier food and drink in clubs, they hope to lead the way for other sporting codes across the country.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with Good Sports as we see this as a means to provide member associations with an understanding of best practice in relation to management of binge drinking and healthy choices in their canteens”.

Good Sports QLD Manager and ex-Boomer player, Daniel Egan, said that with this new partnership, the Australian Drug Foundation hopes to further assist clubs in the code to promote healthier attitudes.

“This is a big move by Basketball Queensland to show leadership in the area of binge drinking and junk food in sport.

“Basketball clubs right across the state have been committing to healthier environments for some time, with 16 clubs and associations already signed-up to the Good Sports program,” Daniel said.

“We’re thrilled to be able to strengthen this relationship, working with Basketball Queensland to get even more basketball clubs and associations on board.”

For over a decade, the Good Sports program has been assisting sporting clubs across Australia to manage alcohol and tobacco. In Queensland, the program has evolved to now include healthy eating through the program Good Sports Healthy Eating.

The program has combined and built on the success of the original Good Sports program and Food for Sport: Health Food and Drink Guidelines for Sporting Clubs. It is a joint Australian, State and Territory Government initiative under the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health.

For more information visit www.goodsports.com.au or find us on Facebook.com/GoodSportsClubs

 
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