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Support for pharmaceutical cannabis – with conditions
25 August 2014


Victorians suffering terminal disease, intense pain or debilitating conditions should have access to pharmaceutical cannabis under prescription.

The Australian Drug Foundation has congratulated the Victorian Labor Party for yesterday committing to investigating options.

National Policy Manager Geoff Munro said some serious and debilitating conditions have been proven to be relieved by use of cannabis with low levels of THC, and he is pleased the policy platform rules out the smoking of crude cannabis.

"As a compassionate society, there is no reason to prevent doctors prescribing pharmaceutical cannabis to those people for whom other medication has not provided relief," Mr Munro said.

"The medically supervised use of other drugs, including heavy opiates which are very similar to heroin, is common-place in our community. It's time we introduced the therapeutic use of cannabis for people who lack other alternatives and who suffer badly.

"We take note of the medical principle of 'doing no harm'. So while we support using pharmaceutical cannabis to reduce pain and suffering in a small group of people, we cannot ignore the strong evidence which shows it can damage mental health and cause harm.

"Australia must avoid the model of medical marijuana in the United States, where it is de facto legalisation and there is little control over its availability to the general population.

"It has led to the proliferation of cannabis products including confectionery and soft drinks which will appeal to children, and risks establishing Big Marijuana as a third addictive industry after Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol."

The Australian Drug Foundation would support a system of pharmaceutical cannabis only if it included the following conditions:

• the patient is diagnosed by a medical specialist, or a physician, as suffering from an ailment that the medical evidence suggests is likely to be relieved by pharmaceutical cannabis, for example: conditions are pain or other debilitating conditions associated with terminal illness, neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatment,

• the patient remains under the supervision of a medical specialist or physician so that their physical and mental health is monitored so that appropriate action can be taken if the use of pharmaceutical cannabinoids appears to have an unduly detrimental effect on the individual's quality of life,

• the patient's condition has proved resistant to conventional therapies and interventions,

• the patient agrees to the self-use only of the pharmaceutical cannabis and not to transfer it to any other person,

• the establishment of a 'medical cannabis review board' to oversee the therapeutic use of cannabis,

• that continuing research is conducted into the efficacy and safety of cannabis products for therapeutic purposes.

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ACT funding for Good Sports Healthy Eating

22 August 2014

The Australian Drug Foundation has received $430,000 funding from the ACT government to extend the successful Good Sports program in the territory.

Australian Drug Foundation National Manger of Community Programs, Jon McGregor, said the new funding will allow the Australian Drug Foundation to build on its existing alcohol management program and deliver much needed education and support for sports clubs about healthy eating.

"The Good Sports program is all about helping community clubs and people to adopt healthy behaviours to tackle alcohol, obesity, tobacco and mental health through sport," Mr McGregor said.

"Alcohol, tobacco and obesity together are the three main contributors to disability and death in Australia.

"We thank the ACT government and Chief Minster Katy Gallagher for this three-year funding grant, so we can continue to support ACT sports clubs to become safer, more family-friendly places for people to get healthy through sport. Good Sports is creating a healthier future for the great Australian sports club."

Good Sports is Australia's largest preventive health program for the community sporting sector, with over 6500 clubs involved nationally.

In the ACT there are:

• 49 Good Sports accredited clubs and another 14 accredited clubs from across the border that compete in ACT competitions.

• Clubs representing 15 sporting codes (particularly AFL, cricket, football, rugby league and rugby union clubs).

• Twelve state sporting associations endorsing the program with eight of these accredited.

Good Sports started in the ACT in late 2010 and was last year also supported by the ACT Government under the ACT Health Promotion Grants Program.

For more information about Good Sports visit or find us on


ADF's Jon McGregor and ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher annouce the funding.

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About the Australian Drug Foundation: Celebrating more than 50 years of service to the community, the Australian Drug Foundation is one of Australia's leading bodies committed to preventing alcohol and other drug problems in communities around the nation. The Foundation reaches millions of Australians in local communities through sporting clubs, workplaces, health care settings and schools, offering educational information, drug and alcohol prevention programs and advocating for strong and healthy communities.



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Nominations are now open for the Good Sports Awards

15 August 2014

Nominations are now open for this year's Good Sports Awards celebrating community clubs that are promoting healthy behaviours to tackle alcohol, obesity and mental health through sport.

Good Sports works in communities to make clubs safe and healthy through the responsible management of alcohol. The program also includes initiatives for mental health and nutrition through Good Sports Healthy Minds and Good Sports Healthy Eating.

Sport has the power to inspire, bring people together and help achieve dreams. We want to reward the people and clubs whose dream it is to see a healthier future for their communities.

Last year's winner, Hectorville Sports & Community Club, had this to share about their win:

"There are so many clubs out there doing fabulous things in the spirit of the Good Sports Program and these awards really do highlight and reward the positive changes clubs can achieve. Since winning the Good Sports Club of the Year in Nov 2013, our club has had a wonderful year of continued membership growth, increased success in grants and sponsorship and successfully engaged our very supportive local council to invest $100,000 in clubroom renovations. We pro-actively make it known to our members, local community, sponsors and government organisations about our participation in the program and how it is helping to turn around statistics at our club and in the community. Hectorville Sports and Community Club wishes all clubs nominating for the awards all the very best and look forward to reading all about the winners later this year!"

From Perth to Bondi, Alice Springs and everywhere in between – there are now more than 6500 clubs in the Good Sports family. Which one will receive the title of Good Sports Club of the Year?

Nominate your club now.

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2000 NSW sport clubs take on the Good Sports cause

29 July 2014

Two-thousand NSW sporting clubs have pledged to tackle binge drinking in sport.

The Australian Drug Foundation’s Good Sports program is working with communities to make sports clubs safe and healthy by managing alcohol more responsibly.

Nikki Woolley, Good Sports NSW State Manager, said alcohol is a leading cause of preventable illness and death in Australia.

“Breaking the link between alcohol and sport has never been more important,” she said.

“When we brought Good Sports to NSW eight years ago, asking a sporting club to reconsider how they promote and manage alcohol around the grounds was a tough ask. The fact that we now have 2000 clubs committed to the Good Sports program just shows how far our clubs have come.”

Good Sports clubs are safer because they provide Responsible Service of Alcohol training for all bar staff, smoke-free club rooms, and plan for how members will get home safely if they drink at the club.

Parkes Touch Association is the 2000th club to register with the program in NSW.

Sue McGrath, Parkes Touch Association Board Member, said that community sports clubs are moving away from the binge drinking culture of years ago.

“At Parkes Touch, we can already see the benefits of being part of this program. It has refocused our committee on the best things in our sport and is giving us the positive framework to encourage inclusion of all members of our community,” Sue said.

Good Sports is Australia’s largest preventive health program for the community sporting sector. With more than 6500 clubs involved nationally, around 30 per cent of Good Sports clubs in NSW.

Transport for NSW is the major supporter of Good Sports in NSW, helping Good Sports reduce the incidence of drink-driving and encourage safe driving among young drivers. Drink driving is a factor in around one in every five crashes in NSW where someone loses their life.

For more information about Good Sports visit or find us on

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1 in 10 workers absent or affected by drugs at work

28 July 2014

A new poll has revealed how many Victorian employees take sick days or are affected by drugs at work.

The poll conducted by the Australian Drug Foundation found:

  • 10% of Victorian employees had either taken a day off and/or gone to work feeling the effects of their drug use.

In a large sample of Victorian workers, drugs were identified as illegal drugs, synthetic drugs and un-prescribed pharmaceutical medications.

The Australian Drug Foundation’s Head of Workplace Services, Phillip Collins, said weekend drug use can have a major impact on workplace productivity, performance, absenteeism and office health and safety.

“Feeling the after effects of weekend drug use can be just as problematic as being intoxicated on the job. Headaches, blurred vision, irritability, difficulty concentrating and extreme tiredness can all create organisational problems.

“Drugs and alcohol cost Australian businesses $6 billion a year in lost productivity and absenteeism alone. Then there’s the serious health and safety risks in the workplace, particularly where employees operate machinery or drive vehicles.”

Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in Australia, with the most recent National Drug Strategy Household Survey finding that more than 20 per cent of 18-29 year olds had used cannabis in the last 12 months.

Mr Collins said that many workplaces are now looking to drug testing as a solution to ensure workers aren’t under the influence of drugs while at work - but he warns that employers should be wary.

“Drug testing isn’t the only solution, and simply will not work when delivered in isolation. All businesses need a formal workplace policy in conjunction with education, training and support programs.”

The Australian Drug Foundation’s poll surveyed 1000 Victorian employees and was funded by the Myra Stoicesco Charitable Fund.

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