AIHW 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey Results Encouraging

Press release from the AIHW. The outcomes on smoking are particularly encouraging:

Smoking rates in Australia continue to drop, according to new results released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The key findings from the AIHW’s 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, released online today, show that fewer Australians are smoking daily-the daily smoking rate dropped significantly between 2010 and 2013, from 15.1% to 12.8% among people 14 or older.

‘This means the daily smoking rate has halved since 1991,’ said AIHW spokesperson Geoff Neideck.

‘Smokers have also reduced the average number of cigarettes they smoke per week-down from 111 cigarettes in 2010 to 96 cigarettes in 2013.’

And the results show younger people are delaying starting. The proportion of 12-17 year olds who had never smoked remained high in 2013 at 95%, and the proportion of 18-24 year olds who had never smoked increased significantly between 2010 and 2013 (from 72% to 77%).

The age at which 14 to 24-year-olds smoked their first full cigarette was almost 16, rising from 14.2 to 15.9 years of age between 1995 and 2013.

Younger people are also continuing to delay their first alcoholic drink. The age at which 14 to 24-year-olds first tried alcohol rose from 14.4 to 15.7 years of age between 1998 and 2013.

‘Overall, fewer younger people aged 12 to 17 are drinking alcohol, with the proportion abstaining from alcohol rising from 64% to 72% between 2010 and 2013,’ Mr Neideck said.

‘And more good news is that compared to 2010, fewer people overall drank alcohol in quantities that exceeded the lifetime risk and single occasion risk guidelines in 2013.’

However, almost 5 million people in Australia aged 14 or older (26%) reported being a victim of an alcohol-related incident in 2013-a decline from 29% in 2010.

‘We’ve also seen declines in the use of ecstasy (from 3.0% to 2.5%), heroin (from 0.2% to 0.1%) and GHB (from 0.1% to less than 0.1%) in 2013, but the misuse of pharmaceuticals is on the rise (from 4.2% in 2010 to 4.7% in 2013),’ Mr Neideck said.

‘While the use of meth/amphetamine remained at a similar level to 2010, there was a major shift in the main form of meth/amphetamine used. Use of powder dropped significantly while the use of ice (or crystal methamphetamine) more than doubled between 2010 and 2013.

The National Drug Strategy Household Survey is conducted every 2-3 years. The 2013 survey collected data from nearly 24,000 people across Australia from 31 July to 1 December 2013.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia’s health and welfare.

Canberra, 17 July 2014

Jobs: Quitline Counsellor, Sydney

If you have great people skills, are motivated by smoking cessation, harm reduction and client-centred practice, then Quitline would love to hear from you.

Alcohol and Drug Clinicians to work as a NSW Quitline Advisor

  • Fixed term (minimum 6 months), Part  time positions
  • 16 to 32 hours per week

St Vincent’s Hospital Alcohol and Drug Service is a long standing centre for excellence providing drug health specialist assistance in a range of face to face treatment clinics and harm reduction by educating, advising and referring the public via telephone and web services. It is well reputed as a training ground for professional health workers in the Alcohol and Drug field.

We are looking for clinicians keen to work across our services. This recruitment round is for staff for the NSW Quitline which works to help people quit smoking tobacco…and stay quit.

If you are energetic, qualified and keen to reduce the harms caused by smoking, we would be happy to welcome you to our friendly team. Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island Health Workers are encouraged to apply. We also welcome bilingual applicants.

The successful applicants would work rotating shift rosters. NSW Quitline requires you to be a non-smoker.

Please read these criteria carefully. You will be contacted to discuss your application if you have responded to all the following criteria.

Essential Criteria:

  • Appropriate health qualification and registration
  • Demonstrated awareness of alcohol and drug issues
  • Demonstrated awareness of smoking cessation issues
  • Demonstrated knowledge of harm reduction when working with clients
  • Demonstrated excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Computer literacy skill (minimum intermediate level)
  • Demonstrated knowledge of working with a database
  • Demonstrated interest in working as a team member
  • Demonstrated interest in professional development
  • Demonstrated knowledge of alcohol and drug issues in culturally diverse communities.
  • Immunisation history complies with NSW Health Policy Directive PD2011_005.
  • The Philosophy, Mission and Values of Mary Aikenhead Ministries

Desirable criteria:

  • Counselling experience.
  • People from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background encouraged to apply
  • Experience working with alcohol and drug dependent people in a specialist or non specialist setting.
  • Demonstrated high level computer skills, at least with Microsoft Office.
  • Call Centre/ telecommunications experience.
  • Smoking cessation related work experience.
  • Current NSW drivers licence.

David Lester, Manager, Phone: (02) 8382 1055

Application Instructions:
Applicants are requested to apply online and to address the selection criteria.
Please address your application to: David Lester, Manager.

PHA Comments on MH17 Loss of HIV Researchers

MEDIA RELEASE: Public Health Association of Australia

Condolences for loss of public health leaders

Professor Heather Yeatman, President of the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA), has expressed deep sorrow at the huge loss to the public health community – and specifically to the international AIDS community – resulting from the tragedy of Malaysian Air Flight MH17.

Scientists, researchers, medical practitioners and activists en route to the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne – as well as many other travellers – have perished aboard the crashed aircraft.

“The members of the PHAA are deeply saddened by the loss of up to a hundred people heading for the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne and nearly three hundred people altogether.  We express our condolences to the families and friends of all who died in this horrific tragedy,” said Professor Yeatman.

“There is an irony in the fact that so many of these people have dedicated their lives in attempting to save others from the AIDS virus and have died in such awful circumstances.

“Confirmation of the loss of people like Joep Lange, a former President of the International AIDS Society, and WHO Media Advisor, Glenn Thomas, along with so many other people at the forefront of the fight against AIDS, will be devastating.

“The members of the PHAA and the public health community join with the international AIDS community in mourning for the loss,” concluded Professor Yeatman.

Survey: effectiveness of Australian police drug diversion

Been busted by the police for a cannabis use / possession offence in the last 3-9 months?

Given a charge or caution?

We want to hear from you!

The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) is conducting a study looking at the effectiveness of Australian police drug diversion for cannabis use/possession offenders. Specifically we seek to compare the outcomes and costs of police diversion (and of different types of police diversion) versus a traditional criminal justice response (criminal charge) for anyone who has been detected for a cannabis use/possession offence.

If you live in Australia, are aged 17+ and have been detected by police for a cannabis use/possession offence in the last 3-9 months we would like you to take part in an online survey. To participate go to:

The survey is anonymous and will take only 15-20 minutes. You will be eligible to win a $200 music voucher as compensation for your time.

If you would like more information contact Marian at UNSW: (02) 8936 1215 or This study has received ethics approval: HREC Ref: # HC1420

What factors affect health outcomes in Australia?

Social Determinants of Health Alliance



What factors affect health outcomes in Australia?

Around 120 people from the health and community sectors are coming together in Canberra on Monday for a public forum to address factors affecting health outcomes in Australia.  The Social Determinants of Health Research Forum is being hosted by the national Social Determinants of Health Alliance (SDOHA).


“It’s vital that the Commonwealth, state and territory governments work together if Australia is to address those social determinants of health that are holding us back in seeking to achieve better health outcomes for the Australian community.  Speakers at the Research Forum will be presenting the latest research findings and evidence in relation to factors impacting on the health of Australians and efforts to improve the nation’s health,” said Michael Moore, SDOHA spokesperson and CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia.


“A brand new report Taking Action on the Social Determinants of Health: Insights from politicians, policymakers and lobbyists will also be being launched at the event by speakers from the Australian National University and Monash University.  These speakers will be arguing that it’s time for a targeted, solutions-focused approach to improve health outcomes,” said Mr Moore.


Speakers at the forum include:

  • Professor Sharon Friel (Professor of Health Equity, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health and Director, Menzies Centre for Health Policy, Australian National University)
  • Professor Mike Salvaris (Professorial Research Fellow, Deakin University and Board Member, Australian National Development Index)
  • Adjunct Associate Professor Rebecca Cassells (Curtin University)
  • Dr Gemma Carey (Research Fellow, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University) and Mr Bradley Crammond (Lecturer, Monash University)
  • Ms Mary Guthrie (General Manager, Policy and Communications, The Lowitja Institute)


What:         Social Determinants of Health Research Forum

Where:      The Brassey of Canberra, Belmore Gardens & Macquarie Street, Barton ACT

When:        Monday 14 July 2014

Time:         1pm – 3:30pm


SDOHA is a collaboration of like-minded organisations from the areas of health, social services and public policy established to work with governments to reduce health inequities in Australia.  The Alliance currently has over 60 organisational members.

2014 APSAD Awards for Excellence In Science, Research and Practice

APSAD is now calling for nominations for the 2014 APSAD Awards.

The Annual APSAD Awards for Excellence in Science, Research and Practice are designed to provide peer recognition for those working in the drug and alcohol field in Australasia.

We have revamped the APSAD Awards and we are pleased to announce the inclusion of a new Clinician Award for any individual providing direct delivery of clinical services, or operating in a strategic managerial position directly relating to service provision, see the Information Pack on the website for more information and the nomination process.

There are four categories of Award:

  • Early Career
  • Senior Scientist
  • First People’s
  • Clinician

All four Awards reflect excellence in the application of theory and knowledge to any aspect of drug and alcohol use or misuse. Recipients of the APSAD Awards will be recognised as having made an outstanding contribution to reducing the harms associated with alcohol and other drug use in Australasia.

Each Award receives;

  1. A plaque and a certificate
  2. $1,000 to go towards subsidising the costs of attending an international or national conference of the nominee’s choice. This could include the APSAD Conference
  3. One year full membership subscription to APSAD
  4. One full registration to the APSAD Conference next year


The Early Career Award receives as an extra:

  1. Presentation of the Early Career Keynote address at the 2014 APSAD Conference
  2. A voucher for one night’s accommodation to attend the APSAD Conference next year.


The Awards will be presented at the 2014 APSAD Conference Dinner in Adelaide on 11th November.

Focus of the Awards
  • The Early Career Award is for excellence in research relative to career opportunities.
  • The Senior Scientist Award is for a scientist who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of substance use and misuse.
  • The First People’s Award recognises an individual that had made and important contribution to the advancement of the health of Aboriginal, Islander or Māori peoples.
  • The Clinician Award recognises excellence and leadership in clinical practice in the field of substance use in any discipline.

All four Awards reflect excellence in the application of theory and knowledge to any aspect of drug and alcohol use or misuse.

The Awards are designed to;

  • acknowledge significant contributions to AOD science and practice;
  • recognise and support young scientists with exceptional potential; and
  • provide role models for future generations of Australasian AOD scientists and clinicians

For further information and to obtain the Information pack and the nomination form, visit the APSAD Awards page on the APSAD Website or contact the APSAD Office:

Ph:     (02) 9252-2287


Nominations are due by 17:00 5th September 2014

Hepatitis C Training – Victoria

Bloody Serious Facts Training: Hepatitis C – 2014 Registrations Now Open!

When:                  Wednesday 13th August , 10am-1pm

(additional sessions on 12th November)

Where:                Suite 5, 200 Sydney Road, Brunswick

Cost:                      $25.00 per person or free if your organisation is a member (up to two members)

Spaces are limited!  For more information and to register visit

This workshop is designed for drug and alcohol workers, nurses, NSP workers, community health staff, students of health professions, prison staff, welfare workers and anyone else working with people who are at risk of or affected by hepatitis C.

The session is delivered in partnership with Harm Reduction Victoria and the Victorian Viral Hepatitis Educator (from St. Vincent’s) and covers

1)      An intro to hepatitis C including transmission, prevention, disclosure and discrimination

2)      Diagnosis and treatment (including a personal perspective)

3)      The impact and meaning of hepatitis C for people who inject drugs

4)      Case studies of clients at risk of or affected by hepatitis C

To confirm attendance please submit payment and email details using the registration form at or email call Hepatitis Victoria on (03) 9385 9101


International Overdose Awareness Day August 31: Prevention and Remembrance

From the Penington Institute:

International Overdose Awareness Day August 31: Prevention and Remembrance.

We have to talk about overdose 


International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31 is approaching. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 1427 Australians died of drug overdose in 2012 (most recent data available). Every one of these deaths is a family tragedy, every one preventable. Unfortunately the issue of drug overdose does get the public attention it so obviously warrants.


We are encouraging as many agencies and individuals to take part by organising events to help stimulate discussion. Needle and Syringe Programs, drug treatment programs and other related services are central to the growth and sustainability of International Overdose Awareness Day.


Events enable friends and family members to grieve openly and help spread awareness of the issue. If the community understands the cost of drug overdose the issue will be recognised as a priority area for our State, Territory and Federal Governments.


Each event organised around the day, no matter how modest in scale, raises awareness and can help save lives. Marking the day need not be complicated. For ideas on holding an event visit the  International Overdose Awareness Day website at


Wearing the silver badge shows you support overdose prevention and remembrance. Badges can be ordered at


Contact if you would like any help in framing your support for International Overdose Awareness Day. Follow us on Twitter at @OverdoseDay or on Facebook at

Jobs: Executive Officer

Executive Officer, Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association (ATCA)

Expressions of Interest are Invited

Appointment: Part-time
Salary level: Total remuneration package in the vicinity of $110,000 p.a. pro rata
Responsible to: The Directors of ATCA
Closing date: Friday 25 July 2014


The Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association (ATCA) currently represents forty-one members (including organisations and individuals), and they in turn manage 65 Therapeutic Communities (TCs) across Australia and New Zealand. These services employ more than one thousand members of staff in a variety of residential and non-residential services, in community and prison settings, and treat over 9,000 people annually as well as providing additional critical services such as detoxification units, family support programs, child care facilities, exit housing and outreach services to a further 23,000 annually.   Therefore, ATCA represents services which provide treatment to more than 32,000 people on an annual basis.

TCs are a proven model of effective treatment for a range of issues, including substance use and mental health, and have been shown to be especially effective for people with coexisting mental health and alcohol and other drug (AOD) conditions and those affected by chronic substance dependency.

ATCA was established in 1986, and from then until 2006, functioned largely as a voluntary association managed by an elected Board comprising CEOs and other Directors from TCs across Australia. Between 1986 and 2005, the Association provided support and peer reviews to 26 Therapeutic Community programs across Australia and New Zealand to ensure that TCs were operating within a quality framework and to ensure the fidelity of the TC model, which had been part of the Australian treatment landscape since the early 1970s with the establishment of the WHOS program and The Buttery in NSW, Odyssey House in NSW and Victoria, Killara House on the NSW/Victorian border and Karralika in the ACT.

In New Zealand, CareNZ had its beginning with the establishment of the National Society of Drug Dependence in 1954, Odyssey House was established in both Christchurch and Auckland in 1977 and Higher Ground in Auckland in 1984.

In 2006, the Association received a grant from the Australian Government Department of Health & Ageing (DoHA) which facilitated the establishment of the ATCA Secretariat.

Since the Secretariat’s inception ATCA membership has increased by 58 percent from 26 members to 41 members, and the number of TCs and other services which of member agencies provide, has also increased significantly.  Attendance at ATCA conferences and training symposia has grown by more than 100 percent.   The Secretariat has successfully contributed to the advancement of the sector in five key areas; treatment, education, support, research and governance, as well as developing quality standards and training for its members.

With the impending retirement of the current executive officer (EO), ATCA is seeking to appoint a successor who will continue the philosophy, ethos and direction of ATCA, continue to develop and support the membership and promote the TC method of treatment to governments, stakeholders and the community.

Position overview

  1. Duration of employment – the position is offered for an initial 12 month period.  A further contract may be entered into between the parties, dependent upon mutual satisfaction of job performance, with reference to the Key Performance Indicators.  Extension of the contract will also be subject to ongoing funding being available.
  1. Hours of work – this is a .5 position (38 hours per fortnight). These hours may be worked flexibly in accord with the needs of the project.  Any work required to be carried out beyond the 38 hours per fortnight allocated will require the approval of the ATCA Chairperson or the relevant Board Sub Committee.
  1. Location – work from home provisions are available in line with the ATCA working from home policy and procedure guidelines.
  1. Lines of Authority – to the Chairperson ATCA and in turn the ATCA Board of Management.



As part of the employment package offered to staff of ATCA, part of the salary will be paid as a non-salary fringe benefit.  The value of this benefit is $611.51 per fortnight.


Superannuation is paid at the rate of 9.5% to a nominated fund.


An Annual Leave entitlement of 76 hours paid leave per annum is paid to an equivalent full time position (ie: 38 hours per fortnight).

Sick Leave – also pro rata, nominally 38 hours paid per annum cumulative for five years but not payable on termination.


During the course of employment with ATCA the EO may become acquainted with or have access to Confidential Information such as financial information, donation amounts, client names, addresses and phone numbers.  Confidentiality must be maintained with regard to this information and prevent its unauthorised disclosure to or, use by, any other person, firm, company or organisation. Confidential Information must not be used for any purpose other than for the benefit of ATCA during or after a period of employment with ATCA.  Staff must not remove any of the confidential information from the premises of ATCA without the written consent of ATCA Board or the Chairperson.


Any and all information gathered and disseminated as part of the Executive Officers role remains the property of ATCA and is not to be used in any other position that the Executive Officer might hold in the future or concurrent positions outside of the Association.


Four weeks notice required, other than by mutual agreement or in the case of dismissal.


The Executive Officer is accountable to the Board of ATCA for all the operational activities undertaken by ATCA.  He/she oversees a small office and staff and is responsible for implementing the strategic direction and policies established by the ATCA Board of Management.

This position requires a person with knowledge of Therapeutic Communities and an understanding of the TC model of treatment.


  1. Responsibilities and Accountabilities


The primary responsibilities of the position are to:

  • Effectively establish the organisation nationally and provide effective leadership to support its vision and values and ensure it is appropriately managed to deliver on its strategic objectives and key priorities


  • Provide strong leadership and vision to create a supportive relationship with members which is flexible, consultative and accountable in its approach and characterised by effective team work, open and honest communication and a strong commitment to good customer service and delivering the best outcomes for those it serves


  • Advocate, negotiate and effectively represent the ATCA at senior levels across government and the broader health sector


  • Work closely with the Board to ensure the organisation is effectively governed and that strategic plans are implemented to achieve its core objectives


  • Provide leadership to the sector through the development of relevant policy and strategic plans, produce discussion papers, participate in key working groups, oversee any projects undertaken by the ATCA and provide forums for consultation regarding key issues


  • Oversee rigorous processes and systems to ensure accountability, particularly in regard to financial and contract management.


  1. Duties


The Executive Officer is responsible for ensuring that ATCA performs in the following key areas:


  1. Representation of the Therapeutic Community in the AOD sector to governments and key decision making bodies.


  1. Representation of the Therapeutic Community in the AOD sector to the broad community


  1. Information provision and brokerage aimed at improving the quality of Therapeutic Community services in the areas of treatment, research, education, and support


  1. The development of consultation and democratic processes aimed at accurately reflecting the views of the ATCA and interested parties


  1. The management and development of ATCA’s organisational structures, staffing and financial accountability


For further information and enquiries please contact:

Dr Lynne Magor-Blatch

T: 0422 904 040


P: PO Box 464

Yass NSW 2582


Stimulants Services Sydney

Stimulant Services
St Vincent’s Hospital
Level 2, O’Brien Centre
Cnr Burton and Victoria Streets
Ph 93618078

Drop In Clinic
Monday to Friday (closed Wednesday) 8.30am to 12pm
The STP Drop-in clinic is open for anyone who uses stimulants. People can attend without an appointment and are provided with 30 minute sessions to address immediate concerns or needs related to their use of methamphetamine or other stimulants.

Outpatient Group:    The Link Group
Wednesday 5.30pm to 7.00pm
This is a topic discussion group using strengths based approaches to support resilience and decision making.  We run a mixed, friendly group that is open to the public. The trained staff are there to invite friendly, considerate discussions on topics that are more about life experiences than drug use which many people find helpful and refreshing. No booking or assessment required, just turn up.

Checkup clinic:    S-Check – Stimulant Checkup Clinic  
Monday – Friday 8.30am to 5pm
S-Check  at St Vincent’s Hospital is a Stimulant Check up, specifically designed for anyone who is using stimulants whether it be a little or a lot, all the time or only sometimes. It’s a place where people can get a non-judgemental, confidential health and wellbeing check with trained professionals.  This is not treatment or a rehab service; it’s much more like making an appointment for a skin check, a dental check-up or any other health check except this one is for people who are using stimulants.

Counselling Service:    STP – Stimulant Treatment Program

Monday – Friday 8.30am to 5pm

This was the first integrated and collaborative treatment program to deal systematically with stimulant related problems. Our counsellors are experienced in working with people who use stimulants and are aware of their specialised needs. The team endeavours to work creatively with their clients in addressing the broader psychosocial factors that both contribute to, and result from problematic stimulant use. Our therapeutic work draws from Strengths base approaches: Mindfulness, Gestalt, Client-Centred and Narrative.