ATCA Budget Response

The Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association (ATCA) joins other peak bodies and organisations in the alcohol and other drug (AOD) field calling on the Government to reconsider its decision regarding drug testing of welfare recipients, announced in this week’s budget.

Dr Lynne Magor-Blatch, Executive Officer of ATCA, said today, “The, “Don’t do drugs” response from the Prime Minister on Radio National on Wednesday, completely overlooks a number of vital issues.  Many people who have become caught up in substance use are working hard to change their lives, and many are in this position because of a whole range of issues, some of which have been out of their control.”

Dr Magor-Blatch stated that, “Approximately 200,000 people receive AOD treatment annually in Australia, however it is estimated that as many as 200,000 – 500,000 more are seeking treatment and are unable to access it. [1]

The Minister for Social Services Hon Christian Porter, when questioned recently on the ABC RN Drive show, agreed that this decision would affect approximately 11,000 people annually – and that people would be expected to “take all reasonable steps” to address their drug problem.  While he drew attention to the funds distributed through the Ice Taskforce and Primary Health Networks, he agreed that there may be a continuing shortage of residential rehabilitation beds.  The scheme will therefore rely on counselling – suited for people who are at the less complex end of the spectrum, and services already in operation.  There will be no new funding for AOD services – and particularly those that work with complex clients.”

Members of ATCA provide quality evidence-based treatment programs through residential therapeutic communities, day programs, detoxification services and outclient services.  However, while all ATCA members have received a guarantee of funding through to 2018, none have received indexation since 2013.  This means, in real terms, that services have been reduced and services are at a point where they can no longer meet existing demand.  This will be further impacted by drug testing welfare recipients who are unable to find a place in a treatment service.

Studies have clearly shown that for every $1 invested in AOD treatment, society gains $7 through reduced healthcare and legal costs – in fact ATCA has found that their services alone provide a savings to Governments of more than $146,000 per person per annum.

“However, despite this evidence, this week’s budget represents the “big stick” approach without the “carrot” which would help people to get the help they need”, Dr Magor-Blatch stated.

While the drug testing measure announced in the Budget   is purported to be accompanied by a suite of additional welfare reform measures aimed at coercing engagement with AOD treatment, including the “removal of exemptions due to drugs or alcohol abuse” and removal of eligibility for the Disability Support Pension, there is no increased  funding in the budget for drug treatment.

“ATCA is working with families and individuals, and we see first-hand the stress these families are under, and the complete sense of helplessness often experienced when a family member cannot access the treatment they need.  There is little point in identifying an AOD problem if there is no capacity to treat it.  Drug testing welfare recipients will prove to be a costly but pointless exercise in this context if there is nowhere for people to go for treatment.

Instead of drug testing, this funding would have achieved a far better outcome for individuals and families if it had been put into treatment services”.

[1] New Horizons: The review of alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia:$File/The-Review-of-alcohol-and-other-drug-treatment-services-in-Australia.pdf

Jobs: Registered Nurses – Southern Highlands NSW

David Martin Place (DMP) is a new in-patient withdrawal unit at Triple Care Farm in the Southern Highlands (Robertson) of NSW run by Mission Australia.

We are currently recruiting 4.2 FTE Registered Nurses to provide holistic care to the young people (ages 16 to 24) in a rural detox setting.

DMP is a brand new purpose built 10 bed in-patient withdrawal management facility. Interested?

Then please follow this link:

Readiness to change drug use research

Readiness to change drug use and help-seeking intentions of police detainees: findings from the DUMA program / Alexandra Gannoni and Susan Goldsmid

Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 520 January 2017

The nexus between drug use and crime is well established. Offenders are considerably more likely to use illicit drugs than the general population, and a large proportion of offenders attribute their criminal offending to drug use, yet very little is known about how to respond effectively to drug problems among police detainees.

Using data obtained through the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program, this paper explores the readiness to change drug use and help-seeking intentions of Australian police detainees with drug problems.

The analysis revealed those detainees most in need of drug treatment were also those most ready to change their drug use. The findings serve as a reminder of the need and desire for interventions for drug abuse among the police detainee population, and have implications for the development of intervention strategies aimed at reducing drug use among offender populations.

Safer Injecting Workshop

Sydney MSIC Safer Injecting Workshop

If you’re currently working or volunteering to support people who inject drugs, and have some level of training and/or experience, this workshop is for you. This workshop is a full day course which aims to expand your skills in providing safer injecting advice, and build your understanding of:

  • Safer injecting practices including high risk injecting and related problems
  • Performance and image-enhancing drugs (steroids)
  • Drug filtration (particularly opioid tablets) for injection with a practical demonstration using wheel filters
  • An introduction to opioid overdose identification and management.

You will receive interactive and specialised training from our team of clinical experts, providing you with the knowledge, skills and confidence to enhance your work. There will be plenty of opportunities to ask the questions you’ve always wanted to ask, in a safe environment.

We’ve also added a new component on the administration of Narcan (Naloxone) in a community setting, and we’ll give you your own take-home kit containing two doses of Narcan. You will be able to recognise and effectively intervene in an opioid overdose – and maybe save a life.

Dates (each workshop is stand-alone):

  • Monday 1 May 2017 (applications close Monday 17 April)
  • Monday 9 October 2017 (applications close Monday 25 September)

Time: 9.00am-4.30pm

Cost: $200 (includes cost of take-home Narcan kit)

Lunch and light refreshments provided

You’re very welcome to attend an early morning tour of the service at 8.30am before the training starts – just let us know when you book.

For a booking form, please go to:

National Family Drug Support Day 2017

An update from the folks at Family Drug Support:

Family Drug Support (FDS) is pleased to announce that details on the 2017 National FDS Day are now available at:

National FDS Day Website

The 1st National Family Drug Support Day was held on the 24th February 2016 – the anniversary of the passing of my son Damien Trimingham from a drug related overdose – and has now become an annual event to highlight the need for families to not only be recognised and heard but to be supported and encouraged to speak about their concerns and their needs.

In 2016 the focus of the National FDS Day was on how alcohol and other drug issues can affect any family.

2017 will be the 20th anniversary of FDS and the focus for the National Day will be on the need to focus on the person and not the drug. Too often the media and others focus so much on the drug, as we see with ‘ice’, and forget that drug use is actually about people, not a chemical concoction.

Accordingly, the three objectives of the National Family Drug Support Day remain:

  • Reducing stigma and discrimination for families and drug users
  • Promoting family drug support services for families and friends
  • Promoting harm reduction strategies for families and friends


PhD Scholarships 2017


The National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) invites expressions of interest from suitably qualified candidates for two PhD scholarships related to new ARC-funded sociological research projects in the area of alcohol and other drug use.

The research projects are qualitative in method, and address the following issues:

  1. Performance and image-enhancing drug (PIED) use:interview-based, observational and cognate methods will investigate how men who inject PIEDs give meaning to their use and how they understand the health aspects of PIED use. [One scholarship]
  2. Uptake of naloxone, the lifesaving medication for reversing opioid overdose:interview-based, observational and cognate methods will investigate experiences of naloxone administration and the reasons for Australia’s relative lack of progress in expanding use of this important medication. [One scholarship]

The projects are based in the Social Studies of Addiction Concepts (SSAC) Program, NDRI Melbourne. This program draws on cutting edge social theory including new materialism, science and technology studies and governmentality theory to generate original socially grounded perspectives on drug use and related issues. In doing so it uses a range of methods including policy analysis, interviews, field observation and cultural studies analysis.

Project collaborators include Monash University, Burnet Institute and King’s College, London.

The Scholarships

The two scholarships will each support the overall aims of the respective projects. Successful applicants will collaborate with the chief investigators to identify thesis projects able to contribute directly to the aims of the larger projects while also reflecting the interests and aspirations of the students.

Each scholarship carries an annual tax-free stipend of approximately $26,288 (quoted here at 2016 rate) per year for three years. Both scholarships start in early 2017 (exact timing negotiable), and are based at NDRI’s Melbourne offices, located on Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. PhD candidates may also have access to additional paid work.

The Institute

NDRI is a centre for excellence in alcohol and other drug research and receives core funding from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. It is one of the largest centres of alcohol and other drug research expertise in Australia, employing about 30 research staff in Perth and Melbourne across a range of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, epidemiology, psychology and public health. It has a strong national and international profile, and is involved in collaborative research in Australia and overseas.

The Application

The successful applicants will:

  •           be Australian or New Zealand citizens or Australian Permanent Residents;
  •           hold or expect to obtain First Class or Upper Second Honours or equivalent results and experience in sociology, gender studies, anthropology, or a related discipline (e.g. youth studies); and
  •           be able to undertake field research (interviews, observation) or other empirical research in diverse settings.

Experience of qualitative research in a relevant field will be highly regarded.

Expressions of interest containing a current CV, academic transcripts and statement of interest including brief description of: 1. research interests and relevant experience; 2. methods and approaches of interest (two pages maximum including references) should be emailed to Professor Suzanne Fraser at:

DUE DATE: Friday December 16, 2016.

Please consult Curtin University’s guidance on preparing PhD scholarship applications for information about structuring your CV and statement of interest.

For further information, contact Professor Suzanne Fraser at:

or go to

Applied Research in Crime and Justice Conference 2017

Applied Research in Crime and Justice Conference

On 15 & 16 February 2017 the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research and the Griffith Criminology Institute will host the annual Applied Research in Crime and Justice Conference in Sydney. The conference will showcase empirical, policy relevant research across all crime and justice domains.

Keynote speakers

Professor Stephen Raphael, Berkeley
on Sentencing and Public Safety

Elizabeth Drake, Washington State Institute of Public Policy
on Reducing Crime: ‘What works’ versus cost 

Professor Jerry Ratcliffe, Temple University
on The Future of Predictive Policing

Professors Rick Sarre, University of South Australia,
and Paul Mazzerole, Griffith University

on How to Improve Law, Order and Criminal Justice with $100 million.

Key information

When 15-16 February 2017
Where Darling Harbour, Sydney
Cost $720 each for individuals
$600 each for groups of 3 or more

Yours sincerely,

Dr Don Weatherburn
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research

Web :
Phone 02 8346 1100

Tackling smoking: making the evidence easily accessible (webinar)

Tackling smoking: making the evidence easily accessible (webinar)

The Australian Indigenous Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre (the Knowledge Centre) in collaboration with Renee Bittoun from the Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney, are hosting a webinar on Tuesday 30 August 2016.

The webinar will explore how the Knowledge Centre can help workers, policy makers, researchers, students, or anyone interested in the area of tobacco cessation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The webinar will run for one hour, and highlight areas such as:

  • the Tackling Indigenous Smoking portal
  • the Tobacco section on the Knowledge Centre
  • the Community portal on the Knowledge Centre
  • the Worker’s portal on the Knowledge Centre
  • the Preventing Aboriginal Maternal Smoking in Western Australia portal.

The webinar will be free to attend, and there is no additional software required to join the webinar, other than a stable internet connection.

The webinar will be held at:

12-1PM EST

10-11AM AWST.

To attend the webinar, please click on this link prior to it commencing.

Jobs: Project Officer – Western Australia

The Western Australian Substance Users Association (WASUA) is a state-wide, community based organization that aims to improve the health and social circumstances of people who use drugs (PWUD) in WA.

WASUA is staffed and governed by people who have had personal experience of substance use and /or people who have an interest in substance use issues and support WASUA’s practice and principles.

The Overdose Prevention and Management Program (OPAM) and Peer-administered Naloxone Project aim to reduce the incidence of death and morbidity associated with opioid overdose (OD).

They work to educate community members and to increase awareness of risk factors and knowledge of prevention and management strategies appropriate to OD.

Duties include recruiting, training and supporting a small team of volunteer peer educators and delivering training to, and supporting, people who use drugs, their families and significant others to develop skills, including; recognising an overdose and responding as a first aider, basic life support, and how and when to administer naloxone.


Job tasks and responsibilities;

  • Support the recruitment and training of volunteer peer educators,
  • Facilitate accurate record keeping and ongoing supervision of peer volunteer activities,
  • Organise and facilitate the provision of Naloxone training events as per the service contract,
  • Participate as a productive team member.


Further details can be found here;

Jobs – Clinical Director, South Austraila

Clinical Director, Drug & Alcohol Services South Australia (DASSA)

 DASSA is looking for an esteemed medical consultant with superior skills and experience in addiction medicine to fill the role of Clinical Director. An individual with well-developed networks in the alcohol and drug field including links to academic institutions and a track record of published research would be well regarded.

While reporting to the Deputy Chief Executive, System Performance and Service Delivery, SA Health, the appointee will work in partnership with the State Director, DASSA, on a day to day basis.  This role will contribute to the achievement of relevant key performance indicators and strategic and operational deliverables for government operated alcohol and other drug treatment services for South Australia. Operationally, the Clinical Director will be responsible for the overall management and operation of clinical services and infrastructure across DASSA, including inpatient and outpatient services.

It is essential that the Clinical Director has a high level of knowledge of state, national and international drug policy and an understanding of the legislation and the structural mechanisms, which impact on drug related harm in South Australia. The position will also provide significant state-wide clinical leadership, particularly with the ongoing implementation of the DASSA model of care.

Highly developed communication skills with an exceptional degree of initiative with proven ability to develop innovative solutions to organisational issues and operational practices is required. Proven ability and experience in public speaking and media communication skills are also key to the success of this role.

DASSA has a well-established clinical governance framework and this role is the clinical lead and Chair of the DASSA Clinical Executive Committee.  Importantly, DASSA maintains a high level of transparency and accountability to internal and external stakeholders. The Clinical Director is an ex-officio member of the Community Advisory Council, a strategic committee for clients, carers and community to participate in the development, implementation and evaluation of DASSA programs and broader policy.

Through providing advice to the Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse and membership on the SA Health Safety and Quality Strategic Governance Committee, the Clinical Director has a significant opportunity to provide high level advice and influence to ensure drug and alcohol policy service delivery initiatives are appropriately prioritised.

Since 2003, DASSA has worked with the University of Adelaide to operate the DASSA World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Research in the Treatment of Drug and Alcohol Problems. The Centre has developed project and research based collaborations with many overseas organisations interested in evidence based treatment. In addition, the Centre provides valued support to the Cochrane Collaborative Review Group on Drugs and Alcohol. Up to 0.3 FTE of the Clinical Director role can be dedicated to further the achievements of the Centre.

Employment Terms: A competitive salary and flexible on-boarding arrangement including relocation and accommodation support will be negotiated with the successful candidate. In addition, from October 2016, there will be the option for this role to undertake private practice arrangements.

 For a confidential discussion, please contact Principal Search Consultant, Chris Thorburn
m: +61 (0) 407 620 918 e:

To obtain selection documentation please email quoting Ref No. H16_2320.

Applications Close: Friday 29th July 2016