Friday, 25 July 2014

Winter School Day 2 - What the Tweets told us

Winter School, an annual conference for AOD professionals, began on Wednesday in Brisbane.  Day 1 was dedicated to workshops, with presentations and panels starting yesterday.

Whilst some of our staff have been at the event, and will no doubt come back and share some of the presentations they've seen (perhaps here on the blog *less then subtle hint*),  we've been watching the tweets from the conference to see what the hottest topics have been.  Here's a summary for those who haven't been there...

Dr Adam Winstock - The Internet and Drugs
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there was a lot of discussion around the first presentation by the International Keynote speaker. Dr Winstock comes from the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London. 
You may have come across the college before, as they are quite involved in AOD research and I've cover them here briefly once when they offered a free online course.

On the topic of drug use and harm

And, of course, on the topic of drugs for sale on the Internet.  Availability was mentioned in several tweets, as was cryptocurrencies that make detection of purchases difficult.  Also discussed was the assertion that the first thing purchased via the Internet was cannabis!

Alcohol Ad Review
Plenty of interest (and tweets) about the 2nd Alcohol Advertising Review Board Annual report.  Particularly, around alcohol advertising on social media.

Beat da binge campaign
A number of people discussing the "Beat da binge" campaign, and Ian Patterson's presentation on the positives of a community approach in Indigenous communities.

You can find out more about this campaign and its reported effectiveness here, here, and here.

Youth stream
The youth focused stream of the conference is also attracting a bit of discussion online

Undoubtedly, there will be plenty of discussion online today.  If you are on Twitter the conference is using #AWS2014, and you can search this to pull up relevant tweets.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

National Drugs Strategy Household Survey - 2013 first stats

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has begun releasing results from the 2013 National Drugs Strategy Household Survey.  The NDSHS looks at the prevalence of current use and lifetime use of drugs and alcohol, by examining a cross section of the Australian population. 

Today's media release touches on some of the trends that have been identified in the data.  The full report is due for release at the end of the year.

Some of the information, so far...


18-24 y/o who had never smoked had significantly increased from 2010 (from 72% to 77%)
Daily smoking has declined from 15.1% (2010) to 12.8%
Younger smokers have delayed smoking up-take from 14.2y/o (1995) to 15.9y/o

Daily drinking has declined significantly from 7.2% (2010) to 6.5% (2013)
The proportion of 12-17y/o abstaining from alcohol from 64% (2010) to 72% (2013)
There have been significant decreases in people over 14 y/o exceeding lifetime risk guidelines, 20% (2010) to 18.2% (2013)
In 2013, more people thought that alcohol caused the most drug-related deaths and this was the most commonly mentioned drug (34%), increasing from 30% in 2010, and for the first time was higher than tobacco.
Illicit Substances
In 2013, 42% of Australians reported that they had used substances illicitly
The number of people participating in illicit drug use is increasing
There have been significant decreases 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%)
Misuse of pharmaceuticals has significantly increased from 4.2% to 4.7%
2013 was the first year the survey collected data on synthetic substances, it was found that 1.2% of the population (about 230,000 people) had used synthetic cannabinoids in the last 12 months, and 0.4% (about 80,000 people) had used another psychoactive substance such as mephedrone.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Podcasts for PD

Considered podcasts for a professional development activity?

Podsocs is a site compiling podcasts for social workers, hosted by Griffith University
Some sample topics:
- Social work in disasters
- Social work, robots and a technological future
- Finding Aboriginal identity

ABC Radio National's All In The Mind program has an archive of podcasts.  The show explores the connection between brain and behaviour
Sample topics:
- Willpower
- The forces that shape us
- Brain training for mental illness

The Wise Counsel Podcast has interviews on the topic of mental health and psychotherapy.  This one doesn't have recent content, but the archives are interesting nonetheless.
Sample topics:
- Organize your mind, organize your life
- Trauma and art
- Forensic psychology

As always, if you have any suggestions for your colleagues please share in the comments.