Wednesday, 26 November 2014

National Drug Strategy Household Survey - information from the detailed report

The detailed report for the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey has been released.  Some months ago we covered the first released findings from the survey, which you can revisit.  Here we'll cover some of the trends and statistics not covered in that earlier release.

  • People who live in regional and remote areas are twice as likely to smoke.  The significant declines that have been seen in daily smoking from 2010 to 2013 only apply to those living in major cities
  • Daily smoking and drinking increases with increased remoteness
  • People living with the lowest socioeconomic status (SES) were 3 times more likely to smoke than those in the highest SES 
  • People in the highest SES were more likely to drink at risky levels and to have taken ecstasy or cocaine in the last 12 months than those in the lowest SES 
  • Indigenous people were 2.5 times more likely to smoke tobacco than non-Indigenous people
  • Use of illicit drugs in the last 12 months was far more common in those who identified as homosexual or bisexual as compared with those who identified as heterosexual
  • Twice as many illicit drug users than non-users identified having a mental health issue
  • Those who were unemployed were more likely to smoke daily; used cannabis, methamphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy; and misused pharmaceuticals than those who were employed   

You can get further details by reading the full report here:

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Grant writing toolkit

The National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) at Flinders University have launched an online toolkit for non-government agencies for doing grant and funding applications Fund Assist
The toolkit takes you through a step-by-step process to create a funding portfolio.  The portfolio provides a platform to document consistent messages and information about an organisation so that it is readily available for applications.  There is space to collate feedback received from past grant applications to ensure that mistakes may be corrected.  The site also provides detailed information on assessing the organisation's track record and identifying strengths and opportunities.
Using the funding portfolio you are stepped through:
  • Funding evaluation criteria
  • Setting up a funding development team
  • Identifying funding sources
  • Developing a proposal
  • Writing the funding application
Each section is accompanied by activity sheets, links, videos, and resources, and each completed step can be exported in a Word document.
The website also has a database of funding sources and resources to help identify funding opportunities. 
The site is well presented and easy to navigate.  You'll even find strategically placed comics throughout the material, such as the following:
As a general rule, if a website contains a Dilbert comic it's both reliable and valid.  Retrieved from: NCETA 2014
Visit the website here:

Friday, 7 November 2014

International drug policy comparison - UK report

The UK Government have recently released the findings of a comparative investigation of the drug policies and laws of 11 countries.  The Drugs: International Comparators report aimed to assess the effectiveness of drug policy internationally and consider the implications on UK policy.

Countries examined embody a range of drug policy; from Japan's "zero-tolerance" policies to Portugal's decriminalisation.  Australia was not covered in the comparison, but is referred to in reference to drug courts, drug consumption rooms, heroin assisted treatment

Commentators have been quick to jump on the suggestion that the report offers that severity of punishment has little effect on numbers of people using drugs.   The report's authors however, are more reluctant to make such firm conclusions.  They suggest that whilst a country such as Portugal that made significant changes to their drug policies in 1999, including decriminalisation, has experienced declines in drug use and related harm, it is hard to separate the effect of decriminalisation from a general policy reform of adopting a harm minimisation approach to illicit drugs. 

The report has caused a storm of debate in the UK over the last week, with some calling for decriminalisation as a logical outcome of the report, whilst others claim the report does not provide sufficient evidence for policy change.     

You can read the report here - Drugs: International Comparators
... and a Google News search on the topic will supply you with enough reading material for the next month.