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19/04/2018 12:38 PMnswdoh\60143681

In partnership with the state government, NSW Cancer Institute has launched the Smoking in Pregnancy campaign. The initiative aims to motivate women aged 16-40 who smoke and are: planning a pregnancy, are pregnant or have recently given birth - to make a quit attempt.

Research shows that smoking during pregnancy is the biggest contributing factor to the development of complications and can cause significant health issues for the child throughout their life.

The campaign is based on formative research that revealed there was a limited awareness of the health risks associated with smoking when pregnant and of the support available to stop. The research found that raising awareness of the harms of smoking during pregnancy was more likely to lead to positive behaviour change.

Smoking in Pregnancy includes relatable imagery and positive, non-judgemental language to promote the health benefits of quitting smoking.

Not only does quitting smoking benefit the individual, but it is also is beneficial to the family. Children in non-smoking households are less likely to develop asthma and other respiratory conditions.

There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. Any exposure to tobacco smoke—even an occasional cigarette or exposure to second hand smoke—is harmful. Smoking just one to four cigarettes a day almost triples a person's risk of dying from heart disease or lung cancer.

The campaign launched on April 15th and is supported by the Koori Quitline Facebook page.

To find out more information about quitting smoking visit:

Learn the facts about tobacco and other drugs here.

19/04/2018iCanQuit! Smoking in pregnancy campaign launches
18/04/2018 8:57 AMnswdoh\60143681

Did you know that young people today are more likely to abstain from alcohol, illicit drugs and tobacco than any time since 2001? Contrary to popular belief, young people are actually choosing to drink less or abstain from alcohol completely, while alcohol consumption in older age groups is increasing.

According to the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household survey, in 2016 82 per cent of teenagers aged 12-17 years abstained from drinking compared to 72 per cent in 2013. If we look even further back, alcohol consumption has reached its lowest point since the sixties and data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that this is thanks to reductions in youth drinking.

Driving healthy outcomes

Although these statistics show positive shifts in young people's behaviours and attitudes towards alcohol, there's no denying that alcohol-related harm remains a problem area among NSW youth. With young people regularly exposed to a high volume of alcohol promotion which links alcohol to sport and social success, they are constantly being fed contradictory messages about the effects of alcohol.

The household survey revealed that five per cent of young people aged 12-17 drank more than four standard drinks on one occasion, placing them at risk of immediate harm. Compared to other age groups, teenagers are particularly vulnerable to alcohol-related harms and even small amounts of alcohol can have damaging effects on adolescent brains.

Studies indicate that healthy living is important to younger people, and when educated on the affects and impacts of alcohol and other drugs they are able to make better-informed decisions. This suggests that (among other strategies) an increased focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle – whether this be through regular exercise or community groups - could be crucial in declining youth drinking.

Celebrating NSW youth

NSW Youth Week celebrates young people across every state and territory in Australia. Running this year from April 13th-22nd, it is organised by young people, for young people in communities across NSW and Australia.

The 2018 Youth Week theme is 'Unity Through Diversity' and is the single largest celebration for young people across NSW aged 12-24. Youth will have the opportunity to share ideas, attend live events and festivals, have their voices heard on issues of concern to them, showcase their talents, take part in competitions and more importantly – have fun!

Events include touch football competitions, discos, games nights, movie and pizza nights, skateboarding, dodge ball tournaments and lots more.

Following the success of the NSW Youth Week program, Youth Week became a National event in 2000. National Youth Week is jointly supported by the Australian Government, State and Territory Governments and Local Governments.

Be a part of Youth Week 2018 and sign up to an event near you today:

Ready player one? Test your drug and alcohol knowledge by visiting The Quiz Room here.

17/04/2018Unity through diversity: Celebrate young people at Youth Week 2018
6/04/2018 2:27 PMnswdoh\60143681

​Language matters, a new resource from the Network of Alcohol & other Drugs Agencies (NADA) and the NSW Users & AIDS Association (NUAA) has been launched online.

Developed for the non-government alcohol and other drugs (AOD) sector, the resource encourages workers to move away from out-dated terms like 'drug user' and 'addict' which stigmatise people who use drugs.

Language is powerful – especially when discussing AOD and the people who use them. The resource was developed in consultation with non-government AOD workers and people who use drugs. 

Larry Pierce, chief executive of NADA, says: "We know that fear of stigma and being labelled as a 'drug addict' can and does stop people from accessing treatment and support. It's time we start being more mindful and stop using these terms."

NADA is the peak organisation for the non-government alcohol and other drugs sector in NSW. NUAA is governed, staffed and led by people with lived experience of drug use.

Mary Ellen Harrod, chief executive of NUAA, concludes: "The Language matters resource will be a useful tool. Empowering people by treating them with respect is a powerful catalyst for change".

Access Language matters here.

Want to learn more about some of the most commonly used drugs affecting Australians right now? Check out our A-Z Drug listing here.

6/04/2018Why language matters: NADA and NUAA launch drug and alcohol resource
10/04/2018 12:35 PMnswdoh\60143681

​2018 is the year that the NSW Seniors Festival turns 60 and what better way is there to celebrate this Diamond Anniversary than filling your week with exciting activities that will keep you active, social and healthy?

Every year the government, communities and many commercial organisations collaborate to host hundreds of events across NSW, providing seniors with the opportunity to make new friends or get together with old ones. With the 2018 theme of Let's Do More Together, events will encompass art, sport, music, technology, recreation, health, good nutrition and much more to ensure that there's an activity for everyone.

Running from April 4th – April 15th, the event is the largest festival for seniors in the Southern Hemisphere and is designed to celebrate the role seniors' play and the contributions they make to the NSW community.

Why is the festival important?

Numerous research and studies have shown that physical activity, social connection, mental health literacy and a sense of purpose are key factors in enhancing and maintaining older people's mental health and wellbeing.

Ensuring you are exercising, eating healthy and socialising with others regularly are huge components in ensuring seniors have good wellbeing - low alcohol consumption is also a crucial factor in maintaining good health. Older people can be more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol due to physiological changes associated with ageing.

According to the 2016 NSW Population Health Survey, older people (17%) are the most likely to drink daily and an increasing number people aged 50+ are drinking at very risky levels (11 or more standard drinks).

The 2018 Seniors Festival is a great opportunity to learn about staying healthy, reducing your alcohol intake and making friends.

Who is the festival for?

Presented by the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS), the festival is aimed at people over 60, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over the age of 50, and those over the age of 50 that have a lifelong disability.

Minister of Ageing Tanya Davies commented: "For the past 60 years, NSW Seniors Festival has been a way of acknowledging the important roles seniors play in society.

"The NSW Government is working to offer new experiences for older people to enjoy and ensure NSW seniors are living active socially connected lives in their later years."

Do you want to get involved? Find out more about Seniors Festival by visiting: Learn more about the effects of alcohol here.

If you want to speak to someone call the Alcohol & Drug Information Service (ADIS) - a 24 hour helpline 9361 8000 (Sydney) or free call 1800 422 599. Or you can sign up to the Get Healthy service which offers free telephone-based coaching to help you reduce your alcohol intake - visit:

4/04/2018Get active, social and healthy at the 2018 NSW Seniors Festival
5/04/2018 11:11 AMnswdoh\60143681

​Every year, alcohol causes more harm to society than illegal drugs and is the leading contributor to the burden of illness and deaths in Australia.

According to a 2016 report by NSW Health, a quarter of all adults within the state drink at levels placing their long-term health at risk and just under one quarter of all adults drink more than four standard drinks on a single occasion – positioning them at a high immediate risk of harm.

As a result of this, NSW communities are experiencing a large number of associated harms such as injury, liver disease, cancer and mental health problems. And it's not just those who are consuming alcohol that are at risk. Local members of the community are often at the forefront of the damage caused by alcohol consumption.

Preventing Alcohol-Related Harm forum

The prevention of alcohol-related harm and the effects of this on NSW communities was the focus of the 'Preventing Alcohol-Related Harm: What's Changed' forum in Miller, Liverpool on March 23. Key speakers at the event such as Professor Ian Webster, Dr John Crozier and Dr Criss Moore discussed the importance of community in liquor licensing decisions and the reduction and prevention of alcohol-related harm.

Uncle Malcolm McColl, Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council Board Member, and the local MP for Liverpool Paul Lynch opened the forum.

A panel discussion with; NSW Health AOD Prevention and Harm Minimisation Director Nicola Lewis; Drug and Alcohol Multicultural Education Centre (DAMEC) counsellor Sinatt Tang; Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council Health Services manager Kevin Watene; Miller community member Judy Arkley; Paul McEvoy from Liverpool Police; and Pete Whitecross from the Alcohol & Drug Foundation (ADF) talked about what has changed in relation to preventing alcohol-related harm over the past couple of years and what can be done moving forward.

Liquor licensing

A topic that was discussed at the forum was liquor licensing, and the small percentage of applications that are rejected. Currently in NSW there is a period of 30 days to respond to the submission of a liquor licence application. After this period the decision can be appealed.

NSW Government believes local community engagement should be central to decisions about liquor licences within the state. Depending on the type of liquor licence, this can be a simple matter of talking to residents and local authorities, or a more involved process of producing a community impact statement (CIS).

"Everyone has a role to play" explained NSW Health AOD Prevention and Harm Minimisation Director Nicola Lewis.

Community strength

"Community-based solutions are critical to the prevention of alcohol-related harm," local MP Paul Lynch told the forum. Dr Criss Moore also talked about the way communities can collaborate and work together to ensure they are involved in liquor licensing decisions.

Dr Moore was central in the Casula community opposition to an application for a late trading pokie pub because of its likely negative social impact on the area. She believes that when a community comes together with a common goal and a single voice the strength of this conviction can make a difference.  

According to a 2016 study by the Sax Institute for NSW Ministry of Health, reducing hours during which on-premise alcohol outlets can sell late at night can substantially reduce rates of alcohol-related violence. There are also many studies that have found that changes in alcohol outlet density are associated with changes in the rate of health problems with a community.

ADF Toolkit

Damian Dabrowski, NSW/ACT Program Implementation Coordinator at the Alcohol & Drug Foundation (ADF) also spoke at the event about resources for the community to tackle the availability of alcohol.

Specifically, Damian mentioned the ADF toolkit – a resource for members of the public which aims to remove barriers that prevent the community from being actively involved in licensing decisions, communicating the true cost of alcohol in Australia, and why it's important to play a part in the decision-making process.

Get involved!

If you want to ensure your voice is heard when it comes to liquor licensing - get involved. Join your local Community Drug Action Team (CDAT) – made up of volunteers, CDATs across NSW have been involved in a number of campaigns and activities to curb alcohol-fuelled violence and drug-use.

Support and inform your community and their decisions by accessing the latest statistics on NSW HealthStats. The ADF toolkit provides advice on how to make a difference and the Your Room website can act as resource to inform communities on alcohol and other drugs.

Want to learn more about the effects of alcohol? Check out our selection of publications.

*Image: Professor Ian Webster and ADF Program Implementation Coordinator Damian Dabrowski at the Preventing Alcohol-Related Harm forum in Miller. Credit: Melissa Bernstein, CHETRE

2/04/2018Why everyone has a role to play in preventing alcohol-related harm
29/03/2018 11:10 AMproge

Some 70 per cent of Australians know of the national Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol but only one in four of these are aware of the content. 

This is according to the national alcohol poll by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE).

The 2018 poll found that only 38 per cent of the Australian population are aware of the link between alcohol misuse and stroke, 26 per cent know of the link with mouth and throat cancer, and 16 per cent understand the link between alcohol and breast cancer.

Titled ‘The Annual Alcohol Poll 2018: Attitudes and Behaviours’ and conducted by YouGov Galaxy, the poll found that 37 per cent of Australians have been affected by alcohol-related violence, with 47 per cent of these cases happening within the last 12 months.

FARE’s poll also found that in 2018, 45 per cent of Australians drank to get drunk – equating to approximately 5.7 million citizens. It was also revealed that 73 per cent of those surveyed believe that Australia has a problem with excess drinking or alcohol abuse. 

FARE is an independent, not-for-profit organisation working to stop the harm caused by alcohol. For over 15 years, FARE has been working with communities, governments, health professionals and the police across Australia to stop alcohol harm by supporting world-leading research, raising public awareness and advocating for changes to alcohol policy. 

Want to know whether your drinking habits are putting you at risk? Find out with the Your Room Risk Assessment.

28/03/2018FARE Poll reveals a lack of awareness among Australians about the effects of alcohol
Checked Out To: nswdoh\60143681Share-your-story!-Aboriginal-storytelling-competition-extended.aspx
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20/03/2018 3:54 PMnswdoh\60143681

Are you an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander aged 12-14? Do you know someone who is? Positive Choices wants to hear your story.

Enter the Positive Choices story-telling competition for the chance to win a MacBook Air or $500 JB HiFi voucher.

Participants need to submit a story about the positive choices or influences in their lives. This can be anything from the positive choices you’ve made when someone tries to make you do something you don’t want to do, the people you look up to and why they inspire you, why you choose not drink or smoke, or what you love most about your community.

How you do this is up to you. Entries can be written as a story, as an artwork with a story, as a video, speech or song – you decide! Write your story in 400 words, or record it in 4 min audio recording and submit here.

Get your applications in soon - the deadline for the competition has been extended until April 30th 2018.

If you’re a parent, let your child know about the competition and support them in entering. Teachers and other professionals working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth are encouraged to spread the word to ensure we hear as many positive stories as possible.

For more information visit the competition page

Learn about the effects of drugs and alcohol by visiting our Information for Aboriginal People page.

21/03/2018Share your story! Aboriginal storytelling competition extended
20/03/2018 10:04 AMnswdoh\60143681

​A minimum floor price for alcohol in the Northern Territory (NT) will mean that heavily subsidised alcohol is no longer cheaper than water. This is the first of many reforms by the NT government in an attempt to achieve generational change.

The reforms come following a review conducted by an Expert Advisory Panel chaired by Hon Justice Trevor Riley.

Of the 220 recommendations provided in the Review Report, 186 were supported, 33 were supported in-principle and only one – a total ban of takeaway alcohol on Sundays - was rejected.

The report has led to the release of the Alcohol Harm Minimisation Action Plan 2018-2019, which aims to significantly reduce alcohol-related harms for Territorians through a number of legislative, regulatory, policy and program initiatives.

Key features of the plan include:

  • A massive social determinants of health program over 10 years working on housing, employment, domestic violence and local decision-making
  • A screening program for women before and during pregnancy with an accompanying FASD strategy; a review of treatment services; the introduction of sobering up shelters, and reintroduction of the PARTY health promotion program; and an education strategy which includes educating consumers on the NHMRC guidelines, improving drinking culture and managing secondary supply of alcohol
  • A rewrite of the Liquor Act this year and NT are establishing a re-instated Liquor Commission with strict enforcement of the act with point of sale inspections and restricted premises, a five year moratorium on take-away liquor licences; a minimum floor price for alcohol; and an advertising code
  • A comprehensive research and data strategy.

To bring about real change and improvement, governments, businesses and the community will need to work together. It is expected that the action plan will have a significant impact on alcohol consumption in the Northern Territory.

Are your drinking habits putting you at risk? Check out our Risk Assessment Tool.

20/03/2018Generational change: Major reforms to Northern Territory Alcohol Policy and Legislation
16/03/2018 8:37 AMproge

​Over 70 NSW Community Drug Action Teams (CDATs) from Bowraville to Ballina gathered in Newcastle on March 12th for the 2018 NSW CDAT conference. Championing the work of CDAT's and providing them with a platform to collaborate and connect, the event included an awards ceremony to highlight the state's most successful strategies, projects and activities undertaken by local CDATs. 

CDATs are local groups of passionate volunteers leading Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) prevention projects aiming to strengthen their communities. Along with teams from all over NSW, a recently formed CDAT from Bowraville also attended the event.

Funded by NSW Health and hosted by the Australian Drug Foundation (ADF) as part of the 2017/18 ADF Community Engagement and Action Program (CEAP), the conference was officially launched by the Executive Director, Centre for Population Health Dr Jo Mitchell.

The event included a number of guest speakers including Liz Skelton - Director of Collaboration for Impact, Ms Annie Bleeker – AOD Consultant Trainer and Facilitator, and Mr Geoff Munro – National Policy Manager at ADF. These discussions played a vital role in updating participants' knowledge in key areas of policy, research and practice in AOD, harm reduction and community mobilisation.

From 2013 to 2017 Aboriginal participation in CDATs has more than doubled and the representation of Aboriginal people at the 2018 NSW CDAT Conference was an encouraging reminder of this progression.

To learn more about the CDAT Program visit Are your drinking habits putting you at risk? Check out our Risk Assessment Tool.

15/03/2018Engaging NSW communities: CDATs collaborate at 2018 Conference
26/03/2018 3:40 PMnswdoh\60143681

From 1 February 2018, low-dose codeine (≤ 15 mga) will no longer be available over the counter (OTC).

The affected products include low-dose codeine in combination with paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief, and some preparations for the management of cold and flu symptoms.

The decision to up-schedule all codeine products was made by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). An extensive risk–benefit analysis and consultation concluded that OTC medicines containing codeine have little additional analgesic benefit compared with similar medicines without codeine, but are associated with higher health risks.

The change represents an opportunity for GPs and pharmacists to help people who have been using OTC codeine find alternative treatments that are effective and have a more favourable safety profile for each individual.

For more information download the TGA factsheet. Click here

For factsheets in community languages visit the NPS Medicinewise website by clicking here

Health professional who require more information visit the TGA website. Click here

30/01/2018New rules for medicines with codeine
19/02/2018 1:55 PMproge

Daybreak, an alcohol behaviour change program by Australian social enterprise Hello Sunday Morning, now includes a collection of 37 activities based in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). 

Daybreak was developed from seven years of insights running the world's largest community for alcohol behaviour change. It aims to bridge the gap for those who are seeking support for their alcohol use but don't need or want residential care. The mobile app delivers a combination of clinical best practice, professional coaching, peer support and cutting-edge technology. The program can be delivered in a cost-effective way to all Australians, wherever and whenever they need support with their alcohol use.

The new activities, named Experiments, have been developed by the program's health coaches with the specific goal of helping members to build on five skills known to help with the behaviour change process: mindfulness, connectedness, resilience, situational strategies and health.

The feature has been made possible thanks to the support of Google and gives members access to a level of clinical support that may otherwise be out of reach due to economic or geographic barriers.

The next stage of this partnership will implement machine learning to make custom Experiment recommendations to each individual based on their personal preferences, goals, and progress. 

For mor information on Daybreak, click here

12/01/2018New CBT based activities featured in Daybreak
19/02/2018 1:56 PMproge

The Draft National Alcohol Strategy 2018-2026 has been released for public consultation to allow all interested parties to have their say.

The Strategy outlines Australia's agreed approach to preventing and minimising alcohol-related harms. Engagement with the consultation process is essential to ensure the Strategy will effectively address alcohol risks.

The consultation will be via an online process and is open for submissions from 11 December 2017 through to 11 February 2018. 

Details of how to lodge a submission are available on the national Ministerial Drug and Alcohol Forum webpage. Click here 

To download the draft strategy click here 

22/12/2017Now open - consultation for the draft National Alcohol Strategy 2018-2026
19/02/2018 1:57 PMproge

Wanting to pace yourself over the festive party season? Cutting back on or avoiding drinking at social events doesn't need to be a bore.

Whether you are going alcohol-free or just wanting to cut back on your drinking during the festive season you will find some tasty, refreshing options in the Literary Mocktails recipe collection from Drug Info. Literary mocktails are book-themed, alcohol-free drinks, inspired by well-known literary works.

Mocktails are a great alternative to alcoholic drinks for designated drivers, pregnant women, people wanting to reduce their alcohol intake, young people or anyone who wants to avoid alcohol.

Click here to find a range of mocktail recipes, from alcohol-free versions of classic cocktails to a festive-themed virgin mojito.

Drug Info is a specialist service of the State Library of New South Wales, in partnership with the NSW Ministry of Health. The service manages the Drug Info website, a collection of plain language books and factsheets held in NSW public libraries and public programs delivered by public library staff.

15/12/2017Get into the spirit sans spirits
9/11/2017 3:40 PM53801319

FASD Hub Australia is a website that provides information about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). The website is for health professionals, parents and carers, other professionals (including for justice, education, child protection and disability services), researchers and policy makers.

It includes a service directory of FASD-informed health professionals, plus information on understanding FASD, prevention, assessment and diagnosis, management and interventions. 

Alcohol and pregnancy

Drugs that cause birth defects are called 'teratogenic drugs'. One of the most well-known tetratogenic drugs is thalidomide, but many people are unaware that alcohol is a teratogenic drug too.

This means drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause brain damage and physical abnormalities to an unborn baby.

Children who have been affected by exposure to alcohol in the womb may suffer a range of adverse effects referred to as FASD which stands for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

Abstaining from alcohol is the safest option if you are pregnant, planning a pregnancy, or are breastfeeding as alcohol consumption can harm the developing fetus and breastfeeding baby.

Mothers benefit from a supportive and non-judgemental environment to maximise the chances of having a healthy pregnancy.

Quitting or reducing alcohol consumption can take more than one attempt, even if you are very committed.

No one should feel afraid to talk to their midwife or doctor about their substance use. Women who are alcohol dependent should seek medical advice before quitting alcohol as untreated withdrawal can have adverse effects on the health of the parent and unborn baby.

For help quitting or reducing alcohol consumption, phone Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) 24/7 on: 02 9361 8000 for Sydney metropolitan areas or 1800 250 015 for rural and regional NSW.

To find our more about FASD, visit the FASD Hub Australia at:

9/11/2017FASD Hub Australia - A new online resource
6/11/2017 5:48 PM53801319

Available now – online and at your local public library – is a new resource that can help to answer your questions about different drugs and alcohol and their effects. The Quick Guide to Drugs and Alcohol has a new 3rd edition with updated information and new chapters on caffeine and steroids.

The book is set out in easy-to-read sections suitable for anyone in the community who wants accurate, factual information about drugs and alcohol. It covers short- and long-term effects of individual drugs, treatment options, the laws that relate to drug use, possession and manufacture, drugs, alcohol and driving, and alcohol, drugs and young people.

Written by drug and alcohol experts from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, the book covers alcohol, tobacco and a range of other drugs, such as methamphetamine, cannabis, heroin, cocaine, GHB and hallucinogens.

The Quick Guide to Drugs and Alcohol is published by Drug Info, a specialist service of the State Library of New South Wales, in partnership with the NSW Ministry of Health. The service manages the Drug Info website, a collection of plain language books and factsheets held in NSW public libraries and public programs delivered by public library staff. 

Visit the website:

6/11/2017New Quick Guide to Drugs & Alcohol - State Library of NSW
1/11/2017 5:22 PM53801319

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation, in consultation with Community Drug Action Teams (CDATs) and NSW Health, has developed an online toolkit to help community members address the availability of alcohol.  The toolkit provides a step by step guide for people wishing to comment on liquor licence applications in their local region. 

Community voices are often missing in the decision-making process for regulating the availability of alcohol.

Barriers such as the complexity of the licencing system, being time and resource poor, or not understanding the true level of cost and harms from alcohol all prevent the community from being actively involved.

This toolkit aims to remove some of those barriers – starting with communicating the true cost of alcohol in Australia, and why it's important for communities to get involved.

The toolkit is a practical guide for community members (and CDATs) to address the harm associated with the density of alcohol outlets in their local region. The toolkit comprises five modules:

  • Module 1: Why it matters
  • Module 2: Being proactive
  • Module 3: Development applications
  • Module 4: Liquor licence applications
  • Module5: More strategies

Go to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation website to access the availability of alcohol toolkit.

10/10/2017Tackling the availability of alcohol toolkit
7/09/2017 5:00 PM53801319

Four Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) have been awarded funding as part of the first round of the AOD Innovation Grants Scheme. The scheme awards NGO managed projects that test novel approaches to alcohol and other drug prevention, early intervention; harm reduction and aftercare/relapse prevention. This grants scheme is part of the $8 million Early Intervention Innovation Fund.

The successful recipients are:

  1. The Salvation Army (NSW) Property Trust - a randomised controlled trial to test the effectiveness of a 12-session continuing care telephone delivered intervention for people exiting residential substance abuse treatment.
  2. Lyndon Community - a pilot study testing the feasibility of using the Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (ACRA) in six rural headspace centres to reduce AOD use in young people.

  3. SMART Recovery Australia – for developing an online routine outcome monitoring (ROM) tool for Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) recovery groups.

  4. Collaboration between Hunter New England Local Health District, Oasis Youth Support Network (The Salvation Army), Salvation Army FYRST and NADA - a trial that aims to examine the feasibility of the ERIC (Emotion Regulation and Impulse Control) intervention across NSW Health youth AOD services.

The second round of the AOD Innovation Grants Scheme is now open for applications. Grants of $50,000 to $1 million over two years will be available to successful applicants. To find out more, click here.

There are three information sessions scheduled for round two:

  • 12 September 2017 (1.00 to 2.00pm) - Launch of Round 2 AOD Early Intervention Innovation Fund

  • 15 September 2017 (10.30 to 11.30am) - Tips for applying to the NGO Evaluation Grants Scheme

  • 15 September 2017 (12.00 to 1.00pm) - Tips for applying to the AOD Innovation Grants Scheme

Please register your interest by emailing your name and information session/s that you would like to attend to Once registered, you will receive more details on how to attend each session.

7/09/2017Four NGOs awarded AOD Innovation Grants: round 2 grants now open
14/08/2017 10:19 AM53801319

Five grants valued at between $30,000 and $150,000 over two years, have been awarded as part of the NSW Drug Package.

The NSW Drug Package established an $8 million Early Intervention Innovation Fund which aims to build the evidence for early intervention models to support people at risk, with a particular focus on young people who are vulnerable to using drugs or are already participating in risky drug use.

The fund consists of two grants schemes:

  1. Non-government organisation (NGO) Evaluation Grants Scheme: for NGOs to evaluate existing programs to build the evidence base
  2. AOD Innovation Grants Scheme: to specifically drive AOD early intervention innovation and to focus on vulnerable young people.

 The five grant recipients were announced earlier this year and included the Ted Noffs Foundation, Odyssey House, Mission Australia, ACON and Kedesh Rehabilitation Services.

For a list of the NGO evaluation grant projects click here 

Recipients of the first round of AOD Innovation grants will be announced shortly and the second round of both grants schemes will open soon – visit the website for details.

14/08/2017NSW drug package evaluation grants awarded
12/03/2018 10:10 AMproge

The new National Drug Strategy 2017-2026 represents the agreement of both federal and state governments on the national drug policy priorities for the next ten years. It aims to build safe, healthy and resilient Australian communities through preventing and minimising the harms of licit and illicit drugs to individuals, families and communities.

The Strategy has identified seven priority areas of focus for the next ten years:

    • Enhancing access to treatment
    • Developing data and research, and measuring outcomes
    • Developing new and innovative responses to prevent uptake, delay first use and reduce alcohol and other drug problems
    • Increasing participatory process
    • Reducing adverse consequences
    • Restricting availability
    • Improving national coordination.

The Strategy was informed by public and stakeholder consultations and reaffirms Australia's long-standing commitment to the principle of harm minimisation and a balanced approach to drug policy that focuses on harm reduction, demand reduction and supply reduction - which is yielding positive results.

A number of sub-strategies sit underneath the National Drug Strategy, including the National Ice Action Strategy and the National Alcohol Strategy (currently in development), which contain more specific initiatives and deliverables for government.  

Access the National Drug Strategy 2017 – 2026 online by clicking here

24/07/2017Release of the new National Drug Strategy 2017 - 2026
15/11/2017 4:34 PM53801319

The National Drug Strategy Household Survey is conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing every three years. The latest survey was conducted in 2016, from July to November. The Survey collected information from almost 24,000 Australians aged 14 years and over about their use of, and opinions about: alcohol; tobacco; and illicit drugs.

The latest Survey has found improvements in the alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug use of young people, but little to no change in the drug use of older adults, with their use of some drugs increasing since 2013.  

Key findings from the survey:

Alcohol use:

  • Compared to 2013, fewer people in Australia drank alcohol in quantities that exceeded the lifetime risk guidelines in 2016 (17.1%, down from 18.2% in 2013). But there was no change in the proportion exceeding the single occasion risk guideline.
  • Young adults were drinking less—a significantly lower proportion of 18–24 year olds consumed 5 or more standard drinks on a monthly basis (from 47% in 2013 to 42% in 2016).
  • Fewer 12–17 year olds were drinking alcohol and the proportion abstaining from alcohol significantly increased from 2013 to 2016 (from 72% to 82%).
  • However, more people in their 50s were consuming 11 or more standard drinks in one drinking occasion in 2016 than in 2013.

Illicit drug use:

  • Declines were seen in recent use of some illegal drugs in 2016 including meth/amphetamines (from 2.1% to 1.4%), hallucinogens (1.3% to 1.0%), and synthetic cannabinoids (1.2% to 0.3%).
  • Overall, the most common recently used drugs were cannabis (10%), misuse of pharmaceuticals (5%), cocaine (3%), and ecstasy (2%).
  • The report shows that younger age groups (under 40) are less likely to have recently used illicit drugs than in the past, while those over 40 are more likely – up from 14% in 2013 to 16% in 2016.
  • People's perceptions of meth/amphetamines changed considerably between 2013 and 2016. Australians now consider meth/amphetamines to be more of concern than any other drug (including alcohol) and a greater number thought of it as the drug that caused the most deaths in Australia. For the first time, meth/amphetamines was the drug most likely to be nominated as a drug problem.

Tobacco smoking:

  • 12.2% of people aged 14 or over were daily smokers in 2016. While smoking rates have been on a long-term downward trend, for the first time in over two decades, the daily smoking rate did not significantly decline over the most recent 3 year period (2013 to 2016).
For the key findings of the report click here.

A more detailed report into the Survey's findings will be released later in 2017.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

9/06/2017Latest findings from the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey
27/06/2017 3:41 PMproge

​9 September is FASD day – a good time to remind pregnant women and all the community that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). A child born with FASD may have a range of problems including physical defects and a life-long challenge with learning, behaviour, memory, language, communication and everyday living.

The disabilities associated with FASD are permanent and preventable.

Go to for Women Want to Know brochures, videos and e-learning courses which encourage health professionals to routinely discuss alcohol and pregnancy with women and to provide advice that is consistent with the NHMRC Guidelines.

For Aboriginal Stay Strong and Healthy FASD videos and resources for community and health professionals go to and

9/09/2016FASD Day - 9 September 2017
17/10/2016 2:18 PMAdministrator

NSW Health is launching the Stay strong and healthy it’s worth it! Project resources across NSW. The resources and videos are designed to raise awareness among Aboriginal women and their partners and families of the risks of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and FASD.
A Stay Strong and Healthy video and guide for health professionals are also available.
The Stay Strong and Healthy Project complements the national ‘Women Want to Know’ alcohol and pregnancy awareness campaign designed for Australian women and health professionals.

What is FASD?

FASD or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders is a term to describe a group of conditions caused by drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

A baby born with FASD can have life-long problems with learning, growth, behaviour, memory, language, communication and everyday living. A baby born with FASD may also have birth defects and facial abnormalities.

No alcohol during pregnancy and while breast feeding is best for your baby.

When a pregnant woman drinks, alcohol moves through her body (‘circulates’) in the bloodstream, and also enters the baby’s bloodstream in the same concentration. The alcohol can affect the development of the baby’s brain. There is no safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy and there is no known safe amount of alcohol.

It is never too late to stop drinking during your pregnancy.

If you have been drinking, try to safely stop as soon as you can to increase your chances of having a healthy baby. It can be dangerous to stop drinking abruptly so talk to your doctor or midwife. They can help you to safely slow down or stop.

Talk to your GP, midwife or health worker about giving up alcohol during pregnancy and when breastfeeding.

If you are not ready for a baby and are sexually active use a condom.

The videos and resources are available here.

11/04/2016NSW Health launches FASD resources
23/06/2017 9:35 AM53801319

​​​ The Get Healthy Service has recently launched an Alcohol Reduction program giving access to any resident in NSW free health coaching to reduce their alcohol intake.

If you are worried about your level of alcohol consumption then this program is for you. A health coach will assess your risk of drinking and provide you with the support and motivation you need to help you reach your alcohol reduction goal. Our coaches use the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), an internationally validated screening tool to screen for alcohol risk.

What’s Included?

You will receive 10 coaching sessions with your own personal health coach and an information book containing information about appropriate alcohol intake, an alcohol facts booklet and an alcohol journey book to help keep you motivated and record your progress.

NSW Get Healthy Service Mon – Fri 8am – 8pm

1300 806 258

Register online at

If you are a GP or Health Professional, find referral forms on

The Get Healthy Information and Coaching Service
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