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5/06/2018 4:22 PMDIMAURO, Sophie

​The NSW Liquor & Gaming Authority is considering only minimal changes to the liquor licence conditions of 14 late night trading hotels located in Newcastle CBD, following an independent review.

Chair of the Authority Philip Crawford announced: "The case for maintaining existing patron lockout restrictions in the 14 Newcastle venues, and for maintaining requirements for the sale or supply of liquor to cease 30 minutes before closing, was strong."

The minor changes that are being considered include no longer requiring the use of a common radio network, and plans of management to be reviewed annually rather than quarterly.

Mr Jonathan Horton QC was requested by the Authority to conduct a review of conditions imposed by the former NSW Liquor Administration Board in 2008 and the impact this has had on reducing alcohol-related violence. Following this request, Mr Horton released the Horton Report earlier this year, advising the Authority on the current liquor licence conditions.

Why was the Horton Report created?

Liquor licence conditions were imposed in Newcastle CBD in 2008 following community, police and medical practitioner concerns about late night alcohol-related violence. Since then, there have been many demographic, development and regulatory changes in the area.

Mr Horton states that although the 2008 liquor conditions were reliable in preventing alcohol-related violence at that time, some of these conditions have now become out-dated.

"Newcastle is no longer in need of a 'solution': what is required is a licensing regime which prevents a return to past problems and allows for the City to develop in a balanced way and in accordance with community expectations, needs and aspirations," wrote Mr Horton.

What conditions were considered?

As a result of the report and under the Liquor Act 2007, the Authority considered Mr Horton's recommendations.

Importantly, Mr Horton recommended trading hours remain the same as the existing hours as they "have proved successful in reducing alcohol-related violence to an acceptable level, since those hours were set". Horton went on to state, "to increase the hours would, in all likelihood, lead to greater violence".

Mr Horton's recommendations also included changing the conditions surrounding notification of licence conditions to staff, as well as a new requirement for each licensee to update their Plans of Management and perform an annual review of these in consultation with NSW Police.

After 10pm, Mr Horton recommended "drinks commonly known as shots, shooters, slammers or bombs or any other drinks that are designed to be consumed rapidly" are prohibited.

Who was involved?

Mr Horton conducted a process of public consultation between November 2017 and February 2018, where he received over 90 written submissions from a variety of stakeholders. This included NSW Police, public health bodies, academics, licensed businesses, industry bodies, private individuals and special interest groups.

Following the Authority's decision the licensees were provided with a period of 21 days to respond.

Mr Crawford commented: "We would like to express our gratitude to those members of the community who provided the written and oral submissions that informed the Horton Report."

The Horton report can be read in full here.

How important is language when it comes to discussing alcohol and drugs, and the people who use them? Find out by reading our article on why language matters 

5/06/2018NSW Liquor & Gaming announce minimal changes to Newcastle CBD Liquor License conditions
4/06/2018 3:12 PMDIMAURO, Sophie

​Have you heard of the Get Healthy service? This telephone-based coaching service provides NSW residents over 16 with a free personal health coach to guide and support them on their journey to live a healthy life - helping them to drink less alcohol, get active and eat well.

Alcohol consumption is associated with a risk of developing health problems such as mental and behavioural disorders, liver cirrhosis, some cancers and cardiovascular diseases, as well as injuries resulting from violence and road accidents. It is also a huge contributor to weight gain as it contains few nutrients for the body to use.

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If you are worried about your level of alcohol consumption then this program is for you. Get Healthy has an alcohol-reduction module designed to support you to drink a little less on a regular basis.

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.

You are eligible for 10 to 13 phone calls with your coach and will receive 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.

The Get Healthy coach will also help you to:

  • Identify areas of challenge
  • Learn simple ways to improve your health
  • Set a healthy lifestyle goal
  • Create an action plan
  • Stay motivated on the journey

The Get Healthy service is for everyone! Learn more today by visiting:

Check out the Your Room Alcohol Risk Assessment here.

4/06/2018Drink less alcohol, get active and eat well! What is Get Healthy and how can it help me?
12/06/2018 2:49 PMGREEN, Jessica

​Alcohol is the most widely used drug in Australia.

It is estimated by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare that we are among the highest consumers of alcohol worldwide. In NSW, a quarter of all adults drink at levels that place their long-term health at risk (2016 Chief Health Officers Report).

According to the Alcohol's burden of disease in Australia report:

  • 5,554 Australians die every year as a result of alcohol use

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) Annual Alcohol Poll 2018 shows that:

  • Australians have a low awareness of the long-term health conditions – including cancers - associated with alcohol

A Group 1 carcinogen

In recent years there has been public confusion over whether or not alcohol is harmful when consumed regularly (but not excessively), with media coverage claiming wine and other types of alcohol is good for you, with little research to support these claims.

There is sufficient evidence that ethanol - the chemical present in all alcoholic beverages - is a carcinogen (this falls into the same group as asbestos, arsenic and benzene). In other words, alcohol is a cause of cancer and any level of consumption increases the risk of developing an alcohol-related cancer. The level of risk increases in line with the level of alcohol consumption.

Cancer Council Australia advises there is strong evidence that alcohol use increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, stomach, bowel, liver and breast.

FARE's alcohol poll also found Australians have a low awareness of the long-term health conditions associated with alcohol. Less than half of those surveyed by FARE were aware of the link between alcohol misuse and stroke (38%), mouth and throat cancer (26%) and breast cancer (16%).

The link between alcohol and cancer

In 2010, 2.7% of all cancers diagnosed in Australia were attributed to alcohol consumption (Whiteman et al., 2015).

There are a number of mechanisms by which alcohol causes cancer. Once metabolised by the body, alcohol binds to DNA increasing the likelihood of DNA mutations and impairing cell function.

At even low levels of alcohol consumption, alcohol interferes with oestrogen receptors on cells to increase the levels of circulating oestrogen, which can lead to cell proliferation – a key initiating factor in the development of breast cancer for example.

According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) research shows that unsurprisingly the highest health risks are associated with heavy consumption - but there is also a considerable burden among those who are moderate to low consumers of alcohol. For example, a study on the impact of alcohol on prostate cancer showed that even at low-levels of consumption, alcohol increased the risk of prostate cancer development by 23%.

Your risk

There is no safe level of alcohol consumption. However 4.3% of alcohol-related cancers in Australia could be prevented by reducing alcohol intake from four or more drinks per day, to two or less drinks per day, according to Whiteman.

The more a person drinks over a long period of time, the higher the risk of developing an alcohol-related cancer. Evidence also suggests that for some cancers it can take more than 10 years for alcohol-related cancer risk to even start to decline after ceasing alcohol consumption.

There is no evidence that cancer risk varies by the type of alcoholic drink, whether it is wine, beer or spirits.

The 2009 Australian Alcohol Guidelines by the National Health and Medical Research Council recommend:

  • If you drink regularly, drink no more than two standard drinks each day.
  • On any single occasion, drink no more than four standard drinks.
  • Young people under 18 years of age should not drink alcohol.
  • The safest option for a pregnant or breastfeeding mother is not to drink alcohol.

Drinking less frequently, e.g. drinking weekly rather than daily, and drinking less on each occasion, reduces the lifetime risk of alcohol-related harm.

How to prevent

While not everyone who drinks alcohol will develop cancer, the less alcohol you drink the lower your risk of cancer. There is no safe alcohol limit but the less alcohol consumed the better.

To prevent cancer caused by alcohol, quit drinking today. Across the globe there are thousands of people who live alcohol free. If you're not ready to quit, cut down your alcohol intake or speak to someone that can help guide you towards a healthier lifestyle. Get Healthy is a free NSW service that provides free telephone-based health coaching to help you to drink less alcohol, get active and eat healthily.

If alcohol is a problem for you, seek help. Find out which support and treatment is best for you here. Or call the free ADIS support line for more information: 9361 8000 (Sydney) or 1800 422 599 (for NSW regional callers).

Are your drinking habits are putting you at risk? Find out with the Your Room Risk Assessment.


1. Is alcohol consumption a risk factor for prostate cancer? A systematic review and meta–analysis | Jinhui Zhao, Tim Stockwell, Audra Roemer, Tanya Chikritzhs | BMC Cancer. 2016; 16: 845. Published online 2016 Nov 15

2. National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol 2009 (Australia)

3. Whiteman, D. C., Webb, P. M., Green, A. C., Neale, R. E., Fritschi, L., Bain, C. J., ... & Pandeya, N. (2015). Cancers in Australia in 2010 attributable to modifiable factors: summary and conclusions. Australian and New Zealand journal of public health, 39(5), 477-484.

4. Rehm J, Patra J, Popova S. Alcohol drinking cessation and its effect on esophageal and head and neck cancers: a pooled analysis. International Journal of Cancer 2007;121(5):1132-1137.

1/06/2018What is the link between alcohol and cancer?
31/05/2018 9:25 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

​On World No Tobacco Day, new data shows a 7.3 per cent drop in smoking rates in NSW over the past 15 years.

According to the 2017 Population Health Survey, last year 15.2 per cent of adults smoked in NSW, down from 22.5 per cent in 2002, and more than half of NSW adults have never taken up smoking.

The NSW School Students Health Behaviours Surveys also shows that smoking among secondary students is at an all-time low of 6.7 per cent.

'Tobacco and heart disease' is the theme for World No Tobacco Day 2018 and focuses on the harmful impact of tobacco on the cardiovascular health of people worldwide. It highlights the health and other risks associated with tobacco use, and advocates for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

Smoking increases the risk of many health conditions including coronary heart disease, respiratory disease and cancer. Tobacco use is the second leading cause of cardiovascular diseases, after high blood pressure. Cardiovascular diseases kills more people than any other cause of death worldwide. 

The NSW Government will continue to implement a comprehensive approach to reduce smoking rates. These includes public awareness and education campaigns for smoking cessation, quit smoking support, compliance and enforcement of smoke free and tobacco retailing laws, and targeted programs for particularly vulnerable groups.

NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, said NSW Health's NSW Tobacco Strategy was working to help people quit smoking for good.

"It's good to see significant progress in tobacco control in NSW but we need to be vigilant to ensure that smoking rates continue to decrease, as there has been a stabilisation of rates in recent years," Dr Chant said.

"It is pleasing that the declines in smoking have been seen across population groups, including young people and Aboriginal people. We also know from the School Health Behaviour Survey that smoking among secondary students is at an all-time low of 6.7%."

World No Tobacco is a good day to talk to someone about quitting and get some help. NSW Health and its partner agencies have a range of initiatives to help smokers to quit smoking and stay quit. Smokers can call the Quitline Service on 131 848 or go to iCanQuit website to receive the latest information on quitting and ongoing support.

Want to learn more about the effects of tobacco? Check out our tobacco drug page here.

31/05/2018Butt Out on World No Tobacco Day 2018
30/05/2018 8:55 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

​Together with the Department of Family and Community Services, the Ministry of Health has developed a comprehensive directory of health and community services across NSW. Your Service Hub is a tool people in NSW can use to find alcohol and other drugs support services near them.

The online directory is an especially useful source of information for:

  • People affected by someone else's substance use
  • People needing help with their own alcohol and other drugs use
  • Aboriginal people, LGBTI communities and culturally diverse groups

Your Service Hub has been designed to help people locate a wide range of alcohol, drug, health and community services across NSW. This includes family services, legal aid, domestic violence support and mental health services.

Using location and search terms like 'family', 'support' and 'alcohol counselling', you will be able to find services for yourself, friends, your partner or family, with the option to get more information if necessary.

Support services, community groups and other agencies that provide drug and alcohol support are encouraged to provide detailed information on services they offer. To register your service in the directory there is an option to 'Add Service'.

Check out Your Service Hub today. Unsure whether you need support or treatment? Click here to read about the main treatment types available.

30/05/2018Your Service Hub: Find your local alcohol and other drugs support services
29/05/2018 9:59 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

​In partnership with Cancer Council Victoria, NSW Cancer Institute has launched the Quit stalling! anti-tobacco campaign. Informed by the latest research, the initiative aims motivate young male smokers aged 18 to 34 to quit smoking by raising awareness of personal susceptibility to smoking related illness – both short and long term.

The campaign targets young male smokers as their smoking rates are higher than the general population. According to the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, across all age groups, males were more likely to smoke daily than females (13.8% of males aged 14 or older smoked daily compared with 10.7% for females).

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 your risk of dying from heart disease or lung cancer.

Quit stalling! targets smokers who don't feel they need to quit because they have no symptoms and believe they will quit when they experience these. It provides new information in a positive and relatable way, encouraging young male smokers to stop delaying quitting smoking and take action now.

Studies show that if you smoke, the chances are that you are damaging your body. Early symptoms include experiencing coughing, shortness of breath and lack of fitness.

The best thing any smoker can do for their health is to quit smoking. There are health benefits of quitting for all smokers, regardless of age, sex or length of time that they have been smoking. In particular, risk of stroke significantly reduces and becomes similar to that of a never-smoker in between five to 15 years.

The campaign will run for six weeks from 20 May – 30 June 2018 with a wide mix of content across online video, traditional and digital radio, out of home, gym media and social media in metro and regional locations.

For quit smoking support visit

Learn the facts about tobacco and other drugs here.

World No Tobacco Day 31 May


25/05/2018Quit stalling! Anti-tobacco campaign launches
29/05/2018 9:21 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

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.

17/05/2018Unity through diversity: Celebrate young people at Youth Week 2018
29/05/2018 9:49 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

The 2018 Global Drug Survey researched the drug-taking habits of 130,000 people across 44 countries. Here we take a look at some of the key findings from the survey:

Pizza & cocaine delivery

The survey asked 15,000 cocaine users from around the world whether it was quicker to get a gram of cocaine delivered or a pizza. Overall, 30% of respondents said they could get cocaine delivered in 30 minutes or less, compared to only 16.5% who could get a pizza delivered in the same time.

Easy access and higher purity are likely to lead to escalating use and harms among people.

Alcohol consumption

Women under 25 years of age have particularly poor knowledge of the health risks associated with alcohol use, according to the 2018 Global Drug Survey.

Data shows that 65% of females under 25 polled did not know that drinking less alcohol reduces the risk of seven different types of cancer – including mouth, upper throat, oesophageal, breast and bowel cancers.

At the population level, alcohol was found to be the most harmful drug when it comes to acute risk, both to the individual themselves and those around them. Alcohol is responsible for 4% of the world's global burden of disease and is implicated in at least 60 health conditions, most and foremost cancer and heart disease.

Australia & drug use

It was also revealed that of the Australian's surveyed, 37.8% claimed they had a desire to reduce their alcohol consumption, and 12.8% stated that they wanted help and support to reduce their drinking.

Australia ranked third highest when it came to seeking emergency medical treatment in the last 12 months, behind Scotland and Norway but ahead of the USA, England, New Zealand and many other countries.

In terms of MDMA use, Australia ranked 3rd – behind Brazil and France. However, Australia was ranked 1st for the highest number of pills consumed on a single occasion.

Australians are also paying a lot for their drugs. Australia ranked second most expensive for a gram of cocaine at $309 with New Zealand coming in first at $351.

Most problematic illicit drugs

Methamphetamine and heroin are regarded as the most problematic of all illicit drugs with high rates of physical and social harms. Methamphetamine is also one of the most easily manufactured, widely distributed and cheapest stimulant drugs in the world.

The Dark Net

According to the survey, the dark net is an increasingly common source of illicit and licit drugs. MDMA, followed by cannabis, LSD and new psychoactive substances (NPS) are the most commonly purchased drugs on the dark net, with notable increases in rates for cannabis and LSD over the last four years, however there has been a decline in NPS purchase.

The survey also found that many people start using drugs in their late teens. For first time users of MDMA across the globe, 61% claim that they first tried the drug with close friends and 56.8% did not have someone to look after them during their experience.

There was a high rate (0.5%) of emergency medical treatment linked with first time use of MDMA which, according to the authors of the survey, highlights the importance of providing younger people with good quality harm reduction before they start using drugs.

First-time drug use

The study also found that the majority of drug users surveyed did not pay for their drugs on their first trip. Some 50% of first timers did not pay for their first dose of MDMA, 71.5% did not pay for their first line of cocaine and 66% got their first LSD trip for free.

Whilst many first-timers tried drugs with close friends, many did not have someone to look after them during their experience.

Information is key to harm minimisation

Professor Adam Winstock, consultant psychiatrist, addiction medicine specialist and founder & CEO of The Global Drug Survey commented: "Our findings suggest there is a need to engage people who use drugs in honest conversations about drug use. Zero tolerance approaches do not allow governments to optimise public health policies or health promotion approaches.

"People who use drugs are interested in their own health and wellbeing and that of their friends and communities. We need to harness the expertise and interest of the drug using community to help them stay safe, without ideological barriers that prevent the adoption of evidence-based drug policies."

Sir Professor Ian Gilmore, chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance also commented on the survey. He said: "People just do not know about key health issues like the link between alcohol and cancer that might well change their behaviour and improve public health."

For more findings from the 2018 Global Drug Survey visit:

To learn more about some of the most commonly used drugs affecting Australians right now, check out our A-Z Drug Listing here.

17/05/20182018 Global Drug Survey | Alcohol remains the most harmful drug for acute risk
29/05/2018 10:07 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

Co-occurring substance use and mental health issues are common. More than 1 in 3 people who use substances also have at least one mental health condition and rates are even higher among people being treated for substance use.

People with both substance and mental health conditions often have a variety of other medical, family and social issues. Together these factors can complicate a person's treatment and recovery.

Because of this it's critical that health workers adopt an approach to the management and treatment of mental health and substance use conditions that is based on treating the person, not the illness.

Managing substance use and mental health conditions

The comorbidity guidelines website has been developed to help alcohol and other drug workers identify, manage and treat co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions.

The website provides evidence-based information, training and resources. This will help health workers become knowledgeable about the symptoms of common mental health conditions and how to manage them.

Alcohol and other drug workers can use the guidelines together with existing guidelines. The guidelines are based on the best available evidence and utilise the experience and knowledge of consumers, carers, clinicians, academics, researchers and policy makers.


With funding from the Australian Government the website and online training program was developed by Dr Christina Marel, Associate Professor Katherine Mills, Mr Jack Wilson and Professor Maree Teesson of the Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use (CREMS), at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC).

While the website was developed primarily for alcohol and other drug workers, the content may also be useful for other healthcare providers, as well as those studying mental health, alcohol and other drugs, and public health.

Mental health conditions are not a barrier to treating people with substance use issues. Research has shown that people with these conditions can benefit from usual substance use treatment just as much as those without these conditions.

To learn more visit the website today:

For information about alcohol and other drugs check out the Your Room A-Z Listing of Drugs here.

15/05/2018Treat the person not the illness: NDARC launches mental health and substance use guidelines
29/05/2018 9:41 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

On May 10th, seven community drug action teams (CDATs) from across south west NSW came together to discuss drug use in the region, collaborate and share initiatives.

CDATs are made up of passionate and dedicated volunteers who love their local area and want the best for their community.

Since 1999, CDATs have led thousands of activities to engage at-risk youth, educate parents and the wider community through community activities and campaigns to curb alcohol-fuelled violence and drug use. NSW Health funds the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) to support the CDATs through the Community Engagement and Action Program (CEAP).

Community-based solutions play an important role in the prevention of alcohol-related harm. Within their local community, CDATs work to increase awareness of alcohol and other drugs (AOD) related harms, promote the uptake of protective strategies aimed at reducing harm, and contribute to the prevention and misuse of AOD through appropriate local community activities and initiatives.

The South West NSW CDAT Forum included a presentation from AOD consultant trainer and facilitator Annie Bleeker, who provided an overview of drugs in Australia as well as highlighting major drugs of concern.

Jenny Atkinson spoke from Calvary Drug and Alcohol Service and Senior Sergeant Ross Jackson from Wagga Police spoke to the CDATs about local issues. Amanda Kelly, Damian Dabrowski and John Dean from the ADF discussed best practice, other CDAT projects in NSW and how to develop a Community Drug Action Plan.

The forum also generated some local media interest with Prime 7 News interviewing Annie and Amanda. Watch the interview here.

The day’s events concluded with a quote provided by the ADF:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Are you interested in joining your local CDAT team? Get involved today.

To learn about some of the most commonly used drugs affecting Australians right now, check out our A-Z listing of drugs.

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14/05/2018CDATs from across the Riverina come together
29/05/2018 9:42 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

Drug-related harms and deaths do not discriminate based on age, ethnicity, gender, creed, wealth or socioeconomic status. Every day they continue to impact families across Australia and the rest of the world. Stigma is associated with drug use and can often prevent families from seeking support while increasing the risk of families losing those they care for to drugs.

Although within recent years there is evidence of a decline in the use of some illegal drugs - including methamphetamines, hallucinogens and synthetic cannabinoids – there was an increase in the number of people impacted by drug-related incidents in 2016. Without family and peer support, those using drugs are more vulnerable and susceptible to harm. Often families play a crucial part in the treatment and recovery of individuals who use alcohol and other drugs in a harmful way.

But supporting a family member or friend who has a dependence on drugs or alcohol isn't easy and can often be a difficult and upsetting process for families. This is why it is crucial for families to be aware that support and assistance is available.   

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Family Drug Support (FDS) is a caring, non-religious and non-judgemental organisation that provides support and assistance to families throughout Australia who are dealing with a family member who is using drugs.

FDS supports families in a way that strengthens relationships and achieves positive outcomes by providing:

1. A 24/7 support line for families experiencing the drug use of a family member or friend

2. Peer support groups for families

3. The Stepping Stones to Success group program for families

4. Other courses and resources

FDS is primarily made up of volunteers who have first-hand experience of the trauma and chaos of having family members with drug dependency. They have travelled the same road.

Why is it important?

According to research commissioned by FDS, half of all people would hide a family member's drug or alcohol use from their own friends. Tony Trimingham founder and CEO of FDS believes that this shame stops family members from seeking the help they need. 

"My concern is that we are seeing overdose deaths increase each year and people hiding what is happening only increases the risk that families could lose those they care for to drugs," explains Tony.

"Through our work we aim to de-stigmatise drug and alcohol problems and reinforce the message that drug-related harms and deaths do not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, money or any other factors and most importantly, that support and assistance is available."

Studies show that drug dependence takes a substantial toll on families, creating anger conflict and shame. It can destroy healthy family dynamics, as conflict escalates and the focus of family attention is on stopping and hiding drug use. As a consequence of stress and anxiety, parents and family members can often develop mental health and physical problems, including very valid fears for the life and wellbeing of the person using drugs.

While support services like FDS cannot make drug use go away, they can have positive impacts on family members by helping them cope more effectively with the challenge of drug use within the family. Support groups:

  • Provide knowledge about drugs, dependence and treatment

  • De-stigmatise the experience and reduce self-blame

  • Help with boundary setting

  • Reduce conflict in families

  • Encourage self-care

  • Provide mutual support

  • Allow for acceptance

  • Work from the collective wisdom of the families and friends attending

  • Help support 'effective communication'

  • Provide education for the family member or friend

  • FDS online interactive resource

Funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health through the National Ice Action Strategy and in collaboration with Readymade Productions and FDS staff and volunteers, Australia's first interactive online resource designed specifically to support families struggling to deal with drug and alcohol use – has been launched.

The online resource centres on the documentary film of a family support group, and will be of particular benefit to families in regional and rural communities who don't have ready access to support group meetings. The resource is designed to help families and friends of people using drugs and alcohol to become more resilient and better cope on their journey with the user.

It provides different support for different circumstances. The new resource, together with the FDS' 24/7 telephone support line, will help ensure every family can access support when they need it.

For everyone

FDS is available to everyone. From those who suspect a family member or friend may be on the verge of alcohol or drug dependency, to those who have been silent about drug use within the family for many years, to families who are suffering bereavement.

FDS believes that by helping families of drug users, they are ultimately helping the user. FDS CEO Tony had no help when he tragically lost his son Damien to a heroin overdose – but now there is somewhere for families to turn to. This is FDS' greatest legacy.

Are drugs a problem for someone you care about? Contact FDS today on 1300 368 186 or visit:

Find out how to approach drug issues within your family here.

2/05/2018What is Family Drug Support and how can it help me?
28/05/2018 10:31 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

​Earlier this month over 300 supporters, sponsors and friends from across Australia were brought together by Life Education at the annual Gold Harold Awards to celebrate those who have contributed to the safe and healthy development of the nation's children.

This year it was clear that the recurring theme was passion within the community, with MC Melissa Doyle recognising the role that it plays in the work of Life Education and specifically the remote areas in which it operates.

"Life Education works in many remote indigenous communities spread across Australia, in particular, the Top End," said Melissa. "This is amazing work, but as you could appreciate, it's not without its hurdles."

At the event on April 12th, Life Education paid tribute to their outgoing chair Tony Hasham AM, awarding him with the Gold Harold 'Best Mate' award. Tony was recognised as being instrumental in the birth of Life Education and has served on the board for over 30 years.

Each year, the Gold Harold Awards acknowledges and appreciates a commitment to Australia's children and their futures. This year the awards were presented to individuals that showed a particular passion for the wellbeing and inspiration of children in the fields of sports, education, health and media.

Life Education provides preventive health and drug education to Australia's children, with the aim of instilling children with the capabilities they need to make considered decisions about their own wellbeing.


For an ongoing commitment to the Australian Community and generous support of Life Education, Grahame Mapp AM was awarded the prestigious Humanitarian of the Year Award.

"Grahame's personal commitment to the community has been extensive with his philanthropy extending across a range of charitable causes, particularly children's organisations," commented Tony. "This includes the valuable work of Life Education Australia"

Subaru Motorsport team driver, Molly Taylor won the sports award, Eddie Woo was crowned the winner of education, internationally renowned researcher Prof. Ian Hickie AM was awarded for his efforts in health, and Jessica Rowe AM was the media award winner.

Want to learn more about alcohol and other drugs? Visit the Your Room A-Z listing of drugs here.

26/04/2018Gold Harold Awards 2018: Celebrating the great work being done in our community
28/05/2018 10:27 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

The use of e-cigarettes will be prohibited in some public places in NSW following the passing of the Smoke-free Environment Amendment Bill 2018. The legislation will bring the rules around vaping in public spaces and on public transport into line with traditional cigarettes.

Under the Smoke-free Environment Act, it is illegal to smoke in all enclosed public places, including shopping centres, cinemas, libraries, trains and buses. It is also illegal to smoke in some outdoor areas, including:

  • Within 10 metres of children's playgrounds
  • Swimming pool complexes
  • Public transport stops and stations
  • Spectator areas of grounds during organised sporting events
  • Within four metres of an entrance to a public building
  • Commercial outdoor dining areas

The new legislation means that it will also be illegal to use e-cigarettes in these areas. The smoke-free areas are often crowded and frequented by children and families, and people in these areas have limited opportunity to avoid smoke and e-cigarette vapour.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said there is evidence of potential health risks from e-cigarette vapours, even when there is no illegal nicotine in the e-liquid.

"E-cigarette vapours can contain chemicals, toxins and metals, and some of these substances, like formaldehyde, are already known to cause cancer," Dr Chant said.

"The National Health and Medical Research Council states e-cigarettes expose both users and bystanders to very small particles which may worsen existing illnesses or increase the risk of developing cardiovascular or respiratory disease."

The Smoke-free Environment Amendment Bill 2018 will come into effect in July 2018, and will match laws in most other Australian States.

"The new laws do not ban people from using e-cigarettes," Health Minister Brad Hazzard said. "Put simply, where you are not allowed to smoke cigarettes, you now cannot vape either.

"Despite claims to the contrary, the jury is still out on the alleged benefits of e-cigarettes. The medical advice from Australian authorities is we need to err on the side of caution.

"The NSW Government is acting now to protect vulnerable bystanders from passive exposure to vapour and if you snub these new laws you risk fines of up to $550."

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has not approved any e-cigarette product as an aid to help with quitting smoking.

The new legislation also requires e-cigarettes retailers to notify NSW Health they are selling such products, as tobacco retailers are already required to do.

Want to learn more about e-cigarettes? Visit our tobacco page here.

20/04/2018E-cigs lose puff in some public places
28/05/2018 10:22 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

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
12/06/2018 2:51 PMGREEN, Jessica

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
28/05/2018 9:35 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

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

4/04/2018Why everyone has a role to play in preventing alcohol-related harm
28/05/2018 9:58 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

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
28/05/2018 9:29 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

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
28/05/2018 9:24 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

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
28/05/2018 9:19 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

​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
28/05/2018 9:11 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

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
28/05/2018 8:55 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

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
28/05/2018 8:49 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

​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 more information on Daybreak, click here

12/01/2018New CBT based activities featured in Daybreak
28/05/2018 8:44 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

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
12/06/2018 2:36 PMGREEN, Jessica

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
14/02/2018 6:41 PMspadmin

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 PMKELLY, Liz

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
5/06/2018 9:49 AMDIMAURO, Sophie

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
9/02/2018 11:25 AMspadmin

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 AMKELLY, Liz

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
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