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5/02/2018 9:39 AMproge

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
24/07/2017 10:20 AM53801319

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 – 2019 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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