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FASD Day - 9 September 2017


Stay Strong and Healthy

​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

  1. Final decision: Newcastle CBD lockout laws remain unchanged following NSW Liquor & Gaming review

    The NSW Liquor & Gaming Authority has published its final decision on the review of liquor license conditions of 14 late night trading hotels located in Newcastle CBD. The Authority has confirmed minimal changes and no alterations to the current lock out laws, following an independent review and submissions from licensees.  After the Authority's initial response to the review was published and communicated to stakeholders in April 2018, licensees had, under law, a period of 21 days to respond. The Authority has also decided to make no changes to: the existing lockout and closing hours, the conditions in respect of: the cessation of liquor supply 30 minutes before closing, and the prohibition on the stockpiling of drinks. The minor changes that are to be implemented include no longer requiring the use of a common radio network, and plans of management to be reviewed annually rather than quarterly. 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." Earlier this year, 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, 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 stated 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 has acted on 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 .    


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  2. What is the Drug & Alcohol Multicultural Education Centre?

    ​Alcohol and other drugs are understood in many different ways across many different cultures. Our cultural backgrounds inform how we respond to everyday life, our successes, our struggles and our crises. What may be considered 'natural' or 'normal' to one person, might not apply to the next.  According to multicultural marketing agency Etcom, 28 per cent of the NSW population were born overseas with the majority of this percentage being born in China, followed by England, India and New Zealand. In the Western Sydney region, (the fastest growing region in Australia), English is the second language, with Mandarin the second largest language spoken in NSW. Although rates of problematic alcohol and other drug (AOD) use may be lower in some overseas-born communities, state services are often not accessed by those from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities for reasons including: Lack of knowledge of Australian health and treatment systems  Lower rates of referral to some programs  Lack of culturally accessible services  Fear of visa/immigration implications These factors position CALD communities at risk for AOD harms, which is why it is crucial for these communities to be aware that catered support and assistance is available. Drug & Alcohol Multicultural Education Centre The Drug & Alcohol Multicultural Education Centre (DAMEC) is a non-government organisation whose primary purpose is to reduce the harms associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs (AOD) within CALD communities in NSW. DAMEC provides counselling and case management programs; health promotion, research and community development projects. It provides clients with equal treatment, helping them to live happier and healthier lives while having strong relationships with their community and family.  DAMEC receives funding from the NSW Ministry of Health and the Australian Government.  Who is it for?  DAMEC is a free and confidential service that is open to everyone. The service can help: People who want to address their substance use (past or present) Spouses/Partners Families of people with substance use problems including parents, siblings and extended family Carers, friends and other support people What can DAMEC offer me? DAMEC's counselling service is a specialist multicultural service that focuses on meeting the needs of people from CALD communities. The service offers a strengths-based model modified to be culturally responsive, and where possible provided in key community languages. They also run group programs. DAMEC staff are bilingual and can speak: Arabic, Cantonese, Khmer, English, Mandarin, Teo Chiew, Vietnamese, Lao, Ewe, Ga, Akan, Liberian Creole, Samoan, and Farsi. DAMEC is able to access the Translator and Interpreter Services for other community languages.  Counselling and support  DAMEC has a team of qualified counsellors, psychotherapists and psychologists providing support, information and exploring new ways of looking at issues with you. They can help you to clarify, understand and find solutions to your problem. The DAMEC team offer: Drug, alcohol and psychological assessments One-to-one counselling Referrals to other services Complementary to the individual support it offers, DAMEC also provides family support services that include family assessments and case management support; group work, home visits; and referrals to other services.  As part of delivering universal healthcare in a culturally diverse society, DAMEC also assists other services to respond to the alcohol and drug-related needs of CALD communities. DAMEC provides training, consultancy and advice on the development of culturally appropriate interventions and staff cultural competency. The Transitions Project The Transitions project provides intensive case management for Arabic and Vietnamese-speaking people who have a history of drug and alcohol related issues and who are leaving prison. Assessment and support are provided pre-release and continue for up to six months post-release, however clients are able to continue in the program after the six month period depending on their circumstances Transitions works with people intending to reside in Sydney and offers practical, personal assistance. This includes information, referrals, advocacy, home visits, family support and mentoring. Providing a better understanding Through research and evaluation, DAMEC aims to provide a better understanding of substance use, and access to treatment among CALD communities in NSW. Exploring effective and appropriate AOD service provision with CALD groups is a key focus of DAMEC's work.  DAMEC collaborates across sectors, primarily working with AOD, mental health and multicultural agencies to better understand trends, barriers, and strengths.  Like all DAMEC work, research is accountable to CALD communities first and foremost, to the AOD sector and multicultural organisations, and to NSW Health and other state and federal funding bodies.  DAMEC's Research Framework supports the delivery of high quality research and evaluation by outlining the various staff roles and responsibilities, governance procedures and ethical review standards. Access DAMEC's 'Respect: Best practice approaches for working with culturally diverse clients in AOD treatment settings' resource  here . Are drugs and alcohol a problem for you or someone you care about? Contact DAMEC today on 8706 0150 or visit   Want to know whether your drinking habits are putting you at risk? Find out with the Your Room  Risk Assessment .   


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  3. Community Drug Action Teams: Giving the NSW public a voice

    ​It's easy to feel helpless when we hear about all the alcohol and other drug problems facing our society and within our communities. But did you know there are tools available for you to make a difference? The good news is that every community member has a real opportunity to contribute in reducing alcohol and other drugs (AOD) harms in their local area through joining a Community Drug Action Team (CDAT).  What is a CDAT? CDATs are made up of passionate and dedicated volunteers who love their local area and want the best for their community. Across NSW CDATs are leading AOD prevention projects in their communities. Since their inception in 1999, CDATs have led thousands of community activities to engage young people, parents and the local community in preventing alcohol and other drug-related harms. The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) supports the CDATs through the Community Engagement and Action Program (CEAP) funded by NSW Health. Why are CDATs important? Community members regularly see first-hand the harm that AOD misuse can cause in their local area, but counting the visible harms only scratches the surface. There are more hidden harms and costs that aren't as well known, or rarely considered. For example, the NSW Auditor-General estimates the societal cost of alcohol misuse, in NSW alone, is $3.87 billion a year (or over $1,500 per household).  Australian and International research shows that AOD is linked to: family and domestic violence assault fetal alcohol spectrum disorder drink driving accidents and injuries anti-social behaviour suicide There is also a considerable cost to and loss of public amenity through: use of police resources use of emergency department resources ambulance callouts public and private property damage litter and public nuisance However, training and resources provided through CDATs allow people to share skills and AOD knowledge across and beyond the community – contributing to positive change. Community initiatives can make communities stronger, healthier and better places to live. CDATs provide a unique platform and opportunity for collaborative action by different agencies and groups. Regulate the sale of alcohol near you Studies show that one way to reduce alcohol related harm is to regulate the sale of alcohol. Reducing hours during which on-premise alcohol outlets can sell late at night can substantially reduce rates of alcohol-related violence.  Community voices are often missing in the decision-making process for regulating the availability of alcohol. Barriers such as the complexity of the licensing system, being time and resource poor, or not understanding the true level of cost and harm from alcohol, all prevent the community from being actively involved. However, a step-by-step toolkit developed by NSW Health and the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF), can help communities have a say in the decision-making process for regulating the availability of alcohol. Access the ADF toolkit  here . Who can join a CDAT? Anyone concerned about drug and alcohol issues can join their local CDAT. CDATs typically involve a diverse range of people, all of whom share a commitment to reducing harms from drugs and alcohol. Some members may have personal experience of problem alcohol or drug use, and being involved in a CDAT is their way of helping to prevent similar problems emerging for others. A broad range of community members and organisations plus a good balance between voluntary and professional involvement makes a CDAT stronger and more effective, and provides it with skills, talents and resources. Together we can make a difference. Your local CDAT needs you! Find out how to become a CDAT member  here . Do you know the facts about drugs and alcohol? Test your knowledge by visiting The Quiz Room  here . 


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Your Room > What's New > FASD Day - 9 September 2017