ACT ATOD Sector eBulletin - August 2012
ATODA eBulletin -

News from the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT

4th Annual ACT ATOD Awards – Nominations now open
Nominations are now open for the 4th Annual ACT ATOD Awards, to be held on 5 December 2012 at the ACT Legislative Assembly. The application package can be downloaded here as a pdf or word doc
For more information: Call (02) 6255 4070 or email

Minimum Qualification Strategy: Free First Aid Course positions still available
10 positions in the MQS First Aid Course are still available. The course will be held on 22 October in Deakin from 8:30am – 5pm. To apply, please fill out the First Aid form in the MQS Application Package.
For more information: Call (02) 6255 4070 or email

Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy assistance for workers
Access to nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is available across all alcohol, tobacco and other drug, mental health and youth services in the ACT to help staff address their tobacco consumption and support quit attempts at no cost to the individual employee. The NRT Policy and registration form can be accessed on the ATODA website.
For more information: Call (02) 6255 4070 or email

Department of Health and Ageing Flexible Funding Update
There have been significant developments regarding ACT drug treatment and support services funded through the flexible funds of the Non-Government Organisation Treatment Grants Program (NGOTGP) and the Substance Misuse and Service Delivery Grant Fund  (SMSDGF) through the Department of Health and Ageing (DOHA), including
  • All ATOD peak bodies (state, territory and national) met with Minister Butler on 20 July 2012 in Adelaide and are committed to actively maintaining a dialogue with the Minister, his officials and DOHA, including active involvement in identifying needs and gaps; and strengthening the current and future funding arrangements.
  • ATODA understands that DOHA flexible funding agreements have been sent to all ACT agencies.
  • An ACT NGOTGP and SMSDGF Planning Workshop will be held on Wednesday 1 August with all funded agencies, DOHA and the ACT Government Health Directorate.
For further information please contact Carrie Fowlie on or (02) 6255 4070.

Please note that the ATODA office will be closed from 6 -17 August 2012.  We apologise for any inconvenience. Please see our website for further details

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ACT Election 2012

2012 ACT ATOD Election forum
ATODA will be holding the 2012 ATOD ACT Election forum on the 11 September 2012 from 12pm- 2pm. Invitations will be sent to members prior to the event.
For more information: Call (02) 6255 4070 or email

Community sector election forums
ACTCOSS and the ACT Community Sector
ACTCOSS has compiled a list of ACT community sector election forums, which can be viewed at ATODA’s sector calendar
For more information: See ATODA's event calendar or ACTCOSS' flyer

Shaping Canberra’s future – guide to enrolment and voting
Elections ACT
The ACT Legislative Assembly election is on 20 October this year. You can help shape Canberra’s future by voting to choose the people to represent you in the ACT Legislative Assembly. The election is run by the ACT Electoral Commission—Elections ACT—an independent, statutory body.
For more information: See the article here

Election resources
Elections ACT
Elections ACT has created a number of resources to help inform the public about the voting process, including:
For more information: See Elections ACT, call (02) 6205 0033 or email

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Criminal Justice System and ATOD

Justice in Health in Australia: Equity in Health Care Conference
Public Health Association of Australia
Speakers and topics include:
  • Dr Helen Watchirs OAM: ACT Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner: Human Rights in Prison
  • Prof Tony Butler, Program Head, Justice Health Program, Kirby Institute, Sydney: Medicare and PBS access for prisoners
  • Prof Michael Levy: Director, ACT Justice Health Service: Equitable Management of blood borne viruses in the Alexander Maconochie Centre
  • Dr Ed Heffernan, Director, Queensland Forensic Mental Health Services, Brisbane: Benchmarking of forensic mental health services nationally; findings of recent ‘Inside Out’ report on the mental health of Indigenous prisoners
  • Dr Stephen Allnutt, Justice Health NSW, Community Forensic Mental Health Team
  • Ms Jocelyn Jones, Adjunct Research Fellow, National Drug Research Institute (NDRI): Health-related experiences of female Indigenous prisoners
  • Ms Julie Tongs OAM, CEO, Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service: Indigenous prisoner health & transition to community (post-release) challenges
  • Ms Bernadette Mitcherson, Executive Director of ACT Corrective Services: Post –release care planning for prisoners in the ACT
  • Dr Mark Stoove, Head, HIV/STI Research, Centre for Population Health, Burnet Institute, Melbourne: Transitional issues for prisoners/ex prisoners with a history of injecting drug use
  • Mr Brett Collins, Coordinator, Justice Action, Sydney
  • Ms Marion Watson, Prisoner Advocate
  • Ms Nicole Wiggins, Manager of Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy
Date: 15 August 2012
Venue: Rydges Capital Hill Hotel – Forrest, Canberra.
Cost: Earlybird registration $130 - closes 6 July 2012, Full registration $150
For more information: See the conference website,  call (02) 6285 2373 or email

The First International Conference on Law Enforcement and Public Health
Public Health Association of Australia, Australian Institute of Police Management, University of Melbourne
A conference to establish and investigate the role of law enforcement in relation to public health. Law enforcement, especially through police forces, has a crucial but largely unacknowledged role in the protection and promotion of the public health. This conference is about the inter-relationship of law enforcement and public health, with invited papers from world experts in specific aspects of this relationship, from multiple sectors and disciplines; and case studies of successful collaborations of police and public health across a wide range of issues.
Date: 11-14 November 2012
Venue: The University of Melbourne, Sidney Myer Asia Center - Swanston Street, Carlton Victoria
Cost: $715.00 plus $32.88 booking fee
For more information: See the conference website, call (03) 90354830 or email

Prison Issues Update (July 2012)
Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD)
The Prison Issues Update details recent events, research reports and news about Prisons in Australia.
For more information: See the update here

Evolving ‘concept’ of prison
Canberra Times, 29 July 2012
The ACT has the most expensive jail in Australia. Why does it cost so much more? The ACT is challenging the concept of locking up prisoners by changing the manner in which jails interact with prisoners. Throughcare is an offender management model that covers all of the assistance given to offenders and their families by Corrective Services and other government directorates (such as health) and provides effective rehabilitation by outside agencies. The transformation is accomplished by addressing the behaviours and attitudes that originally landed the detainee in jail, including substance abuse. The process includes education programs, Therapeutic Cottages, a Transitional Release Centre and drug and alcohol counselling.
For more information: See the article here

Syringe delays put prisoners at risk: expert
Canberra Times, 27 July 2012
University of Melbourne Associate Professor Stuart Kinner said strong leadership and political will were needed to get the needle exchange off the ground.
Professor Kinner was one of two researchers with the Burnet Institute who worked on a key 2011 report making the case for the needle and syringe program at the Alexander Maconochie Centre. The needle exchange has languished in political limbo for almost two years. There have been eight known cases of prisoners contracting hepatitis C while in the jail between its opening and the end of March this year.
For more information: See the article here

Jail drug tests to start
Canberra Times, 22 July 2012
Random drug testing will come into force at the Alexander Maconochie Centre this week, as the ACT government moves to crack down on substance abuse among detainees.
Justice and Community Safety said the first group of prisoners would be tested before the end of the month. The new regime follows a three-month trial, after ACT Corrective Services found the previous method of testing was not providing enough intelligence on drug use at the jail.
For more information: See the article here

Push for syringes in prison
Canberra Times, 21 July 2012
Doctors are calling for Australian governments to introduce needle and syringe programs to prisons amid fears they have become a ''hot bed'' for blood-borne viruses, especially hepatitis C. The call, supported by eminent scientists Peter Doherty and Sir Gustav Nossal, comes as a Victorian prisoner prepares to sue the state government for allegedly failing to protect him from hepatitis C in one of the state's 14 jails. If the case is successful, lawyers said it would expose the government to more legal action, forcing them to consider protective measures for prisoners who are known to be injecting drugs with dirty equipment.
For more information: See the article here

Lag in jail reforms: watchdog
Canberra Times, 18 July 2012
The ACT government still has much work to do to achieve its goal of human rights-compliant correctional facilities, according to the territory's rights authority.
Human Rights Commissioner Helen Watchirs will tell an audience today at the University of Canberra that problems remain both at the city's juvenile detention centre and its adult jail. The commissioner will tell the university's lunchtime seminar series that it has been five years after the Human Rights Commission's landmark report on the now defunct Belconnen Remand Centre recommended a needle exchange program but that the issue remains politically deadlocked.
For more information: See the article here

Women in jail face challenges
Canberra Times, 14 July 2012
The biggest challenges facing female prisoners are drug and alcohol addiction, mental health issues, and a history of domestic violence and sexual abuse, according to Corrections Minister Chris Bourke. Dr Bourke and other Australian ministers met in Adelaide this week, to discuss issues affecting the nation's correctional facilities.
The management and rehabilitation of female prisoners was high on the agenda, driven in part by growing numbers of female offenders over the past decade.
For more information: See the article here

Anger as NSW Axes Drug Court
ABC News, 7 July 2012
Legal experts are baffled by a NSW Government decision to axe special youth court that sent young offenders to counselling and rehab instead of jail. The court was set up 12 years ago after a recommendation of the Drug Summit, but it was closed down at short notice on Monday. The Government said the court's price tag was too much, but the decision has been met with anger and confusion.
For more information: See the article here

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News from the ACT ATOD Executive Directors Group

The ACT ATOD Executive Directors Group met in July to progress a range of sector-wide activities, including:
  • Meeting with members of the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm
  • Sector-wide roll out of the adapted DASSA e-Assist
  • 2012 Review of the Opiod Treatment Guidelines
  • Infringements reform, including ATOD services becoming community work order agencies.
For more information: Please contact Vera Van De Velde, Chair on or for further information about the group visit ATODA's website

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Community Sector Reform
There are significant reforms ACT and national reforms underway which are and will effect the ACT non-government ATOD and community services.  The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) is taking a leadership role in many areas, with ATODA engaging through several mechanisms including the ACT Peaks Forum. Below are some recent developments.

Social and Community Services (ACT) Award
The Social and Community Services (ACT) award sets out the rates of pay, loadings and allowances commencing from the first pay period on or after 1 July 2012. The rates of pay are based upon translating classifications from the pre-modern SACS ACT award to the modern SCHCADS award classifications. In line with the transitional provisions as set out Schedule A.3.9 and A.3.10 of the SCHCADS award, the rates presented in this pay table are the higher of either the pre-modern SACS ACT or SCHCADS rates with the addition of the 2012 federal minimum wage increase of 2.9% per week (with weekly wages rounded to the nearest 10 cents). In line with the national minimum wage increase resulting in an adjustment to the Standard Rate, allowances will also increase from 1 July 2012. Most expense related allowances will also increase. This pay table applies to all employees (regardless of their commencement date) where the SACS ACT Award previously applied. There will be a further increase in pay rates in December 2012 which will be the first instalment of the Equal Remuneration Order (ERO).
For more information: See details of the award

Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2011 – Community Information Sessions
Office of Regulatory Services
Public information sessions will be run to inform the ACT community about the requirements of the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) ACT 2011.
Date: 23 August 2012 (2 sessions)
Time: 1:30pm – 2:30pm and 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Venue: Tuggeranong Child and Family Centre – 159 Anketell Street, Tuggeranong
Date: 5 September 2012
Time: 10am – 11am
Venue: Nature Conservation House – Corner Emu Bank & Benjamin Way, Belconnen
Date: 12 September 2012 (2 sessions)
Time: 2pm – 3pm and 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Venue: Pilgrim House – 69 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra City
For more information and to RSVP:  See the Office of Regulatory Services' website, call (02) 6207 1921 or email

You, Me, Everybody – Understanding Social Inclusion in the ACT and Australia
ACT Council of Social Services
You, Me, Everybody – Understanding Social Inclusion in the ACT and Australia seeks to provide a broader understanding of the concepts of social inclusion and social exclusion, and to demonstrate the usefulness of such terms. It examines outcomes of utilising the terms in public discourse, including taking a closer look at the establishment of the Australian Social Inclusion Board and a Social Inclusion Unit in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in 2008, and what work has been done in the ACT. This publication also seeks to explore what steps are necessary in the creation of any social inclusion agenda.
For more information: See ACTCOSS' website

The ACT Community Sector Reform Program: Some Questions and Answers
Community Sector Reform Advisory Group
In response to media reports around the funding of the community sector reform program, a document has been released outlining what reforms are proposed for the ACT Community Sector, how the reforms will be funded, whether the reforms will lead to a loss of services, where the benefits of the reforms will go, and the role of the community sector in the reform process. The reforms propose to reduce costs of doing business for the sector, reduce the impact of red tape, improve the skills base of the sector and its overall productivity and provide assistance to community sector governing boards and committees. The Government will seek a co-contribution from the community sector that will equate to 0.34% of total funding to achieve these reforms.  
For more information: Call (02) 6207 6197 or email

$3 billion for social and community sector workers
Juila Gillard, 15 July 2012, Media release
The Gillard Government will provide an additional $1 billion as part of the governments contribution to the historic pay rise awarded to Australia’s social and community sector (SACS) workers in February of this year. This takes the government;s total commitment for equal pay for social and community workers to around $3 billion through to June 2021, as part of the phase in period. From 1 December 2012, 150,000 of Australia’s lowest paid workers will benefit from substantial pay rises of between 23 and 45 percent as a result of Fair Work Australia’s decision to lift the wages of some of Australia’s lowest paid workers.
For more information: See the media release here

Fair pay for social and community sector workers
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
On 1 February 2012, Fair Work Australia (FWA) made a historic decision to increase wages in the social and community services sector.
This decision affects workers who are employed under the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010 (SACS Modern Award).  Specifically, the decision affects those workers classified under the following Schedules:
  • Schedule B – Classification Definitions - Social and Community Services Employees; and
  • Schedule C – Classification Definitions - Crisis Accommodation Employees
For more information: See FACHSIA's website

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AIVL Research and Policy Update
Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL)
The latest research and policy update from AIVL includes the results to date of their ongoing online discrimination survey, injecting drug use among Aboriginal people in NSW, experiences of research participation, and the third national strategy for tacking Hepatitis C in Australia.
For more information: See the update here

Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm (NBHF) Design Plans Consultation
ATODA made a submission to this consultation on the model of care (phase 2).  For a copy of the submission email

Sector Development, Activities and Events

Hepatitis Education
The ACT Hepatitis Resource Centre (ACT HRC)
The ACT HRC is funded by the ACT Health Directorate and delivers a comprehensive range of information, education, health promotion, liver health, support and treatment advice services with a view to reducing the prevalence and impacts of viral hepatitis in our community. The services are provided with a particular emphasis on identified priority groups including: people with hepatitis C; people who inject drugs, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who inject drugs, and people at risk of hepatitis C infection as new, or potential injectors (i.e. young people - median age of initiation to injecting drug use is age 17 to 18 years); people in custodial settings; people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (especially countries where prevalence is high); and people with hepatitis C with co-morbidities. The HRC is happy to work with organisations supporting these priority groups to identify appropriate opportunities to provide hepatitis information and prevention education.
For more information: Call (02) 6230 6344 or email

Canberra Homelessness Connect
ACT Shelter
Canberra Homelessness Connect 2012 is a chance for people in Canberra who may be homeless or at risk of homelessness to access free services. Some of the services available include housing, employment, counselling, legal, centrelink, medicare, haircut and massage services and more. There will be a free lunch available. Community groups and volunteers are welcome to get involved. 

Date: 9 August 2012

Time: 11am-3pm

Venue: Pilgrim House, 69 Northbourne Avenue

For more information: Call (02) 6247 5041 or email

Perpetual Calendar for Reconciliation and Health
ACT Council of Social Services (ACTCOSS)
On 3 July 2012 ACTCOSS launched the Perpetual Calendar for Reconciliation and Health. This calendar aims to support community organizations to celebrate the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and peoples and their ongoing contribution to this nation.
For more information: Copies of the calendar can be printed from these files (Low resolution), (High resolution) or call (02) 6202 7200 or fax (02) 6281 4192

ACT Government Assistance Website
ACT Government
The ACT Government Assistance website aims to provide easy access to advice and assistance for individuals looking for support with pressures due to the cost of living. The information categories include housing and rates, transportation and registration, food, education and training, utilities, health and dental, legal advice, money, feeds and fines and someone to talk to.
For more information: See the website here

Aboriginal Culture, History and Heritage Training
ACT Council of Social Services (ACTCOSS) and Kerry Reed Gilbert of Kuracca Consultancy
This one-day workshop for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal workers provides participants with a general introduction into the recent history of Aboriginal peoples in Australia. It aims to improve knowledge of Aboriginal culture and dispossession, and explores ways organisations may improve their practice to respond to the needs of Aboriginal peoples.
Date: 19 October 2012
Time: 9:30am – 4:30pm
Venue: Level 1 meeting room, Weston Community Hub, 6 Gritten Street, Weston, ACT
Cost: ACTCOSS members $165, Non-members $235, Government/Corporate $305
For more information and registration: Call (02) 6281 4192 or email

Human Rights Obligations of ACT Community Organisations
ACT Human Rights Commission
This seminar will provide information to managers and board members of community sector organisations on their human rights obligations as public authorities under the ACT Human Rights Act 2004. Information will be provided on how to ensure human rights are adhered to
  • Through understanding what it means to be a public authority;
  • As a component of risk management;
  • Through organisational policies and procedures; and
  • Through the day-to-day provision of supports to disadvantaged and/or vulnerable people in Canberra.
Date: 14 August 2012
Time: 1pm – 4:30pm
Venue: ACTCOSS meeting room, Weston Community Hub, 1/6 Gitten St, Weston
Cost: ACTCOSS members $40, non-members $65, Government/Corporate $95. Afternoon tea will be provided
For more information and registration: Call (02) 6202 7200 or email

Social Media Tools for Not-For-Profit Organisations
A list of social media tools that not-for-profit organizations can use to monitor their brands online has been compiled. All tools are available free of charge.
For more information: See the website here
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Training and Professional Development

ACT Comorbidity Bus Tours
Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT (ATODA), Mental Health Community Coalition ACT (MHCCA) and the Youth Coalition of the ACT
The Comorbidity Bus Tour seeks to increase the capacity of frontline workers to support people experiencing co-occurring alcohol, tobacco and other drug and mental health issues (comorbidity). The Comorbidity Bus Tour visits a variety of services in the ACT from the alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD), mental health and youth sectors. There are currently 3 bus tours operating (Tour A, B & C) with each tour visiting different services.
Upcoming tour dates:
Tour A :    
  • Wednesday 8 August
  • Wednesday 5 September
  • Wednesday 3 October
  • Wednesday 14 November
Tour B:    
  • Wednesday 15 August
  • Wednesday 12 September
  • Wednesday 17 October
  • Wednesday 21 November
Tour C:    
  • Wednesday 29 August
  • Wednesday 26 September
  • Wednesday 24 October
  • Wednesday 28 November    
Cost: Ranges from $50 - $70.
Registration: Call (02) 6247 3540 or email
For more information: See ATODA's website

Scholarships – AIM Frontline Management 2012
Scholarships Australia
AIM NSW/ACT, through Scholarships Australia, are offering ten 100% scholarships to their online training programs in Frontline Management. The courses are delivered completely online - you can complete the course anywhere. Courses available include:
  • Workplace Safety
  • Managing Team Budgets
  • Manging People Performance
  • Manage Remote Staff
Applications close: 31 December 2012
For more information: See here, call 1300 248 675 or email

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Conferences and Symposiums

13th International Mental Health Conference
Public Health Association of Australia
The theme for this years conference is "Positive Change: Investing in Mental Health".
The 13th International Mental Health Conference will focus on the complex mental issues affecting the elderly including depression, dementia, delirium, paranoid disorders and anxiety. The conference will examine state, federal, international and COAG initiatives, early intervention strategies, validated treatments, suicide prevention and the effectiveness of mental health preventive measures.
Date: 6-8 August 2012
Venue: Outrigger Inn (formerly Holiday Inn), Gold Coast, Queensland
Cost: Varies depending on membership – see website for details
For more information: See the conference website, call (07) 5502 2068 or email

Australian Evaluation Society Inc 2012 International Conference
Australian Evaluation Society
This year's conference offers an exciting collection of presentations and workshops and outstanding international keynote speakers on the topic of 'Evaluation in a changing world'.
Date: 27 – 31 August 2012
Venue: Adelaide Convention Centre
Cost: Member $975 / Non Member $1145 / Student $495
For more information: See the conference website, call (02) 9265 0700 or email

Stigma, and other Barriers to Treatment
Australiasian Therapeutic Communities Association (ATCA)
The theme of the symposium is Stigma, and other Barriers to Treatment which addresses the social, psychological and physical barriers to treatment for many people.
Symposium Concerns:
  • Co- morbidity and Acquired Brain Injury:  best practice for consumers with co-occurring AOD, mental health and ABI concerns.
  • Indigenous Consumers:  best practice, cultural security.
  • Corrective services and coerced clients: working collaboratively with our partners in the justice system.
  • The GLBTI Community: recognising the divide to access.
  • Pathways to treatment for diverse clients: multicultural concerns.
  • Families and Children:  family involvement in treatment, interventions for children affected by parental drug use and associated issues.
Date: 27-30 August 2012
Venue: Hotel Grand Chancellor, Launcestion, Tasmania
Cost: ATCA Member - $500, ACTA non-member $550
For more information: See ACTA's website, call 0422 904 040 or email

NDARC Annual Research Symposium
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre
Celebrating 25 Years of Drug and Alcohol Research: Scoping the Future
The 2012 NDARC Annual Symposium is a celebration of the Centre’s 25 years in the drug and alcohol research sector. Presentations will be divided into four topic areas: young people and prevention; trauma, self-medication and treatment; current challenges: emerging drugs and prescription medication, and planning for the future. As always, the program will spotlight NDARC’s latest research into vulnerable communities including young people, those with criminal histories and those with past trauma or comorbidities.
Date: 28 August 2012
Venue: John Niland Scientia Building, University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW
Cost: $170 if registered before 3 August 2012
For more information: See the conference website, call (02) 9385 0333 or email

Population Health Congress 2012
Public Health Association of Australia
The 2012 Population Health Congress on the 10th to 12th September at the Adelaide Convention Centre 2012 will be the largest public health event of the year, without a doubt, anticipating an audience of at least 1300 people.
Organised and sponsored jointly by the four leading professional population health organisations in the Asia Pacific region, it will replace their normal annual conferences in 2012 and create an environment for a very large gathering of population health professionals. It will provide the opportunity for working across and within organisations on key population health issues and for unparalleled opportunities for networking.
Dates: 10 - 12 September 2012
Venue: Adelaide Convention Centre, South Australia
Cost: Varies depending on organisation membership
For more information: See the conference website, call (02) 6296 9000 or email

Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference
Australasian Society for HIV Medicine
The Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference is the leading Asia - Pacific meeting addressing research and treatment around Viral Hepatitis.
This conference, with integrated programming of sessions and a plethora of international and local speakers, provides an opportunity for issues to be examined across all disciplines, as relevant to laboratory research, clinical care, public health initiatives, community and policy sectors, from Australia to New Zealand, the Asia Pacific and beyond.
It also provides you with a great opportunity to network and learn about new tools and techniques to improve your skills set; learn about processes or best practices to increase productivity and efficiency, emerging and new technologies and advancements in clinical approaches.
Date: 10-12 September 2012
Venue: Auckland, New Zealand
Cost: Varies – see website for details
For more information: See the conference website, call (02) 8204 0770 or email

2nd National Cannabis Conference – from genetics to practice
National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre
The topic areas have been chosen to respond to the developing evidence-base on issues such as cannabis and mental health. The emerging areas to be featured will include cannabis use and intervention approaches among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, school based approaches to preventing and reducing cannabis use, the role of genetics in cannabis use and dependence, the relationship between cannabis and tobacco, synthetic cannabinoids, and promising approaches to cannabis and comorbid mental health conditions. The conference will include perspectives from health, education, youth services and criminal justice sectors.
Dates: 19- 21 September
Venue: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre – Grey St, Brisbane, QLD
Cost: Full fee - $499 if registered by 17 August, Student - $250 if registered by 17 August, otherwise $559 and $310 respectively.
For more information: See the conference website, call (02) 9385 0208 or email

2012 National Drug Trends Conference
Illicit Drug Reporting System and Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System
The National Drug Trends Conference will present recent findings in illicit drug use, markets and related harms across Australia. Convened by Australia’s largest drug monitoring systems, the Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) and the Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS), the one day conference will include the first release of the 2012 findings. 

We are also delighted to announce that there will be presentations from a number of distinguished international and national guest speakers, including
  • Mr Gary Lewis (UNODC)
  • Dr Chris Wilkins (SHORE, Massey University, NZ)
  • Dr Malcolm Dobbin (Dept of Health, VIC)
  • Dr Marianne Jauncey (MSIC)
  • Dr Alex Wodak (St Vincents Hospital)
  • Mr Peter Bowron (Toxicology Unit, Macquarie Hospital)
  • Dr David Bright (UNSW), Ms Claire Rickards (NSW Police), Ms Annie Madden (AIVL)
  • Dr Raimondo Bruno (UTAS)
  • Ms Amanda Roxburgh (NDARC).
Date: 9 October 2012
Time: 8am – 4pm
Venue: National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, Sydney
Cost: $250 / Student $200
For more information and to register: See the conference website, call 0421 035 579 or email

Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs – Annual Conference
Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs
“Culture of Change” is the overriding title of the conference and our program includes keynote presentations on emerging issues and developments in the treatment of alcohol and other drug related problems. There will be ample opportunity for discussion and debate, with interactive symposia, dedicated poster sessions, and late breaking research presentations featuring alongside oral paper sessions. Presentations will address practice, policy and treatment areas, as well as population trends and co-morbidities.
Date: 18-21 November
Venue: Melbourne Conference and Exhibition Centre
Cost: Early Bird rates before 19 September
For more information: See the conference website or email

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Newsletters, Magazines and Updates

Mental Health, Justice Health, Alcohol and Drug Services Newsletter (June 2012)
ACT Government Health Directorate
This newsletter shares the work of the Mental health, justice health, alcohol and drug services division of the ACT Government Health Directorate.
For more information: See the newsletter here

Of Substance (July 2012)
Australian National Council on Drugs
Feature articles include:
  • Tackling the stigma: Drugs and discrimination
  • Recovery: What does it mean in an Australian context?
  • Prescription opioids: A rising tide
  • AOD clinics: Stepping up to stop Hepatitis C
  • Barriers to success, what gets in the way of AOD project implementation?
For more information: See the newsletter here or call (02) 9258 4473

ANCD Project Update (July 2012)
Australian National Council on Drugs
The ANCD Project Upate is a monthly update of a number of projects that the ANCD commissions each year, either via the ANCD itself or its subcommittees. These projects are selected following consideration of the ANCD’s and its subcommittees’ roles and work plan priorities, consultations with the AOD sector, and consideration of where the AOD sector and/or the ANCD require further information in order to provide credible advice to Government.
For more information: See update here

ADCA Activities (July 2012)
Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia
ADCA Activities is design to inform members of ADCA about alcohol and other drugs issues currently being addressed on their behalf to enhance health and wellbeing in communities across Australia
For more information: See the newsletter here

Nofasard Newsletter – June 2012
National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Related Disorders (NOFASARD)
The monthly newsletter of NOFASARD details news related to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and related disorders. Highlights from the June edition include:
  • Results of the NOFASARD online survey
  • Reviews of recent national and international research
For more information: See the newsletter here

ACT Council of Social Service
Quarterly newsletter to keep members up to date.  This edition included an article from ATODA:

Investing in ATOD treatment makes a difference and good health and economic sense
To meaningfully address drug related issues a whole of government and community approach is required. Key principles underpinning our drug policies should include: a human rights approach; public health approach, targeting vulnerable groups; evidence-based policy approaches; coherence between policies on licit and illicit drugs; balanced approaches between demand, supply and harm reduction; taking into account ACT, nationald international policies, instruments and best practise; and partnerships.
Supporting drug treatment is a good investment. For example, research demonstrates that every dollar spent on policies and programs aimed at reducing drug misuse and drug-related harm among offenders, produces a four to twelve dollar return, measured in terms of healthcare and crime cost reductions.
For more information: See the article here

Office of Children, Youth and Family Support – July newsletter
ACT Government, Community Services Directorate
The Office of Children, Youth and Family Support produces a monthly newsletter which includes a message from the OCYFS Executive Director, Christine Nolan, as well as updates on key activities within OCYFS.
For more information: See the newsletter here

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Consumer Participation

AIVL Research and Policy Update (April-June 2012)
Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL)
AIVL’s Research & Policy Update is a regular electronic publication designed to support AIVL staff, staff and members of the AIVL member organisations, peer educators, peer support workers and other key stakeholders to stay up-to-date on the latest research evidence and policies in the areas of blood borne viruses (BBVs), injecting drug use, opioid pharmacotherapies and drug treatment, harm reduction, legal issues and human rights. Contents include:
  • Results from AIVL’s National Anti-Discrimination Online Survey
  • Research participation as work: comparing the perspectives of researchers and economically marginalized populations
For more information: See the update here

Survey of cannabis growers
National Drug Research Institute
Participation in this study involves completing a 15-minute online questionnaire that asks about your experiences with growing cannabis, as well as your reasons for growing cannabis, your personal use of cannabis and other drugs, your views on alternative cannabis growing policies, your drug market participation, your experiences with cannabis laws, your participation in other illegal activities and standard demographic information.
It is entirely voluntary, completely anonymous and no identifying information will be collected.
For more information or to participate: See here, call (03) 8413 8514 or email

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Youth, Mental Health and Allied Sectors

Mental Health Week 2012 – Open your Mind
Mental Health Week Committee ACT
Mental Health Week 2012 will be held from 7 to 13 October this year. The theme will be: Open you mind. What you can do to make the difference.
The inaugural mental health week awards will be presented as part of mental health week in the following six categories:
  • Service Delivery and Innovation Award
  • Cross sector collaboration award
  • Promotion, prevention and early intervention award
  • Consumer contribution to Sector Development Award
  • Mental Health Volunteer Award
Additionally - 6 small reimbursements to the value of $1000 are available to community organizations who demonstrate that their project will contribute to the objectives of Mental Health Week.
For more information: Call (02) 6249 7756 or email

myCompass – new online interactive self help service
Black Dog Institute
myCompass is an interactive self-help service that aims to promote resilience and wellbeing for all Australians. myCompass is a guide to good mental health – it points you in the right direction. You can track your moods, write about them and view information and tips. You can also choose to do one of the modules designed to help you manage mild to moderate stress, anxiety and depression.
For more information: See the service here

Quarterly Community Forum – Supporting prisoners with mental health issues
Mental Health Community Coalition ACT, ACT Mental Health Consumer Network, Carers ACT and Mental Health, Justice Health & Alcohol and Drug Services
A recently released report noted that in 2010, 31% of prison entrants reported having been told by a health professional that they had a mental health disorder. This is about 2.5 times higher than the general population. It is clear many of the risk factors for poor mental health are inherent in the prison environment.
This makes it even more challenging for that high proportion of the prison population which has a mental health disorder to maintain good mental health or to pursue recovery.
Come to this forum to hear more about what mental health services are currently available in and exiting the AMC and contribute to a discussion of how to make current services work better for prisoners with mental health issues.
Date: 6 August 2012
Time: 5pm – 7:30pm
Venue: Room 6, level 1, Griffin Centre, 20 Genge St, Canberra City
For more information and to RSVP: See the flyer here, call (02) 6249 7756 or email

New research from the Women’s Centre for Health Matters
Women’s Centre for Mental Health Matters
Two new reports are available detailing research conducted about women in the ACT who live with mental illness or care for someone with mental illness. One report focuses on the experiences of older women living with depression and the other focuses on those women living with mental illness and their carers
For more information and to obtain a copy of the reports: Call (02) 6290 2166 or email

Families ACT Website Launch
Families ACT
Families ACT has recently launched its new website. Families ACT is a peak body supporting organizations working with children, young people and families in the ACT and surrounding region. Publications that are available on the website include the Families ACT Policy Platform, Peak Perspectives and information on the Families ACT Practice Framework.  
For more information: See here

National Mental Health Commission: Update
National Mental Health Commission, July 2012
This update from the National Mental Health Commission details the activities of the first 6 months of the Commission, with links to documents developed and ongoing activities.
For more information: See the update here

National Health Call Centre Network
The mindhealthconnect website is a brand new initiative launched in July 2012 as part of the Australian Government’s National E-Mental Health Strategy. The site is a gateway to issues surrounding mental health care and contains links to a range of programs, factsheets, audiovisual content and online communities useful to people of all ages.
For more information: See the new website here

Peak Perspectives – Issue 4
Youth Coalition ACT and Families ACT
This newsletter aims to provide workers and services with an overview of the current and relevant changes occurring in the implementation of, the Child, Youth and Family Services Program (CYFSP). Each issue of Peak Perspectives provides an update on key changes and activities related to the CYFSP, such as funded service models, ACT Government initiatives, and peak activities. It also introduces a topic for discussion each month that the Youth Coalition and Families ACT has identified as a key issue. This issue's topic for discussion is the 2012 - 2013 ACT Budget.
For more information: See the newsletter here

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Employment Oppourtunities

Note: employment opportunities in the sector are also promoted on the Jobs of Substance website

Project Officer
Family Drug Support
Family Drug Support is seeking a project officer to work on the 'Bridging the Divide' Project three days per week.
The role is to create partnerships with drug treatment services to increase their capacity to work effectively with families. The primary aim is to improve the efficacy of drug treatment by involving and supporting families of the drug user.
Location: ACT and Western NSW
Applications close: 8 August 2012
For more information: Contact Mr T Trimingham OAM, Family Drug Support on or call (02) 4782 9222

Alcohol and Other Drugs Worker - Casual Positions
Directions ACT
Successful applicants will provide casual AOD worker support in programs and services within Directions ACT which include Needle and Syringe Program, Outreach and Promotions, Arcadia House and Administration and Reception. A training program (paid) will be provided to successful applicants and attendance to the training, both theoretical and practical elements, is a requirement of accepting the position. A six month tenure is required for all casual positions at Directions ACT, with an extension available which is negotiated with the Manager or Executive Director.
Location: Canberra, ACT
Applications close: Ongoing
For more information: See Directons' website here, call (02) 6122 8000 or email

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Study shows scale of drink driving
Sydney Morning Herald, 28 July 2012
Nearly three-quarters of Australians admit they are likely to drink and drive, according to a new survey. The survey, contained in a report by the National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund released today, also shows 44 per cent of those questioned say they have driven while believing they were still under the influence of illicit drugs, including cannabis and ecstasy. The percentage of those who admit to drink-driving in the past (58 per cent) is smaller than that of those who think they will do so in the future, and shows it is less common among older and younger drivers.
For more information: See the article here and the report here

ACT will lead trial disability scheme
Canberra Times, 25 July 2012
The ACT will lead the nation with the largest of three trial launches for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, after Chief Minister Katy Gallagher agreed to join with the federal government in sharing the costs of the ground-breaking plan.
For more information: See the article here

ACT Clubs scanning your licence
Canberra Times, 23 July 2012
ACT clubs are increasingly using scanning systems to make copies of guests' drivers licences upon entry, prompting privacy concerns from civil liberties groups. The territory's larger clubs, including the Tradies, Canberra Labor Club, Hellenic Club, and the Canberra Southern Cross Club, have all begun to use scanning systems in the past year. The technology, which is optional for guests, is used to scan the identification of visiting patrons instead of signing in manually.
For more information: See the article here

Biting the bullet on booze limits
Canberra Times, Opinion, 20 July 2012
Ambulance officers assaulted by their inebriated patients, passers-by bashed in and around bars, hotels and nightclub districts, lives ruined in traffic accidents caused by drunk drivers, unborn foetuses exposed to dangerous levels of alcohol: the litany of the health and social burdens of excessive alcohol (and drugs) consumption is lengthy. Governments recognise the harmful health and social consequences of drinking - and say they are committed to ameliorating its effects - but a great deal of evidence exists to suggest little headway is being made.
For more information: See the article here

Suspended driver found behind wheel in car park
Canberra Times, 20 July 2012
A man who notched up his sixth and seventh drink-driving convictions just four days apart in the same car park has received a suspended weekend jail sentence.
Authorities had already suspended Fernando Labarca Cerda's licence for an unpaid parking fine when police caught him behind the wheel in January last year.
For more information: See the article here

Medical study reveals some unhealthy results
The Age, 16 July 2012
The first wide-scale audit of Australian healthcare has found 43 per cent of people are missing out on care in line with best practice or the latest medical advice.
Some conditions were cared for better than others, too. Ninety per cent of people with coronary artery disease and 76 per cent with chronic heart failure received appropriate care, compared with only 13 per cent with alcohol dependence and 24 per cent with obesity.
For more information: See the article here

Dodson backs constitutional change
Canberra Times, 12 July 2012
Former Australian of the Year Mick Dodson has thrown his support behind a proposal to insert a ban on racial discrimination into the constitution, declaring such a move would ''cast out forever the dead legal and policy corpse of White Australia''.
But he warned against rushing to a referendum because defeat would ''set reconciliation on its arse'' and cause damage to relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians that would take decades to repair.
For more information: See the article here

Police blitz drink drivers
Canberra Times, 11 July 2012
Police caught 29 drink drivers last weekend and another four during the week.
Of the 33 drink drivers caught, nine had zero Blood Alcohol Content licence conditions and 10 had previous convictions for the offence. Police say the drink-driving blitz confirmed repeat offenders were a problem on Canberra's roads.
For more information: See the article here

Closing the gap is a long term plan
Canberra Times, Opinion, 6 July 2012
Everyone would like the gap to be closing. However, many politicians and public servants are not aware that while we can see whether the gap was closing before 2010, it is just too early to tell whether the $4.6 billion Closing the Gap programs are working or not. The key point is that most of the information that is now available relates to the period before the Closing the Gap funding hit the ground.
For more information: See the article here

Smoke ban ‘cruel’ for mental patients
Canberra Times, 5 July 2012
ACT health authorities will impose ''cruel and unusual'' punishment on its mental health patients when smoking is banned next year in treatment centres, according to advocates in the sector.
Community sector mental health organisations say the plan allege the Health Directorate had gone to extraordinary lengths to overcome resistance.
The Canberra Times revealed last month health authorities were pushing ahead with their plan to enforce a total smoking ban at all ACT Health campuses, including mental health treatment centres, despite concerns from the Official Visitor and the Health Services Commissioner.
For more information: See the article here

Inquiry into Kronic, other synthetic drugs
The Newcastle Herald, 4 July 2012
Doctors, miners, police and judges have made their case to a state government inquiry trying to bring synthetic drugs, including Kronic, under control.
The inquiry committee, which includes Hunter MPs Clayton Barr and Sonia Hornery, has held meetings across the region this week to devise effective controls for synthetic drugs.
For more information: See the article here

On the Beat to Battle Teen Drinking
The Canberra Times, 2 July 2012
A new program piloted in the territory over the past 12 months has achieved surprising success, where other efforts have failed. The Early Intervention Pilot Program, which is run across most Australian jurisdictions, works by referring teenagers and children who come to police attention for drinking or possessing alcohol to ACT Health for counselling, education, or treatment by trained clinicians.
For more information: See the article here

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Contact ATODA:

Phone: (02) 6255 4070
Fax: (02) 6255 4649
Mail: PO Box 7187,
Watson ACT 2602
Visit: 350 Antill St. Watson

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The Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT (ATODA) is the peak body representing the non-government and government alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) sector in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). ATODA seeks to promote health through the prevention and reduction of the harms associated with ATOD. 

Views expressed in the ACT ATOD Sector eBulletin do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT. Not all third-party events or information included in the eBulletin are endorsed by the ACT ATOD Sector or the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT. No responsibility is accepted by the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT or the editor for the accuracy of information contained in the eBulletin or the consequences of any person relying upon such information. To contact us please email or call (02) 6255 4070.