The Power of Words – Alcohol and Other Drug use

Alcohol & Drug Foundation, 2019

A resource for healthcare and other professionals

There’s power in language. By focusing on people, rather than their use of alcohol and other drugs, and by choosing words that are welcoming and inclusive, professionals working with people who use alcohol and other drugs can reduce the impact of stigma.

Stigma in the form of language and actions can make people who use, or have used alcohol and other drugs, feel unwelcome and unsafe. This can stop them from seeking the services they need, which can negatively impact their health, wellbeing, employment and social outcomes.

How to use this guide

The Power of Words contains evidence-based advice on using non-stigmatising language, and features an easy-to-navigate, colour-coded directory of alternative words and phrases to suit a range of common scenarios.

It’s important that consistent, appropriate language is used when speaking about alcohol and other drug use in all contexts, be it speaking directly to a client or through indirect communication to a broad audience.

Recognising this, the recommendations within Power of Words have been developed to be easily adopted by healthcare professionals as well as anyone working in management, people and culture, education, marketing, the media or social media.

The Power of Words has been produced by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, Association of Participating Service Users/Self Help Addiction Resource Centre (APSU/SHARC), Department of Health and Human Services, Harm Reduction Victoria and Penington Institute, following an extensive review of evidence-based literature as well as focus groups with people with lived experience and their families.

Evaluating the cost-effectiveness of existing needle and syringe programmes in preventing hepatitis C transmission in PWID

Drug and Alcohol Findings (UK), 2019

What would happen to rates of infection with hepatitis C if we closed down all the needle exchanges? Research has established that needle/syringe programmes are a cost-effective way to reduce spread of HIV, but just two studies have considered the same issue in relation to hepatitis C.

In three UK municipalities, the answers were predicted to be more infections, lost low-cost opportunities to improve and save lives, and in two of the areas, greater health-related costs overall. Conclusion was that these services are among the best investments UK health services can make.

SA drug bill risks another Stolen Gen: Aboriginal Health Council

InDaily, March 21st, 2018

The head of South Australia’s peak Aboriginal health body has warned that a State Government plan to enforce mandatory drug treatment on young people risks dispossessing Aboriginal children of their culture.

Aboriginal Health Council state branch CEO Shane Mohor has joined a growing chorus of social service and health bodies that have criticised the Controlled Substance (Youth Treatment Orders) Amendment Bill currently before state parliament.

Smoking and HIV: what are the risks and what harm reduction strategies do we have at our disposal?

AIDS Res Ther. 2018 Dec 12;15(1):26. doi: 10.1186/s12981-018-0213-z.

Abstract

The World Health Organization estimates that smoking poses one of the greatest global health risks in the general population. Rates of current smoking among people living with HIV (PLHIV) are 2-3 times that of the general population, which contributes to the higher incidence of non-AIDS-related morbidity and mortality in PLHIV.

Given the benefit of smoking cessation, strategies to assist individuals who smoke to quit should be a primary focus in modern HIV care.

Tobacco harm reduction focuses on reducing health risk without necessarily requiring abstinence. However, there remains uncertainty about the safety, policy and familiarity of specific approaches, particularly the use of vaporised nicotine products. Evidence suggests that vaporised nicotine products may help smokers stop smoking and are not associated with any serious side-effects. However, there is the need for further safety and efficacy data surrounding interventions to assist quitting in the general population, as well as in PLHIV specifically.

In addition, official support for vaping as a harm reduction strategy varies by jurisdiction and this determines whether medical practitioners can prescribe vaporised products and whether patients can access vaporised nicotine products. When caring for PLHIV who smoke, healthcare workers should follow general guidelines to assist with smoking cessation.

These include: asking the patient about their smoking status; assessing the patient’s readiness to quit and their nicotine dependence; advising the patient to stop smoking; assisting the patient in their attempt to stop smoking through referral, counselling, pharmacotherapy, self-help resources and/or health education; and arranging follow-up with the patient to evaluate their progress.

Drug and alcohol report uncovers burden in regional Australia

ABC Central West, 15/03/2019

A report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has revealed alarming statistics about drug and alcohol use in regional Australia, and the difficulties faced by those seeking treatment.

The report found a 41 per cent increase in drug-induced deaths in regional and remote areas in the decade to 2017, compared to a 16 per cent spike in major cities.

Researchers said this could be attributed to opioid overdoses.

The report found there was a higher rate of people seeking drug and alcohol treatment in regional and remote communities in 2016–17, but they were likely to travel one hour or more to receive treatment.

It also said people in country areas were more likely to smoke, drink heavily, use drugs, and avoid exercise.

Special issue of Drugs and Alcohol Today: ChemSex – Apps, drugs and the right to pleasure

Emerald Publishing Limited, 2019

This special edition of Drugs and Alcohol Today, entitled “Chemsex – Apps, drugs and the right to pleasure”, acknowledges an aspect of drug taking that is often ignored in the discourse on the “scourge” of drug abuse – that drugs enhance pleasure.

Amidst the pleasure brought on by “chems”, there has been pain. Drug overdoses and deaths fuelled by a prohibition that supports an illicit market of unlabelled, often adulterated drugs and fear that calling an ambulance will implicate you in a crime

Chemsex is a unique phenomenon, requiring unique public health responses. The melding of smart phone apps, spatial data and real time “personal adverts requires a significant re-think and re-design when developing public health responses”.

This issue publishes work from experts that help gay communities to mobilise their own responses. It takes the onus off public health policy to respond, and respectfully recognises the agency and resilience within gay communities, to formulate culturally and contextually competent community responses to chemsex.

Free access to this special issue until March 31st