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.

Decriminalisation of sex work in south Australia (SHINE SA Media Release)

SHINE SA,  

On 31 May 2019, the Sex Industry Network (SIN) will gather at Parliament House to rally for the decriminalisation of the South Australian sex industry and to recognise International Sex Workers Day.

In South Australia sex work is criminalised, prohibiting sex work so that those engaging in relevant activities can be prosecuted for criminal offences. SIN and Scarlet Alliance (Australian Sex Workers Association) advocate for decriminalisation which is seen as a best practice model by sex workers and community-based organisations.

In a recent statement SIN said:

“Sex work is skilled labour. We deserve the same industrial protections as any other worker in South Australia and, currently, what sets us apart is the criminalisation of the industry within which we CHOOSE to work.”

Natasha Miliotis, Chief Executive of SHINE SA said:

“We support the work of SIN and their advocacy for the decriminalisation of sex work in SA.

Amnesty International, the United Nations and the World Health Organization have all called for the full decriminalisation of consensual sex work as the scientific evidence is now clear – criminalisation itself leads to harm¹.

From a public health perspective decriminalisation is important to not only reduce stigma and discrimination, but to improve the health and safety of workers, clients and the broader community².”

For more information on SIN’s celebration of International Sex Workers Day and the rally for the decriminalisation of the South Australian sex industry visit www.sin.org.au.

For further information contact Tracey Hutt, Director Workforce Education and Development via email  or via telephone on 0434 937 036

 

 

¹ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30532209

² https://theconversation.com/new-report-shows-compelling-reasons-to-decriminalise-sex-work-83955

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.

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.

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

 

 

 

In debates about drug use, fun is important

The Conversation, February 8, 2019 6.07am AEDT

Young (and older) people use drugs and alcohol for fun, enjoyment and socialisation. Understanding the social nature of drug use reveals why fun-seeking is so compelling.

When people describe fun, they are often talking about an experience of social connection and belonging. Fun is not insignificant in human lives.

Understanding this might help to make sense of why “just say no” messages are so often ignored.