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Mar/Apr 2009
The War On Drugs Is A Failure 1 New Stepping Stones Workbook 3 We Want Your Stories 4 Insights Out 5 Launch: Not My Family, Never My Child 6 Letter To Tony And FDS 7 Communities Rethink Drug Attitudes 8 Letter From Patron Marie Bashir 9 2009/2010 Entertainment Books 10 Another Shameful Act By Distillers 11 Alcopops Bill Facing Defeat 12 Applause For Former Drug Users 13 Sea Of Addition Full Of Young Men 15 Memorial Corner 16 Drug-Addled Boomers The New Burden 17 The War On Drugs Is Being Won 19 Sniffer Dogs Dont Work 21 Sniffer Dogs Have Their Big Day Out 22 Events Diary 22 Special Commission Child Protection 24 Addicts Find Less Pleasure In Life 25 Alcopop Firms Tax Loopholes 26 United Voice Government Support 27 Brown Heroin Reignites Drugs Worry 30 Ladettes Lead Upsurge In Crime 31 Celebrating 100 Years Failed Prohibition 33 News From Overseas 37 Need Help 43 Family Support Meetings 44
Family Drug Support PO Box 7363, Leura NSW 2780 Ph: (02) 4782 9222; Fax: (02) 4782 9555 Website: ISSN: 1833-4997

The War On Drugs Is A Failure

F. H. Cardoso, C. Gaviria & E. Zedillo, Wall St Journal (23/2/09) he war on drugs has failed. And its high time to replace an ineffective strategy with more humane and efficient drug policies. This is the central message of the report by the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy we presented to the public recently in Rio de Janeiro. Prohibitionist policies based on eradication, interdiction and criminalization of consumption simply havent worked. Violence and the organized crime associated with the narcotics trade remain critical problems in our countries. Latin America remains the worlds largest exporter of cocaine and cannabis, and is fast becoming a major supplier of opium and heroin. Today, we are further than ever from the goal of eradicating drugs. Over the last 30 years, Colombia implemented all conceivable measures to fight the drug trade in a massive effort where the benefits were not proportional to the resources invested.

Despite the countrys achievements in lowering levels of violence and crime, the areas of illegal cultivation are again expanding. In Mexico another epicentre of drug trafficking narcotics-related violence has claimed more than 5,000 lives in the past year alone. The revision of US-inspired drug policies is urgent in light of the rising levels of violence and corruption associated with narcotics. The alarming power of the drug cartels is leading to a criminalization of politics and a politicization of crime. And the corruption of the judicial and political system is undermining the foundations of democracy in several Latin American countries. The first step in the search for alternative solutions is to acknowledge the disastrous consequences of current policies. Next, we must shatter the taboos that inhibit public debate about drugs in our societies. Anti-narcotic policies are firmly rooted in prejudices and fears that sometimes bear little relation to reality. The association of drugs with crime segregates addicts in closed circles where they become even more exposed to organized crime. In order to drastically reduce the harm caused by narcotics, the longterm solution is to reduce demand for drugs in the main consumer countries. To move in this direction, it is essential to differentiate among illicit substances according to the harm they inflict on peoples health, and the harm drugs cause to the social fabric. 2

In this spirit, we propose a paradigm shift in drug policies based on three guiding principles: Reduce the harm caused by drugs, decrease drug consumption through education, and aggressively combat organized crime. To translate this new paradigm into action we must start by changing the status of addicts from drug buyers in the illegal market to patients cared for by the public-health system. We also propose the careful evaluation, from a public-health standpoint, of the possibility of decriminalizing the possession of cannabis for personal use. Cannabis is by far the most widely used drug in Latin America, and we acknowledge that its consumption has an adverse impact on health. But the available empirical evidence shows that the hazards caused by cannabis are similar to the harm caused by alcohol or tobacco. If we want to effectively curb drug use, we should look to the campaign against tobacco consumption. The success of this campaign illustrates the effectiveness of prevention campaigns based on clear language and arguments consistent with individual experience. Likewise, statements by former addicts about the dangers of drugs will be far more compelling to current users than threats of repression or virtuous exhortations against drug use. Such educational campaigns must be targeted at youth, by far the largest contingent of users and of those killed in the drug wars. The campaigns

should also stress each persons responsibility toward the rising violence and corruption associated with the narcotics trade. By treating consumption as a matter of public health, we will enable police to focus their efforts on the critical issue: the fight against organized crime. A growing number of political, civic and cultural leaders, mindful of the failure of our current drug policy, have publicly called for a major policy shift. Creating alternative policies is the task of many: educators, health professionals, spiritual leaders and policy makers. Each countrys search for new policies must be consistent with its history and culture. But to be effective, the new paradigm must focus on health and education not repression. Drugs are a threat that cuts across borders, which is why Latin America must establish dialogue with the United States and the European Union to develop workable alternatives to the war on drugs. Both

the US and the EU share responsibility for the problems faced by our countries, since their domestic markets are the main consumers of the drugs produced in Latin America. The inauguration of President Barack Obama presents a unique opportunity for Latin America and the US to engage in a substantive dialogue on issues of common concern, such as the reduction of domestic consumption and the control of arms sales, especially across the USMexico border. Latin America should also pursue dialogue with the EU, asking European countries to renew their commitment to the reduction of domestic consumption and learning from their experiences with reducing the health hazards caused by drugs. The time to act is now, and the way forward lies in strengthening partnerships to deal with a global problem that affects us all.
Mr Cardoso is the former president of Brazil, Mr Gaviria is a former president of Colombia and Mr Zedillo is a former president of Mexico.

New Stepping Stones Workbook

The Stepping Stones course is now contained in a workbook. It is ideal for those who live in areas where the group is not offered. The workbook contains all the course material, as well as exercises and homework, and can be supported via the FDS office. Cost: FDS Members $40.00 plus postage $12.00 Non Members $55.00 plus postage $12.00

PO Box 7363, Leura NSW 2780

We Want Your Stories

Family Members Experiences With Drug Treatment Services
Many families and significant others breathe a sigh of relief when a user makes contact with a counsellor, goes into detox or rehab, or starts on pharmacotherapy treatment. Sometimes that relief can turn to confusion and irritation when they are then frozen out or treated as part of the problem. Bridging the Divide project is an FDS project that aims to make drug treatment services more family focused. There are three project officers working nationally with service providers on developing inclusive practices where families and significant others are not entirely left out of the loop. Part of the project involves mapping the types of encounters families have with the system, and identifying barriers and pathways to make drug treatment more effective. We are after stories of family members lived experiences with drug treatment services, covering some of the following themes:

How were you treated? What information was given to you, and what else did you need to assist you? Were you included in any significant decisions that impacted on your family? What things did drug treatment services do that assisted you and what could they change?

Please e-mail, fax or post your stories to FDS and if possible include your contact details so we can follow up with you. The e-mail address is; fax number is 02 4782 9555; and postal address is PO Box 7363, Leura NSW 2780.


n eventful couple of months find us well into 2009 and lots of activity for FDS.

My Child and also the new Stepping Stones Workbook (see advertisement on page 3). I wanted to pay tribute to our oldest telephone volunteer, Paul Gaynor, who is taking a break for a while because of continued health problems. Paul has been an attendee at just about every FDS event and it is people like Paul that we rely on to keep our phone line open. All the best with your health Paul and we look forward to seeing you again soon. Congratulations to volunteer Gigdem from Narrabri she is getting married later this year. And finally, welcome to 30 new volunteers who recently completed their training and are most welcome additions to our roster of telephone helpers. Finally, some good news, long term FDS Board member Michael Dawson, who battled illness for a long time, and his wife Bronwyn have just had twins. Their names are Chloe and Kathleen and everyone is doing well. We offer our congratulations. Until next time, take care TT

Our thoughts are with our friends in Victoria especially my good friend Professor Margaret Hamilton. Margaret lives in the heart of the bush fire area and although her property was not damaged she lost several friends and neighbours. I had a recent trip to Wellington to take part in the New Zealand Drug Foundation Symposium Through the Maze. I was very impressed with the event and particularly with the progressive attitude our friends across the Tasman have to drug policy. In many ways they are ahead of us with a far more open attitude to reducing harm. Speaking of drug policy no-one seems to know what exactly the Rudd position on illicit drugs will be. They have focussed heavily on alcohol to date but seem to be totally ignoring other drugs. There are even suggestions that the economic downturn will precipitate cuts in funding despite the fact that we know whenever there is a downturn drug and alcohol use, abuse and problems increase. New publications are now available my book Not My Family, Never

Launch of Not My Family, Never My Child

Tony Trimingham's new book will be launched by former premier Bob Carr on Thursday 26 March at 5.307pm in the Jubilee Room, NSW Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney All are welcome to attend but we need you to confirm your attendance by ringing the office on 4782 9222. Books will be available at the event, signed by Tony 6

Letter To Tony And FDS

Dear Tony and all my dear FDS friends, It was 10 years ago on Friday that my Stephen died, which means it is also 10 years that Ive been associated with FDS. Sometimes those 10 years seems like a lifetime and at others like the blink of an eye, but I am still amazed that my family and myself survived what felt at the time like something that we would not. I have read your new book and feel happy in the thought that my family and myself have moved onto what you rightly defined as a grief where there is still pain and loss but that it doesnt stop us from living. We came together for the weekend and spent it as a family eating, drinking, remembering, laughing, crying but yes living. We visited the memorial at the crematorium, the beach here we scattered Stephens ashes and the FDS memorial at Byron Bay. We left flowers at each even nephews too young to have met Stephen, chose flowers to leave for Uncle Stevie, whom they knew all about. Stephens death has not excluded him from our lives or family. I was introduced to FDS by a doctor in Nimbin who treated me first after Stephens death and although I have been a member for 10 years and attended a couple of memorial services, it was only two years ago that I finally did the Stepping Stones course in Mullumbimby. I believe this course changed my life. It gave me closure on and sense of acceptance of Stephens death. It especially gave me a deep sense of understanding of what was happening in my life before Stephen died that helped restore my sense of worth. I am proud to be a founding member of the Byron Bay FDS group and although I dont attend all the time, I go whenever I can to lend my ears and an open mind and heart to whoever needs it at the time. My only regret is that I didnt know of the wonderful FDS Association before Stephen died. I know it probably wouldnt have changed his journey but know it would have made my own less fearful and lonely. Thank you Tony. Thank you Theo. Thank you all at FDS. Thank you Stephen for all the love that always was and will always be there. Cath Marshall

Communities Need To Rethink Drug Attitudes

New Zealand Drug Foundation (18/2/09)

ot my family, and never my child. Tony Trimingham says that, like most people, he knew little about drug-taking and thought it wasnt something that would ever affect him. Then he discovered his son, Damien, was using heroin. He says if he hadnt been so ignorant and unprepared, and if social attitudes toward drug use had been different, Damiens tragic and fatal overdose in 1997 might have been avoided. Mr Trimingham, founder and Director of Family Drug Support in Sydney, Australia, is attending the Healthy Drug Law Symposium in Wellington. He told delegates today that communities need to wake up to drug issues and stop seeing them as purely a criminal matter. Most people are in denial about drugs and think addiction and overdoses are only things that could happen to bad people in other families. This attitude extends across society, increasing shame and stigma and adding to the nightmares of families who suddenly find themselves desperate and alone, struggling to get help. Damien Trimingham died within one kilometre of where the Kings Cross injecting room is now situated in Sydney. Im not pro-drugs in any way, says Trimingham, but Id rather my child was drug-dependent than dead, because while theres life theres hope. If Damien had not had to go off and hide to take drugs that night, perhaps he may not have died.

He says the belief that the only way to deal with drugs is to punish addicts is simplistic and harmful, but that in most countries it still lies at the core of legislation and policy. Inevitably, governments take a tough stand on drugs stance because thats where the votes are, but prohibitionist and punitive policies have clearly failed. The idea this hasnt ever worked so lets do more of it needs to be replaced with a focus on helping addicts and their families get the help they need. New Zealand Drug Foundation Director, Ross Bell, says its understandable that people are fearful and want drug users dealt with firmly, but the reality is that people will continue to use, regardless of how strict our laws are. While we always want to reduce drug use, we have to realise that the fear of legal sanctions is a strong deterrent to seeking help. That means we miss out on opportunities to help people addicted to drugs give up or stay safe if they continue to use. We need to focus our efforts on reducing the harm from drugs and on identifying how drug misuse hurts individuals and society, and then respond with strategies to reduce those dangers in an environment of support and openness. Mr Bell says the first steps are to have frank and honest discussion of drugs and policy at all levels of society and to

be willing to consider alternatives that have been shown to work. We know that people who use drugs who can access treatment have a greater chance of overcoming dependence and lower rates of relapse and recidivist crime. We need to bring our legislation and the way we think about drug use into line with what we have learned over the last few decades. The Misuse of Drugs Act is currently under review by the independent Law Commission and Mr Bell says this provides a rare opportunity for New Zealand to bring its drug law into the 21st century. The invitation-only International Drug Policy Symposium Through the Maze: Healthy Drug Law is being held in Wellington as a precursor to a March

meeting of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna where the direction of global drug policy for the next 10 years will be set. Delegates will also discuss domestic issues, including the review of New Zealands 1975 Misuse of Drugs Act. Tony Trimingham has received many accolades and awards including the National Rolleston Award in 2004 by the International Harm Reduction Association and in 2008 the Australian Prime Ministers Award for excellence in reducing drug related harm. His book, Not my family, never my child, is a guide for families struggling to help support drug using loved ones. Family Drug Support is a world leader in supporting families and the Stepping Stones model they utilise is recognised as a significant tool for family survival.

Letter From Patron Marie Bashir

Dear Tony, I was indeed very touched to receive the copy of your book Not My Family, Never My Child, which addresses with great sensitivity an all-too-common problem across all sectors of our society today. The fact that you were prepared to share the very personal and traumatic experiences which yourself, your family, and your beloved son Damien have faced, distinguishes you as a most courageous and generous man. Through you initiative in establishing Family Drug Support, and now through this valuable book, greater understanding will grow across the wider community, challenging each of us to think more deeply in our responsiveness, particularly in regard to the beautiful young people whose risk is high. I have already commenced reading your words and I am deeply moved by the combination of eloquence, pragmatism and care. I greatly appreciate this generous gift, and send my warmest good wishes in your fine endeavours in this everdifficult challenge. Yours sincerely, Marie Bashir AC CVO Governor of New South Wales

2009/2010 Entertainment Books are coming soon

To find out what is in the Entertainment Books go online to
The Entertainment Book is a restaurant and activity guide that provides special 2550% off and 2-for-1 offers from many of the best restaurants, hotels and attractions throughout Australia and New Zealand. The books cost you up to $65.00 depending upon where you live and $13.00 from each sale goes to FDS.
Books are available for the following areas:

Adelaide - due for release late March Brisbane and South East Queensland- due for release late March Canberra - due for release late March Geelong, Surf Coast and Ballarat - due for release late March Gold Coast - due for release mid-March Greater Melbourne - due for release early April Newcastle, Central Coast and The Hunter - due for release early April Parramatta, The Hills, Blue Mountains and Macarthur - due for release early April Perth - due for release mid May Sydney - due for release early April Sydney North- due for release early April Tasmania - due for release mid March Waikato and Bay of Plenty - due for release mid March Wellington - due for release late March

Please support this fund raising effort of FDS which gives you benefits as well!

Contact Fay at the FDS office or Bob Lorschy 0400 362667 or to order NOW


Another Shameful Act By Distillers

ADCA (25/2/09)

he alcohol industry should be ashamed of once again misleading the Australian public with flawed claims made in a commissioned report on alcohol-related admissions to hospitals, the Chief Executive Officer of the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA), Mr David Templeman said today. This is just another attempt by the distillers to pedal misinformation in the alcopop debate in an attempt to derail the Federal Governments taxation initiative aimed at stemming harmful alcohol consumption, Mr Templeman said. How can the industry actually be taken seriously when their own report acknowledges that the impact of the proposed tax change on levels of bingedrinking, particularly young people consuming ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages, cant be determined at this early stage. Mr Templeman said that the validity of the report is brought into question by the fact that it included numerous caveats and faults with the data throughout the document. It is unfortunate that the quality of this report is based short-term hospital data collected from State and Territory Health Departments over a period of eight weeks. This appears to have led the researcher to conclusions that are seriously flawed, Mr Templeman said.

There is no substantive data from New South Wales, the Northern Territory, or the Australian Capital Territory, there is no clinical evidence to clearly identify that presentations and separations to/ from hospitals were alcohol-related, and no analysis of how many times a single person may have presented. Mr Templeman said that distortion of statistical data to achieve objectives was something good corporate citizens wouldnt attempt to do if they were concerned about the health and wellbeing of all Australians. ADCA applauds the Federal Government for introducing the alcopop taxation bills to Parliament and urges all political parties to adopt a bipartisan attitude to consider and pass this much needed legislation, Mr Templeman said. As the national peak non-government (NGO) body representing the alcohol and other drugs (AOD) sector, ADCA will continue its support for the alcopop tax reform. We look forward to seeing additional resourcing directed to short and longterm prevention measures in order to significantly reduce alcohol-related harm. This includes management of responsible drinking, product branding, outlet density, marketing and advertising, opening hours, alcohol awareness projects for communities, and most importantly legitimate data on which to progress the Governments National Binge Drinking Strategy for a healthy Australia.


Millions Of Dollars In Excise May Be Refunded As Alcopops Bill Facing Defeat

S. Ryan, The Australian (25/2/09) he risk that the Federal Government will have to refund hundreds of millions of dollars from its alcopops tax hike escalated dramatically yesterday after the sole Senate crossbencher to back the measure withdrew his support. Family First senator Steve Fielding attached new conditions to his vote on Labors decision to increase the excise on alcopops by 70 per cent last April. Last year, I indicated I would support this tax because the economic crisis was starting to bite and I wanted to help shore up our economy, Senator Fielding said. But I cant be blind to what this tax is failing to do. I cannot give this Government an open-ended yes to this tax when our society is grappling with the problem of binge drinking and the Government turns it back. Family First will pass an alcopops bill only if it includes a sunset clause allowing the tax to be wound up in another six months if the Government fails to tackle alcohol abuse. Senator Fielding announced his latest position on the tax after the spirits industry circulated a damaging report suggesting the tax hike had done nothing to curb risky drinking among the young.

The Access Economics report found hospital treatment rates for alcoholrelated harm among 12- to 24-yearolds in May and June last year were higher than in previous years. If anything, hospitalisation rates of young people due to acute intoxication and harmful use of alcohol worsened in the months following the Governments tax increase on ready-to-drink products, report author Lynne Pezzullo said. She said the analysis showed young people who moved away from premixed drinks, such as vodka and lemonade or rum and Coke, to other alcohol could end up buying more standard drinks for $20 than before they switched. But Health Minister Nicola Roxon slammed the industry-sponsored report, saying more reputable studies showed alcohol-related hospital admissions rose rapidly after alcopops were exempted from the full-strength spirits excise rate in 2000. This shameful attempt at manipulation is as dodgy as a threeday-old kebab, she said. Opposition health spokesman Peter Dutton said, however, the Government had failed to produce one piece of evidence to support its


claims the excise increase had curbed teenage binge drinking. The Coalition agrees with Senator Fielding that Kevin Rudd and Labor have had ample time to tackle binge drinking head on, but has failed, he said. Labor needs the votes of Senator Fielding, the five Greens and independent Senator Nick Xenophon by the time parliament rises on March 19 to pass the supporting legislation needed to keep the excise increase in place.

If the Government fails to enact the laws within 12 months of the change taking effect, it will face an extraordinarily messy and embarrassing refund of the tax collected to date. Treasury forecast revenue of $990 million from the measure this financial year in its mid-year update. It would face an even bigger $1.1 billion hole in its tax receipts for 2009-10 at a time when the budget is sliding into deficit.

Applause For Former Drug Users Who Turn Their Lives Around
M. Knox, Sydney Morning Herald (7/2/09)

hen a judge leads a round of hearty applause for a convicted offender, it is quickly apparent that the Drug Court of NSW is not your typical place of judicial authority. The judge, Roger Dive, sees about 40 such offenders each day in his Parramatta courtroom. These appearances, called report backs, are for Judge Dive to consider whether the offender is making progress in a court-determined program to cut drug use, build a normal life and avoid reoffending. If the offender pointedly called a participant has moved forward, Judge Dive leads the applause, joined 13

by his team of lawyers, health workers, corrections officers and counsellors, as well as by the other participants waiting in the back of the court. The improvement may be going three days without using drugs; it may be finding a job or a training course; it may be graduating from the Drug Court after 12 months. When applauded, the participant leaves the court beaming, often shaking hands with other participants on the way out. Judge Dive says cinema tickets and other small incentives were tried as ways of giving offenders positive reinforcement, but these have been

replaced by applause. You can see how much encouragement the participant gets from that applause, he says. You can see how crestfallen are the ones who have fallen back and arent applauded. Its all-important to them. Effectiveness has become this courts hallmark. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this week, the Drug Court is an initiative of the Labor state government that has been indubitably successful. According to a four-year study by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research published last year, graduates from the Drug Court are 58 per cent less likely to commit another drug offence than those who did not enter the program. The bureaus director, Dr Don Weatherburn, called these very substantial findings, and almost unmatched in the country in cutting recidivism. Yesterday, at a conference marking the anniversary, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Nick Cowdery QC, said he was initially sceptical of the Drug Court but now I have no hesitation at all in stating my belief that the Drug Court of NSW is a success. We know from others of the success of the court of its cost-effectiveness (always a big winner with government, especially); of its effectiveness in reducing recidivism; of the benefits it has bestowed upon the participants in the program and those associated with them. 14

Much of this success can be owed to the pastoral approach taken by Judge Dive and his two predecessors in the role, Judge Helen Murrell, now in the District Court, and the late Neil Milson. Judge Dive, now 55, a magistrate for 15 years, including a stint as Chief Childrens Magistrate, before moving to the Drug Court in 2004, brought a no-nonsense yet caring, holistic outlook to dealing with offenders. In court he wears a judges robes but not the horsehair wig. His language, and that of the participants, is informal. Often the participant opens by saying, How ya goin? After the pleasantries, Judge Dives first question is always the same: Any drug use? The answer varies. Drug Court participants are tested up to three times weekly, and cannot get away with lying. Yet some still do. Admitted drug use carries a penalty of one sanction, while getting caught lying about drug use attracts three. Participants accumulating 14 sanctions are sent to jail. This threat is enough to deter most and coax them into behaviour that is rewarded by sanction-cutting, although many slide up and down the sanctions pole through their course. All participants are convicted nonviolent drug users who are eligible for Drug Court as an alternative to full-time imprisonment. Treating

offenders outside jail is the courts underlying principle. For all participants, the path through the Drug Court program has its bumps. But one this week left the court in tears. A former heavy user and dealer, he was told he would graduate from the program next Tuesday.

The Supreme Court judge who sent him on the program instead of to jail, retired justice Brian Sully, will be there for the mans graduation. In thanking Judge Dive, the man wept. You were the first people who gave me a chance, he said. He left the court to a stirring ovation, led by the judge.

Sea Of Addition Full Of Young Men

I. Marchetta, Campbelltown Your Guide (11/2/09)

ore people entered Odyssey House rehabilitation centre for alcoholism than for any other substance addiction last year. Cannabis-related admissions accounted for the largest significant change in illicit drug trends, up by almost 30 per cent from 2007. The centres recent annual report revealed alcohol was the primary drug of concern for almost one in three clients entering the Campbelltown facility in 2007 to 2008. People aged 18 to 30 accounted for almost half of the 715 clients who entered withdrawal and residential rehabilitation programs and 70 per cent were male. But Odyssey House chief executive James Pitts said the continuing steep rise in co-existing mental health problems was a concerning trend 44 15

per cent of clients last year cited a coexisting mental illness, with alcohol misuse and depression the most common. If this trend continues, more than half our clients this year will have a co-existing mental illness, putting added pressure on our services and our staff, he said. The best health outcomes are achieved when substance misuse is treated at the same time as their mental illness but this requires an integrated therapeutic approach, more intensive, longer-term treatment and specially trained staff. Odyssey House clinical services manager Sharon Mestern advised binge or ongoing heavy drinkers to seek medical help when withdrawing from alcohol. The risks of withdrawal from alcohol dependence include seizures and

delirium tremens, which can be treated with scheduled ongoing assessment and medications, she said. There are greater risks with alcohol poisoning and withdrawal without professional assistance. She said the increased admissions for cannabis dependence last year could partly explain the rising incidence of co-existing mental health problems among clients entering the program. Both cannabis and amphetaminetype substances increase the incidence of psychosis, particularly if the individual is vulnerable to psychosis, she said. Many people ask about the link between cannabis and mental illness

and which comes first. Theres an increased risk of schizophrenia being triggered into action by cannabis use. Often, someone already experiencing depression, anxiety and psychosis may use cannabis in an attempt to relieve their symptoms, without realising that cannabis and other illicit drugs can only make matters worse. The increase in people admitting themselves to Odyssey House for treating cannabis dependence shows that this drug has begun to create chaos in their lives, affecting their work, relationships and often their mental health.

Memorial Corner
To remember loved ones who have lost their lives to illicit drugs
For inclusion on this list, please call the office on (02) 4782 9222 Given Name Family Name Date of Birth Date of Death Age

Jason Edward Bindi Robert Rodney Micheal Philip Paul Godfrey Michael Jay Paul Danny Paul Kyron

Barganier Boulton Calder Chaisson Chevell Daly Davies Davis Dransfield Franklin Goodman Hammond Hansen 16

21/10/74 1969 29/04/78 23/02/49 01/07/65 19/08/78 29/05/73 28/01/75 18/09/48 14/01/76 05/03/58 08/11/77 01/10/75

01/03/1999 24/03/1999 03/03/1995 05/03/2000 16/04/1989 30/03/2000 18/03/1995 08/04/1998 20/04/1973 16/04/1998 06/04/1999 04/03/2000 14/04/1999

24 30 16 51 23 21 21 23 24 22 41 22 23

Given Name

Family Name

Date of Birth

Date of Death


Benjamin Paul John Alan Brenton Paul Duncan Tom John David Timothy Ben Michael Peter Amber Damien Jessica Preston Steven Debbie Amy Jason Hannah Dieter Cameron

Hayes Irvine Keeble Locke MacDonald McCrae McGhie Merson Mordaunt Nicholas Novelli Prior Scaife Stephens Stewart Stirling Stopira Strahan Terry Treadwell Viles Wargo West Wheeler Worsley

26/04/77 21/08/67 10/06/76 17/09/49 14/06/70 1975 14/10/75 12/03/73 30/10/57 16/08/55 13/09/73 12/07/74 29/09/79 20/01/59 09/02/85 05/04/68 1977 24/03/83 06/06/78 02/03/67 16/01/78 13/12/83 27/09/81 01/07/67 31/07/70

17/04/2004 28/04/1999 04/03/1998 19/03/1985 29/03/2001 08/04/1998 01/03/2002 06/03/2002 24/03/1995 30/03/1999 20/04/1999 20/03/1999 31/03/2000 18/04/1996 08/03/2000 09/04/1994 April 2004 24/04/1999 18/04/2000 03/03/2000 07/03/1999 25/04/2000 28/03/1997 01/03/2000 10/04/1997

23 31 21 35 30 23 26 28 37 43 25 24 20 37 14 26 27 16 21 33 21 16 15 33 26

Drug-Addled Boomers The New Burden

J. Ferguson, Herald Sun (11/2/09)

ens of thousands of baby boomers who abuse drugs and alcohol will shock new targets in the war on drugs. The growing number of baby boomers suffering drug and alcohol-related illness is alarming health experts.

GPs, hospital, welfare and education workers have been told to deal with the crisis by intervening when patients show any signs of abuse. Special online computer screening will be aimed at the states 1.4 million 17

baby boomers and younger Victorians. A special investigation will be held into the extent of the baby boomer drug and alcohol problem. Almost three million Australians 40 or older say they have taken illicit drugs at least once in their lives. Community Services Minister Lisa Neville said baby boomers would form a key part of the 2009-2013 alcohol and drug strategy. They had been the first generation to experience relaxed liquor licensing laws. All of a sudden we saw a generation who had more access to alcohol and not just alcohol other illicit drugs as well, she said. Nearly 20 per cent of clients calling on drug and alcohol treatment services in Victoria are 45 or older. But this number is believed to understate the problem, with diabetes, liver, kidney, heart disease and mental health issues common. Leading drug and alcohol expert Prof Jon Currie, of St Vincents Health, said boomers bad habits were coming back to haunt them. What weve got is quite a solid generation whove got recurrent problems with these drugs, he told the Herald Sun. And with alcohol.

He warned that older drinkers and users increasingly found it difficult to remain productive. Baby boomers refer to the 1.4 million Victorians born between 1946 and 1965. The oldest ones came of age during the 1960s and the 1970s, when illicit drug use became widespread. Marijuana, LSD and heroin were among the illicit drugs made widely available in the 1960s and 1970s. Alcohol is the most widely abused drug. Prof Currie said detailed studies now pointed to serious harms from marijuana use. It has extensive effects on brain function, he said. Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association president Simon Ruth said the state was about to experience the first generation of life-long drug users. They were coming into their teenage years in the 1960s and 1970s when all the drug use was just starting to take off, Mr Ruth said. The Brumby Governments new blueprint for alcohol and other drug treatment services will cover the next five years. Key recommendations include $4.5 million to develop and support online and telephone screening for people at risk of harmful drinking and $3 million for an alcohol community awareness campaign.


The War On Drugs Is Being Won

M. Devine, Sydney Morning Herald (5/2/09) t didnt take long for the usual suspects to blame police for the death of a 17-year-old girl from a drug overdose at the Big Day Out in Perth last weekend. Friends of Gemma Thoms have claimed she swallowed three ecstasy tablets to avoid police sniffer dogs, and the Greens MLC Sylvia Hale told reporters police should not be prompting [young people] into activities that you know are going to be dangerous and pose a real risk to their health. Tony Trimingham, who founded the lobby group Family Drug Support after his son died from a heroin overdose, said: Probably, if the sniffer dogs hadnt been there that girl wouldnt have died. Police reacted angrily, saying they seized 145 amphetamine tablets at the concert, which may have prevented other overdoses. The tragedy has brought out the logical inconsistencies of some of Australias most celebrated harm minimisers. Trimingham, for instance, on ABC radio this week to promote his new book, Not My Family, Never My Child, declared he didnt believe in the Federal Governments 12-year-old Tough on Drugs strategy, which has successfully slashed drug use among young people. Yet he admitted the 19

prevention, education and treatment elements integral to the strategy had been successful. Promoting his own new book, Paul Dillon, who runs a private drugs education company, said Thomss death, brings into question the whole idea of sniffer dogs I believe were in the most conservative period that we have seen in my working life. We didnt have sniffer dogs and roadside testing five years ago. And yet, moments later he declared: Our illicit drug use is plummeting. Cannabis use has halved Surely this is evidence the Tough on Drugs strategy has turned around decades of rising drug use. The Australian Secondary School Students Use of Alcohol and Drug Survey shows a significant decline in the use of all illicit drugs, from 18 per cent in 1996 to 8 per cent in 2005, with cannabis the biggest loser, reflecting increased public awareness of its potential for triggering mental illness. To his credit, Dillon makes this point in Teenagers, Alcohol and Drugs, which contains useful strategies for parents. He appears to have mellowed over the years, perhaps tailoring his message to what parents have come to expect, in light of research showing the ill effects of drugs on teenagers developing brains.

Contrary to popular belief, most young people have never tried illegal drugs, he writes. They have no interest in these substances and they never will. If they experiment, most will do so in their 20s. Dillon does not believe more young people are drinking to excess, although it is quite clear that heavydrinking teenagers are consuming at much riskier levels and at a younger age. By maintaining a positive relationship with their adolescents by saying no and setting boundaries, not by being a best friend parents can have a greater influence than their kids peer groups in many cases. And he urges parents to warn their children about the legal consequences of using drugs. New policing strategies have resulted in more young people being prosecuted for drug offences. Let your child know how being caught using drugs will affect the rest of their life. In other words, tough policing is a deterrent. Dillon describes the incredible change in attitude towards cannabis he has observed in 25 years working in drug education. No longer is it regarded as cool but as a losers drug. Ecstasy is the one drug whose use has not been declining, being perceived by many young people as a fairly benign drug. Deaths from ecstasy are rare, he says, but they do occur, as we saw last weekend. Like any drug, 20

ecstasy can attack weakness in the user, prompting fits, strokes and heart attacks in seemingly healthy people. Ketamine and LSD have also been found in some ecstasy tablets. Methamphetamine use, too, is declining, but for most parents, the ice epidemic is a non-issue. Alcohol is the substance most likely to trouble parents of teens, simply because it is more commonplace. New guidelines to be issued later this month by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council state there is no safe alcohol consumption if you are under 18, and it is particularly dangerous if you are under 15. This will pose new challenges for parents of teenagers comfortable with previous guidelines, which allowed those over 15 to have a drink under parental supervision. Dillons advice is to delay the initiation of alcohol as long as possible. The research is contradictory, but we know more about alcohol and the developing brain and children under 16 should avoid it. It is not true that getting drunk occasionally is just a phase teens go through, and sending that message can be dangerous, he says. In Dillons experience, teenagers sometimes need excuses not to drink or take drugs, to dodge peer pressure.

Among the best: I am allergic to alcohol; Id love to smoke cannabis but I have an uncle with mental health problems; Dad found out I was drinking last weekend and Ill be grounded if I get caught again. He suggests parents help their children develop these strategies. Parents spend the teenage years holding their breath in the hope the spade work they have put in will protect their children when parental

influence wanes, and peers and society take over. The good news is that they have more influence than they may think, especially if the message from those in authority remains strong. Teenagers do not have to become drug abusers and binge drinkers, and most are not. And last week, I inadvertently said Fiona Stanley was a plastic surgeon. She is an epidemiologist.

Sniffer Dogs Dont Work

T. Trimingham, Sydney Morning Herald (9/2/09)

iranda Devine was wrong to say my position on drugs is inconsistent (The war on drugs is being won, 5 February). I acknowledged that the Howard government had poured vast amounts into drug treatment and education, as well as continuing harm minimisation strategies such as needle and syringe programs. This was welcome, even if it did not come close to its spending on customs, police and prisons. The Coalition did not abandon harm minimisation, though its ministers were loath to say so. Family Drug Support is not primarily a lobby group. We are a

registered charity that supports families affected by alcohol and drug use. There is much to be proud of in Australias drug policy, but we can always do better. Whatever the police and politicians say, sniffer dogs are a waste of time. Dealers do not attend big evens, so only young people Maybe they should know better, but they dont deserve to have their lives tarnished by criminal conviction, let alone snuffed out by an unnecessary tragedy. The parents of Gemma Thomas have a right to point the finger at the heavy-handed approach that cost their daughter her life.

Sniffer Dogs Have Their Big Day Out

C. Adams, Herald Sun (26/1/09)

ig Day Out punters will be greeted by police sniffer dogs at todays music festival at Flemington Racecourse. Police made at least 85 drug-related arrests at the Sydney leg of the event on Friday. Festival promoter Vivian Lees said local police were happy with the Big Day Outs security policy. The police have a harm mitigation approach. They will search people before they go into the venue and put some disincentive there, Mr Lees said yesterday. But the police are pretty comfortable about the way the show is going to be conducted. We do the crowd control ourselves. We have a music loving audience. We dont have gang behaviour. While last years event sold out months in advance, tickets are still available for todays event through Ticketmaster or at the gate for $132.

Weve sold around 40,000 tickets so far. We had 46,000 last year, he said yesterday. Many have put the slower ticket sales down to mixed reactions to the 2009 line-up, headlined by American rocker Neil Young and young British band Arctic Monkeys, and bad memories of the dusty venue last year. The car park has been fixed and grassed now and it looks gorgeous, Mr Lees said. Its a long-term commitment by the VRC. Theyve been very welcoming to us. This year Melbourne trio Living End are the highest-ranked Australian act playing the main stage at 6.20 pm. UK act the Prodigy will headline the Boiler Room, with chart toppers the Ting Tings playing at 2.15 pm on the green stage.

Events Diary
Tue 28 Apr 23 Jun 1 pm 4 pm CANBERRA (course runs over 9 weeks on Tuesdays) Venue: Alcohol & Drug Program, ACT Health Building, Level 1, Moore St, Canberra Enquiries: (02) 4782 9222 or Lisa (02) 6205 5189 ADELAIDE (course runs over 9 weeks on Tuesdays) Venue: Elura Clinic, 74 Hill St, North Adelaide Enquiries: (02) 4782 9222 or Kath 0401 732 129

Tue 28 Apr 23 Jun 7 pm 10 pm



Mon 4 May 29 Jun 7 pm 10 pm PORT MACQUARIE (course runs over 9 weeks on Mondays) Venue: Education Rooms, rear of Community Health Centre (next to water tank), Morton St, Port Macquarie Enquiries: (02) 4782 9222 or Pam (02) 6583 1704

Sat 16 & Sun 17 May Sat 23 & Sun 24 May 9.30 am 4 pm

CENTRAL COAST (course runs over 2 consecutive weekends) Venue: Arafmi Cottage, 6/20 Kincumber St, Kincumber Enquiries: (02) 4782 9222

Sat 2 & Sun 3 May Sat 9 & Sun 10 May 9.30 am 4 pm

BRISBANE (course runs over 2 consecutive weekends) Venue: TBA Enquiries: (02) 4782 9222 or Martina 0428 169 898

Sat 28 & Sun 29 Mar 9.30 am 4 pm BALLARAT Venue: Kohinoor Centre, Errard St, Sebastopol Enquiries: (02) 4782 9222 or Linda 0400 106 358

Mon 30 Mar 6 pm 8 pm Dr Fares Samara Different Types of Medications Used in the Treatment of Drug Dependency Venue: Education Rooms, rear of Community Health Centre (next to water tank), Morton St, Port Macquarie Enquiries: (02) 4782 9222 or Pam (02) 6583 1704

Wed 22 Apr Thur 23 Apr 9.30 am 4 pm

Leader and Facilitator Training Stepping Stones This training session is for those who are interested in being a leader or facilitator to run the above course. Venue: TBA Enquiries: (02) 4782 9222 Book Launch Not My Family, Never My Child Tony Triminghams new book will be launched by former premier Bob Carr in the Jubilee Room, NSW Parliament House, Macquarie St, Sydney. Please phone (02) 4782 9222 to confirm attendance.

Thur 26 Mar 5.30 am 7 pm


Special Commission Of Inquiry Into Child Protection

News From The Kitchen Table (February 2009)

Priority of Recommendations
1. Children in significant harm are seen by the Department of Community Services (DoCS) DoCS needs to concentrate its resources to ensure that it can assess, investigate and respond to more reports where there are significant concerns in order to prevent children from being harmed:

Resource and position other government agencies to enable them to work with children in a coordinated response both with and without DoCS. Resource and work collaboratively with community-based nongovernment agencies to enable them to offer local services to families.


Families who are struggling to look after their children get help before problems get worse

Utilise the skills and knowledge of other government and nongovernment agencies to create a continuum of services that will help families (e.g. home visiting, expand Brighter Futures). Provide better access to services (e.g. drug and alcohol, mental health). Give families access to voluntary care non-government agencies have provided foster care in crisis for years but have recently been stopped from doing this important work.


Government and non-government sector to share the responsibility of caring for children Non-government agencies are well placed to deliver services with their local knowledge, experience and ability to adapt and be flexible in their provision of service. Non-government agencies have years of experience servicing the community. Agencies involved in Out-of-Home Care have been accredited by the Childrens Guardian. The non-government sector has a track record of being able to provide high quality services efficiently.


Addicts Find Less Pleasure In Life

D. Rose, The Age (3/2/09)

rug addicts find it harder than non-addicts to derive pleasure from everyday life, new Australian research shows. The study took in 33 heroin addicts on opiate replacement, whose brain activity was measured as they looked at pictures of drug and non-drug related scenes. Associate Professor Dan Lubman said the addicts showed elevated responses to drug-related images compared with a control group of non-drug users, but the key finding was their disinterest in otherwise pleasurable non-drug scenes. Looking at pictures of heroin, needles, people injecting heroin, and social drug use the heroin group found the drug pictures much more pleasant and rewarding, it lit up the brain activity, said Dr Lubman, of Melbourne Universitys Orygen Youth Health Research Centre. Whereas they were under-responsive and found the emotionally pleasant pictures much less pleasant. Dr Lubman said the alternative images included attractive people engaged in fun activities, delicious food, and things that people normally rank as being quite pleasurable there were also a few puppy dogs in there.

The same drug addicts were assessed again six months later to see who had kicked their habit, with surprising results as the critical factor was not those who enjoyed drug-related pictures the most. It was actually the underresponsiveness to emotional positive pleasurable stimulus that predicted who was using the most heroin, Dr Lubman said. He said the findings held implications for drug treatment programs and the public, who often grappled with an addicts inability to stop using. Dr Lubman said the results suggested drug users had a reduced ability to enjoy everyday pleasures, and their brains remained excited by the prospect of continued drug use. It also showed why threats of punishment, which Dr Lubman calls the big stick approach, may not work in discouraging addicts. They havent got anything else in their lives to turn to, he said. Our research shows the focus should be not only just the drugs but getting them (addicts) to be passionate about something else in some way, because thats the best predictor about whether they will stop using.


Dr Lubman said he expected similar results to be associated with all drugs of addiction, including alcohol, and further research was needed to explain a possible chicken and egg problem. Which came first, addiction leading to less pleasure in life or drug taking to overcome a pre-existing lack of enjoyment?

There is evidence to suggest that people who are vulnerable to addictions already have an underlying emotional problem, Dr Lubman said. The research findings were published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.

Alcopop Firms Look For Tax Loopholes

D. Govorcin, Catholic Weekly (25/1/09) he alcohol beverage industry will keep looking for loopholes in alcohol taxation, says Dr Alex Wodak, director of drug and alcohol services at St Vincents Hospital, Darlinghurst. But alcohol tax reform is the single intervention best supported by evidence for reducing alcohol related problems in the community, he said. The worlds largest alcohol company, Diageo, has begun targeting young drinkers with a potent new drink which looks like a vodka mix, but is actually a mutant beer that beats the Federal Governments alcopop laws. Colourless and tasting of citrus, Smirnoff Platinum hit bottle shops this month after a marketing campaign which included giving it away via Facebook. Targeting drinkers aged 18-30, it contains six per cent alcohol yet 26

retails in six packs for less than $3 a bottle. The reason Smirnoff Platinum is much cheaper is that alcopop law changes increased tax on pre-mixed spirits by about 70 per cent. Beerbased products now attract less than half the tax of spirits. Dr Wodak says the more band aids that Governments puts on alcohol taxation, the more loopholes will be created. While criticism of the industry for their attempt to exploit loopholes is understandable, it is also unrealistic, he said. The alcohol beverage industry is not a charity it is naive to expect the industry to behave like philanthropists. Dr Wodak says what has been needed for a long time in Australia is root and branch alcohol tax reform.

As former Treasurer Peter Costello often said the alcohol tax system is a dogs breakfast, he said. It makes no economic sense and it makes no public health sense. Alcohol is taxed less than in many other industrialised countries. We need to move to a system where alcoholic beverages start to get taxed according to how much alcohol they contain. The present system taxes alcohol beverages according to how politically powerful that section of the industry is. The question is does the Government have the ticker to respond to the problems of alcohol with evidence-based policies? Fr Chris Riley, chief executive officer and founder of Youth Off the Streets, says Diageos new product to beat the alcopops tax is outrageous.

I thought this was a reputable company, but this new trick indicates that their bottom line is financial and will hurt anyone to make more money, he said. This is a clear pitch for younger drinkers, at a time that we know alcohol causes so much damage to young people. He added: This type of product should be banned, as should alcopops and all the milk based alcohol products. Those defending alcopops say that the people who use them will simply buy bottles of spirits and mix them themselves. That is true and that is what is happening; but what I am calling for protects those young people who dont currently drink alcohol.

United Voice Essential To Win Government Support

D. Crosby, Canberra Times (16/1/09) n my regular visits to Parliament House I have noticed a different kind of lobbyist occupying the tables at the in-house coffee shop. The success of the Australian car industry in gaining significant additional investment has driven many industry representatives to Canberra, laptops loaded with arguments about the financial crises. 27

When you look at the statistics, you do have to wonder why the Australian car industry has achieved a package of support when so many others wait for their number to be called. This is particularly true when you make the comparison with the sector in which I have spent my working life, the third sector or notfor-profit sector.

According to a recent Government discussion paper, the automotive industry in Australia employs about 60,000 people, contributes about $5 billion to the economy in export earnings, and is one of our largest manufacturing industries. In pure economic terms, the not-for-profit sector contributes over $20 billion to the Australian economy and directly employs almost 900,000 people, roughly 15 times as many as the automotive industry. In 2005, private donations, charity events and business support contributed almost $10 billion to the not-for-profit sector, and the estimated contribution of volunteer time is in excess of $10 billion in real value. Whether you measure in economic or human capital terms, the role of Australias not-for-profit sector is critical to the economic strength, governance, health and well being of our community. The same cannot be claimed by the automotive industry. Part of the answer to why one industry might receive assistance ahead of another is about transformation rather than assistance. As the Prime Minister said on November 10, I also dont believe that industry policy is about saving the automotive industry its about helping transform the industry to meet the challenges of the future. This argument may have some merit, but any close examination of the not-

for-profit sector would very quickly reveal the same need for transformation, with many not-forprofits struggling to survive or become stronger organisations. There is also the question of whether direct industry assistance merely distorts market forces. Changing consumer tastes have seen the market share of the local vehicle producers falling from 30 per cent in 2002 to 19 per cent in 2007. An argument may be made about the impact of the global financial crisis being more direct on the automotive industry than on the not-for-profit sector. This argument is only valid if you dismiss the potential for increased unemployment, financial hardship and consequent poorer mental and physical health to have an impact on organisations that provide services in these areas. There is also the impact of diminished returns on the invested assets of many larger not-for-profits that often use these returns to fund essential infrastructure and capital renewal. As a combined churches report identified late last year, the global financial crisis is already causing hardship within the not-for-profit sector. Another justification equates investment in the automotive industry with investment in infrastructure and other worthwhile public investment, a course of action recommended by leading economists as an appropriate


government response to the global financial crisis. In this area, I fail to see that the automotive industry can pretend to be a more worthwhile public investment than any investment in strengthening the infrastructure and capacity of the notfor-profit sector. Perhaps the politics of this decision is that the automotive industry is seen as a more important player in the Rudd Government agenda. Again, this is questionable, given that the Prime Minister has repeatedly talked about the importance of the not-forprofit sector, and Senator Stephens, the Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion and the Third Sector, has been actively promoting the Rudd Governments support of not-forprofits. The Government, has already committed to cutting not-for-profit red tape and abolishing gag clauses in contracts. The answer is partly about the people sitting at the Parliament House cafe. While many people in not-for-profit organisations work hard to lobby for their particular issue, the not-forprofit sector is diverse and divided. Our laptops are loaded with presentations about our own small patch, the areas we and the people we represent work in. I argue for mental health (you do not have to think too hard to see the impact of the global financial crisis on mental health and wellbeing). Others argue for the unemployed, the homeless, schools and kindergartens,

the arts communities, the local sports club, overseas aid, etc. There is no combined voice, no organised strategy, and no infrastructure or capacity to support sector-wide action. The automotive industrys success has been attributed to having a range of strong advocates within and outside government, but that alone is not enough. It also has a rich source of data on which to base arguments, including reports on its possible future, industry key players supporting sector-wide reform, a willingness to embrace change, and a strategy to move forward. If the Rudd Government wanted to invest in the future of Australias notfor-profit sector, how would it do so and who would it work through? There is clearly a strong justification for a global financial crisis investment in transforming the Australian notfor-profit sector, but perhaps the real lesson of the crisis in Australian politics is that if you do not have your act together, dont expect your number to be called.

David Crosbie is the Mental Health Council of Australia chief executive. He was the co-chair of the expert panel advising the Rudd Government on developing a new agreement between non-profit groups and the Government, is a board director of two major not-forprofit groups, and member of several key government advisory groups, including the Australian National Council on Drugs.


Brown Heroin Reignites Drugs Worry

R. Ali, Weekend Australian (31/1/09)

s stories of a heroin flood in Australia again start sporadically to appear in the media, it is worth revisiting where heroin supply and use sits today in Australia and in the world generally. Since around 2001 there have been dramatic declines in heroin overdose deaths in Australia. In the 1990s, tragically, three to four people were dying every day. While todays rate is a scarcely less tragic average of one death a day, things have been far worse. This welcome decline in deaths reflects law enforcement efforts in reducing supply, increased investment, and availability of treatment and innovative peer-based education work by users themselves. At the same time we saw a steady decrease in the number of people using heroin, which was partially offset by a temporary rise in people using methamphetamines, including ice. This was a phenomenon also seen globally. In fact methamphetamines are the most widely used illicit drug after cannabis, but there are still an estimated 15.6 million people who using opiumbased drugs, with 11 million using heroin and more than half of them living in Asia. So is there a heroin flood on the way to Australian streets? First we need to look at what has been happening to reduce the supply 30

of heroin. Over the years there have been substantial efforts to reduce the area that can be used for illegal crop production, particularly in the Golden Triangle of South East Asia, which has traditionally been the source for heroin in Australia and where we have seen significant reductions in poppy growing. However, improvements in production techniques coupled with the breakdown of law and order in South West Asian areas now sees over 90 per cent of the worlds heroin coming from Afghanistan. As a consequence, Australia is at risk of increasing quantities of Afghani brown heroin appearing on Australian streets. What is difficult to know is whether the recent appearance of brown heroin on the streets of Australia is the start of a real and sustained rise in heroin supply, or as has happened a few times since 2001 just a small surge in heroin availability that then settles back to the somewhat lower levels. It is also difficult to know with certainty the origin of its supply. Nevertheless, reports of increased heroin use and then possible increases in heroin addiction are a serious cause for concern. Brown heroin is said by some users to be cheaper and of higher purity. It is also easy to smoke, causing concern

that a new generation may be lured into believing it is safe to try as it doesnt involve injection. Regrettably, international experience shows that with an increasing tolerance to the drug, there also comes a risk of transition to injecting with all the consequences that can arise from using needles. If we look at the problem from a global perspective, then the threat that is causing the most concern is the risk of HIV. There are now 128 countries that have detected HIV amongst injecting drug users. In fact one-third of all new HIV infections now occur outside of sub-Saharan Africa, and one third of these are due to injecting drug use. Reports from some countries that 40 per cent or more of their injecting drug users are HIV positive are not uncommon. Australia has been spared from the HIV epidemic amongst injecting drug users through the early introduction of effective treatments for heroin addiction such as methadone and harm-reduction interventions such as the clean needle programs. However, Australia needs to be ever vigilant and engaged with what is happening around us if the results of our good work over many years are going to be maintained into the future. Regrettably, many of our neighbouring countries do not have the same privilege of working within 31

a low HIV infection rate environment as that opportunity has passed. As a result, there is an urgent need to build their capacity to introduce effective HIV reduction and prevention programs for drug users, as well as providing safe and effective drug addiction treatments that are linked to HIV prevention, treatment and care. This is an area in which Australia can provide assistance, given our high level of technical skills and expertise developed over the years. By doing this we may also potentially improve our border security by reducing the demand for these drugs, reduce the level of HIV infections in our region, and reduce the likelihood of these drugs being shipped to our country. It will of course also reduce the risk of HIV infection for Australians travelling and working in the region. We have a great reservoir of professional ability in Australia in the areas of supply, demand and harm reduction programs. Now is the time to mobilise this expertise so that we can assist our neighbours in building their capacity to effectively address these problems. Australia not only has a vested interest in doing this, but arguably also has a real obligation to share its expertise and assist.

Associate Professor Robert Ali is chairman of the Australian National Council on Drugs Asia-Pacific Committee.

Ladettes Lead Upsurge In Female Crime

G. Jacobsen, Sydney Morning Herald (27/1/09) he number of women found guilty of crimes has jumped dramatically, partly as a result of alcohol-fuelled young ladettes trying to emulate young males. The number of young women offenders has risen 17 per cent in the past four years, compared to just 4.5 per cent for men. The most significant increase is for traffic offences and in offences against the justice system, which include breaches of bail or bonds and obstructing police. In each of these categories the number of women convicted in NSW jumped about 35 per cent between 2003 and 2007, according to the most recent figures obtained from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research. Paul Dillon, director of Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia, said minor offences were often linked to alcohol. The behaviour of such ladettes was the result of a societal change around alcohol, which had gone from frowning on women drinking in public to a time in which women were drinking as much, or more, than their male counterparts, he said. Women were also using illicit drugs in more risky ways, and methamphetamines, in particular, if mixed with alcohol, were often linked to violent behaviour, he said. 32

The whole idea of gangs of young women committing offences was something that was most probably not really heard of 10 years ago. Eva Cox, head of the Womens Electoral Lobby, said the rise in female crime rates was one of the consequences of equality which happened as women had greater opportunities to offend than in the past. They were trying to keep up with the general cultural image in which being a yobbo male was seen as desirable. The hard-drinking, hard-driving larrikin lout is still being seen as the model of how to impress society, she said. For women looking for equal status, sometimes by being equal to inappropriate male culture is the only way to go. But, she said, it was not something to be alarmed about because crime rates for women were still low about 19 per cent of those found guilty of crimes are women. There are no ravaging hordes of women about to attack men, Dr Cox said. The demographer Bernard Salt said this seemed to be one of the bizarre negative aspects of equalisation, such

as rising rates of heart disease and smoking among women. The University of NSW law academic Chris Cunneen said while some argued women were becoming more violent, others believed the courts were more prepared to criminalise women. The truth is probably somewhere in between, he said. Other figures show a 15 per cent rise in the number of matters before the childrens courts in a similar period.

Professor Cunneen said this was probably, at least partially, because of a reduced use of youth conferencing as an alternative strategy to deal with male offenders. The share of girls offending is now approaching one in five equal to the share of women convicted by adult courts. Andrew McCallum, the head of the Association of Childrens Welfare Agencies, said it also reflected the developing punitive culture which stressed punishment above rehabilitation. You need to have more carrot than stick, he said.

Celebrating 100 Years Of Failed Drug Prohibition

D. Gieringer, Counterpunch (26/2/09)

his week marks the centennial of a fateful landmark in US history, the nations first drug prohibition law. On February 9, 1909, Congress passed the Opium Exclusion Act, barring the importation of opium for smoking as of April 1. Thus began a hundredyear crusade that has unleashed unprecedented crime, violence and corruption around the world a war with no victory in sight. Long accustomed to federal drug control, most Americans are unaware that there was once a time when people were free to buy any drug, including opium, cocaine, and cannabis, at the pharmacy. In that bygone era, drug-related crime and 33

violence were largely unknown, and drug use was not a major public concern. The Opium Exclusion Act applied only to the opium processed for smoking that was favoured by Chinese immigrants not the medicinal opium that white Americans commonly kept in their household medicine cabinets. Smoking opium had attracted unfavourable notice from temperance advocates, missionaries and moral reformers. Inflamed by anti-Chinese sentiment, San Francisco had outlawed public opium dens in 1875 and many other communities with Chinese settlements followed suit.

Nonetheless, the private use and commercial sale of smoking opium remained legal, with import duties yielding a million dollars per year to the US Treasury. Congress was moved to Act in 1909 not by any drug abuse crisis, but by foreign policy concerns. Per capita opium use had begun to decline by 1900, and only one in a thousand Americans indulged in smoking opium. Nonetheless, the State Department determined that an initiative against opium smoking would be useful in opening the door to China, which had long chafed under British compulsion to allow the opium trade. At the invitation of Theodore Roosevelts administration, an international commission was convened in Shanghai in December 1908 to sign a treaty ending the trade the first step in what would become a far-reaching international system of drug control. As a gesture of good faith, the State Department called on Congress to pass legislation that would ban the importation of smoking opium, thereby creating the first illegal drug. The Opium Exclusion Act was the opening shot in the US war on drugs. Across the country, Customs and pharmacy agents moved aggressively to arrest smugglers, confiscate contraband, and raid and bust dealers and dens. California, at the forefront of the war on Chinese smoking opium, went beyond the federal ban on importation by outlawing simple 34

possession as well, thereby inventing a new class of criminals, illegal drug consumers. The new law was challenged by Yun Quong, a Chinese Californian who plausibly argued that it violated his rights to liberty and property. The state Supreme Court ruled otherwise, opening the way for mass criminalization of illegal drug users in subsequent years, In the short run, the crackdown produced dramatic results, creating a shortage that forced prices through the roof. The LA Times pronounced the new law as the death sentence of Chinatown, reporting that dozens of them are dying monthly because [theyre] forced to abstain from the dream pipe. (Without Opium, Chinamen Die, Aug 17, 1909). Before long, however, it became obvious that the opium trade hadnt halted, but rather been taken over by criminal traffickers. Authorities responded by escalating the war with an unprecedented wave of raids and arrests. In California, a new law was passed to ban opium paraphernalia. Pharmacy agents were duly dispatched into Chinatown, where they staged gigantic public bonfires of seized opium, pipes, and outfits. While the dens managed to survive for years to come, many users moved on to other, more potent forms of opium, such as morphine, which was more legal and readily available. Congress moved to close this loophole in 1914 by passing the Harrison Act, which prohibited all

non-medicinal use of opium, morphine, and cocaine. Once again, a short-term shortage developed, followed by longer-term black market problems. Before long, the Los Angeles Times reported a saturnalia of violent crime by drug fiends, which police attributed to the price pinch caused by state and federal restrictions. (Drug Fiends Make Crime Wave, Nov. 30, 1919). Drug crime and violence would become a staple item in the press in coming years as drug prohibition took root. An ever-expanding list of new drugs was prohibited, from cannabis to coca leaves to mushrooms and peyote. Penalties escalated from misdemeanours to felonies. Yet none of this prevented an explosion of drug use in the 1960s and 1970s. In response, yet more laws and penalties were enacted, causing drug cases to skyrocket once again in the 1980s and 1990s, by over 300%.

Convention treaty of 1961, which obliges every country in the world (except North Korea, the only nonsignatory) to tow the US line on drugs ignoring alcohol and tobacco, but prohibiting drugs traditionally allowed in foreign cultures, such as coca and ganja. US-inspired United Nations treaties in 1971-2 and 1988 added a long list of other prohibited drugs and also required signatory countries to criminalize their possession. The result of this so-called international drug control has been unprecedented prohibition-related drug crime, corruption and violence around the world. In Colombia, US taxpayers have spent more than $3.5 billion in anti-narcotics aid fighting a decade-long insurgency funded by the coca crop. In Afghanistan, the US has been losing the hearts and minds of farmers who would rather profit from the sale of opium than see their fields bombed and destroyed. Under new rules, US forces can now bomb drug labs if their analysis shows that it would not kill more than 10 civilians. In Mexico, more than 6,800 have been killed by drug gangs fighting to meet the demands of US consumers. Innocents are killed in botched drug raids and prohibition-related gang wars and robberies on both side of the border. Early 20th-century Americans would be astounded to see what a problem 35

International Failure
The US government has spearheaded the major international drug prohibition efforts. Following the Shanghai Commission, another antidrug conference was convened at US urging, the Hague Convention of 1912. US representatives imposed a tough prohibitionist line, overcoming reluctance by other nations like Britain. US narcotics authorities, led by the infamous Federal Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner Harry Anslinger, drafted the Single

drugs have become since the establishment of drug prohibition. Every year, two million Americans are arrested and 400,000 imprisoned for drug offenses that did not exist in their time. Drug laws are now the number-one source of crime in the US, with onehalf of the entire adult population having violated them. Long gone are the days when Americans were free to keep opium in their closet; today, even gravely suffering patients are denied pain-killing narcotics by their doctors out of fear of federal prosecution. While smoking opium has faded from the scene, the country is now rife with more potent and lethal narcotics, which are widely sold on the illegal market. In 1937, the federal government banned all uses of cannabis medicinal and industrial, as well as social relaxant. Federal courts have upheld this policy by ruling that Americans have no right to use government-unapproved drugs even when necessary to save their own lives. Yet despite the growth of the drug-police-state, Americans are no less free from addiction than they were when the market prevailed. The drug addiction rate of a century ago has been estimated by historians at around one-half per cent. Today the rate is said by NIDA researchers to be 2%. Seen in retrospect, drug prohibition ranks as one of the great man-made disasters of the 20th century. This 36

March, on the 100th anniversary of the Shanghai Commission, the UN Committee on Narcotics will be meeting in Vienna, to discuss the next decade of international drug control. Last year, a UN Conference of North American NGOs in Vancouver expressed great dissatisfaction with the current system and suggested replacing prohibition with a regulated market respectful of human right and public health principles. Discussion of such fundamental reforms is nowhere near the table due to the powerful opposition of the drug-law-enforcement establishment. European countries are proposing modest steps towards harm reduction, such as approving needle exchange. In opposition to this hopeful development, the US delegation, still under the influence of holdover Bush administration hardliners, is reported to be insisting on a tough prohibitionist line. A century after the Opium Exclusion Act, the US government should abandon its bankrupt and counterproductive policies of drug prohibition. Its time to end the 100 years war on drugs.

Dale Gieringer, Ph.D. is the director of the Drug Policy Forum of California and author of numerous articles on the history of prohibition and marijuana control. He is also the California coordinator for the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).


United Kingdom
United States and Europe Split Over Drugs Policy
the United Nations calling for intervention. Drug policy campaigners say that without a change in the US position, anti-drug strategies could be set back for the next decade and have a knockon impact on the spread of HIV/Aids and other diseases. We understand that the US delegation in Vienna has been actively blocking the efforts of some of our closest allies including the European Union to incorporate in the declaration reference to harm reduction measures, such as needle exchange, read the letter, sent to Susan Rice on Wednesday and signed by California Congressman Henry Waxman, among others. The US delegation should be given new instructions from the new administration, it said. Otherwise, we risk crafting a UN declaration that is at odds with our own national policies and interests, even as we needlessly alienate our nations allies in Europe. Officials close to the US negotiators in Vienna denied that Bush-era policies were being rammed through but said instructions from Obama administration had not been received. We are currently hearing out proposals, keeping options open and Washington informed. Our new 37

ONDON: UN-sponsored negotiations on a new global drugs strategy are close to breaking down, with profound divisions between Europe and the United States on key policy issues, participants at the talks in Vienna say. The problem is that US negotiators are trying to push through anti-drug programmes that were promoted during the former Bush administration but which are no longer advocated by President Barack Obama, they said. Whereas former President George W. Bush believed in a zero-tolerance approach in the war on drugs, one of Obamas first moves was to back the lifting of a ban on federal funding for needle-exchange programmes. He also gave tacit support to so-called harm-reduction strategies that are seen as crucial in the fight against drug-related diseases such as HIV/Aids. The Vienna stand-off, which threatens to scupper a March summit at which the new drug policy declaration is to be signed, has prompted Democrats in Congress to write to the new US ambassador to

administration will continue to review and develop our negotiating positions, a spokeswoman for the US mission in Vienna said:

at Transform, a British drug policy foundation. The implications of changing the political line is enormous for those who have suffered under the US administrations refusal to support basic harm reduction measures. US sources said that while it was not impossible that the negotiating position could be changed, it would only happen once new instructions were issued from Washington. At the same time, while the Obama administration differs from Bush, it does not advocate all harm reduction strategies, which can include drug consumption rooms, safe-injecting rooms, and providing heroin and needles in prisons.
L. Baker, Reuters UK (30/1/09)

The needle and the damage done

The Vienna negotiations, under the auspices of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, have been going on intermittently for several months but are due to wrap up before a summit on 12-13 March when the new declaration is due to be signed. While the United States is the chief proponent of a zero-tolerance approach to the estimated $160 billion (111.9 billion pound) illegal drugs industry, it has support from Russia and Japan, neither of whom support harm reduction policies, which can include medicationassisted therapy and drug legalisation. The European Unions policy position is supported by Australia, Latin America and Iran, among others, all of whom favour policies that include harm-reduction measures. Drug policy campaigners believe that if the United States could be brought closer to the European position, Japan, Russia and others including China and India would follow, potentially producing consensus on a new global drugs strategy. Time is very tight and the race is now on to change the instructions from US officials before the ink dries on the previous administrations line, said Danny Kushlick, head of policy

Vaticans Stance On UN Drugs Policy Risk Lives

he Vatican has been accused of putting the lives of thousands at risk by attempting to influence UN drugs policy on the eve of a major international declaration. The Vaticans objection to harm reduction strategies, such as needle exchange schemes, has ignited a fierce debate between the US and the EU over how drugs should be tackled. A new UN declaration of intent is due to be signed in Vienna on 11 March. However, there are major


disagreements between member countries over whether a commitment to harm reduction should be included in the document, which is published every 10 years. Now the Vatican has issued a statement that claims that using drugs is anti-life and so-called harm reduction leads to liberalisation of the use of drugs. The Vaticans lastminute intervention appears to have led to Italy withdrawing from the EU consensus on the issue and thrown the talks over the declaration into confusion. In 1998, the declaration of intent was a drug-free world we can do it, which critics claimed was unrealistic and did not address the complex nature of drug treatment. In favour of including support for a harm reduction clause are most EU countries, Brazil and other Latin American countries, Australia and New Zealand. They argue that some commitment to tackling HIV and addiction through needle exchange programmes and methadone and other drugs should be included. Opposed to this are the US, Russia and Japan. The US position has been that such inclusion sends the wrong message, although there have been indications a more liberal policy might be adopted under Barack Obama. By making a statement against harm reduction, the Vatican has indicated that its moral objection to drug use is more important than its commitment to the sanctity of life, said Release, the UK-based drugs and legal advice charity. 39

If the Vatican is allowed to influence the UN to adopt a naive and ineffective drug policy, it will needlessly lead to the increased spread of blood-borne viruses and the death of thousands more people from HIV/Aids. Release argues that drug treatment programmes are vital for people suffering from HIV/Aids and that not to accept this will put their lives at risk. Needle and syringe exchange programmes have significantly contributed to the reduction of HIV transmission among people who use drugs, it said. A spokesman for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) confirmed last night that there are still differences of opinion over the statement. Other drug charities and foundations have also been critical of the Vaticans move. Mike Trace, chairman of the International Drug Policy Consortium, said: Progressive governments, including the UK, are now faced with the dilemma of trying to rescue reasonable support for harm reduction or not sign the declaration. Antonio Costa, the head of UNODC, has claimed harm reduction has been appropriated by a vocal minority. He said in a speech last November: This kind of harm reduction can prevent the spread of blood-borne diseases. But it does not solve the underlying problem, and can even perpetuate drug use.
D. Campbell, Guardian (26/2/09)

Can A Pill Replace Heroin For Addicts?
esearchers behind a controversial approach to Vancouvers drug problem are trying to launch a new study. Hundreds of people took part in the NAOMI project, which stands for North American Opiate Medication Initiative. The project provided drug addicts with heroin, methadone and a pain medication called Dilaudid. Rob Vincent took part in NAOMI. He says his health improved and he was able to work. I didnt have to worry about waking up in the morning and worry about where Im going to come up with the money to get better now, he said. Now theres a proposal for a similar study, called SALOME (Study to Assist Longer Term Opiod Medication Effectiveness) which would eventually test whether injectable drugs could be replaced with a pill. If you could get some people onto oral medication they could be treated much more simply, said Dr Martin Schechter, a former NAOMI researcher. The province has called NAOMIs results promising but says its waiting for peer-reviewed published 40

findings. Meanwhile, research advocates hope Tuesdays budget will include money for an international research treatment centre in BC. We have world class leading expertise here in Vancouver today, says Trish Walsh with the Inner Change Foundation. Were just not giving them the tools to do the job. The NAOMI project ended up finding pain medication worked just as well as heroin. But Dr Schechter says when the three year study ended, so did the benefits for many of the participants. What weve learned is some of the people a significant proportion of the people that were doing well subsequently relapsed in the first six months, he said. Rob Vincent relapsed more than once. If youre going to make a project such as that where youre going to get everybodys hopes up at least make it so its continuous, and if you are going to have a cut-off date, have some sort of back-up, so that theyre not just being thrown out back onto the street, he said. The new project being proposed is another three year study.
CTV British Columbia (16/2/09)

Growing Drug Ties Choking India, Nepal

espite scores of law enforcement agencies across the world battling to control drug smuggling, the menace has mushroomed last year with growing links between South Asian neighbours India and Nepal, enforcement officials said. Cannabis has become the most widely used illicit drug worldwide and in the last two decades, more potent forms have been developed, said the annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board, released in Kathmandu Friday. (It) is associated with an increasing number of emergency room admissions There are also indications that cannabis use may be associated with an increased risk of psychotic disorders and schizophrenia. Nepal is the biggest producer of cannabis resin in South Asia. According to Hemant Malla, senior police official at Nepals Narcotics Drug Control Law Enforcement Unit, there has been an alarming increase in the cultivation of cannabis in the Terai plains in the south along the border with India. Besides the home-grown cannabis, Nepal is also being flooded with lowgrade heroin from India and with opium.

India is the main producer of opium poppy to meet the worlds licit requirement for medicinal and other licit purposes. However, the licit produce is being smuggled and sold illegally in Nepal through Raxaul in Indias Bihar state with the source being the fields in Indias western Rajasthan state, Malla said. While Nepal serves as the transit for high-grade heroin that is made in Afghanistan and intended for Europe, America and Canada, low-grade cheap heroin is smuggled from India to be sold in the Himalayan republic. In the past, Nepal was used as both transit and local market for amphetamines like yaba, capsules containing a mixture of caffeine and methamphetamine. They came from Myanmar though Thailand. However, recently, Nepal police have seized the substance in crystal form commonly known as ice that came from India. Most of the drug smugglers caught in India are Nepalis followed by Nigerians, Malla said. In Nepal, most of them are Indians, followed by Nigerians. In 2008, of the 634 people arrested in Nepal for drug smuggling, 72 were foreigners, including 17 women. About 50 per cent of them are Indians, Malla said. Law enforcement authorities fear that growing drug abuse will see a spurt in HIV/AIDS.


Nepal has about 48,000 estimated drug addicts. According to Kuber Rana, deputy inspector-general of Nepal Police, about 60 per cent of them use drug injections, which increase the dangers of HIV/AIDS infection. In India, nearly nine per cent drug injectors reported HIV infection in 2006 while in Bangladesh it was seven per cent. Nepal has the highest rate of HIV among drug injectors due to the low average income, low awareness and lack of easy availability of new syringes. In 2007, Nepal reported 34 per cent infection among drug injectors.
Big News Network (25/2/09)

and will intercept drugs from entering Thailand, but there will be no extrajudicial killings, Mr Somchai told justice and police officials. Implementing extra-judicial killings to solve the drugs problem is absolutely banned, he added. Mr Thaksin launched his war on drugs in 2003, and human rights groups have said that at least 2,500 people were killed in extra-judicial killings during the campaign. Mr Somchai, however, said that Mr Thaksin was not responsible for the deaths. In fact, those people had committed wrongdoing. It was not extra-judicial killing by police. They were killed by drugs dealers, he said, repeating the government line at the time. Mr Thaksin, who is living in exile in Britain, previously defended the deaths as bad guys killing bad guys. Mr Somchai conceded that the government will not be able to completely wipe out drugs from the kingdom within the 90-day period, but said he wanted to try and make a dent in rising drug use among teenagers. Mr Thaksins allies in the People Power Party won elections last December, and months later vowed to revive the war on drugs, which despite the bloodshed was popular among conservative rural voters.
Asia One News (6/11/08)

90-Day War On Drugs
ANGKOK: Thailands premier vowed on Thursday to step up an anti-narcotics campaign, and defended ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra against accusations that his drugs war was mired in extra-judicial killings. Mr Somchai Wongsawat said he was launching a 90 day campaign aimed at reducing drug use and trafficking in an extension of a crackdown initially started by his brother-in-law Thaksin, who was ousted in a coup in 2006. In the next 90 days the government will reduce the number of drug users 42

Need Help?
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ADIS (Alcohol & Drug Information Service) (NSW) Provides 24 hour confidential service incl. advice, information and referral (02) 9361 8000 / 1800 422 599 country callers AIDS HIV Info Line Directions ACT Drugs in the Family (Canberra) Families & Friends for Drug Law Reform (Canberra) Family Drug Support (Adelaide) Family Drug Help (Melbourne) Hepatitis C Info & Support Line Nar-Anon Narcotics Anonymous Self-help for drug problems NCPIC (Information & Helpline) NUAA (NSW Users & Aids Association) Parent Drug Information Service WA (02) 9206 2000 / 1800 063 060 country callers (02) 6122 8000 (02) 6257 3043 (02) 6254 2961

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Ted Noffs Foundation (02) 9310 0133 Centre for youth and family drug and alcohol counselling services

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Family Support Meetings Mar/Apr 2009

Non-religious, open meetings for family members affected by drugs and alcohol. Open to anyone and providing opportunities to talk and listen to others in a nonjudgemental, safe environment. General enquiries: FDS Office (02) 4782 9222 Note: NO MEETINGS HELD ON PUBLIC HOLIDAYS.

NSW Lilyfield .............................................................. every Monday (7 9 pm)

Meeting Hall, 132 cnr Wharf & Church St, Lilyfield (entry into estate via laneway Church St) Enquiries: Bob 0400 362 667

NSW Penrith ............................................. 1st Wednesday of month: 1 Apr; 6 May

Drug & Alcohol Services Bldg, Nepean Hospital cnr Gt Western Hwy & Somerset St, Kingswood. Enquiries: (02) 4782 9222

(7 9 pm)

NSW Chatswood .............1st & 3rd Wednesday of month: 18 Mar; 1 & 15 Apr; 6 May
Dougherty Community Centre Studio, 7 Victor St, Chatswood Enquiries: Liz 0417 429 036 or Michelle 0402 122 563 (7 9 pm)

NSW Kincumber ................. 1st & 3rd Tuesday of month: 17 Mar; 7 & 21 Apr; 5 May
Arafmi Cottage, 6/20 Kincumber St, Kincumber. Enquiries: Marion 0439 435 382 198-202 Vincent St, Cessnock. Enquiries: Cristeen 0411 238 706 (7 9 pm)

NSW Cessnock ............................................................. every Monday (7 9 pm) NSW Newcastle ..............1st & 3rd Wednesday of month: 18 Mar; 1 & 15 Apr; 6 May
Newcastle Tabernacle Baptist Church, cnr Laman & Dawson Sts, Newcastle Enquiries: Martina 0428 169 898 Education Rooms, rear of Community Health Centre (next to water tank) Morton St, Port Macquarie. Enquiries: Pam (02) 6583 1704 (6 8 pm)

NSW Port Macquarie ...... Monday every fortnight: 16 & 30 Mar; 13 & 27 Apr; 11 May
(6 8 pm)

NSW Byron Bay ........ 2nd & 4th Monday of month: 9 & 23 Mar; 13 & 27 Apr; 11 May
Guide Hall, Carlyle St, Byron Bay (behind tennis courts across from Byron PS) Enquiries: Margaret 0427 857 092 The Mudhut, Duke St, Coffs Harbour. Enquiries: Theo 0402 604 354

(7 9 pm)

NSW Coffs Harbour............. 1st & 3rd Monday of month: 16 Mar; 6 & 20 Apr; 4 May
(7 9 pm) (7.30 9 pm)

SA Leabrook .....................................Wednesdays: 18 Mar; 1, 15 & 29 Apr; 13 May

Knightsbridge Baptist Church Hall. 455 Glynburn Rd, Leabrook Enquiries: Kath (08) 8384 4314 or 0401 732 129 Cove Youth Services, Suite 11, 1 Zwerner Dr, Hallett Cove Enquiries: Kath (08) 8384 4314 or 0401 732 129

SA Hallett Cove................................ Wednesdays: 11 & 25 Mar; 8 & 22 Apr; 6 May

(7 9 pm)

SA Salisbury ................................................ Mondays: 23 Mar; 6 & 20 Apr; 4 May

Shopfront Health Services, 3-4/72 John St, Salisbury Enquiries: Kath (08) 8384 4314 or 0401 732 129

(7 9 pm)

VIC Geelong ..................Wednesday every fortnight: 18 Mar; 1, 15 & 29 Apr; 13 May

Glastonbury, 222 Malop St, Geelong. Enquiries: Linda 0400 106 358

(7.30 9.30 pm)

VIC Ballarat ....... 2nd Monday of month: 16 & 30 Mar; 13 & 27 Apr; 11 May (7 9 pm)
Kohinoor Community Centre, 417 Errard St, South Ballarat. Enquiries: Linda 0400 106 358

QLD Brisbane Meetings have been temporarily suspended until a new venue is found 44