Drug Foundation Researcher To Speak at Drug Forum

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Thursday, 4 September 2014
The Portland community can play an important part in addressing local drug issues, according to one of Australia’s leading drug information experts.

Head of Information and Research at the Australian Drug Foundation, Julie Rae, will address a public drugs forum in Portland on September 11 and says that engaging and informing the community is a vital part of tackling drug and alcohol problems.

We know that if the community is engaged and wants to do something we can look at things like increasing protective factors for those who are most at risk, Ms Rae said.

The community can do a lot - these are all our issues and we need to be working together to solve them.

Ms Rae said communities and families need to support people who have drug and alcohol issues and set the right behavioural expectations.

Being informed helps us to know who is at greater risk of using illicit drugs or alcohol at harmful levels. We need to understand why people take drugs and look at what prevention measures we can put in place to delay that for as long as possible.

Ms Rae said it was important that young people stay in school for as long as possible or find employment or other ways of being engaged.

She encouraged people to join the Good Sports Club program where sporting clubs have appropriate measures and management, especially around alcohol and illicit drugs.

Under that program there has been a 30 per cent reduction in binge drinking. There are more than 2000 clubs involved in Victoria and 6500 across Australia.

We also work with parents and stress the influence parents have in setting behavioural expectations with their children, Ms Rae said.

We all can play a role.

Ms Rae added that the problems of more mature people shouldn't be ignored.

We talk about the young a lot but we shouldn't forget about older people. There are just as many risk factors with elderly people and we are seeing an increase in alcohol consumption in that age ranged and also some misuse of pharmaceuticals,she said.

Ms Rae said that while drug and alcohol problems in country areas were no worse than cities, there has been an increase concern about the behaviour of people who may be taking ice.

We're seeing greater concern coming from regional areas. It's equally an issue across the state, but you might not see it as much in the city,she said.

Ms Rae added that it was important people with problems and their families know help is available when they want and need it.

Ms Rae is has more than 30 years experience working in the information industry. She is active in the AOD sector, with presentations, writing, and building partnerships with other agencies to ensure that people are informed about the harms and issues surrounding alcohol and other drugs.

The September 11 `Breaking the Ice’ Portland community forum on drug use is giving local people an opportunity to hear the latest advice on ice and other drug and alcohol issues.

Glenelg Southern Grampians Drug Treatment Service (GSGDTS), in conjunction with a network of local services, is hosting the forum at the Portland Golf Club from 7pm-9.30pm.

The forum is being supported by a network that also includes Portland police, Glenelg Shire, local youth services, Portland District Health and the local schools network. It has been funded by the Rotary Club of Portland Bay, the Lions Club of Portland and the Andrew Jack Foundation.

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