As part of its commitment to provide high level advice to government, the Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD) - which is the principal advisory body to government on drug and alcohol issues - established the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC) to specifically advise on Indigenous drug and alcohol issues across Australia and the most appropriate and effective approaches to address them.
NIDAC comprises of members from non-government and government organisations with specialist expertise and knowledge in dealing with Indigenous drug and alcohol issues.
Valuable feedback from people working to address Indigenous drug and alcohol is also gained through community consultation across Australia.
At its November 2007 community consultation forum in Adelaide, South Australia, local Indigenous representatives, community services and representatives from government discussed the following:
- The impact of alcohol restrictions in the metropolitan area of Adelaide has instigated:
- a noticeable increase in the misuse of non restricted substances in some areas,
- a movement of Indigenous drinkers congregating in parks on the fringe of the city and away from vital services.
- There appears to be a normalisation of cannabis use amongst the Indigenous community in Adelaide, with an emerging trend of other drug use.
- There is limited service capacity and infrastructure to deal with the complexity of Indigenous drug and alcohol problems which may also include disability as well as multiple other health and social problems.
- Appropriate and holistic services are urgently required, particularly after care treatment and support for Indigenous people who have received treatment for alcohol and drug abuse.
- The urgent need for more non government services to provide appropriate alcohol and drug services to Indigenous people and alternative treatment choices.
- The very limited access to residential rehabilitation (estimated to be to only10 beds) and the urgent need to expand these services to meet growing demand.
- Increased alcohol and drug training for Aboriginal health workers is needed in other areas of South Australia, particularly where there are no specific alcohol or drug services easily available.
- The positive activity of South Australian police in developing partnerships with service providers and communities to provide referrals and links to assist Indigenous people who have alcohol, drug, mental health or social problems.
To reduce the alcohol drug problems and associated harms in Indigenous communities nationally, NIDAC has identified a select number of priority areas as the focus for 2007–2010. NIDAC will also continue to respond to emerging Indigenous alcohol and drug issues as they arise. http://www.nidac.org.au
- Illicit drugs
- Other licit drugs
- Workforce Development
- Partnership Approach with Police / Law Enforcement Authorities
- Need for consistent quality data on Indigenous alcohol and other drug use
Current NIDAC Activities
- The development of a National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Conference for 2009 to showcase best practices and knowledge in addressing Indigenous alcohol and drug problems.
- A national competition for Indigenous youth to design a NIDAC logo that represents the mission of NIDAC to reduce the harms from substance misuse in Indigenous communities.
- Working with the Australian Bureau of Statistics to look at the possible expansion of alcohol, drug and tobacco measures measurements for the National Indigenous Social Survey 2008. NIDAC has also provided advice to The National Advisory Group for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Information and Data (NAGATSIHID) for better quality data information for Indigenous Australians and suggested this could be achieved through a national Indigenous drug and alcohol survey.
- The NIDAC project “Identifying Areas of Greatest Need” to identify the areas and gaps of greatest need in treatment and services addressing alcohol and drug use amongst Indigenous Australians. The Inter-Governmental Committee on Drugs has added its support to the project and has been instrumental in assisting NIDAC to access essential information required.
- The development of a youth leadership proposal to divert youth from petrol sniffing for Australian Institute of Petroleum members’ consideration.
- The development of a regular Indigenous community consultation survey using online technology.
- The development of a new NIDAC website to provide useful information, links and activities for those working to address Indigenous alcohol and drug problems.
- Working with ANCD on its Indigenous Injecting Drug Use amongst Indigenous Australians project.
- Continuing to provide advice to Department of Health & Ageing, Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs on the Northern Territory emergency response intervention and other Indigenous AOD issues.
- Assisting the Of Substance magazine with its January issue which has a feature story on Northern Territory emergency response intervention.
Recently Completed NIDAC Activities
- Key support for the campaign launch of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) 3rd December 2008 in Melbourne.
- Participated in an Industry Roundtable hosted by Co-operative Research Centre to identify research priorities in relation to Aboriginal prisoner health and recidivism.
- Provided advice on the complexity and needs to address Indigenous dual substance misuse and mental health problems at the Comorbidity Coordinated Care Forum hosted by Alcohol and Drug Foundation ACT, Canberra.
- An article in The Australian, October 2007 written by NIDAC provided an insight into alcohol restrictions in response to the Australian Government Initiatives in the Northern Territory. www.theaustralian.news.com.au
More information on NIDAC is available by accessing the ANCD
website or by contacting the NIDAC Secretariat: 02 6166 9604