Conference Papers

Session H 3.2. Tobacco, Alcohol and other drugs


1. Bianca Calabria1, Anton Clifford2, Anthony P Shakeshaft1, Christopher M Doran3, Julaine Allan4, Miranda Rose1, and Komla Tsey5 : Adapting a family-based approach to reduce alcohol-related harms among Indigenous Australians

Indigenous Australians experience a disproportionately high burden of alcohol-related harm, relative to non-Indigenous Australians. These alcohol-related harms are typically cumulative, extending beyond the individual to the family and community. The number of Indigenous-specific intervention programs to address these harms appears less than optimal, and there have been few rigorous evaluations of alcohol interventions for Indigenous Australians. There is evidence from empirical studies that family-based approaches can be effective for reducing alcohol-related harms among high-risk drinkers, and the negative effects of alcohol misuse on their family members. Family relationships have always been vital to the cohesion and wellbeing of Indigenous communities. What happens at the family level shapes the wellbeing of individuals and the social functioning of Indigenous Australian communities. The potential strength of relationships between Indigenous individuals, their families, and their communities suggests that family–based approaches are likely to be appropriate and effective for reducing alcohol related-harm among Indigenous Australians. This paper will describe the components of a family-based intervention approach with great potential to reduce alcohol-related harm among Indigenous Australians, and a process for tailoring the intervention for routine delivery by a rural Indigenous community-based health service in partnership with a specialist drug and alcohol treatment agency. Results will be presented from a survey of community members that show support for the family-based program and give guidance for delivery to Indigenous Australians.

1 National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
2 Queensland Alcohol and Drug Research and Education Centre, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
3 Hunter Medical Research Centre, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
4 Lyndon Community, Orange, NSW, Australia
5 James Cook University, Cairns, QLD, Australia

Author bio: Bianca Calabria is currently working with a team of researchers, drug and alcohol workers and Aboriginal Health Workers to develop and evaluate a family-based intervention to reduce alcohol-related harms among Aboriginal Australians. This work will form Bianca's doctoral thesis. Bianca has previous research experience focused on personal relationships; her honours thesis, completed as part of her honours degree of a Bachelor of Psychology in 2007 at Macquarie University, looked at emotional and behavioural responses to violations of friendship rules. Bianca has also worked on a number of drug and alcohol related research projects including the Global Burden of Disease and the Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort Study.

2. Debbie Duthie:  Indigenous Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Programs within urban contexts: The importance of culturally appropriate service provision

The intergenerational impacts of colonisation are noted in the continued loss of self-esteem, loss of culture, family breakdown, substance misuse, high incarceration rates, mental illness, grief and loss. While it is acknowledged that some gains have been made in relation to life expectancy, child mortality rates and chronic disease, the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians on all social indicators remains considerable. In particular, alcohol and other drug (AOD) misuse has gained considerable attention due to the impacts on Indigenous individuals, families and communities. One key issue, however, is the predominance of research focused on Indigenous AOD misuse in rural and remote areas as opposed to urban areas. As a result, health initiatives addressing Indigenous AOD misuse have primarily been developed to cater for rural and remote populations, which may mean that culturally appropriate treatment programs for the urban Indigenous community may be lacking. Additionally, there is a deficiency of evaluative research investigating urban residential treatment services. This is surprising considering population growth data suggests that urban Indigenous populations have increased substantially, with this trend likely to continue. This paper firstly provides an evaluation of a successful urban Indigenous AOD rehabilitation service located in the Brisbane region. Goori House Addiction Treatment Centre supports Indigenous men of all ages, however, supports a high number of youth who have existing AOD problems. Secondly, this paper examines the Goori House program, underpinned by a strong Indigenous framework that emphasises strength in Indigenous identity and culture. This paper further offers important implications for urban AOD services and practitioners.

Author bio: Deb Duthie lectures in the Social Work and Human Services program at Qld University of Technology in both undergraduate and postgraduate programs. She has particular interest in Indigenous social work practice and the retention of Indigenous social work students within the university system. She has been involved in the domestic and family violence and homelessness sector for the past 12 years in various capacities and practice contexts. Deb has almost completed her PhD focusing on the retention of practitioners within the domestic violence sector. Deb is a descendant of the Wakka Wakka and Waramungu peoples of Cherbourg and Tennant Creek respectively.

3. Stephen Kinnane and Kate Golson: ‘What about the rights of our kids to a future?’  Community instigated alcohol restrictions in the Kimberley and why they are working

Community initiated alcohol restrictions have been in place in the Kimberley for three years (Fitzroy Crossing) and two years (Halls Creek). Nationally, alcohol restrictions are regarded by many commentators and health professionals as an ineffective tool in dealing with systemic alcohol abuse afflicting regional communities. Yet, for two Kimberley towns two year qualitative and quantitative evaluations completed by the Nulungu Centre for Indigenous Studies for the Drug and Alcohol Office (WA) have revealed significant overall health and social benefits as well as the creation of windows of opportunity for social reconstruction of communities suffering the effects of excessive alcohol consumption, due to restrictions. This paper will reveal the findings of these two year studies and compare and contrast the results between the town of Fitzroy Crossing (the Fitzroy Valley) and Halls Creek (the central eastern Kimberley). The rights of old people and young people, in particular, to a safe and secure community environment will be examined against the often stated ‘right’ to drink of young and middle aged adults. Within a breakdown of social norms, collective community instigated interventions can work when instigated by community leaders, regardless of whether they receive the wider support of the community. The role of leadership in addressing controversial and conflicting issues within the value of collective responsibility will be examined.

Author bio: Steve Kinnane is researcher with many years experience investigating social issues of relevance to Aboriginal Western Australians. Results of this research have been awarded the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s Human Rights Award for the Arts, the WA Premier’s Award and the Stanner Award. Steve has completed research for AIATSIS, Murdoch University, the Department of Premier and Cabinet, the Australian Heritage Council, the Aboriginal Arts Panel (ARTSWA) the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Panel (AUSTCO), Rangelands NRM, the National Ocean’s Office, the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, the Kimberley Land Council, the Kimberley Language Resource Centre, the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre, the Wheat-belt Aboriginal Corporation and the WA History Foundation. From 2008 to 2011 he worked on the Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek 12 Month and Two Year Evaluations of Alcohol Restrictions for the Drug and Alcohol Office, WA. Steve is Miriwoong; his people’s country stretches from the East Kimberley into the Northern Territory. Steve is currently Senior Researcher for the Nulungu Centre for Indigenous Studies of the University of Notre Dame Australia (Broome Campus and Fremantle Campus).

Authro bio: Kate Golson Kate settled in the Kimberley in 1992 after gaining a BA and MA in Anthropology from Sydney University. Since then, she has worked extensively with communities in the region on community development, cultural and natural resource management, conservation, sustainable development, heritage protection and native title claim work - all of which have been built on extensive community engagement. Kate has considerable experience working with NGOs such as the Kimberley Land Council, has collaborated with many government agencies and undertaken numerous consultancies. Most recently, she has been working with a Northern Australian research consortium, the Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge (TraCK) program, in communications and community engagement. In 2010 and 2011, she worked as a researcher on the Halls Creek 12 Month and Two Year Evaluation of Alcohol Restrictions for the Drug and Alcohol Office, WA.