Tuesday, September 24, 2013

ATODA Conference Report

Joanne Baumgartner

I attended this conference on Friday, June 21st as a HCCA consumer representative. Having worked as a volunteer at the Karralika Drug Rehabilitation Centre in the 1980’s, I was interested in hearing about the progress in this area. I was also pleased to have the opportunity to learn about how to discuss the issue of drugs with my family members and within the broader community generally.

Online Drug Safety and Counselling Methods

While the speakers’ presentations centred on their websites and online counselling methods, there was also discussion of how consumers have expressed a desire for more online information and counselling resources, instead of needing to call someone or physically present to a counselling service. The various drug organisations were certainly willing to fulfil those needs for users and found that they had greater success with their clients using these methods. However, there are some concerns with regard to the legal challenges and reporting requirements for professionals providing services online.
Generally, the use of interactive web sites allows up-to-date information to be provided to consumers in only a short period of time. The services are available around the clock, so drug users are able to access information about staying as safe as possible whenever they need to.

Tobacco and Smoking

Professor Ron Boorland from the Cancer Council of Victoria spoke about steps being taken to reduce smoking rates in his state. Electronic cigarettes have been introduced as a means of quitting smoking, with a major barrier being that people using this cessation method are experiencing conflict with other smokers in the workplace, who have to go outside to smoke.
Of all the services presented at the conference, the best drug treatment service seemed to me to be the Uniting Care Re Gen program that utilises both online and face to face support with “non rest” rehabilitation.

Joanne Baumgartner
HCCA Representative

23June 2013

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