Efforts to reduce the harm caused by alcohol and other drugs need to be made part of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander strategies and plans, the NACCHO Summit heard yesterday.
Scott Wilson, Deputy Chair of the National Indigenous Drug & Alcohol Committee, said tackling alcohol and other drugs must become core business for Aboriginal Medical Services. He also called for the resourcing of Aboriginal-driven interventions for Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
Some tweet reports from his presentation follow (click on the images to see more detail).
Scott Wilson also cited this 2012 report by Deloitte Access Economics, An economic analysis for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders prison vs residential treatment.
It found that diversion treatment programs for offenders with drug and alcohol problems save money and result in better health outcomes and lower recidivism rates. So why are such programs being defunded?
(Meanwhile, The Guardian reports on NT plans to “shift problem drinkers from hospital to prison unit”.)
James Ward from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute presented on the importance of reducing sexually transmissible infections in preventing HIV. The high rate of HIV amongst First Nation people in Canada provides a stark warning.
Summit participants also discussed the potential benefits of a national repository of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health data – in Aboriginal hands.
The discussion also provided some pertinent advice to researchers.
Associate Professor Mark Wenitong spoke about the importance of primary health care, and of moving away from language that promotes victim-blaming and ineffective policy responses (it’s worth clicking on his slide to see the detail – especially his final point).
For previous Croakey reports from the Summit