Making a difference

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CELEBRATIN G E I G H T Y E A R S O F COMMUNITY D R U G A C T I O N TE A M S ACROSS NSW Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Committee (ADAAC) Airds Bradbury CDAT Albury Wodonga Community Drug and Alcohol Action Team (AWCDAAT) Armidale CDAT Armidale BIG hART Advisory Committee Auburn CDAT Ballina CDAT Bankstown CDAT Bathurst CDAT Bega Valley CDAT Blacktown CDAT Blue Mountains CDAT Border Towns Crime Prevention Committee Bourke CDAT Brewarrina CDAT Broken Hill CDAT Byron Shire CDAT Canterbury CDAT Casino CDAT Central Coast Aboriginal CDAT Cessnock CDAT Clarence Valley CDAT Claymore CDAT Cobar BIG hART Advisory Group Coffs Harbour CDAT Cooma Bombala Snowy River CDAT (Monaro) Coonabarabran Youth Committee Coonamble CDAT Corowa CDAT Cowra CDAT Culcairn Holbrook Youth Action Team Cummeragunja Community Drug and Alcohol Action Team Dubbo CDAT Eurobodalla Aboriginal Substance Abuse Action Team Fairfield CDAT Far West CDAT Forbes CDAT Forbes Parkes CDAT Foster Tuncurry CDAT Glebe CDAT Glen Innes Drug Awareness Committee Gloucester CDAT Goulburn CDAT Grafton CDAT Griffith CDAT Gunnedah Youth Action Team Gwydir CDAT Hamilton South Community Action Team Hastings CDAT Hawkesbury District CDAT Hay CDAT Hornsby CDAT Hunter Central Coast Regional CDAT Illawarra Aboriginal Alcohol & Other Drug Taskforce Illawarra Regional CDAT Inverell CDAT Joynt Youth Action Kamilaroi Regional Aboriginal CDAT Kempsey CDAT Kiama CDAT Killarney Vale Bateau Bay Tumbi Umbi Community Building Network (KBT) Kings Cross CDAT Kyogle CDAT Lachlan Shire Community Crime Prevention Committee Lake Macquarie CDAT Leeton CDAT Lismore CDAT Lithgow CDAT Liverpool CDAT Maitland CDAT McIntyre Drug Awareness Team Moree CDAT Mudgee CDAT Mums Against Drugs CDAT Muswellbrook CDAT Narrabri CDAT Narrandera CDAT New England North West Aboriginal Regional CDAT Newcastle CDAT Nimbin CDAT Northern Wyong CDAT Orange CDAT Parramatta Holroyd CDAT Peninsula CDAT Penrith CDAT Pittwater CDAT Randwick CDAT Raymond Terrace and Karuah Action Team Redfern Waterloo CDAT Ryde CDAT Saratoga Yattalunga Davistown Community Action Team (SYDAT) Shellharbour CDAT Shoalhaven CDAT Singleton CDAT South East CDAT Southern Highlands CDAT Southern Slopes CDAT Springfield CDAT Surry Hills CDAT Sutherland CDAT Tamworth CDAT Taree CDAT Tenterfield Shire Community Safety and Crime Prevention Committee Tharawal CDAT Tweed Heads CDAT Upper Hunter CDAT Urban Community Action Network (U.C.A.N.) Wagga Wagga Community Drug and Alcohol Action Team Walgett CDAT Warialda CDAT Wilcannia CDAT Wingecarribee CDAT Wollondilly CDAT Wollongong CDAT Wyoming CDAT Wyong Watanobbi Action Team (WYWAT) Yass CDAT Young CDAT Youth Action Krew (YAK) Youth of Hay Yura Yulang CDAT

Reba Meagher MP NSW Minister for Health

With so many marvellous projects undertaken by Community Drug Action Teams since the Drug Summit in 1999 it is a privilege to preface this overview of their achievements. Every community is unique. Not surprisingly, every Community Drug Action Team (CDAT) is different. What they share is a commitment to improving choices and minimising harm for people at risk in their community. In this booklet we celebrate the work of over 1,000 people across 80 communities who have taken positive steps to address the social and health issues caused by drugs and alcohol. These projects are practical and creative, reflecting the different needs and culture of the communities for which they were developed. No one knows better than the locals what the real issues in a community are. They know where the gaps in information or services exist, where and why risk-taking behaviour emerges and they often know how MAKING A DIFFERENCE 1

to go about interrupting unhelpful patterns for individuals at risk of harm. Outlined in this publication are many types of projects, from providing up to date information on drug and alcohol services, to developing creative educational material for people at risk. Several CDAT projects have started on a small scale, growing over the years to become substantial ongoing programs that have transformed their communities. Some have been expanded and continued by other organisations that have recognised their value. Essential to the success of Community Drug Action Teams over the years is the support provided by its many partners — community and charitable groups, government agencies, businesses big and small, and the many hundreds of people whose generosity and goodwill have fostered projects to make healthier futures for their communities. While the NSW Government has provided over $2 million in direct funding for CDAT

projects, this has been augmented by more than $4 million in direct contributions and additional funds from our many partners. The very existence of CDATs allows many worthwhile initiatives to flourish, with government-funded projects forming only part of their diverse output. People working together can achieve amazing things. The evidence is manifest in the sample profiled here, and there are many other worthwhile CDAT projects we lacked the space to include. Congratulations to everyone who has been involved in Community Drug Action Teams over the past eight years, and further thanks to the many hundreds of partners and supporters that have made these projects possible. Our communities would be much the poorer without you.

Reba Meagher MP NSW Minister for Health


Information for Your Community


Drug Action Week


Saving Mates


Youth Week


Going Off At The Swamp


Connecting in Cummeragunja


Dharawal Family Matters


Creating Synergy


Pausing on the BRINK


Dressing Up in Drugs


Safe Party Squad


Hip Hop in Border Towns


New Horizons in Narrabri


Somewhere Over the Rainbow


Creating Ripples


Sport in the Neighbourhood


Mad Mums for Safer Kids


Mentoring for Brighter Futures


drug info @ your library


Community Drug Strategies


NSW Department of Health 73 Miller Street North Sydney NSW 2060 Tel. (02) 9391 9000 Fax. (02) 9391 9101 TTY. (02) 9391 9900

Š NSW Department of Health 2007 ISBN 978-1-74187-217-0 SHP (MHDAO) 070159

This work is copyright. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for study training purposes subject to the inclusion of an acknowledgement of the source. It may not be reproduced for commercial usage or sale.

Sincere thanks to the many people who kindly supplied photographs for this publication.

Reproduction for purposes other than those indicated above, requires written permission from the NSW Department of Health.

Further copies of this publication can be downloaded from the following website:

Extensive attempts have been made to secure photo permissions and credits for images published herein. Please contact Community Drug Strategies, Mental Health Drug and Alcohol OfďŹ ce, NSW Department of Health, to address any errors or omissions. WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that this publication may contain images of deceased persons. MAKING A DIFFERENCE 2

What’s in a n a m e ?

Growing with the times Community Drug Action Teams (CDATs) were first introduced in 2000 as a result of the NSW Drug Summit in 1999. It was agreed at the Summit that drug problems needed a range of responses and a shared effort to tackle them by government, community, families and individuals.

CDATs are community groups supported by the government to increase and improve general community awareness about drugs and to help communities develop their own responses to local drug problems. When the NSW Alcohol Summit was held in 2003 several CDATs made submissions to the Summit on alcohol related topics, which were also affecting their communities. These included preventing harms and abuse, beach partying, police enforcement of liquor laws and parent education on alcohol related dangers. One of the recommendations of the Summit was that Community Drug Action Teams expand their focus to deal with alcohol problems in their communities. Over the years several CDATs have changed their names to reflect their work and the needs of their communities. Some CDATs run by young people have adopted more youth friendly names, as often their activities may address broader issues MAKING A DIFFERENCE 3

such as lack of entertainment or facilities for young people, which may be precursors to drug and alcohol abuse. Such groups include Youth of Hay (YOH), Culcairn Holbrook Youth Action Team (CHYAT) and Youth Action Krew (YAK) in Maryland. Mums Against Drugs (MAD Mums) were just MAD about needle-stick injuries and their name reflected their purpose. Killarney Bateau Bay Tumbi Umbi Community Building Network decided against retaining “drug” in their name to encourage more community membership, and to allow focus on wider outcomes beyond drug education. Albury Wodonga Community Drug and Alcohol Action Team (AWCDAAT) extended its name after the Alcohol Summit, and the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Committee (ADAAC) in Bodalla also reflected this wider remit. Yura Yulang was a CDAT for the Aboriginal community in and around Campbelltown, which means People’s Ceremony in the

language of the local Dharawal people. It relates to meeting together for important discussions within a community. Summer Bay CDAT was formed after a community drug forum in an episode of Home and Away in 2001. Wallabies’ captain George Gregan and team mates “travelled” to Summer Bay to appear as special guests at the fictional drug forum organised by students.

For more information about support for Community Drug Action Teams, see pages 46 and 47.

h e l p a t h a n d

n o i t a m r o f In r u o y r o f y t i n u m com An important priority for many Community Drug Action Teams (CDATs) is to provide up to date information on where to get help for drug and alcohol problems.

Culcairn Holbrook Youth Action Team developed a calendar with artwork from young people, interspersed with drug and alcohol information and services.

Following the success of its original booklet to help combat drug and alcohol use, Albury Wodonga Community Drug and Alcohol Action Team (AWCDAAT) launched a new revised version just before Christmas 2006. This launch was part of Party in the Q, an event in Albury’s QEII Square, designed to show young people they can have fun in the festive season without using drugs or alcohol. “Our brochure is youth-oriented with information on services, where the services

The new-look Tamworth Youth Information Cards.

are and telephone numbers,” said Phillip Pye, chairman of the AWCDAAT. “It also has information that can be used if your friend is taking drugs and somebody you can talk to about it. “At this time of the year a lot of kids are finishing school and that’s when you have end of year parties, new year’s parties and Christmas,” he said. “There is a temptation there and we’ve got the information to help.” Providing timely and relevant information for youth was also a high priority in Tamworth, where the Tamworth CDAT collaborated with other service providers to produce and distribute the Tamworth Youth Information Card. 10,000 cards were printed in the first round, and after enthusiastic feedback from a regional evaluation, a second print run of 12,000 cards was commissioned. These continue to be used by the CDAT for Youth Week and other youth projects. MAKING A DIFFERENCE 4

AWCDAAT members distributing their new booklet at Party in the Q. (from left) Michelle Head, Melinda Marengo and Phillip Pye.

Airds Bradbury CDAT also developed Youth Contact Cards to improve knowledge of drug and alcohol services available in the area. Two Community Welfare Diploma students from the local TAFE co-ordinated the project as part of their work placement, consulting with community workers and students at Airds High School to develop the content. Art students from TAFE designed an appealing fold-out card, and recreational information was also included to encourage the cards to be retained. Every student at Airds High School received a lanyard with a sleeve containing the Youth Contact Card, as well as vouchers from Intencity and McDonalds. The Youth Cards were also available through the Airds Bradbury Community Centre, as well as from a display in Macarthur Square, the main shopping precinct.


Students at Airds High School with the Youth Contact Cards. An evaluation a month later indicated that 98% of surveyed students had retained the cards for reference.


Bankstown CDAT regularly provides information at the annual Safety Fair at a local shopping centre. A fridge magnet was also developed by the CDAT, listing essential emergency information and services.


Drug Action Week ÂŽ is a national awareness week held each June. Over the years it has been a natural focus for hundreds of events organised by Community Drug Action Teams across NSW. Here are some of the many activities organised by hardworking CDATs for Drug Action Weeks over the last eight years.


central coast


In 2006 Inverell CDAT set up a stall outside a local supermarket, providing literature as well as surveying the public and high school students on their knowledge of drugs, their effects, and basic ďŹ rst aid. Cessnock CDAT received more than 400 entries from nine schools for their Drug Action Week drawing competition in 2006, which asked children to colour in a picture showing some of the harms caused by smoking. These are the proud winners. Students from Narara Valley High performed The Party for the Celebrating Safely Community Forum in Drug Action Week 2006 supported by Central Coast CDATs (KBT, Northern Wyong Peninsula and Wyoming). The forum shared ideas on how to minimise alcohol and drug-related harm when young people celebrate.


northern wyong



Bathurst CDAT organised a services expo for Drug Action Week in 2006, drawing together service providers from across the community. The event attracted much radio, television and press coverage. The CDAT also promoted the MERIT and RAD programs, that allow offenders with drug and alcohol problems to commence treatment while on bail. Griffith CDAT organised a well attended forum at the local library in 2005. CDAT members displayed drug and alcohol information supplied by NSW Health Community Drug Strategies. Casino CDAT organised a Reconciliation Golf Day in 2004 to bring Aboriginal and nonAboriginal people together to work more effectively in tackling drug and alcohol problems. The enjoyable event was well attended by indigenous groups, health workers and police.



Northern Wyong CDAT runs Rock Against Drugs in Drug Action Week every year. Here young people experience walking with vision impairment “beer goggles” in Gwandalan. StickFEST Maryland Community Awareness Day. “Maryland may be out in the sticks, but the locals still like to work together to build better futures for their community, and get together to celebrate the achievements.” Organised by Newcastle CDAT in 2005, StickFEST was a fun day out combining a Battle of the Bands, jumping castle, competitions and games, a junior talent quest, face painting, clowns and amusements and lots of market and info stalls. Over 1000 people enjoyed StickFEST, and it was so popular it spurred several young people to form their own CDAT, the Youth Action Krew, now known as YAK.

maryland griffith

Drug Action Week® is an initiative of the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA)

s u r vi v a l s k i l l s

G N I V A S ATES M The Red Cross Save A Mate first aid training program is a simple and effective way for many CDATs to provide life-saving skills to young people in their communities.

For example, almost half the 241 teenagers who participated in the Save A Mate first aid program in North West NSW in 2005 had previously witnessed an overdose. Furthermore, in many isolated communities, help is not always at hand. “It takes at least 45 minutes for an ambulance to get here, and then they will only come to our community with a police escort,” explained a community worker in North West NSW. Following 18 months of community consultation by Community Drug Action Teams from Tamworth to Narrabri clear feedback indicated that young people and youth workers lacked the skills and knowledge to prevent, recognise and respond to first aid emergencies resulting from alcohol and other drug misuse. Lisa O’Brien, Project Officer for Drugs and Community Action Strategy, NSW Health, explains; “By tapping into the unique place of Community Drug Action Teams in their communities, we could identify strategies to address the real issues facing many young people. The Save A Mate program was flexible enough to accommodate those participants

with low levels of numeracy and literacy, and the course material was tailored to the substances relevant to their communities, overwhelmingly alcohol and cannabis. We were extremely grateful to receive AER Foundation* funding for 21 workshops for young people in 11 communities. “We then invited other people and agencies to become involved, with an amazing 52 partners assisting with the project, including local schools, youth workers, Aboriginal services and a variety of agencies and community members which all assisted the CDATs in various ways to organise the workshops. The media support for the program was also outstanding.” The training was delivered in two sessions, the first on Alcohol and Other Drugs, covering substances and their effects, early warning signs of a potential emergency, risk factors for overdose and harm reduction strategies. The second session covered emergency response training, including what is first aid?, dealing with 000 operators, infection control, how to respond to dehydration, panic attacks, drink spiking, MAKING A DIFFERENCE 8




“It has been worthwhile because when talking to young people, even if they are still going to participate in drug and alcohol activities, they are more aware of the dangers and have some sort of strategies in mind for them and their mates. The Save A Mate course was excellent, and the majority of the kids responded very positively to it.”

Philippa Kaberry, Moree Family Support, Moree CDAT


fitting, Expired Air Resuscitation (EAR) and Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Over 95% of the participants passed the course, with very positive feedback from the training experience. Student comments included; “It gave us real life examples that help me to understand a lot more things about drugs and overdosing. It was great and easy to understand in the way that she presented it,” student, Gunnedah. “She didn’t try to make it sound pretty, because it’s not, and we need to know the truth in these scenarios. I feel confident about doing all I can to help them. Thanks!” Female, 14-15, Tenterfield “It really put the issue of drugs into perspective realistically for people of our age” Female, 14-15, Tenterfield “I am very proud to think that I have been fully trained in CPR”, Male 16-18, Narrabri Since the training sessions some of the participants have been able to put their training to the test. “In one situation a teenage boy in a remote community outside Boggabilla pulled one

of his friends out of the river unconscious,” says Lisa. “After initial mouth to mouth resuscitation by another onlooker, she was able to administer first aid, placing the young boy in the recovery position until the ambulance arrived from over 20 kms away. In another situation, a young person at a party near Glen Innes recognised the need for an ambulance for one of her friends, before it was too late.” “Since the success of this series of workshops CDATs in these same areas have organised a further 11 training sessions,” said Lisa. Save A Mate training has also been well received by young people in Gwydir, as well as participants in Dubbo Juvenile Detention Centre. Other CDATs which have organised Save A Mate training sessions include Albury-Wodonga, Condoblin, Hay, Pittwater, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Surry Hills, Tingha, Ulladulla, Walgett, and Wollongong.

* Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation Ltd

youth week

hay Wall painting graffiti.

Youth Week Youth Week in April is a natural focus for many CDAT activities, with exuberant drug and alcohol free events for young people held all over NSW.

Opening of the new Bingara Youth Centre in April 2006, organised by Gwydir CDAT.


watanobbi Members of KBT Community Building Network getting on the bus for WAT-A-FEST.

wat-a-fest That Youth Thing Watanobbi Youth Festival, held in Youth Week 2005, attracted a big local crowd of 500 people, with massive community support including the KBT Community Building Network. Local youth bands played (including entrants for the Battle of the Bands), there were skating demos, rides and many local services information stalls. A great day ended with an open-air family movie screened in the park.

Drug Awareness Education In Youth Week 2002 Coonabarabran CDAT organised a range of activities, including a drug and alcohol free disco, craft workshops, a movie marathon and a Save a Mate first aid course, which together involved over 200 local young people. All the events provided opportunities to change peer pressures around drugs and alcohol.

At Speers Point Park, Lake Macquarie CDAT supported That Youth Thing in Youth Week 2005 with a “film-off” competition, local bands, free rides, graffiti art workshops, jewellery making and hair and make-up tents. Eight bands entertained over 1500 people.

Totally Wickid Mudgee Drug Action Team (MDAT) was a key sponsor of the Totally Wickid Youth Week event in 2005. Young people watched “skate offs” between some of Australia’s top BMX, in-line skate and skateboard riders, and took part in skate workshops and competitions. MDAT provided prizes and distributed information on the impact of various drugs and alcohol as well as information on local services. Around 400 young people and families crowded into Mudgee Skate Park for this very successful event. Yass CDAT also held a drug information stall at its local Totally Wickid event.


A Little R & R in Armidale

lake macquarie Changing hair colour in the make-up tent at That Youth Thing.

ROPE Festival Youth of Hay held the Reaching Out to People Everywhere (ROPE) Festival as a fun drug and alcohol free event. More than 400 young people attended, and over $6,000 was raised to help fund a youth coordinator for Hay. Attractions included novelty Sumo Wrestling, a climbing wall, and a huge Fantasy Island jumping castle. The festival was a huge success, bringing together the wider Hay community, and demonstrating what young people can achieve with the right support.

Youth Week 2007 was the culmination of a six month Risk Recovery (R&R) program run by the Armidale CDAT. The aim of the program was to reach 10 to 20 years olds seen to be at risk, and offer them healthy alternatives in a safe environment. Every month the program dovetailed with the Armidale PCYC’s Hotspot nights, which were aimed at young offenders and concentrated on sporting activities. The R&R project provided a prevention component and broadened the target group and activity base. Activities included dance and art workshops, “making choices” workshops, as well as the provision of drug and alcohol resources. CDAT members, many from local youth services, built connections with the young people, and provided them with information on what their organisations offered and how to access these services. During Youth Week, youth agencies and legal services, with the support of Armidale Dumeresq Council, held stalls in the mall and an open day at the youth refuge, with an alcohol and drug free ‘little big show’ featuring high school bands at the PCYC. TAFE Youthlink students were invited to design a local Youth Week poster, with the winning entry designed and painted by Kyra Perry. Kyra is pictured here with artist Paul Bakker and Armidale CDAT chair, Peter Blanche.



Gi vi ng Yout h a F o c u s

f f O g n i Go Swamp e h t Driving a car simulator with vision impairment “beer” goggles.

Family fun for all ages.

From just two bands performing off the back of a truck eight years ago, Going Off At The Swamp (GOATS) Family Festival has grown to a major annual event attracting up to 9,000 people. Jillian Hogan, chair of Northern Wyong CDAT, explained that people involved in the San Remo Neighbourhood Centre had recognised that young people in the area would really benefit from a drug and alcohol free event, as practically all other local youth events involved alcohol in some way. “After our promising start in 1999 we realised that we could enhance the event’s drug and alcohol free emphasis by setting up a local CDAT,” said Jillian. “This meant we could access the various print and other resources offered through the Drugs and Community Action Strategy to get across the messages to young people attending GOATS. “At GOATS in 2002 we started a mural-inprogress with a drug and alcohol theme, and we found that it gave us an effective tool to start talking about drugs and alcohol. A lot of young people don’t really want to use drugs or alcohol, and events like GOATS give them a voice. “The most amazing thing about GOATS is it involves so many young people in a creative and enjoyable way. For the band lineup we now have one headline act, and 24 spots for youth bands. This year (2007) we had 44 local youth bands wanting to perform, so we had to have a waiting list. Our headline

act was Unpaid Debt, whose band members had grown up in the area, and they were so encouraging of the other young performers. We had over 150 young people performing, as well as another 50 members of the community up on the stage at some point.

“Most importantly it’s much more than simply what happens on the day – young people spend the year between each GOATS festival practising in garages all around the area.

“It gives them a focus, something to strive for, and makes them less likely to use drugs and alcohol out of boredom. Its impact is definitely bigger than just one day a year. “It’s also truly a family day, with the focus on the teenagers. Not many family events cater for this group, so it’s a wonderful crossgenerational gathering. I’ve had parents come up to me with tears in their eyes, because they’d never realised how good their kids were until they saw them perform on the stage. This builds great connections within the families, with the parents encouraging the kids further with their music. “Many of the teenagers are also writing their own songs, and because of the drug and


alcohol free focus of GOATS, these themes are often reflected in the lyrics. “The young people are so respectful of the event, there are never any incidents or unpleasant behaviour, they don’t even smoke at the festival. “Over the years we’ve seen the development of the young people’s strengths and skills, so that now they take on many of the organising tasks through the working party. They organise the stage, the sound, the canteen, the emceeing, it’s just fantastic. And that transfers back into their schooling, with many of them studying video production, music, event management, some even training as electricians and sound technicians,” said Jillian. GOATS Family Festival is supported by over 30 businesses and community groups including: Wyong Shire Council, Delta Electricity, Sea FM, Express Advocate, LIONS Club, Oasis Youth Centre, San Remo Community Garden, Al-Anon, Department of HousingBurnside, Milpara Indiginous group, Scouts/Venturers, Rural Fire Services, Foundation for Young Australians, Regional Youth Support Services, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Tidy Towns, Wyong Family Day Care and local schools.

northern wyong




Dark Gift performing at GOATS 2007. MAKING A DIFFERENCE 13

celebrating community

c e l e b r a t i n g c o m munity

Connecting in Cummeragunja At Cummeragunja, a small Aboriginal community near Moama on the Murray River, the local CDAT hosted its annual Family Fun Day in 2004. A highlight of the day was the launch of a pamphlet Dangers of Petrol Sniffing by Tony Catanzariti, MLC. Cummeragunja CDAT developed the information pamphlet in response to the concerns of local families. The pamphlet explains the harms and effects of sniffing petrol, suggests reasons why people do it and outlines support services available to the community. It features the painting of local artist, Rochelle Patton, who worked with local young people to develop the artwork. The Family Fun Day provided entertainment, amusement rides, snow cones and pony rides. Rochelle, also a member of Cummeragunja CDAT, said “It was a day in which we came together to celebrate our achievements and enhance our sense of community”.

From top: Jeaneaka and Kalira enjoy the fun. Tony Catanzariti MLC launching the pamphlet with local artist Jessie. Cummeragunja fellas.

Happy social events are essential for building connected communities, especially in rural areas. CDATs have been central in organising many successful alcohol and drug free events, bringing people together for a relaxing, enjoyable day.


In Brewarrina the CDAT has now run several very successful family days, originally prompted by a local woman’s request: “I just want my man without grog for one day”. The first family fun day was at the local swimming pool in 2004, attracting over 200 people and featuring performances of singing and dancing by local young people. The event was well supported by local businesses, the Shire, service providers and the community. It was so much enjoyed that Brewarrina CDAT was asked to run these events regularly. The second family fun day in 2005 was at a local oval, with police officers helping the children make cardboard model police cars, the fire brigade providing a plume of water to cool off everyone, and drumming circles under the trees to make a noise!


In the week-long Festival of the Fisheries in 2006, the CDAT supported four events, including a celebration of River stories, a youth formal event, a pool fun day and touch footy knockout competition, involving over 800 people. “These events lifted community spirits at a time when our little community has most needed it. It also showed our community isn’t such a bad place to be, and that we can host happy non-alcoholic events,” said Cynthia Moore of Brewarrina CDAT.

Clockwise from top left: Fun with balloons for the young ones. Belles of the Brewarrina Youth Centre Ball. Police help make fold-up police cars at the oval. Dance performance at the swimming pool fun day. Games in the water. Brewarrina women enjoying the day. Making music after a swim. Smiles from everyone.

Cultural challenges In early 2007 Auburn CDAT assisted with a three-day conference of Sudanese youth. The meeting was organised for the Bahr El Ghazal Youth Union (BYU), which is a social support network for the many thousands of South Sudanese now living in Australia. Chairman of the NSW branch of the BYU, Zakaria Moat Luthe, explained that the Union is important for supporting the South Sudanese community, because so many have lost family members during more than 20 years of civil war. “Some of the young people in our community have found the transition to life in Australia very challenging, which has led to problems with drug and alcohol abuse,” said Zakaria. “The cultural context of drug and alcohol use is very different in the Sudan, with only married men allowed to consume alcohol at special celebrations. Also, unmarried adults in the Sudan are still considered under the authority of their parents, in contrast with Australian law that allows freedom to children after turning 18. “For many young Sudanese people, they prefer the Australian freedoms, while the elderly prefer to preserve the Sudanese ways of living. This causes many problems in the family,” said Zakaria. From this conference a comprehensive report with recommendations for tackling the issues was developed, NSW Southern Sudanese Youth Drug and Alcohol Issues. Zakaria Moat Luthe of BYU


speaking y o u r l a n g u a g e

Music with a message

l a w a r a Dh y l i m fa s r e t mat At left from top, paintings by Andrew “Saddles” Bell One Big Circle, Tree of Knowledge, Whirlwind of Life.

Yura Yulang Community Drug Action Team was formed by the Campbelltown area Aboriginal community in Sydney’s south west. The name Yura Yulang was chosen by the local people, meaning People’s Ceremony in the local Dharawal language. Les Bursill, member of Yura Yulang CDAT, explains “Ceremonies were performed by men and women to discuss hunting, food gathering and law. People also used ceremonies to make decisions about marriages, causes of death, the use of ‘medicines’ and access by community members to the resources of medicinal plants and foods. We felt that naming our CDAT after a traditional approach to controlling issues relating to community health was most appropriate.” Family Matters is a booklet developed by the NSW Government to discuss drug and alcohol issues in families. Inspired by the topics covered by the booklet, in 2004 a version was produced in the Dharawal language. The booklet was written by community members, featuring six paintings by local Aboriginal artist Andrew ‘Saddles’ Bell. The powerful images tell the stories of the effects of drugs and alcohol on families, as well as provide positive messages about making better choices. This version of the Family Matters booklet is believed to be the first time that Dharawal language has been printed to promote health messages to the local Aboriginal community.


To get across the message about drinking responsibly, indigenous young people in Bourke came up with some fresh new ideas. Working through the Bourke Community Drug Action Team, the young people completed two projects, a music CD and television campaign, with funding from the NSW Government’s Play Now Act Now competition. Filmmaker Richard Snashall and hip hop musicians MC Wire and Morganics worked with the young people to write scripts and lyrics. Two 30-second advertisements were produced, He ain’t drinking, he’s drivin. The advertisements feature Paul, a smart man, and show him going out with friends where he is the designated driver. Both ads were aired for four weeks in 2004 on Imparja Television, an indigenous TV station, where they were very well received for their authentic language and relevant content. The group also produced a hip hop and rap music CD, featuring tracks with positive alcohol messages for young people. Chair of the Bourke Community Drug Action Team, Sergeant Tim Beattie, said, “We are really proud of the efforts of these young people – it’s been a terrific result. They also travelled to Sydney to perform some of their music at the Message Sticks Festival at the Sydney Opera House, which was a fantastic experience for them all.” Some of the young people involved have since completed filmmaking and music production courses at TAFE.


Shoalhaven CDAT member Hanieh Turner at the Baseball Day at Nowra Showground.

Hitting a Home Run for Drug Education In 2007 Shoalhaven CDAT organised a Baseball Day in Drug Action Week®, to educate youth and local sports organisers about drugs and alcohol at all levels of local sport, including spectators, organisers and participants. During the Baseball Day organisers communicated their message in a fun way with the help of sporting personalities, health professionals, youth workers and students. Shoalhaven CDAT chair Bob Orlic explained it was a real team effort. “We had great support from Ray Carrall of Good Sports, and local identities including Sean Timmins of the St George Illawarra


Shoalhaven Clearing the land to develop the garden.

NRL team, who joined in the games with the young people. “Baseball was a very neutral choice of game, with no-one too familiar with it, so everyone could have a go without feeling excluded. It was especially pleasing to see strong interest from club representatives in the Good Sports program, which emphasised enjoying the social side of sport, rather than linking alcohol with sport in victory or defeat,” said Bob. Youth worker and Shoalhaven CDAT member Hanieh Turner said the day was a complete success. “It’s about us providing drug and alcohol information to youth and local sports club representatives and hoping they take the message back to their club members,” she said. Over 40 people attended the event, enjoying different baseball competition activities, a sausage sizzle and educational videos and discussions. Young people participating in the Shoalhaven Baseball Day for Drug Action Week 2007. MAKING A DIFFERENCE 18

r e a c h i n g o u t

northern wyong Enjoying a break after a hard mornings work, mowing, planting, mulching and maintaining garden beds. From left, Pat Silk, John Stone, Keith Wilkinson, Rudy Ruess, Allan Knight, Gwen Byrne and Greg Fisher.

Green Thumbs Up In 2004 Northern Wyong CDAT proposed establishing the Central Coast’s first community garden. “We believed a garden could build the kind of public unity and pride that can reduce the likelihood of drug and alcohol use,” said Ruth Martyr of Northern Wyong CDAT. After many months of planning and meetings with supporters and government agencies, Wyong Council provided a parcel of land suitable for the garden. A garden steering committee was formed, soon becoming San Remo Community Environment Projects Inc. Since the first working bee in March 2006 there are now 16 garden beds for both communal use and individual hire. The garden is open several days a week, with around 35 regular gardeners. Pam Slade, garden committee member, explains that many different people come along. “They include special needs children from the local primary school, unemployed people, retirees, people with disabilities and interested locals of all ages. The Aboriginal Youth Outreach Project has just commenced MAKING A DIFFERENCE 19

work in the garden to help Indigenous youth develop self-esteem, work skills and knowledge. “There are so many benefits from working in the garden, including the sharing of knowledge and skills, helping the local environment through using organic gardening methods, being water-wise, recycling and reusing. “People have taken on new roles and challenges and found they can achieve more than they realised. The best thing is that the garden gives everyone the opportunity to make new friends from all walks and stages of life,” said Pam. The community garden has flourished with support from many local businesses and agencies, including nurseries, hardware stores, timber mills, Wyong Council, San Remo Neighbourhood Centre, and TAFE Outreach.

From top: Getting the garden beds ready for planting. Building a timber stand for the water tank.

new connect i o n s

Illawarra Regional CDAT’s first project, Future For Families – Illawarra comprised a series of workshops at which parents and grandparents of drug affected family members shared their stories with the wider community and highlighted the difficulties they encountered. From this it was clear that there was scope for government and non-government agencies to work more collaboratively to achieve better outcomes for families and carers. In 2004, when planning for Drug Action Week was being discussed, the CDAT decided to organise a regional conference to help make this possible. Illawarra CDAT member David Hedger explained: “We wanted to bring together workers from relevant services and agencies to learn and discuss recent front line experience and theoretical research in dealing effectively with the prevention and treatment of alcohol and other drugs misuse. We felt there was a need to share evidence-based best practice in preventing and treating drug misuse, to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of relevant services and agencies. “The intention was to generate more productive partnerships and effective cooperation, so that services to consumers could be better focussed and coordinated. Through this we hoped that more people could avoid drug-related harm or be better assisted to reduce and eliminate drug or alcohol dependency.” Support for the conference was forthcoming from the NSW Premiers Department, Illawarra Health Drug and Alcohol Service, the Illawarra Aboriginal

Illawarra From left, David Hedger, Associate Professor Wendy Loxley and Will Temple at Creating Synergy IV. Medical Centre, Oolong House – Nowra, Wollongong Crisis Centre Drug & Alcohol Services, Kedesh Rehabilitation Service, Salvation Army, Shellharbour City Council & more recently Wollongong City Council, so planning got underway for a two-day conference at the University of Wollongong. The CDAT organised a topical program of speakers, including Brian Cade, Tony Trimingham, Sue Stanton, Faye McMillan and Daphne Hewson. A brochure and media publicity promoted the conference, now called Creating Synergy, scheduled for Drug Action Week 2004. Around 90 registrations were taken over the two days, including alcohol and other drug workers, therapists, academics, social and community workers, health and medical personnel, youth workers, criminal justice workers and community members.

Feedback from the delegates was overwhelmingly positive. “Many people commented that there wasn’t anything like this in the Illawarra and they were keen to see it continue.” This led to the development of Creating Synergy II in June 2005, with the theme New Directions in the Drug and Alcohol Field. “To ensure ease of access for community members, Community Drug Strategies sponsored 20 registrations which were available through local CDATs,” said David. Over 110 registrations were received for the two days, and post conference evaluations showed that 65% of delegates found the conference to be ‘very good’, and 35% found it to be ‘good’. The evaluations also showed that meeting other service providers and developing new networks were key outcomes of the conference. MAKING A DIFFERENCE 20


creating synergy

Twice as

Creating Synergy III grew in both registrations (up to 170), and focus, with comments from previous conference attendees indicating the importance of including Mental Health as a topic in relation to drug and alcohol misuse. “This is particularly relevant in the Illawarra, as there is a substantial link between the two, said David Hedger “The most recent conference, Creating Synergy IV, attracted several GPs, which was very pleasing to see, as it helps make all those connections that improve outcomes for the community.” Will Temple, former chair of the Illawarra CDAT, commented that the conference had taken on a life of its own, attracting more supporters and delegates every year, with increasing numbers coming from around Australia. “This is good in keeping a high profile for Creating Synergy and drug and alcohol issues in the Illawarra. However it has continued to be a priority for us to make sure the conference remains accessible to the general community, which is why we ensure we can offer scholarships to allow community members to attend at no cost. “The ongoing success of Creating Synergy has been both exciting and overwhelming, and also a lot of work for the organising committee. The evaluations from 2007 are again very positive, so that we are now looking at securing funding to take some of the work away from the organising committee & CDAT volunteers, which will ensure the sustainability of continuing to produce this valued regional conference.”



Challenging In 2005 Bathurst CDAT organised a forum to identify and investigate local issues facing those with a combination of mental health and substance use problems (co-morbidity). CDAT chair Trish Horton said members of the local CDAT carer’s group who had family members with both mental health and drug and alcohol problems faced particular difficulties in being diagnosed and then finding appropriate help. “The carers said ‘What are we going to do?’ That’s where all this came from,” she said. The forum brought together around 100 people, including consumers, families and service providers, and many people working in the field heard for the first time the suffering endured by many families. “We listened to one person speak about what he had been through and how he overcame his problems, and we were all in tears,” Mrs Horton said. Geraldine Brenton, Project Officer for Drugs and Community Action Strategy,

NSW Health, said the forum was a big eye opener for everyone. “As a result of the forum, four priority areas for improvement were identified. Two years later, with these priorities filtering down, there has been a huge improvement in appropriate services for people with co-morbidity,” explained Geraldine. “For example, in Bathurst a new hospital is now being built with dedicated beds for detox. In the weeks after the forum there began much closer collaboration between Mental Health and Drugs and Alcohol, and happily now they are co-located and have become a related team. One of the Bathurst CDAT members now represents the needs of people with both mental health and substance use problems on an important local committee. All of which just illustrates how CDATs can put important local issues on the public agenda, and initiate changes that make a big difference in their community.”

Guest speakers at the Drug and Alcohol and Mental Health Forum in Bathurst, from left, Dr Rod MacQueen, Darryl Taylor, Maureen Connolly, Leigh Underwood, Floyd Kenny, and front, Reverend Karyn Burchell.


creative education

creative education


trackie ducks A collaboration of five North Coast CDATs brought the story of the Trackie Duck family to the streets and markets of Ballina, Casino, Kyogle, Lismore and Nimbin in an attempt to bring drug awareness messages to ‘everyday’ people. In the off-beat, slap stick performance, it is clear that each of the family members has a different drug issue. As the black comedy develops it emphasises the importance of looking after each other, and that it’s OK to ask for help. In the 20 minute performance, the Trackie Duck family also highlighted the effects of various drugs and encouraged harm minimisation.


Mixing drug and alcohol education with a fun night out might not seem an easy task, but Orange CDAT has developed a very successful formula with its regular trivia nights. Supported by various community groups, the Orange CDAT held its first trivia night in 2003, with over 160 young people attending. Big Brother celebrity Kieran Tanner presented the questions, while CDAT members waited on the tables, scored questions sheets and helped with the games between trivia rounds. Overwhelming demand for a follow up event saw Orange CDAT repeating many of the successful elements of the first night a year later. “This time we organised for another Big Brother identity, Sara Marie Fedel, to be guest compere,” explained Peter Ryan of the Orange CDAT. “She was a great hit with the 200 young people who came along. She entertained them with her stories about the ‘big house’ and what went on that was not seen on TV. The volunteers who helped on the night also enjoyed her vivacious and humorous personality.” Health related questions were mixed through the general knowledge questions and each table featured info packages describing the risks from misuse of drugs and alcohol. The Orange Community Health Centre staff made mocktails, and the Daybreak Rotary Club cooked the BBQ. Many local MAKING A DIFFERENCE 22

Life Fix – Getting High on Life Not Drugs

businesses donated food and prizes, and accommodation for Sara Marie. The recipe for success has since been repeated with a special night for parents. Pittwater CDAT also held a Youth Trivia Night in Drug Action Week 2005, targeting young people aged 15 to 18 years. Kerri Lawrence, chair of Pittwater CDAT, explained that the trivia night had grown out of a Community Drug Action Forum. “The strongest concern of young people attending the forum was that there was limited entertainment for youth under 18 yrs in the area, “ said Kerri. “The Youth Trivia night was designed to provide up to date drug and alcohol education through trivia questions and prizes. The education was presented in an entertaining and non-threatening way, with live bands and mocktails adding to the fun.” The peer educators were credible and invaluable for dispelling myths and misconceptions about alcohol and other drugs to their peers. The support from CDAT members (in volunteering their time) was also crucial to the night’s success. What young people said “The level of enthusiasm of kids attending the trivia night was fantastic” “We enjoyed the questions but kids 12yrs and up really need this information too” “People definitely liked the prizes” “Having peer educators as the MC’s was cool” MAKING A DIFFERENCE 23

In Drug Action Week 2003 Wollongong CDAT supported a Drug and Alcohol Prevention Expo Life Fix for young people aged 16 to 24, in partnership with Wollongong TAFE and Illawarra Health. The event combined information stalls on drug and alcohol issues and services, with entertainment and ‘mocktails’ to attract and maintain the interest of young people. Seven final year TAFE students completing studies in community services and welfare organised the event, supervised by TAFE teachers. One of the students, Natalie Lightfoot, commented; “Promoting awareness of the risks of drug taking is very important because unless young people work in the field, a lot of them wouldn’t know anything about the dangers. “A lot of kids who leave school early come to TAFE later on to continue their studies and they have often missed out on drug education at school. At Life Fix we focused on particular themes, like concerns a lot of young women have about drink spiking and the effect of mixing drugs and alcohol,” explained Natalie.



f earless c o m m u n i c a t i o n

Recent research showing the dramatic rise of binge drinking in young women aged 14 to 17 prompted Hornsby CDAT to support an educational resource to better inform girls at risk.

Sequence from the Brink DVD illustrating the consequences of excessive drinking.

The resulting DVD – BRINK – has attracted national media attention, a special screening at NSW Parliament House, and generated demand from as far away as Canada, the UK and the US. BRINK was developed by young people for young people, with a team comprising 13 teenage girls, from different schools around the Hornsby area. Together they wrote a script for an entertaining seven-minute short film, Moonshine, as well as producing an interactive quiz, and, in line with a harm minimisation approach, tips for keeping yourself safe if you are drinking. The DVD was designed as a peer educational tool, but can still be used effectively by teachers and other facilitators. One of the student scriptwriters, Bec Barrett from Mount St Benedict College, explains “In our research for this film we conducted a lot of interviews with girls our age and we asked them, ‘Why do you bingedrink?’ and the answer a lot of the time was, ‘It is what we do, it is just accepted,’ so I think it is a very big widespread problem.

“My hopes are really that it will generate discussion, that it will make people talk about the issue, and, because we approached it in a more humorous and fun kind of manner, it will be something that people respond to, and actually get something out of it.” “I think the resources that we see already in school are so serious about binge drinking and we felt that teenagers would respond a lot more to something humorous.” Co-facilitator of the project, Felicity Garland, who is also Deputy Chair of Hornsby CDAT and a counsellor at Mission Australia’s Clifton Adolescent & Family Solutions (CAFS) said: “The girls wanted to help young people to explore the range of choices that are available to them when it comes to drinking. They didn’t want to judge people’s choices or tell them what to do by saying ‘don’t drink’. They came up with the main message, which was that drinking isn’t always fun.” BRINK was launched in Youth Week 2006 at Westfield Hornsby with continuous showings at Greater Union, and since




then it has screened at NSW Parliament House, featured on ABC Stateline, and been presented at the 5th International Conference on Drugs and Young People. Girlfriend magazine also ran a two-page feature on binge drinking which included information on the project. Many other CDATs are now using this effective resource in their educational activities. Hornsby CDAT chair, Michael Colnan, said “We are now looking at a related DVD resource for educating GP’s, pharmacists and elderly people on the dangers of mixing prescription drugs with alcohol.” BRINK was a collaboration between Hornsby CDAT, CAFS and Hornsby Shire Council, with funding provided by the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation (AERF) and NSW Health Community Drug Strategies. Copies of BRINK are available through every local library in NSW, or by contacting Hornsby Council Community Services on (02) 9847 6536.

Brink project team leader, Felicity Garland, left, with Bec Barrett, one of the student scriptwriters.

reducing tha risk Frequent questions from young people in the Parramatta area about alcohol and drug issues prompted youth workers to consider how best to address this need, especially as the teenagers came from diverse cultural backgrounds. In the course of visiting the drop-in and homework programs at Dundas Area Youth Service, youth workers informally canvassed the idea of developing a film. Out of this an enthusiastic group of young people from Telopea and Dundas came forward. Parramatta CDAT arranged funding from the Drugs and Community Action Strategy to produce an educational video. All of the content was developed by the young people and focuses on the issues and stresses that affect them, as well as the positive choices they can make to “reduce the risk” of alcohol and drug problems. It was then decided to use the video as the basis of a resource kit for those who work with young people. The full resource kit comprises the video (or DVD version), an information booklet, an outline of a training program with suggested drug and alcohol education activities for young people, and contacts for a range of support services. Reducing tha Risk was a partnership between Parramatta CDAT, Western Young Sydney Area Health Service and Granville performers at the launch Multicultural and Community Centre, with of Reducing training provided by High Street Youth Health tha Risk Service and Western Area Adolescent Team.



Dressing Up In Drugs An innovative presentation of drug and alcohol information for young people was developed in 2005 by five CDATs working together to create the North Coast Drug Costume Kit. Designed to provide drug education through performancebased activities, particularly for indigenous youth, the eight costumes in the set depict various substances, including a beer bottle, a wine cask, a coffee mug, a bong, a syringe, a capsule, a pill and a cigarette. Joe Gormley, Project Officer for Drugs and Community Action Strategy, NSW Health, who has worn the costumes at various community events, explains that the costume wearer is accompanied by a ‘rover’ who hands out related drug and alcohol information and is trained to answer questions. “The costumes are very attention grabbing,” says Joe. “ People rush up to have a closer a look, and it can take them a little while to work out what it’s all about. “They are a very novel and humorous approach which really engages young people, who are then much more interested in getting more information and asking questions.” The costumes are particularly popular for Drug Action Week and Youth Week activities.

Coffs Harbour


One of the three artworks selected for promotional material in the Well If You Ask Me project, by artist K Devine. The message translates loosely as “Stick within your own culture – don’t use white man’s drugs”


if You Ask Me The Well If You Ask Me Project was a Hastings CDAT initiative to encourage young people from the Port Macquarie / Hastings area to identify alcohol and other drug issues within their community, and communicate them through artwork. A special workshop in 2006 helped young people to identify these issues, and explored how to express desired messages through art. This was so popular that several high quality pieces were submitted. After much deliberation, the CDAT selected three pieces for reproduction as promotional posters, postcards and stickers. At the Port Macquarie regional CDAT conference in May 2006 two of the young winners provided personal accounts of the significance of their work and what the pieces meant to them. Feedback from conference participants showed that these presentations were very moving, and for many they were a real highlight of the annual conference. Each of the winning entries has been reproduced as posters, postcards and stickers for distribution to the various local youth services. The indigenous dot painting has since been purchased by the Centacare office in Port Macquarie. MAKING A DIFFERENCE 27

The young artists with their winning artworks.


keeping you n g p e o p l e s a f e

Spontaneous parties on Coffs Harbour beaches were attracting hundreds of teenagers and causing malicious damage and anti-social behaviour.

With the support of Coffs Harbour CDAT, an initiative called the Safe Party Squad was introduced from January 2006. Involving regular patrols of local beach parties, police, youth workers and volunteers targetted underage drinking on beaches armed only with a vehicle donated by Coffs Harbour business Geoff King Motors, bottles of water donated by Coca Cola, condoms, drug and alcohol information, the occasional BBQ and friendly faces. The Safe Party Squad was initiated by Suzanne Kady, the youth liaison officer from the Coffs/Clarence local area police command, who saw something similar being done while she was on holiday. Senior project manager for CDATs in the region, Deb Ryan, said: “Suzanne approached the Coffs Harbour CDAT to help with the Safe Party Squad. The project has had fantastic results in just a short space of time, providing young people with referrals to local services if they’re needed and even helping to solve a couple of assaults. Local businesses have been extremely supportive and the project has attracted a lot of interest.” Suzanne Kady said: “It’s important that the community takes responsibility for the behaviour of local youth around drugs and

alcohol and the CDAT is the perfect vehicle for that community involvement. “I go out with youth workers from the Ted Noffs Foundation every Friday and Saturday night between 8:00pm and 1:00am and just chat to these kids. We make sure they’re ok and keep them occupied. On particularly busy nights, we even run BBQs which they love. “The best part has been the response from the kids. The girls love feeling a bit safer with adults around, the guys love having a chat, especially with the youth workers, and they’ll talk about absolutely anything and everything. They know our names and they like knowing us. “Once police were investigating an assault on one of the beaches and the kids were too scared to say anything. One of the youth workers went out the next night and had a chat with them and the next day a group of them went to the police.” Superintendent Frank Hansen, manager of drug and alcohol coordination for NSW Police has also lent his support. He said: “The Safe Party Squad is an excellent example of community working together in response to local drug and alcohol problems and preventing crime. The result of this particular MAKING A DIFFERENCE 28

coffs harbour

“The best part has been the response from the kids. The girls love feeling a bit safer with adults around, the guys love having a chat, especially with the youth workers, and they’ll talk about absolutely anything and everything. They know our names and they like knowing us.”

project demonstrates the potential of CDATs as a model for resolving problems at a local community level.” Emma Farag, senior project officer and CDAT coordinator in the State Crime Command’s Drug Squad at NSW Police added: “There is an increased concern for young people involved in underage drinking. The Safe Party Squad provides a great model that can be introduced in areas experiencing similar problems.” Following the success of the initial project, the Ted Noffs Foundation has received funding from the National Community Crime Prevention Programme for a youth worker to be employed to support the project for a further three years. This will also involve the training of local Peer Support Leaders and the provision of Red Cross Save A Mate training for local school students. The development of alternative activities for young people will also be a priority. New equipment will also be provided to enhance the work of the Safe Party Squad including a 4WD vehicle and trailer, portable lights, a BBQ, first aid kits, torches, and a large tent.


lake macquarie

A Safe Party Pack was developed by Lake Macquarie CDAT after several problems with teenage parties. Since the production of the pack an increasing number of parties have been notified to the police beforehand, reducing the number of police call-outs. Lake Macquarie CDAT followed up the success of its Safe Party Pack with a leaflet explaining the risks of underage drinking and partying in parks and reserves. The eight page brochure highlights the laws and regulations affecting young people thinking of Partying in the Park.

At the launch of the Safe Party Pack, from left, Area Commander Michael Kenny, Martin Evans, CDAT members Sen Constable Kath Rawlinson and Steve McAlister, and Mayor Greg Piper.


The highly visible jackets of the Safe Party Squad

c r e a t i n g a l t er n a t i v e s

Hip Hop In Border Towns Social isolation and a lack of community pride were believed to be contributing to unhealthy levels of alcohol and marijuana use by young people in the Border Towns.

The local CDAT consulted the community through the Toomelah Round Table as well as talking with Winangali representatives. From this it was decided to devise an appealing arts-based program to build local skills and communicate meaningful and appropriate messages about drug and alcohol use. In 2004 young people from Boggabilla, Toomelah and Goondiwindi came together for a four-day camp with indigenous rap artists Local Knowledge and other artists to produce a series of posters, radio ads and rap songs. Opportunities were provided for young people to join in at various stages of the project, learning new skills in singing, recording, drawing, writing and photography. The resulting posters, ads and songs promoted positive messages about drugs and alcohol, violence and

wellbeing, the impact heightened by the use of familiar faces, landmarks, and local expressions. An energetic performance night was held at the Boggabilla Community Technology Centre and the project was launched at the Boggabilla Central School to an audience of community elders, parents, students, teachers and other community members. Posters were distributed to the communities of Boggabilla, Toomelah and Goondiwindi, and the radio ads were broadcast out of Moree on local radio stations 2VM (1530AM) & NOWfm three times a day during September 2004. The project was a combined effort by members of the Border Towns Crime Prevention Committee (McIntyre CDAT), Drugs & Community Action Strategy and Mission Australia.

you got a whole life ahead of you think twice 窶話out what you use




active solu t i o n s

First-time Oztag Success To provide an appealing activity for several young people considered at risk of using drugs and alcohol, in 2004 the Peninsula Community Drug Action Team funded a team for the local Oztag competition. The quickly assembled Oztag team (just one week before the competition started) comprised 14 boys and two girls, aged 13 to 15 years, most of whom had never been in a team or played an organised sport before. Organised through the Umina PCYC, the team trained under the guidance of Peninsula CDAT members and senior constables Renae Jackson and Paul Hanna, who also played as part of the team. “We encouraged a positive attitude to exercise and a healthy diet, and the players quickly became enthusiastic to attend training at the PCYC two to three nights a MAKING A DIFFERENCE 31

week, and to give their best at the matches,” said Snr Constable Hanna. “There was great encouragement for our team members from the other players in the competition as well,” he said. “The whole experience proved very inspiring for the young people individually, with huge improvements in attitude and personal responsibility, greatly exceeding our expectations of the benefits of entering the competition.” Despite not knowing the rules before the start of competition, the team even made it through to the finals of the Central Coast Oztag competition in 2004 and the Grand Final in 2006. Since then the Peninsula CDAT has supported a further three Oztag teams for other young people identified by the PCYC as likely to benefit.

creating alteratives


The team

When Narrabri CDAT proposed an innovative project to engage local young people at risk of drug and alcohol related harm, they were given enormous support from right across the local community. While the year-long program was based around restoring and racing a donated speedway car, it also included life and literacy education, as well as practical skills training.

Fourteen teenagers participated, all of whom had left school, were not working and were often just hanging around the town centre. In the program they all attended weekly accredited workshops on the preparation and maintenance of a speedway vehicle, and also learnt about occupational health and safety. The car, an old Datsun Bluebird that had previously been raced, was donated by a local car dealer. A drug and alcohol ďŹ rst aid course was also included to increase the young people’s awareness of the harms associated with drug and alcohol misuse and the skills to respond to problems when they occur. Narrabri TAFE funded a teacher to teach accredited courses on design and painting (for the sponsorship signage on the car) and basic mechanical maintenance, as well as to increase their literacy and numeracy skills, which were important for obtaining their junior licence in speedway racing. These skills were also put to work by the young people in writing thank you letters to all the sponsors MAKING A DIFFERENCE 32

The raw material

of the project. Centrelink workers also attended workshop mornings, paintbrush in hand, to build rapport and make connections. Over 30 local businesses and services got behind the project with practical donations and assistance, including hot bread, fuel and free medicals, as well as a toaster and jug for making breakfast. Local police and support workers also visited the project as it progressed to chat to the young people. As the project neared completion, local employers and job providers highlighted employment options and some participants registered with these job providers. All of the young people involved gained valuable knowledge and skills as a result of this project and their self esteem benefited enormously. Many are now engaged in employment and TAFE studies. The project was funded by Community Drug Strategies NSW Premiers Department, NSW Police, Narrabri Shire Council and Narrabri and District Community Aid Service. MAKING A DIFFERENCE 33

The transformation

Finishing touches

Off and racing!

“I work with young people, and so had an interest in drug and alcohol issues relating to that age group. I have really valued networking with people with similar interests, and having involvement with community based programs that attempt to educate and inform.”

Henry Dodds, Bega CDAT

c r e at i n g a l t e r a t i v e s


Over the Rainbow nimbin Performing to the music produced after the rap and hip hop workshop.

Despite its cheerful name, Rainbow Lane in Nimbin is the hangout for young people disinterested in school, and attracted by the seemingly “free wheeling” lifestyle of the street traders in illicit drugs. Wednesday afternoons are usually busy in the Lane, with girls wagging sport at school gathering together in the backroom of the museum, and the boys who have already dropped out of school, hanging around. Although the girls were still enrolled in the local high school, their attendance was sporadic, with more time spent in the Lane than at school.

Through a Different Lens The NSW North Coast Aboriginal Broadcasting Corporation provided on loan video and stills cameras and laptops with music production software, which were used by the young people to make short films about each other, including interviews about “drug culture”. The following week the previous week’s footage was replayed in the museum backroom to a packed audience, with many scenes replayed on request. After several weeks of filming, the short film “Lane Boys and Back Room Girls” was

completed. Enthusiasm was high for a further project, and a relationship of trust had developed between the project co-ordinators and the young people. The short film, photos and music were presented at the CDAT regional conference in Port Macquarie in May 2006 and Nimbin CDAT representatives were inspired to continue and expand the project.

Musical Developments The Lane Boys were predominantly from Koori backgrounds, aged 15 to 20. They had greatly enjoyed the music software on the laptops, with which they created hip hop and rap backing tracks. As a progression from the first phase, Nimbin Aboriginal Broadcasters funded a week long rap & hip hop workshop, run by Koori rappers Street Warriors, Munkimuk and Deekay. A professional recording studio was set up for the workshop. The music they produced was then taken to the streets, culminating in concerts in Rainbow Lane and the Nimbin Hall.

Parallel Universe Out of the first phase of the project, several young people were keen to make a movie. A series of character and script development workshops produced a script for a drama Reunion. In the story, former classmates return to Nimbin for a school reunion, while coming to terms with the depression and attempted suicide of one of their group.


Filming of Reunion in the Gold Coast and Brisbane.

Nimbin Central School joined the project, recommending students who would contribute to and benefit from involvement. Nimbin CDAT funded the script development, an acting workshop and the cinematographer. Filming of the opening scenes began with a two-day trip to the Gold Coast and Brisbane, as the young people portrayed their successful future selves busy in their careers. This also involved arriving at the airport to travel back to Nimbin for the reunion. Footage was shot at Coolangatta and Brisbane airports, the recording studios of 4AAA Radio Brisbane, the Queensland University of Technology fashion design department, the Rose and Crown Nightclub in Surfers Paradise, and the offices of Corporate Limousines and TimeOff Magazine. Being away from Nimbin and in front of the cameras was very challenging for the young actors, but they all rose to the occasion. As a film crew there was plenty of attention from the public, with people even asking for their autographs. Shooting on location and acting themselves in their future careers allowed them to meet many different successful people, who generously provided their time and expertise to help them act their parts convincingly. All these mentors assumed the young actors were trustworthy and responsible, and without exception the students behaved accordingly.


“By this stage of the project, it was apparent that many positive behavioural outcomes were taking place. The young people were becoming more confident, better at managing their time, and more cooperative. They could see a bigger world view, could imagine themselves being successful in the future in a wider environment than they were used to, and were interested in pursuing those options,” explained Paris Naday, co-ordinator for the project. “While filming had to be paused after this section because the budget was expended, the real benefits were very apparent. All the students had increased their awareness of alternatives to the local drug culture, there was an across the board reduction in drug use, a reduction in school truancy, and a big increase in self confidence and self expression. Nine of the ten young people went on to complete their school certificates, with eight of them continuing on to senior school. The ninth student has found full time employment.”

“I first became involved with my CDAT after a crisis around alcohol and drugs at a local football club. It has been great to meet others in the community who are interested in drug and alcohol issues, both professionals and community members, and to be finally doing something rather than just being concerned. It has been very heartening to find so many skilled young people involved and working to change their world in a positive way. I would recommend being involved in a CDAT, especially for people whose personal lives have been affected by drugs and alcohol, to be able to join the group to channel some of their energy in making changes.”

Watch this space For the next part of the film… This project was a partnership between Nimbin CDAT, Nimbin Aboriginal Broadcasters, Nimbin Central School, and Nimbin Community Development Association.

Dr Penny Egan-Vine, Albury-Wodonga Community Drug and Alcohol Action Team

Bankstown CDAT in Sydney initiated a project to capture the views of young people about drugs and alcohol in their area. Using disposable cameras supplied through youth services in the area, young people returned a diverse collection of photos and writing. A panel of photos was selected for a touring exhibition, and profiled in the local newspaper, the Canterbury Bankstown Express. Top: Bankstown CDAT members and SNAP winners at the launch of the touring exhibition.



SNAP - See Now Another Perspective

A group of mothers from the local housing commission estate at Riverwood could see the potential of the newly formed Canterbury CDAT right from the start.

Manager of the Riverwood Community Centre, and Canterbury CDAT member, Pauline Gallagher, said the mothers approached her for a chance to explain to the new CDAT the real difficulties they were having with their children and drugs. “The beauty of the Community Drug Action Team structure is that it operates on a local level, bringing together people from all parts of the community and various agencies to consider local issues,” explained Pauline. “Because of the cross section of CDAT membership, in this case the Health Department was able to arrange a Drug and Alcohol Counsellor to be available at the community centre for half a day every week. That service is still available, and is well used, and it’s all thanks to the involvement of the CDAT.” “A few years later a young man who was trying to stay off drugs approached us, and suggested that if we had a gym at the centre

Below: Selected entries in SNAP.



active s o l u t i o n s

he could go somewhere during the day and it would help him stay healthy. “I thought we should have a go. We had an old storeroom full of junk, which we cleared out, and then I put an ad in the paper asking for donations of old gym equipment. Unfortunately before we could get the gym started, the young man who suggested it died of a drug overdose. “Evidently there was a clear need for this kind of facility, so when it opened lots of kids started coming to work out. Our local member and now NSW Premier, Morris Iemma, heard about it and came to have a look, and then he arranged for us to get some better equipment. “Popularity of the gym increased further after this, and we wanted to ensure there was no attraction to using steroids as part of the training regime. Around this time we came in contact with a nice young man who is a personal trainer, and an excellent role

model for the kids. Canterbury CDAT was able to fund him to come in and conduct training sessions two afternoons a week. His influence in being health conscious and using good technique in training has had a big positive impact, as well as prevented experimentation with steroids. “One of the kids involved has now gone on to train as a personal trainer himself. The personal trainer has been working with the kids at the centre for three years now, and Canterbury Council is now assisting with funding. “That’s the thing with CDATs, you can talk about small ideas, and have a go at working out a solution,” said Pauline. “These small projects don’t involve much money, but they can change a person’s life. You can’t always know in advance what the exact benefits will be, it’s a ripple effect. But you can be sure if there’s no ripples, nothing’s changing.”

“When the program started in 2004, the biggest initial challenge was simply connecting with the young people at the centre, as they are from a pretty tough neighbourhood and can see through insincerity pretty quickly. I also needed to dispel some general myths about fitness, especially in an environment where the young males have very distinct ideas about general fitness methods and training systems. Some individuals needed to be steered away from the temptations of steroids, smoking, and reckless behaviour. It was important to keep them on track with their fitness, which was particularly

challenging because of the consistency, discipline and application required to achieve good results. The response from the young people has been overwhelmingly positive. They engaged willingly and with plenty of energy, which has produced results in both fitness levels and attitude way beyond my initial expectations. One young man, inspired by the program, went on to study to become a personal trainer as well, and has now established himself in the industry. Others have since inquired about careers in the fitness industry, which has been very encouraging.”


George Doech, Personal Trainer

active solu t i o n s

Killarney Vale Bateau Bay Tumbi Umbi

sport in the neighbourhood In the early days of the Killarney Vale Bateau Bay Tumbi Umbi (KBT) Community Building Network, several community members lamented the lack of safe places for their children to play after school, with little opportunity for spontaneous neighbourhood games.

“There were several vocal parents saying that their kids don’t go out and play anymore, like they (the parents) did when they were young, and it wasn’t good that the kids had nothing to do,” said Matt Sawyer, the NSW Sport and Recreation representative on the CDAT. “From this idea we began exploring ways to provide regular free sporting activities for local children. There was a neat little pocket of open space right in the heart of Bateau Bay that was owned by council and was adjacent to the local youth service building (Samaritans). We approached both council and Samaritans about using this outdoor area, and from the local community four people came forward to volunteer in setting up the service, and to be trained up to help run the sporting activities,” explained Matt. The volunteers were trained in basic sports coaching, as well as first aid and risk management, which was augmented by a Sport in the Neighbourhood Leaders Manual that acts as a user guide for current and

future volunteers. “Grants from the local council provided funds to buy sporting equipment, and other agency members on the CDAT also helped in many practical ways,” said Matt. “After a big launch of the free program in 2004, with newspaper publicity, radio mentions and a letterbox drop, the regular Monday afternoon sporting activities got off to a flying start with up to 60 children coming along. “Every Monday afternoon the volunteer leaders have a wide range of equipment available and ready for kids to play with. Leaders encourage kids to use their imagination through unstructured play but also provide some organised games for those who like a bit of structure to their participation. “It’s still going strong after three years and we are always looking to train up new parent volunteers. NSW Sport and Recreation is now using this successful program as a prototype MAKING A DIFFERENCE 38

‘No More’ A Winner In Walgett

Girls playing with equipment at Sport in the Neighbourhood.

for other communities and we are developing a step-by-step guide to make it easy to set up,” said Matt. Volunteer parent Sharyn Keevers said the program was important for single parents who can’t afford to register their children in local team sporting groups. “There are a lot of sole parent families out there who do not have the money to put their kids into team sports, and the program keeps the kids off the streets so they don’t get up to mischief or get bored,” said Sharyn. In an evaluation in 2005 conducted by a University of Sydney student on work placement, the children’s comments included; “It is good, I like it a lot.“ “I like playing different games and lots of sport.” “I make lots of different friends.” “Everybody is doing excellent.” “I like everything that is supplied, water, equipment, footballs etc.” “Everyone I know should do it.” MAKING A DIFFERENCE 39

Responsible drinking was the focus of an Aboriginal poster competition organised by the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) and Walgett CDAT. “The competition generated several thought provoking posters that challenged the community to think seriously about responsible drinking practices,” said Michael Mara, OLGR Aboriginal Liaison Officer. “Strategies to reduce alcohol-related problems in Aboriginal communities are more effective when they are locally based, and the poster competition allowed artists to communicate messages that their own communities can understand and respect.” Nineteen-year-old Sonny Small designed the winning entry shown here. The winning posters were displayed in licensed venues and other locations in and around Walgett.

After two children received needle stick injuries playing in a local playground in West Lake Macquarie, a group of mothers decided to take action. Daniella Chedzey, her son Frankie, and Awabakal elder Uncle Bob Sampson. Led by Daniella Chedzey, the small group of mothers from the Department of Housing’s Bolton Point Estate formed themselves into a Community Drug Action Team, Mums Against Drugs (MAD) in 2003. “We wanted to make sure our children knew of the dangers of drugs,” Daniella Chedzey explained, “in particular to know what to do if they found a syringe or other drug items in the playground.” Together the women produced a pamphlet on needle stick injury to help parents. This was soon followed by a directory to assist local families know how to contact drug, alcohol and welfare services.

The Gatherings Around the same time there were broader issues of drug and alcohol misuse in the Bolton Point and Booragul areas, which had been identified by Aboriginal Elders. With the support of various agencies, MAD

Mums co-ordinated five “Gatherings” to help reconnect Aboriginal children, young people and families with their Aboriginal culture and traditions and to provide drug and alcohol information. The Gatherings Project consisted of four camps and a NAIDOC Week Family Day. They were developed in consultation with the Aboriginal community and Elders, and were focussed on traditional ways of teaching, learning and healing.

Mums Camp The Mums camp, which 35 mothers and 70 children attended, included Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women from Lake Macquarie and the Hunter Valley. The camp featured speakers from a range of agencies, talking about domestic violence, safe partying, blood borne diseases and picking up syringes, and drug and alcohol issues facing young people. MAKING A DIFFERENCE 40


o n r e f l e c t i o n

west Lake macquarie

Smoking ceremony at the NAIDOC Family Day.

John Della Bosca, Special Minister of State, left, enjoying the NAIDOC Family Day with local bikies.

Face-painting at MAD-TIME

One of the presenters commented that they didn’t have a chance to complete their prepared talk because the group had so many questions they wanted answered.

Girls Camp The Girls camp was for young women and girls aged 7 to 16 years. Around 30 girls attended, participating in a mix of recreation activities, talks and group work. Some of the participants were referred from government agencies, others came after seeing posters in local courts and Aboriginal services offices. Topics included family support, sexual health, drugs and alcohol, child protection and Aboriginal services. Some of the speakers stayed at the camp to allow the participants to discuss the issues raised and seek further advice. The MAD mums facilitated various discussions about the issues throughout the weekend. After the MAKING A DIFFERENCE 41

Mums Camp

camps several girls sought out further support from the project co-ordinator.

The Men and Boys Community Empowerment Camps Three-day camps for men and boys called Drug and Alcohol Community Empowerment Camps were organised by Black on Track. Discussion at the camps covered issues including drugs and alcohol, mental health, anger management and grief and loss. They also discussed Aboriginal history, culture and identity and positive role models.

NAIDOC family day The final gathering attracted over a thousand people to a drug and alcohol free family day. A wide range of fun and cultural activities were enjoyed by the many people who attended.

Girls Camp

MAD Time Following the gathering project, it was clear that young people needed regular activities and access for ongoing support and information. MADTIME was developed by the MAD Mums to engage young people in regular drug and alcohol free activities and provide access to information from local agencies. MAD Mums created a regular weekly programme of after school activities for 5 to 16 year olds at the Bolton Point Community Hall. There were many supporters of the MAD Mums, including the Hunter Volunteer Centre, Department of Community Services, Department of Housing, Department of Family and Community Services, and the Quigley Co-Op.

Mentoring for Brighter Futures After three young people were killed in a paddockbashing joyride following a binge drinking party in 2002, the small north coast town of Kyogle was deeply affected.

Presenter Geraldine Doogue with Melita Luck at the teenage partying forum in Kyogle.

In the weeks that followed, the Kyogle CDAT organised a community forum about teenage partying to prevent the likelihood of such a tragedy ever happening again. Melita Luck, chair of the Kyogle CDAT, explained; “We had never before persuaded anyone to participate in a forum because in the country everyone knows one another and no-one wants to admit that there is a problem. Therefore, it is very difficult to get people to talk in front of each other. We decided to have a hypothetical discussion. We wanted to get all community leaders on stage and we realised that we would have to get a famous person on stage with them or no-one would contribute. “So I wrote an email to Geraldine Doogue. It was like a lottery; she told me that she receives thousands of similar emails. However, she replied to my invitation and

agreed to come to Kyogle. She chaired a talkback discussion and was absolutely wonderful. All the ferals and rednecks were sitting next to each other, with their differing views on this problem. “I had been concerned how the hypothetical would be received by the community after the recent deaths. The community’s wounds were still very raw and I was concerned that the issues surrounding drink driving may have been a little too sensitive, but the community supported the event wholeheartedly, with around 300 locals turning up on a rainy midweek evening. We were really pleased with the outcome,” said Melita. “From the forum it was apparent that young people in Kyogle did not have enough to do. There was an absence of male role models for boys, a lack of positive risk-taking



adventures and no responsible older young people to guide the young ones.” Since the forum the main focus for Kyogle CDAT has been Kyogle Youth Ventures, which was born from all the ideas that flowed from both the forum and a subsequent “community brainstorming” session. Each year since the forum it has sent a group of teenagers (year 10 and above) to the Edmund Rice training camp near Sydney, where they get training in how to mentor young ones. When they return they in turn take a group of 9 to 12 year olds to Mebbin Camp, where they apply the Edmund Rice training, whilst abseiling, canoeing, trekking and playing many creative games. For the following year each teenage group continues to mentor the younger ones. Monthly adventures such as camping and fishing maintain the bonds formed.

Youth mentors apply their training at Mebbin Camp. Young people learn to pitch tents and join in team building games.


Parents of all the young people involved have reported much improvement in their children’s confidence, self-esteem and capacity to care for themselves and others. The program is managed through the local youth centre, Kyogle Youth Action, which keeps close connections with local primary and high schools to identify which children are likely to benefit most from involvement. Steve Kitchener, youth worker for Kyogle Youth Action, says the benefits continue on into the transition into high school. “When the young ones in the program begin high school, they already know older kids at the school, which gives them more confidence and connection than would otherwise be the case. “With this approach we are identifying kids at risk a lot earlier, and able to intervene in a very positive way before they become known

to the local courts,” he said. “By sending groups of fresh teenagers every year to train as mentors and make buddies of younger ones, we hope to provide a constant source of encouragement and guidance among the young people of Kyogle. Now, after three years of the program, the ‘young ones’ are already becoming youth leaders themselves as the founding leaders now explore university life, overseas travel and enter the workforce. “If Kyogle can create a generation of stalwart young adults whose values keep the temptations of destructive life-choices at bay and who positively influence their juniors, we can expect less drug related accidents, vandalism and other desperate acts to occur. Instead we could add to a happy, employable young generation within our town, as well as going out into the world,” said Steve.

Following two surveys conducted by Inverell CDAT in 2001 and 2005, as well as the Alcohol Action in Rural Communities Research Project, it was evident that risky and binge drinking was an issue in the local area. A camp experience, Pick a Path, was organised by Inverell CDAT to provide options for at-risk young women aged 14 to 16 years, some of whom were in foster care. Places on the camp were offered to six girls, each of whom had a family history of drug or alcohol misuse.

Camp supervisor and Inverell CDAT member Jeanette Griffiths explained that horse riding was a large part of the daytime activities, to build confidence and to enjoy learning new skills. “Sitting down for some morning tea when we first arrived sharing some of ourselves with all the girls we learned two of the girls had never been near a horse. It became quite clear when they wouldn’t go through the gate to the horse yards they were actually terrified of them too. “After their initial apprehension was overcome, all four of the girls who attended turned out to be wonderful young riders and a pleasure to ride with. They really took to their horses and bonded with them from the first minute.

The girls all saddled up and ready to ride. Supervisors far right Renata de la Croix (TIGYS) and centre Jeanette Griffiths (IFYSS).

“Later in the evening we all watched the Brink DVD and while playing the quiz they all displayed a remarkable insight into alcohol and shared a few stories of things they had seen or thought of binge drinking. We later played the Big Night Out Game and I must admit we all had fun playing. “The next morning after brekkie we went for another lovely ride. With aching bums and legs we ate lunch and thanked our hosts for a lovely time before heading off home to Inverell. We were able to share with these girls the dangers and side effects of drug and alcohol use while also making two new horse lovers in the world. I think that those two things can enrich anyone’s life. “With the help of various local partner organisations we were able to provide the


girls with a Drug and Alcohol Resource Kit. They left the camp not only with a greater knowledge of drugs and alcohol and some ideas for alternatives, but also with a greater knowledge of the services available to them in the Inverell area.” Pick a Path was supported by Inverell Family & Youth Support Services (IFYSS), Tenterfield Inverell Glen Innes Youth Service (TIGYS), Joblink Plus, Hunter New England Area Health, The Linking Together Centre and the NSW Department of Community Services.


inf orming t h e c o m m u n i t y

DRUG info @your library

Some of the resources in the druginfo@yourlibrary collection.


Community Drug Action Teams across the state have enthusiastically supported the launch of the new drug info @ your library program. Sue Walden, Health Co-ordinator for the State Library, says this important resource was developed in response to community needs, and is designed to provide relevant drug and alcohol information for the community, focusing on the needs of secondary and TAFE students, and parents and carers of young people. “Our research showed they wanted access to both reference and lending books, with up-to-date and easy-to-read drug and alcohol information as well as pamphlets to take away,” she said. The collection is presented in attractive stands, with content updated twice a year. New titles are added based on feedback from the libraries.

“For example, we have recently added more personal stories about drug issues to the collection, in response to the popularity of these titles,” said Sue. The full drug info @ your library collection is available at all of the 98 central libraries. In addition all 362 public libraries across NSW have an extensive booklet collection as well as free pamphlets. The printed collection is supplemented by comprehensive information on the website www.druginfo. drug info @ your library is a joint project of the NSW State Library and NSW Health.

Lake Macquarie CDAT members Jeanette Suttie OAM and Judy Griffiths at the Toronto Library launch.

Kingsgrove North High School students with Linda Burnie MP, at the launch of druginfo@yourlibrary at Campsie Library.

Community Drug Strategies

What is the Drugs and Community Action Strategy? The Drugs and Community Action Strategy (DCAS) is part of the NSW Government Plan of Action, arising from the NSW Drug Summit 1999. Participants in the Drug Summit recognised the need for government and communities to work together to solve the problems associated with illicit drug use. Responding to alcohol misuse has also become an important part of the program. Project Officers are employed across the State to work with communities to identify drug-related concerns and help improve the way everyone responds to them. As part of this work, they help establish and support Community Drug Action Teams.

In August 2005, management of the program moved from NSW Premier’s Department to the NSW Health Department and it is now part of the Mental Health Drug & Alcohol Office. Local Project Officers cover NSW across the following regions: • Central Coast / Hunter • Coastal Sydney • Illawarra / South East NSW • New England / North West NSW • North Coast • Riverina / Murray • South Western / Western Sydney • Western NSW


What is a Community Drug Action Team? A Community Drug Action Team (CDAT) is a group of people working together to take action on drug and alcohol related concerns in their community. CDATs are usually made up of community members, including parents and young people, representatives of youth and community organisations, local councils, chambers of commerce and Government agencies, in particular health, schools, police and community services. There are currently 80 CDATs across NSW. If you would like to know more about which CDATs are in your area, or are interested in establishing a CDAT in your area please contact Community Drug Strategies, Mental Health Drug & Alcohol Office – NSW Health on 02 9391 9000.


Practical Support for CDATs The Grants and Capacity Building Program supports the work of CDATs through the provision of small grants for projects, as well as training and development opportunities. Project grants are available to CDATs to assist with running specific projects such as those profiled in this booklet. Administrative support funds are also available to assist CDATs cover running costs for stationery, venue hire and postage. CDATs also receive enormous support from their local communities, and obtain additional funds and assistance from a variety of government and non-government agencies. There are many examples of such partnerships outlined in this publication. Funding for CDATs is made available every year, for further details and application forms please contact your local Project Officer.

Relevant training courses are also offered to CDAT members, to assist in building their capacity to work effectively in their communities. Recent courses have included Leadership Training, Working With the Media, and Consulting with Young People. Regional conferences and meetings are also held regularly, and are highly valued by CDAT members for the networking and learning opportunities they provide. For more information on training and workshops scheduled for your area contact Community Drug Strategies, NSW Health.


Community Drug Information Strategy Many communities face similar drug and alcohol issues. To support the work of CDATs a variety of social marketing campaigns and printed resources on drug and alcohol issues are developed every year by a small team at NSW Health, the Community Drug Information Strategy (CDIS). The feedback from CDATs about the issues they face is essential in developing this material and ensuring its relevance. For example, Dharwal Family Matters is an Aboriginal specific resource developed by Yura Yulang CDAT with the assistance of the CDIS team. Two particular resources developed by CDIS with much demand from CDATs include: • Drug Smart Z-Card – a popular foldout resource for teenagers, providing information about alcohol and other drugs.

• Family Matters: how to approach drug issues with your family – a booklet describing the risks of drug and alcohol abuse, information about specific drugs (cannabis, ecstasy and amphetamines), tips for talking with family members about alcohol and other drugs and contact details for services to give further information and help. Family Matters is available in 16 community languages. Other information resources are available to help CDATs, including: • Posters, brochures and information cards to assist CDATs address local drug issues • Drug Action, a regular newsletter specially for CDATs, and • a wide range of drug information fact sheets. Recent information campaigns run by CDIS have focussed on club drugs, cannabis and alcohol.

For more information Visit drug_action Email: Phone: 02 9391 9000




Speaking about CDATS brewarrina

“Every bit of information that we get out into the community will hopefully help someone. I would recommend the experience, the resources and training have been excellent.” Helen Hodgson, Samaritans, Cessnock CDAT

“The individuals I have talked to

“As members of our family were

over the years of my involvement

caught up in drugs, we needed

with the CDAT have all said that

to obtain info and education.

they learnt new things out of all

A highlight for me has been tamworth an

the activities the Liverpool CDAT

increased knowledge of how to

presented and I know I have learnt

assist those affected by drugs

new things myself or I had old

and alcohol.”

knowledge reinforced and brought

Victor Holland, Goulburn CDAT

to the surface again.” “I first became involved with CDAT through my current A&OD work over six years ago. You really get a sense of what is happening within your local community and get to have input into activities for our local young people. Memorable highlights have been the trivia nights, the Drug Expo, Battle of the Bands competitions, info stalls and movie nights, and the support from the Orange TAFE welfare students has been fantastic. Being a part of Orange CDAT has been very worthwhile I will continue to be involved as long as I can.” Lynette Bullen, Lyndon Community, Orange CDAT


Nora Gomez, South West Child Adolescent & Family Services (CAFS), Liverpool CDAT

“One project that is a stand out to me was the ‘Experiences cessnock of Methadone/Buprenorphine

“I wasn’t sure what the outcome

clients in the Canterbury Local

would be when I was able to

Government Area’. Talking to these

attend the CDAT conference in

people, listening to their stories

Port Macquarie. I am so happy I went because meeting other CDAT groups and seeing theirbathurst projects

was so encouraging, it made you feel that we can make a difference


in our community. The workshops were so positive and helpful.”

what they needed not only to help

wyong them, but what would help others, really helped me understand what people with drug and alcohol problems were going through.” Cheryl Field, Canterbury CDAT

Judy Griffiths, Naranon, Lake Macquarie CDAT.

“I wanted to educate children liverpool “As a senior police officer I was concerned with increase in crime

figures and the links between drug “The highlights of my involvement use and crime. Because we had in Fairfield CDAT have included formed the CDAT in Orange, we acting chair for two months, were one of the first rural towns preparing a training package for to get the MERIT programme local family support workers to (allowing early treatment for work effectively with drug-affected offenders with drug and alcohol families and organising the CDAT problems). After that we ran a participation in Fairfield Youth number of youth/lifestyle education Festival. Also, the project officer programs for youth at risk, and from Community Drug Strategies albury we also conducted our first Youth has been very helpful in clarifying issues and assisting with funding applications.” Vuong Van Nguyen, Burnside, Fairfield CDAT

and life experiences and hearing

about the repercussions of getting involved in drugs. It’s been great to get involved in something that benefits our community. The experience has shellharbour been very worthwhile.” Jackie Edgar, Narrabri CDAT

“I became involved because of concern about the impact of drugs on the local community, particularly young people. I have

Trivia night with celebrities from

enjoyed the contact with other like

the Big Brother House. It was a

minded people and the exchange of

huge success and very rewarding.”

information and strategies.”

Greg Birtles, NSW Police, Tamworth CDAT

Cecilia Blackwell, TAFE, Inverell CDAT.














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