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Alcohol and other Drugs - A Zimbabwean Perspective

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Zimbabweans living in Perth took the opportunity to share their experiences of and attitudes towards alcohol and other drugs and mental health in a survey conducted by the WA Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies (WANADA).

Alcohol and other drug services offer information, support and treatment to people who need it, regardless of their cultural or linguistic background. Working with people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds requires a greater understanding of a cultural group and the 82 survey participants have contributed to WANADA's understanding of the Zimbabwean community in Perth.

The Survey

WANADA Project Officer Geraldine Muriritirwa, originally from Harare in Zimbabwe, encouraged people in her networks to complete the survey online via Facebook. The survey found that:

  • Forty two respondents reported that they know someone adversely affected by their own or another's alcohol or other drug use
  • Two out of five respondents experienced symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression.
 "We're encouraged by the openness of survey participants," says Geraldine. "Recognising alcohol and other drug issues and mental health concerns in yourself or others is a great first step to overcoming them."

What Prevents People From Accessing Services?

More than half of respondents reported that they would be too embarrassed to access alcohol and other drug or mental health services. Others reported that they didn't think services would be necessary to help deal with alcohol and other drug or mental health issues.

"We want people to know that not only is it okay to access support and information, we can make a big difference to ourselves and our community when we do," says Geraldine.

Talking More About Alcohol and other Drugs and Mental Health

WANADA now plans to meet with people from Zimbabwe living in Perth to share  more information about the services available and what they can do when faced with alcohol and other drug or mental health issues. "We're hoping that by talking more to Zimbabweans living in Perth about alcohol and other drug issues we can prevent problems from developing and offer assistance if needed," says Geraldine.

More Information

For more information about the project, or how alcohol and other drug services work with people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, please contact Geraldine Muriritirwa on (08) 6365 6365 or via geraldine.muriritirwa@wanada.org.au.

Overdose Affects Women and Families

Thursday, 14 August 2014

International Overdose Awareness Day - prevention and remembrance
Recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that fatal overdose claimed more Australian lives in 2012 than road deaths and that the number of middle-aged women who lose their lives to overdose is increasing. As International Overdose Awareness Day 2014 approaches, we consider the impact of overdose and prevention efforts.

How Common is Fatal Overdose?

The Penington Institute recently commissioned the Australian Bureau of Statistics to provide data on the number of fatal overdoses in Australia.

Chief Executive Officer John Ryan says that total overdose deaths in Australia in 2012 (1427) outnumbered the road toll (1338) for the second year in a row.

More than one in five fatal overdoses involved a woman aged 30 - 50 years old.

"Almost three times more middle-aged women die from accidental overdose than in all traffic accidents," Mr Ryan says. "The number of middle-aged women dying from accidental overdose has more than doubled in a decade."

The Penington Institute will release more figures on fatal overdose in Australia next week.

Impact on Families and Friends

According to International Overdose Awareness Day organisers, deaths from overdose send out tidal waves of pain through families and friendship circles which leave a deep and enduring sense of loss.

Family members affected by the death of a loved one to fatal overdose have shared tributes on the Overdose Awareness Day website at www.overdoseday.com/tributes

International Overdose Awareness Day - 31 August 2014

International  Overdose Awareness Day is a day of remembrance for everyone with a connection to fatal overdose.

Individuals and organisations are invited to mark International Overdose Awareness Day on or around Sunday 31 August.

If you would like to hold an event to raise awareness about overdose prevention or to acknowledge the human toll with a memorial, you can find more information and tips at www.overdoseday.com

Support and Information

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing problems related to alcohol or other drugs, support is available. Call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service on (08) 9442 5000 or 1800 198 024 for free, confidential telephone counselling and referral 24/7.

Information about alcohol and other drug services in WA is also available in the Green Book Directory of Alcohol and other Drug and Mental Health Services in WA.

Food and Fun For Children at Saranna

Monday, 4 August 2014

Vanessa and Corinne with SECECC Manager Sharmayne
Vanessa and Corinne with SECECC Manager Sharmayne Holly
Edith Cowan University nutrition students Corinne Tighe and Vanessa Vidler recently completed five-week community nutrition placements at the WA Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies (WANADA) and recommend other students take up the challenge.

"We were lucky enough to work with Saranna Early Childhood Education and Care Centre (SECECC) which is a long day care centre operated by Cyrenian House," says Vanessa. "The placement gave me exposure to the alcohol and other drug (AOD) sector and emphasised to me the importance of a holistic approach with this population group."

Vanessa and Corinne's project comprised three components:
  • a review of SECECC's menu,
  • the development and facilitation of healthy eating workshops for children and parents, and
  • the creation of a healthy eating toolkit to provide resources aimed at creating a sustainable health promoting environment.
Children at the centre enjoyed learning about different types of vegetables thanks to fun games, while staff  appreciated the students' menu suggestions.

 "The project was very interesting, challenging and varied and therefore proved to be a perfect opportunity for us to develop our skills as student dietitians," says Corinne. "Overall our experience at WANADA was a fantastic one."

WANADA facilitates placement of tertiary-level allied health students at alcohol and other drug services in Western Australia and has so far worked with students from Edith Cowan University, Curtin University and the University of Western Australia.

"Alcohol and other drug services, particularly residential services, are keen to improve the overall health and wellbeing of their clients," says WANADA Project Officer Maree Stallard. "Placements have the potential to bring ideas and resources into a service and provide students with an insight into alcohol and other drug work."

More information about allied health student placements within the alcohol and other drug sector is available on the WANADA's Student Information page.


The Green Book Blog is a project of WANADA

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