The Australian Indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre
In 2013 the Department of Health sought a proposal from Edith Cowan University (ECU) for the development and operation of an ‘Australian Indigenous Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre’ (the Knowledge Centre). The Knowledge Centre would complement the Australian Government’s commitments to preventing harmful substance use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and promote improvements in drug and alcohol and related services for Indigenous people.
Building upon the existing alcohol and other drug (AOD) related information and material from ECU’s Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, the Knowledge Centre offers an expanded alcohol and other drugs information resource that seeks to provide the evidence base and support those working to reduce harm from AOD use in Aboriginal communities.
The Knowledge Centre aims to:
- promote the concept of harm minimisation under the three pillars of the National Drug Strategy 2010-2015: supply reduction, demand reduction and harm reduction
- collate and provide advice to governments on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander substance misuse issues with particular regard to how current research could inform future policy and planning processes
- provide increased practical support to the workforce and communities involved in efforts to reduce the impact of alcohol and other drugs on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
- develop and maintain a collection of high quality culturally appropriate resources for individuals, groups, organisations, communities and professionals
- provide increased support for existing Commonwealth funded programs, including but not limited to the Healthy Lifestyle teams, Social and Emotional Wellbeing teams, and drug and alcohol services provided through Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Organisations.
The Knowledge Centre’s mission is to contribute to improving the health of Australia's Indigenous peoples and assist in ‘closing the gap’ by providing the evidence base to help reduce the harmful use of alcohol and other drugs.
We address our mission by:
- undertaking research
- disseminating relevant information
- facilitating information exchange.
We take a broad view of Indigenous health, along the lines used by the National Aboriginal Health Strategy Working Party, and expanded by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO):
Health is not just the physical wellbeing of an individual, but the social, emotional, and cultural wellbeing of the whole community in which each individual is able to achieve their full potential as a human being thereby bringing about the total wellbeing of their community.
The partners involved in the content for this web resource include ECU and three national alcohol and other drugs research centres:
- the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA)
- the National Drug and Alcohol Research Council (NDARC)
- the National Drug Research Institute (NDRI).
Together these partners comprise the Support Committee which greatly enhances the capacity of the Knowledge Centre to provide the evidence base to support effective harm minimisation through both workforce support and policy support.
To ensure the Knowledge Centre meets the purposes for which it is being established, the Knowledge Centre is governed by a Reference Group made up of:
- members from the Drug Strategy Branch of the Department of Health (the Knowledge Centre funding body)
- stakeholders from peak AOD bodies
- members of the AOD workforce at the community level
- members with expertise in relation to drugs of concern.
These stakeholders come from various states and territories of Australia and include appropriate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation. The composition of the Reference Group reflects the variety of input required to ensure coverage of the field to best support: the workforce at the community level; community members working to reduce the harms of drug use; and those people working in programs and policy.
The Knowledge Centre translates a wide range of health research and other relevant information into products that are meaningful to all people working at improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Our products include:
- an AOD Bibliography - a comprehensive database of publications, resources and grey literature with specific relevance to AOD related issues and the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- a FASD section - a central repository of resources and training materials for AOD health practitioners for the prevention and management of Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in Indigenous communities
- an AOD Workers’ portal - plain language information on alcohol and other drug use, including tips for workers, practical tools for assessment and treatment, health promotion resources, publications, programs and information on further training opportunities for workers
- a Community portal - targeted at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders and community members who are working to address alcohol and other drug issues in their communities. It contains plain language, up to date information, about what communities can do to address AOD issues and where to go for help
- Reviews - narrative literature reviews of alcohol, illicit drugs and volatile substance use provide a synthesis of information on specific topics, bringing together the relevant evidence, essential contextual evidence and policy implications for how alcohol and other drug use affects the health of Aboriginal and Torres Islander people. Plain language versions of these reviews are also available to ensure the information is accessible to a broad audience
- the Knowledge Centre AODconnect mobile phone app - a national directory of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander AOD treatment services
- an AOD yarning place - an online community network where people with an interest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander substance use can share information, knowledge, and experiences.