A new resource has been developed to support those working to reduce the harms associated with substance misuse in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Committee (NIDAC) Chair, Associate Professor Ted Wilkes, launched the new Australian Indigenous Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre (Knowledge Centre) at the NIDAC conference in Melbourne. The Knowledge Centre web resource aims to provide the evidence base to reduce harmful substance use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

It provides quick and free online access to a comprehensive collection of relevant, evidence-based, current and culturally appropriate alcohol and other drug (AOD) knowledge-support and decision-support materials and information for individuals, communities, practitioners and policy makers that can be used in the prevention, identification and management of alcohol and other drug use in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. The contract to develop the Australian Indigenous Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre was awarded to Edith Cowan University’s Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet by the Department of Health.

HealthInfoNet Director, Professor Neil Drew, believes ‘Better information and knowledge are required to improve approaches to harmful substance use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Health professionals require access to a wide range of up to date and culturally appropriate materials and governments require evidenced based policy support materials. The Knowledge Centre will enable us to provide the collation and provision of advice to governments and health practitioners on Indigenous substance issues, with special focus on how current research can best inform future policy and planning and provision of strong and practical support for the Indigenous AOD workforce’.

The work of the Knowledge Centre is supported by a collaborative partnership with the three national alcohol and other drug research centres (the National Drug Research Institute, the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction, and the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre). Guidance is provided by a National Reference Group comprising of specialists in the area of AOD.

About the HealthInfoNet: The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet is a massive Internet resource that informs practice and policy in Indigenous health by making research and other knowledge readily accessible. In this way, the HealthInfoNet contributes to ‘closing the gap’ in health between Indigenous and other Australians. Working in the area of translational research with a population health focus, in which it is a world leader, the HealthInfoNet makes research and other information available in a form that has immediate, practical utility for practitioners and policy-makers in the area of Indigenous health, enabling them to make decisions based on the best available evidence.

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