ReCord: ReGen's October 2013 Update.
This issue: Methamphetamine treatment; after-hours access; support for families; consumer participation training; advocacy; community partnerships and other news.
UnitingCare ReGen
Drug Action Week 2013

Welcome to the ReCord - ReGen's regular eUpdate

While the Federal election campaign provided few clues about future drug policy, there have been significant developments in Victoria. Minister Wooldridge has announced new funding for increasing the availability of naloxone to prevent opioid overdose deaths and new initiatives in response to increasing methamphetamine-related harms in the state.
In preparation for the recommissioning of Victorian-funded alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment services, ReGen has announced its partnership with Odyssey House Victoria to develop integrated, person-centred, evidence-based treatment services in line with the Framework for Reform. We will be discussing our approach to the reforms at our AGM in November, featuring Regina Brindle (ReGen’s Consumer Participation Facilitator) and one of our consumers as guest speakers.
ReGen was a joint winner at the recent Victorian Government’s Robin Clark Awards. The Youth and Family Services Team shared the ‘Making a Difference with Children, Young People and Families Award’ with Kildonan UnitingCare’s Maree Corbo, for her work on family violence.

This ReCord includes: Updates on our methamphetamine treatment and diversion programs; after-hours service access; support for families; consumer participation training; conference updates; recent advocacy; community partnerships and a (brief) round up of the latest thinking in AOD from Australia and overseas.

Laurence Alvis
CEO – UnitingCare ReGen


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Update on our services

Responding to methamphetamine harms 
The growth in methamphetamine use (and related harms) has received significant media attention lately. It’s an issue we’ve been working on since last year. In response to emerging concerns about the suitability of the established service residential withdrawal service model for people undertaking methamphetamine withdrawal, we reviewed our approach and made some adjustments.
The outcomes of this process are publicly available and have contributed to further changes to our residential withdrawal service model. We have presented our learning to the current Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Methamphetamine Use, which attracted a wide range of media coverage.
As part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to developing responses to methamphetamine use, we are also developing a targeted Drug Diversion program for people charged with methamphetamine-related offences. This work continues the expansion of our education and diversion programs. In the past year, participant numbers have increased by over 50% and we have doubled the delivery of our Drug Drive program.

Supporting families
Our Youth and Family Services team had a great night at the Robin Clark Awards, receiving the ‘Making a Difference With Children, Young People and Families Award’ and celebrating the great work done by services around Victoria to protect children, change behaviour and support vulnerable families. This award marks, not just the team’s success but the great progress that all ReGen’s services have made over the past decade in addressing the needs of members of families affected by problematic AOD use. You can see photos from the event and the video produced for the awards ceremony describing the team’s work.

Increasing after hours service access
We are very pleased to be commencing a pilot project (in partnership with the Northern Melbourne Medicare Local) to increase the accessibility of our services outside regular working hours. In addition to our current two nights a week of after hours group programs and individual counselling, the project will deliver after hours and weekend AOD services to communities in the Hume (excluding Sunbury), Whittlesea, Nillumbik, Banyule and Darebin local government areas. More details on this project will be available shortly.

Ray Stephens and Paul Aiken delivered a post-conference workshop for regional and remote AOD workers at the Australian Winter School. The workshop addressed the potential benefits of (and barriers to) online treatment enhancement and social media in promoting community engagement with their services, service delivery and professional development of isolated workers. Ray and Paul also ran a round table discussion (‘When Social Media Goes Wrong’) for service providers and peak bodies interested in increasing their social media presence. You can see photo’s of them in action on our Facebook page.

Find more news on our services

Working together
Consumer Participation

The latest edition of ReSpect (our consumer participation update) is out now, along with details of our new Consumer Worker roles and free training for those interested in consumer participation at ReGen.
In keeping with our commitment to transparency and accountability, we’ve published the summary of all 2012/13 consumer feedback provided through our Client Feedback Form. This feedback rates our performance in upholding the principles set out in our Client Charter. We’ve also published our response to consumer suggestions on how we can improve our services.

See our consumer feedback

Drug Action Week
Advocacy in action

Overdose Awareness Day
To mark International Overdose Awareness Day, ReGen hosted a community lunch and ran an awareness campaign on the impacts of overdose on individuals, families and the wider community. While our remembrance of the people lost to overdose is usually a heavy experience for those attending, this year’s guest speakers and discussion focussed on the potential for overdose prevention with the Victorian Government’s announcement of funding to increase the availability and use of naloxone. Our awareness campaign included a radio interview and the publication of written messages by consumers, family members and staff.

World Hepatitis Day
For World Hepatitis Day, we invited harm reduction worker Jacqui Brown to discuss her work on preventing HIV and STI transmission in Cambodia and published messages by ReGen staff on the importance of harm reduction measures in preventing the spread of Hepatitis and other blood borne viruses.

International FASD Awareness Day
ReGen published a series of messages to raise awareness of the causes of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and how it can be prevented.

Having our say
In addition to our awareness campaigns, ReGen has also contributed to recent media discussion of methamphetamine use in Victoria and the development of appropriate policy and treatment responses. This included print and radio coverage (based on our above mentioned work on withdrawal and diversion programs) as well as the publishing of a longer piece on the absence of AOD policy discussion from the Federal election campaign and the importance of evidence based policy and treatment services.

See more of our advocacy work

Supporting our work

St Kilda Sharks partnership
ReGen has partnered with the St Kilda Sharks to promote wellbeing and harm reduction during the recently concluded Victorian Women’s Football League season. In addition to giving ReGen honorary kit sponsorship with our logo and displaying ReGen banners at all Sharks home games, team members participated in regular conversations about safe use of alcohol and promoted ReGen on their Facebook group. They also helped us with our own wellbeing, running group training and massage sessions for our staff. A huge thanks to Belinda and Mel for their efforts.

Every dollar helps
Donations to ReGen from individuals and community groups have doubled in the past year. To us, it’s a demonstration that our work raising community awareness about AOD issues and the importance of treatment is having an impact. All donations go directly to supporting our services, or developing new initiatives, such as our use of tablet devices by people undertaking non-residential withdrawal. Many of our donors choose a specific service they wish to support e.g. our residential withdrawal services or family counselling. We welcome your support.

Learn more about supporting us

Working with us

ReGen is a great place to work.

We are currently recruiting two roles (AOD Intake Worker and Administration Officer) within our award-winning Catalyst non-residential rehabilitation programs. See our website for details.
Keep an eye on our employment page for upcoming vacancies or more detail on working conditions at ReGen. We’ll also be notifying our Twitter and Facebook followers of new positions.

Welcoming a new Board member
Natalie McKenna is the newest addition to our Board of Governance. Natalie brings with her extensive expertise in media and communications, education, strategy formulation, brand strategy, personal branding and image consulting. She is the founder and Managing Director of a consulting and education Company and an adjunct lecturer and researcher at RMIT University.

Find out more about working at ReGen

Interesting links from Australia and around the world

The following are a selection of links to recent AOD research and media coverage we have curated on our page:
  • More evidence that Sydney’s Medically Supervised Injecting Centre has not had a negative impact on its local community
  • Collection of Australian harm reduction advertisements, a reminder of Australia’s past achievements in public health promotion
  • US study describing the link between people’s experience of discrimination and higher levels of AOD use (with clear implications for the way treatment providers work with their consumers)
  • Review of HIV prevention and treatment services for people who inject drugs, highlighting the need for increased harm reduction programs in 21 countries with high HIV prevalence.
View our collection of recent media articles

Over to you

You can support our work by donating, supporting our advocacy on social media, or doing your own. Our position papers and supporting evidence can be a useful resource if you’re looking into a key AOD issue such as Harm Reduction or Recovery Oriented Practice.

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