- Ice addiction is overtaking alcohol as the biggest problem facing Indigenous populations, the head of a rehabilitation centre specialising in treatment for Aboriginal people says.
- People are too often placing undue emphasis on factors like stress and pollution as causes of cancer ahead of real risks like drinking and obesity, Cancer Council NSW says.
- Victoria’s Emergency Management Commissioner says he is satisfied with the time it has taken the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to alert residents to air pollution.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 3rd April 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
Ice addiction is overtaking alcohol as the biggest problem facing Indigenous populations, the head of a rehabilitation centre specialising in treatment for Aboriginal people says.
Joe Coyte is CEO of The Glen, on the New South Wales Central Coast, which treats about 200 addicts each year.
More than half are Indigenous.
“Our data shows that in the last 12 months, amphetamine use is the drug of choice for over 50 per cent of our clients,” Mr Coyte told 7.30.
“That is tipping stats on their head, because if you had asked me this in 2010, alcohol was sitting over 50 per cent.
“Alcohol is now just over 30 per cent, so there has been a massive increase in guys coming to the service who are saying that ‘the biggest problem in my life at the moment is amphetamine use’.”
This week the Federal Government announced centres that treat ice addiction, like The Glen, would have their current funding extended for another 12 months.
There was speculation funding would not be renewed, even though new statistics from the Australian Crime Commission suggest the number of regular ice users has doubled since 2010.
Mr Coyte is relieved – for the moment.
“But also frustrated,” he said.
“There have been losses, not to The Glen itself, but to the drug rehab sector, of people and expertise, because of the uncertainty around funding.
“A place like The Glen does not need a lot more money, what it does need is for funding to be secure and long term.
“If we did have that kind of security, we would be able to go out and secure other sources of funding and focus on establishing other services that are needed, like a facility like The Glen for women.
“We have plans to start a women’s facility. There are gaps in our strategic plan because we have to stay focused on survival.”
People are too often placing undue emphasis on factors like stress and pollution as causes of cancer ahead of real risks like drinking and obesity, Cancer Council NSW says.
A study by the organisation of 3,000 people found they were often confused about what exactly caused cancer.
Many of those surveyed were able to successfully identify well-known risk factors like smoking, sunburn and family history.
However, others put too much weight on things like chemicals in foods, pollution and stress — factors for which there was no strong evidence of increased cancer risk.
Not enough of those surveyed identified proven risk factors like being overweight, a lack of exercise, drinking alcohol and eating processed meats.
Cancer programs director Kathy Chapman said people were more likely to blame cancer on factors they could not control than those they could.
This was a concern because people would not change their lifestyle to improve their health.
“There’s good community understanding that smoking and sunburn are risk factors,” she said.
“Then the next lot of things that people think of are not actually things to worry about, like pollution and stress.”
She said one-third of cancers were preventable.
Drinking alcohol daily increases the risk of head and neck, breast and liver cancers.
Being overweight and obese is linked to cancer of the breast, bowel, endometrium and oesophagus.
Ms Chapman said more education was needed.
Victoria’s Emergency Management Commissioner says he is satisfied with the time it has taken the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to alert residents to air pollution.
This week Gippsland’s only air quality monitoring stations in the Latrobe Valley have recorded ‘very poor’ readings due to smoke from planned burns.
Some residents have expressed anger over the often contradictory information on the EPA’s website and the time it has taken to send out warnings, with calls for text message alerts to be issued.
Commissioner Craig Lapsley said he believed the EPA was improving the way it communicated to the public.
He said taking an hour or two to alert the public was an improvement on taking more than a day.
New information on the EPA website showed high levels of the dangerous PM 2.5 particles and very poor air quality at Churchill yesterday.
The levels yesterday at Churchill exceeded 40 micrograms per cubic metre for most of the day and reached peaks of more than 50.
An EPA spokesman said yesterday that levels over 40 micrograms could trigger health warnings from the Health Department.
…[Up until recently], only Morwell East, Morwell South and Traralgon were listed on the website.
Churchill and Moe were added to the air quality tables …[some time this week] .
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