Alcohol and drug awareness Australia lends an ear to the ETU
The problem is in plain sight: drug and alcohol misuse reaches into every corner of the Australian community - into workplaces, families, sporting clubs and professional life.
Its impact, in disrupted lives, disrupted families, financial chaos, and depression and anxiety, touch – in some way - every roof.
We all know someone who is affected, we may have even lost family members or friends. It’s a problem we all ‘own’ as a community: the casual normalisation of this misuse.
But the personal costs, the burden on the health system, the increased risk to workplaces, and the intergenerational impact on families and children of this crisis, demands the attention of us all.
“If we are to get to the point of the misuse of drugs and alcohol, we simply have to accept that this is a cultural thing we are up against,” Alcohol and Drug Awareness Australia Director Anthony Pettiona said.
The ETU is committed to doing something about it. It has entered into a partnership with Alcohol and Drug Awareness Australia (ADA Australia) to assist ETU members to ‘Stay Safe and Be Well’ around their use of alcohol, prescriptions and illicit drugs.
ADA Australia provides alcohol and drug awareness training, and a range of associated services, to small and large workplaces around Australia. The training is designed to assist people to recognise at-risk behaviours, to understand the negative health impacts of drugs and alcohol, and to assist workmates or family members who may be struggling with misuse or dependence.
The training also equips participants to recognise symptoms of associated disorders such as depression, anxiety and suicide, and to assist in getting professional help and advice.
To date, this training has been delivered to some hundreds of ETU members and their families. Importantly, ADA Australia also provides a 24-hour telephone help-line, ‘A Friendly Ear’, available to all ETU members and families.
Alcohol and Drug Awareness Training Programs
Delivered by trainers with ‘lived experience’ of addiction (and having walked the long road back to health), ADA Australia workshops are about raising awareness and ‘re-programming’ attitudes to these substances, and about understanding what they are doing to our bodies and to our psychological health.
They are also about raising awareness of the workplace safety risks posed by misuse, and the importance of a supportive, open workplace culture.
The training covers topics such as detection periods for alcohol, illegal drugs and pharmaceuticals, of the long-term damage they do to the heart, brain, liver and other essential organs, and of the insidious way they change brain chemistry and set the trap of dependence and addiction.
A key element is a focus on ‘culture’ around drugs and alcohol, on looking out for each other (approaching and asking a workmate “RUOK mate?”), on fostering a positive and supportive workplace environment, and on helping people access support for recovery and assistance services.
A copy of the ADA Australia ‘Drugs and Alcohol and Workplace Risk’ handbook is provided to each workshop participant.
Announcing the U-Turn ‘DAY ASSIST PROGRAM’ for ETU members and families
As an additional service to members, the ETU is also partnering with Alcohol and Drug Awareness Australia to provide ‘day’ intervention programs and assistance to ETU members (available also to families) who may be struggling with substance use.
In an Australian-first (and possibly world-first), this initiative – called U-Turn ‘DAY ASSIST PROGRAM’ – has the potential to change lives. Provided by ADA Australia and fully supported by the ETU (at no cost to members), the programs will run out of the ETU Welfare & Unemployed Training Centre at the ETU Headquarters in Arden Street, North Melbourne.
Each program will run from 4 – 6 weeks (depending upon the needs of the individual). This initiative, besides delivering positive work health and safety outcomes, has the potential to turn lives around and get skilled, capable people back on the job – healthy, productive and resilient.
For more information on these programs, contact your union. Or call ADA's Friendly Ear on 1800 ADA AUS.