Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) represents the single largest form of non-genetic birth defects. FASD are a range of physical, mental and developmental disabilities that can occur in children born to mothers who drank during pregnancy. FASD can affect how a child’s brain and body develops, as well as their behaviour, throughout the child’s life.
More evidence is emerging of the significant under estimated impact of FASD diagnosis in the policing, juvenile/criminal justice, education and community/family service and support systems.
Newcastle Community Drug Action Team (CDAT) has organised a very important workshop of invited key local stakeholders (assisted by Professor Elizabeth Elliott AM) on Thursday 11 December 2014 to initiate a comprehensive (whole government/whole community) model strategy development process specifically for Newcastle to systematically address the impact of FASD.
The strategy will encompass the broad range of issues associated with prevention, diagnosis, treatment and community/family intervention and life – long assistance and support. The workshop initiated and facilitated by Newcastle CDAT brings together local health, community and other professionals under the one roof to forge a local holistic and collaborative approach to both understanding and effectively addressing the complex FASD problem.
Newcastle has become internationally renowned for its proven success in sustainably reducing alcohol related violence whilst simultaneously creating a more safer, diverse and inviting night time economy without the burden of substantial additional costly and scarce public resources such police, CCTV and “backdoor” liquor industry subsidies, that is occurring in all other States and Territories.
A key ingredient to Newcastle’s successful sustained reduction in alcohol fuelled violence by the primary adoption of precinct wide modest reductions in late trading was active community involvement and ongoing public advocacy and activism. This has been taken one step further with the proposed Newcastle (model) FASD strategy that was initiated and is being led by the CDAT.
Our above FASD workshop provides an excellent example how CDATs and other authentic community based bodies can lead and galvanise combined grass root community action to address high priority AOD related harms by in part, the adoption and promotion of best practice evidence-based measures and partnering with other independent experts and organisations.
Chairperson Newcastle and Hunter Multicultural CDATs
Tony voluntarily led and represented around 150 local residents, small businesses and concerned citizens in the Newcastle 2008 Liquor Board case (commenced by police) that reduced late trading hours and adopted other measures. He also was the Project Manager of the pilot ACAP that finished on 31 July 2014.