Tomorrow There’s a Sunrise – A powerful music video by Sunrise Way and Josh Arnold

Sunrise Way, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation service in Toowoomba, announced the release of it’s long-awaited music video for “Tomorrow There’s a Sunrise”.

The song was written by Josh Arnold from Small Town Culture and Sunrise Way residents, as part of their recovery program.  Sunrise Way graduates Gina Buchanan and Mark Thomas feature in the video clip and hope the videoclip assists individuals who are affected by drug and alcohol use to access services.

Ms Buchanan said that domestic violence led her to substance abuse.

“I was in a relationship with a guy that would beat me and lock me in a room.  Drugs were a way to numb my life.  I was that desperate to be loved, that when my ex would give me drugs, that’s when we’d get on.  That was our bonding time.  The cycle of shame and guilt is when drugs became a problem for me.”

“There are so many more people than you realise who are affected by drugs, addiction, and domestic violence but they are too ashamed to talk.  I’m no longer ashamed.  I know that if the song touches one person and they get help, my job is done.”

Mr Thomas indicates that social media was the catalyst for him to access rehabilitation at Sunrise Way.

“I had seen a post on Facebook.   It was a before and after photo of a male who had been on ice.  The before photo was 2 years prior and showed him as thin and gaunt.  The after photo was a healthy, strong man.  He was a picture of health.  Social media provided the glimpse of who I wanted to be.  I believe the “Tomorrow There’s a Sunrise” videoclip can provide the same impact.”

Mr Thomas said that the Facebook post which triggered him to access help changed his view of rehabilitation and saved his life.

“It quickly enabled me to see rehab in a positive light.  It questioned my prejudice and misunderstanding of what rehab is.  It’s not a dirty word.  Ice had been having such a terrible effect on my life.  It was a drug which took me to the brink of death.  For me to request help was the bravest decision of my life.”

Both graduates completed the Sunrise Way program last year, and are on a pathway of success with both undertaking studies to work in the health sector.  Mr Thomas stated that the Sunrise Way program helped him realise his purpose.

“I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Human Services at USQ.  My previous career choices didn’t sit well with me.  The intrinsic value wasn’t there.  I knew I would be good in a counselling role however active addiction was the brick wall that didn’t allow me to move forward.  That all changed through Sunrise Way.  I have discovered within me a well of compassion.  Gaining a deeper level of compassion and a strong sense of self-worth were a couple of the benefits of overcoming trauma and addiction. I realised that I could achieve what I wanted to. I love the man that I have become and I’m very proud to be able to give back to the community.”

Ms Buchanan felt that she was too old to change her life direction.

“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse.  I love helping people.  I’m 43 and thought that I’d missed the boat.  I’m now training to be a nurse.  It’s a big deal – the song, Sunrise Way, staying sober, the choices I’m making now.  I’m proud of it now.  I’m not ashamed.  I realise now that I am so much stronger than I ever imagined.  I cry when I listen to the song but they’re not sad tears.  I have lost a lot of stuff, but I’ve now gained so much.  I’ve now got my self-worth.  I’m not welling up from sadness or regret.  I’m grateful and blown away of the life that I am now living.”

For more information about Sunrise Way and its programs, please visit their website https://www.sunriseway.com.au/.

New Position Papers: Drug Checking & Effective Responses to Drug Use

Two new QNADA positions papers are now available on our website!

Simply click on each image below to read the full version. Please feel free to get in touch if you would like more information.

Drug Checking

Effective Responses to Drug Use

Peaks Network Position Statement on Drug Checking (including Pill Testing)

The State and Territory Alcohol and Other Drug Peaks Network (Peaks Network) supports the Australia-wide implementation of drug checking, including pill testing, as an important addition to our long-standing commitment to reducing the harms associated with drug use.

To read the full version, please click onto the image below.

QNADA policy position papers are now available online

Our policy position in regard to decriminalisation, stigma and discrimination and systemic responses are now available on our website.

Simply click on each image below to read the full version.

Alternatively, you can find them under the “About Us” tab on the home page.

Please feel free to get in touch if you would like more information.

Our position –  Decriminalisation 

Our position – Systemic responses

Our position – Stigma and discrimination 

Brisbane North Partners in Recovery project outcomes

During 2015-16 QNADA worked on a project to increase treatment access and harm reduction for people experiencing co-occurring AOD and mental health issues. The Partners in Recovery consortium recently released a vodcast of QNADA CEO, Rebecca Lang discussing the project outcomes. Watch the video below and head here for more information.

Rebecca Lang speaks with ABC24

Rebecca Lang, QNADA CEO, spoke with ABC24 on 8th July 2019 about the recent Queensland Productivity Commission report.

One week to go until Winter School!

Just one week left to register for Australian Winter School!

Australian Winter School kicks off in Brisbane next Thursday, 25 July. If you’re planning to attend but haven’t yet registered, time is running out.

We’re looking forward to bringing AOD workers, researchers, policy-makers and influencers from across the alcohol and other drug sector together in Brisbane to think, learn, collaborate and network.

Our conference streams explore what’s happening in harm reduction. We’ll also do a deep dive into treatment approaches and hear from people with a lived experience of AOD issues. Panel sessions will discuss topical issues such as festival safety, AOD and primary care, and the new Queensland Human Rights Act.

View the conference program. To learn more about Australian Winter School 2019 visit our website.  To register head to Eventbrite.

Australian Winter School is proudly supported by

Australian Winter School is proudly presented by

Queensland Alcohol and other Drug Treatment and Harm Reduction Outcomes Framework

It’s official!

The Queensland AOD Treatment and Harm Reduction Outcomes Framework (THROF) is now available for download.

The THROF is the first of its kind in Australia and represents the Queensland AOD sector consensus on what can reasonably be expected of AOD treatment and harm reduction services. It describes the way AOD services can measure their impact and suggests a series of outcome indicators that, when measured and considered in the context of each other and specific treatment types, help to inform service quality.

The THROF is intended for services to use as a guide to self-identify a range of client, organisational and system outcome indicators, which they consider most relevant to their service model for implementation.

If you would like more information about the framework, please get in touch!

New Government plan sets the stage for improving outcomes for Queenslanders

QNADA congratulates the Queensland Mental Health Commission on the release of a new five year plan for Queensland Government to address mental health, alcohol and other drugs and suicide prevention. This plan, Shifting Minds: Queensland Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Strategic Plan 2018-2023 has a vision for delivery of a fair and inclusive Queensland where all people can live lives with meaning and purpose.

Dr Steven Miles MP, Minister for Health and Ambulance Services at the launch yesterday said that, “ongoing reform is fundamental to achieving better outcomes for people with lived experiences. Our goal is a system that is better geared to assist people before they reach crisis. Shifting Minds will now set a direction for our future investment and reform.”

Rebecca Lang, Chief Executive Officer of the Queensland Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies (QNADA) applauds both the Queensland Mental Health Commission and the Queensland Government for the plan’s specific focus on alcohol harm minimisation and drug policy reform which she says “has the potential to be a game-changer for Queenslanders experiencing problems related to their alcohol and drug use and their families.”

Ms Lang, (QNADA) says, “We look forward to working with the Commission to implement the plan and call on the Queensland Government to ensure the plan is backed by appropriate resourcing to translate these good intentions into positive outcomes for Queenslanders.”

The Commission’s strategic plan is based on stakeholder consultation and is available in full at www.qmhc.qld.gov.au.

Report on the Qld AOD Sector Convention 2018

The Queensland AOD Sector Convention was held in Brisbane on 22 June 2018 at Brisbane City Hall and brought together 110 service managers, policy makers and sector leaders from across the government and non-government alcohol and drugs sector in Queensland.

The Queensland AOD Sector Network is pleased to release a copy of the Convention Report and announce that the draft Queensland AOD Treatment and Harm Reduction Outcomes Framework (THROF) was overwhelmingly endorsed at the event. The THROF will be officially released by the end of the year following amendments suggested at the Convention and further consultation with the Community Controlled Sector.

The full list of Queensland AOD Sector Resolutions for 2018 can be found on page 7 of the report. Click on the image to view the report!

New report shows the real impact of stigma and discrimination

QNADA congratulates the Queensland Mental Health Commission on the release of the Changing Attitudes, Changing Lives report which reveals the extent of stigma and discrimination on people experiencing problems related to their alcohol and other drug (AOD) use. 

Rebecca Lang, Chief Executive of the Queensland Network of Alcohol and Drug Agencies (QNADA) says, ‘The research this report contains confirms what we have long known – experiencing stigma and discrimination is sadly a common occurrence in the everyday lives of people experiencing problematic alcohol and other drug use.”

‘Hearing people describe, in detail, multiple, specific times that they had been judged, treated badly, looked down upon or excluded because of their AOD use is distressing.’

When asked how these experiences of stigma and discrimination made them feel, people involved in the research described feelings of degradation, shame and anger. This contributes to further problematic use for people and creates a barrier to asking for help. Some people are also discouraged from seeking help by the stigma they face from health care professionals and the broader community as users of alcohol and other drugs.

Ms Lang applauds the Queensland Mental Health Commissioner, Ivan Frkovic, for identifying 18 options for change that will focus on educating and changing individual attitudes, challenging stereotypes, reforming policies and laws, and highlighting AOD use as a health concern, rather than a moral or criminal issue.

The Commission’s reform options are based on stakeholder consultation, as well as research by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. Both reports are available at www.qmhc.qld.gov.au.

For more information, anecdotes or comment, please contact Rebecca Lang on 0408 669 590.

Reinstatement of Queensland’s Drug and Alcohol Court

QNADA welcomes the reinstatement of Queensland’s Drug and Alcohol Court (the Court) which was launched yesterday morning. The Court will link offenders whose substance use contributes to their offending behaviour with intensive case management and treatment services.

Queenslanders have been unable to access this important service for more than four years after it was discontinued in 2012. Yesterday’s launch comes after the completion of a significant review of the Drug and Specialists Courts system in 2016. 

Rebecca Lang, CEO of the Queensland Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies (QNADA), attended the launch yesterday morning alongside the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Yvette D’Ath  and Chief Magistrate, Judge Ray Rinaudo. 

Ms Lang congratulated the Palaszczuk government for both the re-establishment of the Court and the review process itself which she says was “wide-ranging, comprehensive, and really left no stone unturned. This new model will build and improve upon the model that was discontinued in 2012.”

The Court will initially operate in Brisbane but will look to expand in Queensland once the model has been evaluated and refined.  A multi-disciplinary team, will work with participants while they complete their treatment.  The team includes Legal Aid Queensland, Corrective Services, Queensland Health, Queensland Police Service, Department of Justice and Attorney General, and non-government treatment services.

Ms Lang continued, “QNADA is pleased that non-government treatment providers are involved in the assessment, treatment, and case management planning for Drug Court participants. These treatment services are best placed to provide accurate information to the Drug and Alcohol Court team and the Chief Magistrate about the treatment and support they can provide to clients.  Ongoing involvement and collaboration will support positive relationships between the court and service providers and ultimately will be critical to its success.”

Ms Lang also acknowledged Lives Lived Well and the Salvation Army, both QNADA members, for their participation in the pilot program by providing places in their residential programs.

QNADA is the peak organisation representing the views of 49 non-government alcohol and other drug treatment services.  Through our sector expertise, network of experienced members and links across complementary human service delivery sectors, QNADA is well-placed to provide practical advice and front-line service delivery experiences to inform policy and program advancement for the sector.

For more information, anecdotes or comment, please contact Rebecca Lang on 0408 669 590.