Previous policy and research highlights

Staff training on behalf of the NSW Government

Anex was contracted by the Department of Health in New South Wales to deliver the Implementation of the NSW Health NSP Training Project. The aim of the project was to enhance the skills of the primary and secondary NSP workforce to strengthen and further develop service delivery across NSW. The project involved several components including conducting consultations with Area Health Service (AHS) key stakeholders to determine local implementation strategies; developing training based on state-wide core skills and knowledge for the needle and syringe workforce; and delivering and evaluating training that meets the core skill requirements for the NSP workforce and accommodate local learning needs. In total, 17 workshops were held across NSW from June to August 2008 and were attended by 228 participants. A discussion paper on sustainable training opportunities for the NSW NSP workforce was completed.

Pharmacotherapy access and service provision review for the Victoria Health Department

Anex was contracted by the Victorian Department of Health to conduct a Rapid Situational Assessments of pharmacotherapy access and service provision in the Barwon South Western (Geelong and west to SA border) and North West Metro Regions.
The project has three phases: literature review, inter-sectoral consultations and reporting. In person consultations have been undertaken with regional stakeholders in Geelong, Colac, Portland and Warrnambool. In addition, a number of key informants, representing a broad cross section of interests and expertise, have been consulted.
The results of this on-going review will identify short and long-term solutions to increasing service capacity as well as client accessibility for these regions and the state. The review was completed on behalf of the Department in 2010.

Reducing youth risks of contracting transmissible disease – A project for the Victoria Health Department

This project aimed to build the capacity of NSP workers in Victoria to respond to the sexual health needs of young injecting drug users at risk of contracting BBV/STI (blood borne viruses and sexually transmitted infections). The project involved a review and analysis of existing literature and commentary in Australia and internationally on sexual health issues for young injecting drug users and other “at-risk” young people. In addition, broad consultations were conducted with urban and regional stakeholders working in the areas of sexual health, harm reduction and youth services, as well as with young injecting drug users. The project has led to the development of a resource kit for NSPs to support sexual health promotion.

Review of drug services in drug trade hotspots

The Rapid Situational Assessment of NSP Service Provision in Outer West Metropolitan Melbourne was conducted in response to identified NSP access issues in one outer suburb of Melbourne. The project involved conducting a survey of over 100 injecting drug users, facilitating focus groups with NSP service users and consulting with local stakeholders. The project identified the existence of a significant number of injecting drug users in the area and led to a series of recommendations for ensuring adequate access to sterile injecting equipment.

Drug treatment: Challenges and solutions

Anex has also undertaken a project entitled: Pharmacotherapy in Victoria: Issues, Challenges and the Way Forward. This project was designed to determine key challenges in the current system of pharmacotherapy service provision and use in Victoria and possible solutions. The project undertook detailed scoping of the main issues facing prescribers, dispensers, related service providers and service users in pharmacotherapy programs across Victoria. The key activities of the project were to review literature of existing research, conduct consultations with stakeholders that provide pharmacotherapy and related services, conduct qualitative interviews with clients and analyse all data and develop into a report which outlines results and potential future solutions.

Supporting drug replacement programs

In 2009 Anex was contracted by the Department of Health Victoria to assess and advise on the efficacy of methadone and buprenorphine programs (opioid replacement therapy or ORT) in the state’s South West Region. This research came in response to concerns raised by drug and alcohol service providers, GPs and local government interests in regards to the sustainability of such programs in the region.

The research highlighted both the strengths and weaknesses of the current system and outlined a number of strategies to effectively address identified concerns. Through extensive consultation with service providers, it became apparent that agencies had developed innovative solutions to service shortfalls with the means available to them. Whilst it was recognised that the existing provision of ORT represented excellent value for money in relation to Departmental investment and positive community outcomes, an ever increasing client base paired with stagnating prescriber and dispenser numbers had lead to a system that was bursting at the seams.

The success of this project in identifying realistic, solution based recommendations for a sustainable and enhanced treatment system, lead to an opportunity for Anex to conduct a similar process in the North Western Metropolitan Region of Victoria.

Young people, sexual health, injecting drug use

With funding from the Victorian Government’s Blood Borne Virus and STIs Health Promotion Initiative 2007/2008, Anex worked in collaboration with The Alfred Hospital’s Education and Resource Centre (ERC). The partnership project, Responding to the sexual health needs of young injectors at risk of contracting Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmitted Infections (BBV/STI), identified young people involved in injecting drug use as particularly vulnerable to experiencing poor sexual health. Furthermore, this population is more likely to be marginalised and therefore less likely to engage with mainstream health services. To address these issues, the project aimed to build capacity within services and agencies to address the sexual health needs of this population group in their work.

A number of training sessions were delivered to NSP and youth service staff. Feedback from the training sessions was positive, indicating that objectives were met.