Applications are now open for NCCRED's latest round of seed funding grants. The grants are designed to support innovative clinical research for the treatment of substance use disorder due to methamphetamine or emerging drugs of concern. For more information or to apply go to http://nccred.org.au/generate/nccred-clinical-research-seed-funding/
This brief report describes a survey design process undertaken in collaboration with industry stakeholders from government, non-government and other applied fields. This account highlights fundamental and contested issues of knowledge creation in research, situated within the broader contemporary context of social change addressing inequality and inclusion for historically marginalised and vulnerable groups.
The study comprised a non-probability survey of the Australian Alcohol and Other Drugs Workforce.
A reflective account is provided.
Significant and unanticipated differences in conceptual frames and perceptions of research ethics between the research team and industry representatives emerged during the collaboration, with major implications for the validity of the research process.
The traditional, and largely unquestioned, understanding of quantitative survey research methodology is encountering increasing challenges in light of contemporary considerations of identity, privacy and wellbeing of survey participants. Some of these differences seriously challenged conventional approaches to research methodology, quality and rigour. There is a pressing need for further exploration, discussion and debate regarding the process of knowledge creation, ownership and stewardship. Strategies to better equip the research community and their industry stakeholders to navigate issues of research veracity, integrity and rigour are urgently needed, including training and guidance on negotiate differences in values, priorities and perspectives for upcoming and established researchers.
Background: Globally, there is growing concern regarding workers’ illicit drug use and its implications for health and workplace safety. Young workers in male-dominated industries, such as construction, may be more susceptible to illicit drug use, risky drinking and its associated harms.
Purpose/objectives: To investigate drug use and perceptions of risk among male construction workers, drawing comparisons between workers under 25 years with older age groups.
Methods: Workers in Sydney, Australia (N = 511) completed a survey measuring past year illicit drug and alcohol use, psychological distress and perceptions of drug-related risks to health and safety. Prevalence in the total sample was compared with national estimates, and differences between younger and older survey respondents were examined using logistic regression models.
Results: Survey respondents’ cocaine, meth/amphetamine and cannabis use was significantly higher than estimates of male employees nationally (OR = 6.60, 3.58, 1.61, respectively). Young workers ≤24 were more likely to frequently use illicit drugs, drink heavily, and report psychological distress than those aged 35+. Workers ≤24 were least likely to perceive that drug use posed high risks to health or safety when compared with 25-34 and 35+ age groups.
Conclusions/importance: The findings highlight the high prevalence of illicit drug use amongst young construction workers, representing threats to workplace safety even if used outside work hours. Greater emphasis on potential adverse effects of alcohol and drug use and closer examination of contributory workplace factors are required. These findings have practical implications to inform occupational health and safety programs and interventions in high-risk workplaces.
There is growing interest in the role of the non‐government sector in the alcohol and other drug (AOD) service delivery system. This study examined the demographic profile of AOD workers in the non‐government (NGO) compared to government sector, to ascertain their professional development needs, job satisfaction, retention and turnover.
This study utilised cross‐sectional data from an Australian AOD workforce online survey that assessed participants' demographics, employment profile, professional development needs and barriers. The sample comprised 888 workers in direct client service roles.
Binomial logistic regression analysis indicated that NGO workers were more likely to be younger (<35 years), have AOD lived experience and have an AOD vocational qualification. NGO workers were more likely to earn below the national average salary and report job insecurity; but nonetheless were more likely to feel respected and supported at work, believe their work was meaningful and be satisfied working in the AOD sector. Their top professional development barrier was personal financial cost. NGO workers were more likely to report employer financial costs as a professional development barrier, whereas government workers were more likely to report staff shortages.
AOD services in Australia rely increasingly on the NGO sector. Quality services and care pivot on the size, capability and maturity of the workforce. This study highlights the need for systemic interventions addressing structural issues, and the professional development and ongoing support needs of the NGO AOD workforce. Without such support, Australia's AOD services will be potentially jeopardised.