Just launched in Sydney is a new program to identify future alcoholics and drug addicts. The program will run under the auspices of the Centre for Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use and will be the biggest in the world for research into the combined topics. The Centre will work with The Black Dog Institute and Royal Prince Alfred and Royal North Shore Hospitals in Sydney to ensure research findings are quickly translated into practice. More than 3000 NSW high school students are currently being studied to identify whether personality traits predispose them to drug and alcohol problems, and if early intervention can prevent them.
I’d like to put forward a suggestion here. We need to look right back to the beginning of the life cycle for viable, long-term and effective ways to counter the drug and alcohol epidemic and the epidemic of mental health issues. We need two optimally healthy parents conceiving optimally healthy babies, normal unmedicated births, breastfeeding with infant led-weaning and full-time parenting in the early years, then a lifetime of healthy eating habits (e.g. those who eat more fruit and vegies are less likely to be depressed).
I’ve contacted Professor Maree Teesson who is the head of the team at the new Centre - suggesting they might like to be involved in the roll-out of foundation, health-promotion, preventive education through community pharmacy. I await her response.