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Health Promotion Agency
Newsletter June 2013  
Welcome to the June issue of Ease up
In this edition we have:
  • Ruby’s Dad – a children’s story that can reduce the impact of parental addiction on children.
  • Say Yeah Nah message fits Slim’s Bar to a T.
  • Alcohol screening workshops for Hawke’s Bay GPs and practice nurses.
  • Guidance for councils on selecting and appointing members of District Licensing Committees (DLCs) is now available.
  • HPA Resource of the Month – Revised bar signage for the hospitality industry.
  • Details of two upcoming conferences.

As always, if you have an article you’d like to submit to Ease up (maximum word count 300 words) or if you would like to highlight an upcoming event, we’d love to hear from you so please email enquiries@hpa.org.nz.

Barbara Seddon


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Ruby’s Dad – Tool to tackle
impact of parental heavy drinking
on children
Sue Paton, HPA Principal Advisor Addiction, and Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wills at the book launch of Ruby’s Dad this week.

Sue Paton, HPA Principal Advisor Addiction, and Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wills at the book launch of Ruby’s Dad this week.

A new children’s book telling the story of Ruby, a young girl whose father has a drinking problem, is a powerful tool that can reduce the impact of parental addiction on children, says Health Promotion Agency Principal Advisor Addiction Sue Paton.

Ruby’s Dad, by Frances Rabone, is a New Zealand children’s book which was launched this week in Wellington. The book is a joint project between the HPA and Skylight - an NGO set up to support all ages through difficult change and loss.

The launch also had a panel made up of people including a mother and daughter telling personal stories of how they were affected by their parents’ drinking.  Suzy, the mother, provided insights from a parent’s perspective. “When I was using alcohol and other drugs I told myself that my daughters were not being impacted. There was a part of me that always knew this wasn’t true, however, the fear of not using ran so deep I couldn’t let myself see what was happening in my family.  After all, they were fed and clothed and went to school and so on. I would have liked to have had a wee book like Ruby’s Dad - for my daughters that would have validated their experience of growing up in such an unpredictable and sometimes dangerous environment. It may have also helped me to see the impact I was having on them and help them to feel less alone,” said Suzy.

Amy, Suzy’s daughter brought another perspective. “I relate to Ruby’s story in many ways…as a little girl spending the first eight years of my life in a home with two using parents...as a pre-teen with my parents in early recovery and now as an adult recognising the benefit a book like this would have had if it had been available,” said Amy.

Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wills who chaired the launch said the development of the resource was very timely and exciting. “Ruby’s Dad is the first resource of its kind here in New Zealand that focuses on the child’s experience of living with a parent with an addiction and will be a useful tool for clinicians. This book will help us make a difference to children like Ruby,” he said.

The book can be used as a therapeutic tool to kick start a conversation with parents in clinical settings; adult clients who are parents can be supported to read it to their child; it can be used as a tool for adult children who have a parent with problematic substance; and by a clinician with a child client as a therapeutic tool to have a conversation about how their parent’s problematic substance use is impacting on them.

Bice Awan, Chief Executive of Skylight, explained why Skylight partnered with HPA to produce this book. “Too often children hurt by the impact of alcohol go unnoticed. Children need their parents or carers to notice how terrible it can be for them when parents/carers drink heavily. By providing support information for children, and their parents and carers, Skylight wants to help them better understand how alcoholism can affect a family’s life and to learn about some ways to cope – and to have honest conversations about it.

Ruby’s Dad provides our community with a fantastic tool to build children’s resilience for the future if heavy drinking is a feature in their family or whānau,” she said.

To assist with the use of Ruby’s Dad in a range of settings the HPA and Skylight have developed guidelines for adult, family and child clinicians and parents and schools on how they can use it to help the child.

Copies of Ruby’s Dad can be ordered at

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Opotiki bar models the ‘Yeah Nah’ campaign
Slim’s Bar staff member, Frances Paget (L) and Liquor Inspector Dale Ashford-Hill.

Slim’s Bar staff member, Frances Paget (L) and Liquor Inspector Dale Ashford-Hill.

Slim’s Bar in Opotiki was quick to respond to the new Health Promotion Agency’s ‘Yeah Nah’ campaign.

David McCallion, of Slim’s Bar in Opotiki says his four bar staff are happy to wear the ‘Yeah Nah’ t-shirts because it sends the message they support responsible drinking.

“At Slim’s Bar I see us as in the business of being responsible hosts, and I was impressed with the ‘Yeah Nah’ advert when I saw it on television because of its strong responsible drinking message.”

Opotiki District Council Liquor Licensing Inspector, Dale Ashford-Hill, says the Opotiki District Licensing Agency is always keen to work collaboratively with local licensees to encourage host responsibility.

“This campaign is a great way to promote and encourage the message to respect the choice not to drink, and to back up your mates who are trying to ease up."

“It’s great to have the support of local licensees by bar staff wearing the t-shirts promoting awareness and highlighting the campaign in the community.”

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Hawke’s Bay alcohol screening extended

A previously highly successful programme of workshops for GPs and practice nurses on alcohol screening in the Hawke’s Bay is again up and running.

Psychologist Andrew Raven of Napier-based Kina Trust, says between 2010 and 2011 he and a colleague were contracted by the former Alcohol Advisory Council and Health Hawke’s Bay to train Hawke’s Bay doctors and staff to screen patients for alcohol abuse and ways to stage brief interventions if necessary.

“We ended up holding around 20 workshops over the two years and reaching between 85-95 percent of Hawke’s Bay’s GP practices,” Andrew says.

Based on work developed by the Whanganui PHO DHB in the mid-2000s and incorporating on-screen MedTech resources, the programme resulted in an increase in the number of Hawke’s Bay medical practices screening patients for alcohol abuse issues.

Earlier this year Health Hawke’s Bay and the Hawke’s Bay DHB began contracting Kina Trust to extend the training programme across the district and since April the Trust has held several workshops for GPs and nurses.

Andrew says over the next 18 months the Trust aims to take the training programme wider still and include youth and mid-wife organisations, Māori providers and other health and community services. Evaluation of the programme will be undertaken by the HBDHB.

Andrew says the Trust’s direct approach means the workshops are “hands-on to staff, are held in their workplace and at a time of day that suits them and their work environment."

A new tool that will assist future training is a Health Promotion Agency (HPA) funded e-learning module that will go live by the end of the month, says Sue Paton, HPA Principal Advisor Addiction. The e-learning module will be featured in a future Ease up.

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DLC member competency guidance released to councils

Local Government New Zealand, with the assistance of the Health Promotion Agency, has released guidance for councils on selecting and appointing members of District Licensing Committees (DLCs).

The guidance will help councils to develop job descriptions and run a DLC selection process that suits their local communities. The guidance is available at


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Resource of the month: Revised bar signage for the hospitality industry
The revised bar signage is now available.

The revised bar signage is now available.

The Health Promotion Agency has revised its bar signage to assist licensed premises with their compliance with the law.

These signs remind patrons that they will not be served if they are intoxicated, that alcohol will not be served to minors, and that if ID is requested but cannot be shown then service will be denied.

“The new signage colours of yellow against black provides a high contrast for improved visibility in a low light levels, yet are stylish enough to be useable in a variety of situations,” says Mark Lyne, the HPA’s Principal Advisor Drinking Environments.  “Furthermore, the co-branding with Hospitality New Zealand shows commitment from the hospitality industry in their use.”

The new signs can be ordered on line at www.alcohol.org.nz/research-resources

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Upcoming conference

Conference: GAPC2013

Co-hosted by the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Seoul City, and Samyook University.

Conference description
Under the theme “Alcohol, Civil Society and Public Health: From Local Action to Global Change,” the Conference aims to promote evidence-based alcohol policy through cross sector participation free from commercial interest.

When: 7-9 October 2013.

Where: Seoul, South Korea.

Coex Centre,
159 Samseong dong,
Gangnam-gu, Seoul 135-731,
S. Korea.

Cost: Earlybird registration (before 31 July) $US300.

More information: www.gapc2013.com

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Upcoming conference

Conference: 15th International Congress "Public Policy for Addiction Care"

Organisers: Centros de Integración Juvenil, A.C.

Conference description
For professionals in medicine, psychiatry, psychology, social work, nursing and sociology, researchers in addictions, public policy specialists, representatives of public and private sector, also undergraduates and postgraduates.

The objective is to share, review and propose public policies based on evidence for prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, research and human resource training in addictions.

When: 4-6 December 2013.

Where: Cancún, México.

Hotel Iberostar Cancún,
Boulevard Kukulcan, KM. 17 Cancún

Cost: $1,500.00 Mexican pesos

More information: www.cij.gob.mx/Congreso2013/indexI.html

ISSN 2230–4215
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