The Population Health Research Program investigates trends and emerging patterns of alcohol and other drug use and associated harms within and across populations at local, state and national levels.
We also examine contributing factors such as social, cultural and environmental determinants and contexts of alcohol and other drug use and harms.
The program informs the sector and the wider community by disseminating research results to a range of audiences through a variety of mechanisms.
Core activities of the program include the development of innovative methods to examine drug use patterns and related harms through the analysis of surveys, official statistics and administrative data.
The Ambo Project
Established in 1998, the purpose of the project was initially to maintain a mechanism for the surveillance of illicit and licit drug-related events attended by ambulance across Melbourne.
Since then the project has expanded to include the whole of Victoria and from 2012, other states and territories have been included. Victoria continues to be the flagship state and the most comprehensively covered.
Ambulance attendances for every day of the year are coded by a team of specially-trained research assistants and the data analysed to identify changing trends and patterns.
Previously, results were disseminated by a large annual report but at the end of 2016, AmboAODstats website was launched, providing as interactive interface where specific substances or geographic areas can be accessed and displayed.
The website reports key information about alcohol, illicit and pharmaceutical drug harms requiring ambulance care.
It can allow local councils, law enforcement agencies, health services and the broader community to have more ready access to information data.
Ambulance Victoria has been a key partner with Turning Point in the development of the website.
AODstats provides information on the harms related to alcohol, illicit and pharmaceutical drug use in Victoria. The data is obtained from numerous sources, ranging from government departments to drug and alcohol treatment agencies and the information provides a convenient statistical and epidemiological resource for policy planners, drug service providers, health professionals and other key stakeholders. The data and maps builds on and updates information previously provided in text format; delivers the most recent data available; and provides a monitoring tool for alcohol and drug trends.
The Victorian Department of Health has been funding Turning Point to deliver annual editions of the Victorian Alcohol Statistics Series and Victorian Drug Statistics Handbooks since 1999. The aim of these two comprehensive publications was to describe major patterns of alcohol and drug use, as well as associated harms in Victoria. In 2014, these volumes were redeveloped into an online interactive map in order to improve timeliness and usefulness of the data.