Homeless, homeless 
Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake 
- Homeless, from Graceland album by Paul Simon

Venture out any night to the picnic grounds, car parks, beach dunes and sporting fields in and around any Northern Rivers town – Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore, Casino… the list goes on – and you’ll see people sleeping rough. Some will be in park shelters, others in their cars or vans, huddled in alcoves in town, in single tents issued by welfare agencies or under tarps strung between trees.

There’s nothing romantic about “moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake”, especially when the weather is wet or cold, let alone when you’re fearful of being assaulted, even sexually assaulted, or having your meagre possessions stolen by other homeless people, possibly affected by substance misuse or mental health issues, or by someone out to have ‘fun’ at the expense of the vulnerable.

Natalie Green (left), pharmacist and proprietor of Terry White Chemmart Alstonville, and pharmacist Alannah Mann.

The 6th Community Pharmacy Agreement (6CPA) www.http://6cpa.com.au/ provides funding for pharmacists to deliver professional services to eligible patients. These services are provided at no cost to the patient and they aim to improve patient outcomes and medication adherence, to increase communication with other health care professionals and reduce medication misadventure.

Whilst there are many components to the 6CPA, the most relevant to prescribers are described below.

Medication Adherence Programs include Dosage Administration Aids (DAAs) and Staged Supply. Dosage Administration Aids (DAAs) are often known as ‘Webster Packs’. Whilst these are particularly useful for patients with complex medication regimens with multiple medications, such as quarter or half tablets or alternate day dosing, they are also beneficial in many other situations.

At the launch of ‘Growing up on Widjabul Wia-bal Country’ were (l-r) Sarah Black from Friends Child Care Centre, Shauna McIntyre, project coordinator, Lynette Funnell Lismore Pre School, Elder Aunty Thelma James, and sisters Audrey (aged 7) and Eliza (5) Zwiers who have Wiradjuri heritage through their father.

The meeting room at Lismore Regional Gallery was packed with Aboriginal Elders and community members, representatives from funding bodies (including YWCA, Southern Cross University, Lismore City Council), early childhood educators and, most especially, young children and jarjums (children in the Bundjalung language), who had participated in this remarkable project.

The book launch began with a Welcome to Country by Widjabul Wia-bal Elder Aunty Thelma James, a key member of the coordinating team, and included a live performance of the song Every Child by local artists Chris Fisher and Marcelle Townsend-Cross, (aka Monkey & the Fish) well-known in the Bundjalung community.

Reviewed by Dr Zewlan Moor @ByronBiblioTherapy

Eggshell Skull by  Bri Lee, published by Allen & Unwin
Reviewed by Dr Zewlan Moor @ByronBiblioTherapy

Statistics show that about 1-in-5 women experience sexual assault (ABS - Personal Safety Survey, 2012) yet only 1-in-6 reports to police of rape and less than 1-in-7 reports of incest or sexual penetration of a child result in prosecution (Sexual Offences: Law & Procedure Final Report, Victorian Law Reform Commission, 2004).

This book, shortlisted for the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and Indie Book Awards, tells a personal story behind those figures. It starts off as a journey into the working life of a young, idealistic law graduate who lands a prestigious job as a judge’s associate and then does the rounds of the District Courts in rural Queensland.

In a report whose recommendations are unlikely to gain traction until after the federal election, and perhaps only then if the Coalition fails to regain office, the Dietitians Association of Australia is leading a push to thoroughly update the 26-year-old National Nutrition Policy.

Alarmed by the impacts of poor diet on preventable chronic conditions the DAA has launched the Nourish Not Neglect report, an advocacy document aimed at addressing Australia’s $70 billion p.a. bill for chronic illness.

Despite this unaffordable situation, the National Nutrition Policy has not been updated in more than a quarter-century, during which time Australia has slipped from being a “global leader” in dietary influenced health practices.