On the 23rd August 1999, the Manager of the South Australian State Office of the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care (AGDHA – the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing) informed the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (ADAC) that it had been successful in its application for funds for the ‘Development of strategies to address and reduce solvent misuse and other drug use in selected Aboriginal communities’. This project was subsequently named Makin’ Tracks, and work on it commenced in October 1999. The Makin’ Tracks has continued and was subsequently refunded for 2004–6, and 2006–8.

Key Findings:

  • From discussion with the key informants, are a number of elements that strengthen the Makin’ Tracks project, such as support for workers in isolation, consistency of support, and flexibility of the project.
  • The project officers are a key strength of the project, for a number of reasons. As well as being able to relate well to the youth people and the workers are complementary in their approach. Many key informants noted that the fact that both the Makin’ Tracks team are strong Nunga (Aboriginal) men is one of the strengths of the project.
  • Working directly with communities can be unpredictable; this has impacted on work of Makin’ Tracks. The project officers have to travel a great distance to assist some communities; however, the work in remote communities is affected by sorry business and other traditional activities.

In summary, the Makin’ Tracks project has continued to meet its aims and objectives and provided much needed support and assistance to the Aboriginal communities throughout Australia. In addition there are several important elements of the conduct of this project stand out and have implications for the way in which other Aboriginal substance misuse interventions are implemented.

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