New program to assist athletes with drug problems

Athletes with a drug problem will now have more psychological support, with the launch today of a new Government-funded program.

The training program, developed by the Australian Psychological Society and funded by the Australian Government as part of its Illicit Drugs in Sport program (IDIS), is designed to equip psychologists with specialist knowledge to assist athletes with drug problems.

“Athletes are often under pressure that can lead to or worsen illicit drug use,” said Associate Professor Lynne Magor-Blatch, National Convenor of the APS Psychology and Substance Use Interest Group and Chair of the expert committee developing the program.

She said the Government had recognised the psychological factors influencing illicit drug use among athletes and had moved to provide expert targeted support for them.

“We put our young athletes up on a pedestal and we expect a lot from them, in turn we need to provide adequate support to help them cope with the expectations and pressures of high level competition,” Associate Professor Magor-Blatch said. “Performance pressure, money and adulation can be a heady cocktail and can lead vulnerable young people into trouble.”

Professor Margaret Hamilton, executive member of the Australian National Council on Drugs, launched the project at the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD) Conference in Hobart this morning.

For more information about the Illicit Drugs in Sport program visit www.idis.gov.au or to find out more about the training course and counselling services available contact the Australian Psychological Society by emailing idissupport@psychology.org.au or by calling (03) 8662 3378.            

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For media enquiries please email media@psychology.org.au or call Karen Coghlan on 03 8662 6638 or 0435 896 444, Rebecca Matthews on 03 8662 3358 or Judith Heywood on 03 8662 3301.                                                                                                              

The APS is the largest professional association for psychologists in Australia, representing more than 20,000 members. The APS is committed to advancing psychology as a discipline and profession. It spreads the message that psychologists make a difference to peoples’ lives, through improving psychological knowledge and community wellbeing.