The Big Book Series

In recent years there has been a growth in the amount of written material available to people wanting information on the effects of drug and alcohol use.

A number of agencies have printed a range of very good substance specific information. Unfortunately most of these publications and pamphlets lacked visual impact and often appeared bland, even to adults, so it appeared unlikely that the average adolescent, who is far more visually sophisticated, would give them any more than a cursory glance.

While teaching in England, Julie Bowen of UnitingCare's Education & Training Unit, had used a range of resources that were bright and colourful, written in straightforward language and often with an element of humour. They target the general public, adolescents and users of specific substances and most importantly they were actually read by the target groups.

As there was no Australian equivalent, when she was a youth outreach worker Julie used these materials with her clients in Australia. Their response was very positive. The Education and Training Unit decided to produce their own drug information booklet aimed at meeting the needs of young people.

The Board of Governance at UnitingCare Moreland Hall approved the initial funding to produce a booklet aimed at young people. The aim was to produce a product that was appealing, accessible, that gave factual information about drug use, provided basic legal and emergency first aid information and provided contact numbers for those who required further information.

It was decided not to focus too heavily on alcohol, as this was the drug about which young people received most education.

big_book_on_drugs_revised_front_cover_5The Big Book on Drugs was written by Julie and illustrated by the cartoonist John Hartley. It has a bright, full colour illustrated cover which attracts people to it in the first instance.

Inside, it combines written information with humorous black and white illustrations. This publication has been enormously successful with over 6000 copies sold to schools, youth services, juvenile justice, Municipal Councils and the Department of Human Services.

The feedback from young people and agencies alike has been extremely positive and thanks goes to the generous support of the Share Appeal.

A National version of the Big Book on Drugs was launched in November 2001.

To distinguish it from the Victorian version, it has a new cover and contains new sections on drugs and the law and caffeine. This publication has been made possible with funding provided by the UnitingCare SHARE Community fund and the Potter Foundation. Julie Bowen was responsible for writing the new sections, John Hartley for the new cartoons and Belinda McKenzie for formatting the document and our thanks go to each of these talented individuals.

Teacher Resource packs have been developed for all of the Big Books. These packs include activities designed to support and enhance the information in the Big Books and are aimed at the middle to senior secondary level. Written by teachers for teachers - these packs can support the implementation of the health curriculum. These resource packs are available on request with the purchase of any of the Big Books.


The Big Book on Cannabis is the second book in the successful 'Big Book' series. It takes a considered and rational look at cannabis and its effects, its history and current legal status in Australia. The aim is to encourage informed decision making in relation to cannabis - to help people decide not to use, to cut down their use, or to use more safely. bb_cannabis_cover

The Big Book on Party Drugs is the third book in the successful 'Big Book' series. It uses a harm minimisation approach towards the use of party drugs and safety in the rave, club and dance scenes. Without condoning drug use, it accepts that some people use illegal drugs in the dance, party and club scenes and aims to reduce the dangers of using drugs while promoting good safety practices.

This book offers facts about party drugs, information to help users act responsibly and provides insights into people's actual experiences in parties and clubs.


To see a full listing or place an order visit the ReGen shop here.