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  • Subject Name : Nursing

Rethinking Australia's Approach to Illicit Drugs


To the Editor

I am outraged after reviewing the statistics belong to the drug use in Australia and it was devastating that how the drug user number has increased from the past 3 years. The 43% of the Australians aged 14 or above utilized the drug in their life and around 3.4 million out of them have used the drug within the last 12 months. The illicit drug use has been an increase from 2016 to 2019 and major of them are cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018). The news highlighted by the Times-News (2019) highlighted that Australians holds the third position when it comes to the use of methamphetamine in the world with increasing participation of the regional population. The major crime groups are involved in the import of the drugs and sales that increase the harm to the community. The national drug strategy household survey data presented by Australian Government Department of Health (2019) cleared the picture concerning the involvement of the different age group in the drug use and its effects over the whole community as one. Around 4 per cent of the student are using ecstasy/MDMA in the past year with approximately 2 per cent used it in last month. I also evaluated that there are different drug and their use differs among the different section of society. Drug use has been a trend in the youth due to the cool attitude it attributes and thus youth are considered to be more attractive toward the drug use.

The study presented by Frei & Wodak (2017) discussed the use of crystalline methylamphetamine (Ice) in 2015 in Australia and the ice is now available in the drug market that increases the availability to the drug users. The easy availability of the drug increases the use from the 37 to 61 % that drastically affected the physical as well as mental health of the drug use. The borrowing, lending or reusing the drug needle increases the chances of health and behavioural issues like sexually transmitted disorder, drug-related death and mental health problem. The drug use has increased the addiction in the population that lead to an increase in crime and rivalry in the community which has decreased the safety of the population.

In the drug use school going children are not far away and they are also involved in drug or illicit drug use. The survey indicates that by the age of 19 around 23 per cent of males and 21 per cent of females have used illicit drug. The statistics of the 12-17 age group are 14 per cent of the boys and 12 per cent of the girl are involved in drug use (NEWS, 2020). I realised that disparity in the different section in Indigenous and non-Indigenous population has also covered the drug use as the Indigenous population is more involved in the drug use. The Indigenous population have a major contribution to the substances abuse they are 5 times more likely to use the drug when compared to the non-Indigenous group. One of the reasons that considered being associated with the increasing drug use in the Indigenous population is due to the tragic history of the colonization and discrimination in the policies. The easy use of drugs in the Indigenous population increases the risk for the substances related disorder, poor educational outcome and mental health issue. The 2 to 6 year older individual use dug when compared to the non-Indigenous population due to the easy flow of drug in the system (Snijder et al., 2019). After the evaluation of the findings, I also realised that youth are the major crunch of the population involved in the drug use due to the individual preference or peer trend. The drug use is highly influenced by the peers and sometimes individual start the drug use the peer pressure to improve their stand in the group. Some other factor that increases the drug use in the individual includes easy availability, accessibility and drug trying attitude. The cultural embedment of the drug use has also increased the social and cultural acceptance of the drug in the population that has also increase the utilization of the drug among the culturally diverse population (Pennay & Measham, 2016). These findings reveal that there is need to reframe the police and health promotion plan to improve the understanding of the population concerning the harmful effect of the drug and rehabilitation sessions to decrease the addiction by empowering them to increase their power to decrease the drug use.




The drug use is one of the major burdens over the community nowadays due to the deep root of the drugs in the population lives. The Australian population have increased the use of the drug from 37 to 61% and ages above the 19 are heavily involved in the drug that leads to a negative impact over the community. The drug use has increased the crime and rivalry in the community which had increased the threat for the community. The drug use has been associated with the negative health outcome not only on physical but mental health also which lead to the poor performance of the individual. The poor history of colonization and disparity of the resources also increase the drug use in the Indigenous community which has increased the flow which leads to drug use at the early stage. The drug use has become a trend and people are consuming it to be respected in the peer to maintain their status. The school-age children are also involved to use the drug once in their lifetime but sometimes it leads to the addiction which leads to poor academic performance. The peer pressure is also one of the aspects other than easy accessibility, cultural compatibility and trying attitude that directly increase the use of the drug in the community. There is a need to improve the law and policies that can hold the right regulation over the supply and use of the drug to improve community health.

References for Illicit Use of Drugs

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2018). Illicit use of drugs. Retrieved from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/behaviours-risk-factors/illicit-use-of-drugs/overview

Frei, M. Y. & Wodak, A. D. (2017). Beyond ice: Rethinking Australia's approach to illicit drugs. The Medical Journal of Australia, 206(4), 151–152. DOI:10.5694/mja16.00108 

NEWS. (2020). Drugs not the biggest substance abuse danger for school kids. Retrieved from: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-28/drugs-schools-and-the-dark-web/9488950

Pennay, A. E. & Measham, F. C. (2016). The normalisation thesis – 20 years later. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 23(3), 187–189. DOI:10.3109/09687637.2016.1173649 

Snijder, M., Stapinski, L., Lees, B., Ward, J., Conrod, P., Mushquash, C. & Newton, N. (2019). Preventing substance use among indigenous adolescents in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand: A systematic review of the literature. Prevention Science. 65-85. DOI: 10.1007/s11121-019-01038-w

Times-News. (2019). Regional Australia's addiction to meth third highest in the world. Retrieved from: https://www.stawelltimes.com.au/story/6816906/new-drug-report-paints-a-bleak-picture-of-regional-australia/

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