Youth, drugs and alcohol

By November 20, 2018 March 11th, 2021 No Comments

What you need to know about youth, drugs and alcohol in Australia.

Myth busters

Many young people believe that Marijuana is a relatively harmless drug.

Fact: Marijuana often acts as a ‘gate way drug’ to more potent drugs and can actually be highly addictive. 1 in 11 people have the potential to become addicted. (National Institute of Drug Abuse)

Many people believe that once you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, it is a life sentence.

Fact: Drug and alcohol addiction does not have to last a lifetime. With the right support, anyone can end harmful drug and alcohol abuse.

Youth believe alcohol and drugs increase confidence.

Fact: Alcohol and drug use reduces one’s inhibitions and impairs judgment. This places users in potentially harmful situations which can lead to injury, ruined relationships and unsafe sexual practices.

Youth and alcohol in Australia

  • In Australia, alcohol is treated as a socially acceptable drug. In 2016, almost half of all secondary students (12-17 years) had consumed alcohol (Australian Secondary Student’s Alcohol and Drug Report, 2014)
  • Alcohol is a contributing factor to the top three leading deaths in young Australians (Alcohol and Drug Foundation):- Accidental injuries
    – Suicide
    – Homicide
  • Drinking early can cause problems with alcohol consumption later in life and can cause permanent damage to the brain
  • Irresponsible use of alcohol can lead to:- Binge drinking
    – Drink driving
    – Unsafe sex
    – Impaired brain development
    – Injury or death

Youth and drugs in Australia

  • In 2016, 3.1 million Australians reported using an illicit drug
  • The most common types of drugs used (in order):
  1. Cannabis (16% of students aged 12-17yrs reported to have used this drug in 2016)
  2. Pharmaceuticals
  3. Ecstasy (3% of all students reported having used MDMA in 2016)
  • The use of methamphetamines has decreased however, the use of Ice remains an issue as users are consuming the drug more frequently and at a higher potency.
  • 98% of secondary students reported to have never used amphetamines (Australian Secondary Student’s Alcohol and Drug Report, 2014).

Where you can find help

Sir David Martin Foundation funds two youth drug and alcohol residential programs – Triple Care Farm rehabilitation program and Triple Care Farm withdrawal program (for 16-24 year olds).

These are youth specific, holistic programs that help young people with substance addiction and mental health issues to get their lives back on track. For further support, you can contact:

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Family Drug Support: 1300 368 186

Youth Substance Abuse Service: 1800 014 446

Counselling Online: 1800 888 236

Parentline: 1300 310 300

Druginfo: 1300 858 584

How you can help

Early intervention is key. Our funded youth programs provide support for young people at a critical age. With the right support at the right time, young people have a better chance at breaking the cycle of issues like addiction and homelessness before it is too late. Click here to show your support and help save a young life today.