Teenage Drug Abuse in Australia

Drugs can be classified as licit; alcohol and tobacco, and illicit substances; heroin, cannabis and ecstasy. By smoking, inhaling, injecting, eating and swallowing, teenagers are taking drugs through curiosity, peer pressure, to help relax or to feel confident in social situations. Alcohol, tobacco and cannabis are the most commonly used substances by teenagers in Australia, with one in five teenagers trying cannabis at least once before the age of 18.

What is the Government doing to prevent Teenage Drug Abuse in Australia?

Operating since 1985, the National Drug Strategy and National Campaign Against Drug Abuse has worked as a team, with strong political support, to improve health, social and economic outcomes for Australians by preventing the use of harmful drugs. NDS and NCADA work to reduce the harmful effects caused by licit and illicit drugs used in society.

Since 2001, the National Drugs Campaign has used advertisement, public relations and promotions, resource development and online communication activities to spread drug prevention awareness, targeting youth between the ages of 15 and 21, as well as parents of 13 to 17 year olds. NDC aims to reduce young Australians motivation to abuse drugs, increasing the knowledge about the potential negative consequences of drug abuse.

What are the dangers surrounding drug abuse?

Drug abuse involves a few dangerous consequences that can ruin a human body and affect the way it functions.

Irregular heart rate can be controlled with treatment.

Heart failure occurs when your heart muscle doesn't pump blood as well as it should, treatments can improve the signs and symptoms.

Blood borne diseases can spread through contamination by blood and other bodily fluids through needle sticks, being splashed with blood or oddly fluids through the nose, mouth and eyes. It is important to seek medical attention immediately.

High blood pressure is the pressure of your blood against the inner walls of your arteries, treatments and medications can control this.

Infertility is the inability to conceive as a woman, and problems with the production of sperm and eggs. Treatments are available, although not guaranteed.

Learning and memory difficulties are the effects of the chemicals changing in the brain. Drug treatment programs can help to reverse some negative effects, although not all.

Lung damage slows down the function of the lungs, and unfortunately no treatments have been found.

Seizures change the brains electrical activity, and if left untreated, seizures can worsen in terms of symptoms and become longer, which can lead to a coma or even death. Treatments are available, but seizures can not be prevented from occurring.

What to do when a teenager needs help with their drug addiction?

In our lives we may come accross a loved one with an addiction. What we need to remember is this: if they don't want help, then whatever actions you take to assist them will go without any response on their part. However, some people with addictions realise how bad it is for their health and the toll it is taking upon their loved ones and reach out for help. In this case, contacting the family doctor is always a good idea, asking for professional advice on the situation at hand. Making contact with an addiction specialist could help you find relevant treatment clinics, where professionals can help to assist with the drug addiction.

Where can one with a drug addiction find help?

If you yourself are struggling with a drug addiction, there are many hotlines that can help you find the appropriate help. In the mean time, making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your rehab options is a start to recovery. Youth Support and Advocacy Service aims to engage, support and strengthen highly vulnerable and high risk youth affected by or at risk of being affected by alcohol, drugs, mental health issues and social disconnection. Counselling sites online are free and offer non judgemental help, discussing your options for what to do next.
If you struggle with a drug addiction, do not think you are battling this one your own. Loved ones surrounding you are willing to step in and help as long as you are willing to let them in.