Drug Education and the Australian Drug Problem

The drug problem encompasses all people from every kind of upbringing, belief, gender, or educational and economic status in life. The menace is not ordinary; rather its destructive effects are felt by both government and government organizations in the country which join hands to examine and evaluate the extent of the problem. There is only one reason why it thrives and it points to the realization that drug sale is business and it is very lucrative. It is therefore a huge source of income for many people. There are salient points that are going to be addressed in this paper.

Firstly, the primary issue of drug use and abuse is objectively looked at the national level as reflected in the statistical data from credible sources. The prevalence of the drug problem in Australia and the measures that the government implemented to arrest or reduce the issue are significant to the study. Secondly, considering that the expected interventions to combat the problem include education efforts, it is also worthwhile and essential that procedures done in the government’s campaign regarding the matter be thoroughly examined.

However, it is also argued that though drug education can supplement other strategies, it is not the most important and last solution to lessen or eliminate drug abuse in the country. Discussion Modernity brings with it many drawbacks that place man in deep jeopardy and the invention or discovery of drugs to help the human individual has certainly been a source of nightmare especially. Drugs are synthetic materials that either is used to help in the curative process or, it may utilize to bring about a desired state to the person without any qualms as to the downsides of ingestion.

~Demographics The Australian government has updated data on their recent survey on key substances that are used and abused which include and are classified as tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs and pharmaceuticals. For the purposes of this essay it is best to delimit findings on the data pertaining to only alcohol, illicit drugs and pharmaceuticals (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2007).

Referring to the prevalence of alcohol, the 2007 report point to 2004 surveys and its findings and the levels of drinking considered risky for what is deemed as short term harm lie at 35% which and at 10% when classified according the long-term harm it may pose (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2007). Referring to the use and abuse of illicit drugs, the most commonly used drug or common drug of choice among users is the Marijuana or cannabis at 34 percent. This is based still on the 2004 data in the same document produced by government.

Moreover, from same source, nine percent of Australian citizens ranging from ages 14 and above used methamphetamine in their lifetimes while three percent had used the drug in the last 12 months (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2007). ~ Results and findings There are significant items in the report that are crucial to legislation that concerns the drug problem in this country. This refers to the correlation of drug use and health problems or risks in the community. Data shows that in 2003, two (2) percent of diseases are attributed to alcohol and another two (2) percent to the use of illicit drugs.

One relevant information is the fact that Australians ranked 22nd worldwide in terms of alcohol consumption. In addition, in 2004, the use of marijuana or cannabis contributed to increased psychological disturbances in comparison with the same factor among non-users. On top of that, drug users experienced overdose at the rate of 46 percent (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2007). ~ Government Response Common interventions made available to the public where the drug problem is concerned include treatment services and law enforcement.

Pharmacotherapy is one form of intervention for clients between the ages of 20 to 29; the age range where most users are categorized. Where enforcement is concerned, drug related crimes lead the way. Drug use has become a problem because ramifications are destructive, fear inducing to the community, and at times fatal (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2007). ~ The education campaign option Around 1993 onwards, great strides toward the development of governmental preventive approach on the rising drug problem started to emerge.

Calling it a “galvanized action at the State level,” the task force formulated a needs assessment tool to measure the extent of the need and the possible applications, interventions that might be established (Midford & McBride, 1998). The direction commenced in the level of training the professionals (professional development) directly in contact with the target population, i. e. , the youth and young adults at risk, and the general population. How does the model look like? What are the concerns that are identified in the project? The government initiative was divided into phases.

This is to ensure that clear and succinct procedures and concepts are properly defined and understood by both stakeholders and implementers. It is vital to note that at phase one, professional development is given the primary attention: understandably, because they will be the implementers. The second phase is the involvement of the community: where a cooperative effort is a must to the overall success and sustainability of the campaign (the latter is actually a crucial factor to hopeful eradication or reduction of the drug problem).

The third phase is the deepening and broadening of the education efforts. Support system or linkages are reinforced and vital to all of these is the parent-support dynamic Midford & McBride, 1998). Specifically, the national initiative (NIDE 2007; Midford & McBride, 1998) in actuality served to supplement already pre-existing drug-related programs in place for a number of years. Linkages include the police department, private school groups, church related support systems and rehabilitation, health sector, and other government initiatives sector.

Summary of findings, implications, conclusion and recommendations NIDE’s strategy to evaluate the implementation and success of the program embraces the employment of focus groups, teacher survey and a host of other formal interviews elicited from various sectors as mentioned (Midford & McBride, 1998). The NIDE report is essentially important to the overall government efforts to quell the drug problem. As reported by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2007), survey showed that the trend for drug and alcohol use stabilized at the very least.

This is considered positive; we look at the fact that there was no increased rate of drug use in the years monitored. The evaluation that was conducted by the government yielded the following generalizations: “Drug education should be taught in the context of the school health curriculum” (Midford & McBride, 1998) The problem of drug abuse has to be dealt with in most effective ways and means especially that we have been dealing with this kind of problem for decades already.

However, to solve this quandary in measures that we have been using in the past, that is, outside of the school system, like rehabilitation centers, incarceration, and some other forms of punishment is to head for the same failures that we experienced in the past. There should be, by now, a system where every child at a very early stage of his/her life, education of the said potential problem with drugs is discussed in the classrooms wherein they are taught as to the negative effects of dangerous drug use to physical and mental health, and could put their future at risk.

The government should address the issue once and for all by creating a curriculum in every educational institution that ensures basic to thorough knowledge of the dangers of drug abuse. “Drug education should be conducted by health teachers. ” (Midford & McBride, 1998) Health workers and teachers should be given updates now and then to keep them abreast to the changes and breakthroughs in the world of drugs as well as to the new disguises that these drug underworlds are adopting through the evolution of time. Drug education, if ever incorporated in the educational system of schools, should be handled by health professionals.

They should be the first to know about the gravity of this threat among the youths and how serious the peril that it poses to the general population. It is only by education, and a kind that is preventive, that this perennial problem can be averted. When children are made aware early within the school premises of the ugly repercussions of illegal drug abuse, the odds of them getting into trouble with it in the future will be forestalled. “Drug education should be sequential, progressive and continuous with long term positive outcomes. ”(Midford & McBride, 1998)

With schools endowed with effective educational system within the program, the assumption is that the application of this preventive and curative prospectus has in them the short term as well as the long term positive outcomes in view. In simple terms, they are comprehensive yet easy to digest for the students in young age. They must also deal with the detailed ramifications of involvement to dangerous drugs. Since drug education in this kind of system is said to be comprehensive, it is presumably consistent, coherent, and linked to the goal of harm minimization.

Students in senior years must have acquired a robust stance backed by intelligent knowledge that cannot be swayed nor tricked by street smarts. Reference: 1. Midford, Richard & Nyanda McBride. 2007. “Evaluation of a National School Drug Education Program in Australia. ” National Center for Research into the Prevention of Drug Abuse, Curtin University. FGPO Box U1987, Perth WA 6845, Australia. 2. _________ Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2007. Statistics on drug use in Australia 2006. Drug Statistics Series No. 18. Cat. no. PHE 80. Canberra: AIHW.