Did you know that 3.4 million Australians used an illicit drug in the last twelve months? Drug addiction is a disease that affects all walks of life. However, it’s not the only type of substance abuse afflicting the everyday Australian. Far more prevalent is alcohol addiction in our country.
This is due to the way our society has normalised drinking culture. It’s important to realize that like mental health, alcohol and drug problems are a biological condition. As such, the road to recovery needs to begin with strong programs and initiatives that support addicts who want to change.
In this article, we’ll discuss the drug and alcohol problem in our country, as well as what the Australia Department of Health is doing to combat it. We’ll also provide some resources for people interesting in recovery. Let’s get started!
How Common Are Drug Problems in Australia?
As we mentioned, the drug problem in Australia is incredibly prevalent. While substances like marijuana, acid, ecstasy and amphetamines are the most popular illicit drugs, they aren’t the most damaging. This category typically goes to ice (crystal meth), speed and heroin.
However, it’s important to note that illicit drugs aren’t the only problem in the country. Prescription drugs, like opiates, can be just as devastating. Every day in Australia, three people die from opiate overdoses and one hundred fifty are hospitalised. As such, any model of change must address both the illicit drugs found on the street and the legal ones supplied by pharmaceutical companies.
Why Alchohol Substance Abuse Is So Serious in Australia
In many ways, alcohol addiction is even worse than drug addiction in Australia. This is because the substance is legal in the country. As such, it’s much easier to abuse under the guise of a culturally accepted activity. However, drinking (particularly binge drinking) can cause serious problems.
In Australia, binge drinking is defined as six drinks over two hours for men and four drinks over two hours for women. One in six people in Australia drinks at levels that place them at risk of alcohol-related disease and injury. In addition to this, alcohol can addiction can affect the family members and friends of addicts, especially if they live with them.
Violence, verbal abuse and drunk driving are just some of the dangerous activities that alcohol causes. And that’s not even including the monetary price that alcohol addiction has on the country. If you want to learn more about the true cost of this type of addiction, then consult our guide.
What’s the Link Between Mental Health and Addiction?
It’s difficult to discuss addiction without first addressing mental health. Since the 1990s, researchers reported connections between individuals with mental illness and addictive substances. Research supports this hypothesis. A landmark report from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that people with mental illness consume:
- 69% of all alcohol
- 68% of all cigarettes
- 84% of all cocaine
There are a lot of reasons for this correlation. However, the most common one is that individuals use additive substances as self-medication to numb their pain or become more productive. Unfortunately, while this might work temporarily, it creates a whole new set of problems related to addiction.
If the path to recovery isn’t started, then substance abuse can quickly consume a person’s life. As such, any program or initiative that wants a good chance of succeeding needs to address this connection between mental health and addiction. Some tips on how to stay on top of your health and well being during Covid-19.
It’s important to view addiction as a complicated set of physical and psychological dependencies. Not a failure of the will on the part of the addict. Only then can the recovery paradigm truly begin for people in need.
What Is the Australia Department of Health Doing About Substance Abuse?
In addition to creating strategies, the Australia Department of Health also funds programs and initiatives to help stop the spread of addictive substances. In this section, we’ll give a summary of what these strategies and programs entail. If you want to learn more about the specific work that the department is doing, then make sure to check out their overview here.
National Drug Strategy
The National Drug Strategy is a national framework that aims to build strong communities by minimising the amount of alcohol, drug and tobacco-related harm. They do this by supporting the three pillars of reduction: demand reduction, supply reduction and harm reduction. Demand reduction works to prevent people from ever trying these addictive substances.
It also works to reduce misuse and help people who want to seek recovery. Supply reduction attempts to disrupt the supply and production of these addictive substances. It does this by preventing illegal drugs from being manufactured and regulating legal drugs. Finally, harm reduction works to prevent the economic, health and social problems caused by these addictive drugs.
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Drug Strategy
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals experience a disproportionate amount of harm from addictive substances compared to the general population. That’s why the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Drug Strategy works to provide more healthy communities for these people.
It does this by helping governments and communities to identify warning signs within there communities. Then, it helps them implement changes through policies and programs.
National Alcohol and Other Drug Workforce Development Strategy
The more people working toward reducing the number of drugs and alcohol in our communities, the more effective these strategies will be. That’s why the National Alcohol and Other Drug Workforce Development Strategy was created. The goal of this strategy is to get more workers involved in actively reducing and treating AOD disorders.
These workers need to be diverse in both their representation and capabilities. Specifically, it addresses the goals of workers in the welfare, health, justice and education sectors.
Initiatives and Programs
The initiatives and programs provided by the Australia Department of Health help address different needs in the community. The first is the Alcohol and Other Drugs Hotline, which gives individuals confidential advice on how to make a change in their life. The drug help campaign is designed to give support to friends and family with a loved one experiencing drug or alcohol addiction.
The Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre initiative helps provide educational resources over the harmful impact of substance abuse. The ASSIST (Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test) initiative helps individuals detect signs that someone might have a problem with addictive substances.
Finally, the Positive Choices initiative and the Local Drug Action Team Program initiative is an educational resource for parents and young people to start discussing the role of addictive substances in their lives.
Getting Help for Alchohol and Drug Addiction
The first step to recovering from alcohol and drug addiction is to understand that there’s a problem. Sometimes this can happen when family or friends stage an intervention. Other times, it can come from a personal realisation.
Regardless of where the realisation comes from, it’s important to try and detect them early by looking for warning signs. Here are some of the common indicators of drug and alcohol addiction:
- Discomfort if you don’t have your substance nearby
- Needing more of the substance to experience the effects
- Difficulty quitting
- Withdrawing from families, friends, or people who don’t use
- Having issues at work, school, or relationships
- Using substances to self-medicate
- Performing dangerous activities when you use, like drinking and driving
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Financials problems from paying for the substance
- Feelings of anxiety and depression
Serious cases of addiction require both psychological and biological treatment. The psychological aspect can usually be addressed through therapy. However, aggressive cases of addiction will have more success if they’re treated by medical professionals.
This means looking for rehabilitation facilities to completely remove yourself from the substance. Self-help groups can also help you find a community of individuals of people suffering from the same addictions as you. If you don’t know where to start with recovery, then contact drug info here. They will give you advice and resources to begin your road to recovery.
How Crescent Wealth Super Is Working to Fight Addiction
As you can see, alcohol and drug problems don’t mean that someone’s life is over. With the steps taken by the Australia Department of Health, these issues are finally getting the attention that they deserve. But how can you be sure that you aren’t unintentionally supporting an industry that targets people with substance abuse problems?
By choosing an ethical organisation like Cresencet Wealth Super. Here at Crescent Wealth Super, we believe that individuals wishing to retire shouldn’t need to compromise their core values to do so. That’s why we actively avoid investing in industries that prey on people with mental health problems caused by gambling, alcohol and drug addiction.
We actively work to fight against these societal problems. A good example is our partnership with the Brothers In Need organisation which serves disadvantaged members of the community. If you want to learn more about our Islamic super and investment fund, then make sure to contact us today and find out more.
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