The dangers of illicit drugs - youth awareness soars
Awareness of the damage caused by illicit drugs has soared among Australia’s young people over the past seven years.
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26 September 2007
Awareness of the damage caused by illicit drugs has soared among Australia’s young people over the past seven years, the Australian Government minister responsible for illicit drugs, Christopher Pyne, said today.
“There has been a significant increase in the number of 15-year-olds to 24-year-olds who now understand the serious harm caused by ‘speed’ and the methamphetamine group of drugs, which includes ‘ice’,” said Mr Pyne, who is Minister for Ageing.
“In 2000, only 35 per cent of this age group understood that speed made people aggressive. The latest research, carried out this year by Blue Moon Research and Planning, found that this figure had jumped to 91 per cent.
“There also were significant increases in young people’s awareness that speed was addictive (up from 54 to 91 per cent).
“Young people have been well aware for some time that ‘ice’ and heroin are strongly linked to mental health problems. Now more than 80 per cent realise that regular use of marijuana and ecstasy are also linked to mental health issues.
“These results highlight the powerful effect of the Government’s National Drugs Campaign and its Tough on Drugs initiative in reducing young Australians' motivation to use illicit drugs by increasing their knowledge about the consequences,” Mr Pyne said.
The research was commissioned by the Department of Health and Ageing and involved a national telephone survey by Blue Moon this year of 1,700 people aged between 15 and 24.
The research also showed significant increases over the past seven years in young people’s understanding of the addictiveness of marijuana (up from 66 to 86 per cent) and ‘ecstasy’ (up from 69 to 83 per cent) - and that marijuana could make people lazy and lethargic (up from 65 to 91 per cent).
This research is being used to develop a new $21.6 million Australian Government campaign designed to educate people about the strong links between illicit drug use and mental illness to begin early next year.
The full report can be seen at http://www.health.gov.au/pyne
Media contact: Adam Howard 0400 414 833
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