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Top drug advisory council seeks youth input on drug policy

image - Teenagers Square
Date Published:
5 Nov 2012
Contact person:
Erin O'Loughlin
02 9385 0124

Do young Australians want illicit drugs to be decriminalised? Are they confident an increase in the price of booze will stop their peers from binging? Do they think police with sniffer dogs help to curb drug use at festivals?

It is easy to jump to conclusions about what generations Y and Z may think about alcohol and drugs, but to date there has been very little evidence collected on how young people think drug and alcohol-related issues should be handled by governments.

Now, the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at the University of New South Wales is casting assumptions aside and asking 16-25 year olds directly: what do you think about Australia’s responses to alcohol and other drug use?

The survey has been commissioned by the Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD) and is being administered by the Drug Policy Modelling Program (DPMP) at NDARC and the Youth Support and Advocacy Service.

Among the initiatives organisers are seeking young Australians’ opinions on are:

  • the curbing of late night trading hours of pubs and clubs
  • the provision of low-alcohol drinks at sporting events
  • putting up the price of alcohol
  • raising the minimum drinking age
  • decriminalising drug use
  • the use of drug testing in schools and workplaces
  • the use of sniffer dogs
  • regulated injecting rooms, where people can inject drugs in a safe place
  • the provision of treatments that mimic the effects of illicit drugs, like methadone for heroin users


DPMP research associate Dr Francis Matthew-Simmons said the information collected may be used to directly influence Australia’s drug policy.

“The ANCD is the official body advising the Prime Minister and the Federal Government on what it ought to do about illicit drugs and here it is actively seeking out young people’s opinions. If teenagers and those in their twenties want to get a message across to authorities on how they should respond to drug and alcohol use, this is a prime opportunity.”

Organisers are seeking responses from more than just drug users.

“We want to hear from young people all over Australia, from Perth to Port Macquarie and everywhere in between. It doesn’t matter if they have never taken an illicit drug, never touched alcohol, or drink and use drugs regularly - every Australian aged 16 to 25 can take part,” Dr Matthew-Simmons said.

The survey is available at www.youthdrugsurvey.com.au and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. It will remain open until 5 December 2012 and responses are anonymous.

The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Substance Misuse Prevention and Service Improvements Grants Fund.


Media contacts:

Marion Downey, Communications manager
m.downey@unsw.edu.au / 02 9385 0180 / 0401 713 850

Erin O’Loughlin, Communications officer
Erin.oloughlin@unsw.edu.au / 02 9385 0124 / 0402 870 996