This project seeks to provide an evidence based understanding of public opinion towards drug policy in Australia, by analysing empirical survey data.
Dr Francis Matthew-Simmons
- Identify the current state of public opinion in relation to alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs.
- To determine how public attitudes have changed over time, and
- To determine what are the most significant intra-individual predictors of attitudes towards drug policy.
The project analyses four waves of the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, examining a range of attitudinal questions relating to concern over drug use, drug law reform, and a range of different policy interventions. Trends over time are examined, as well as demographic predictors in the 2010 survey.
- There has been a notable increase in public concern over alcohol use between 2001 and 2010. However, this has not been reflected in any large scale changes in attitudes towards alcohol policy; there has been increased support for regulations that already exist (e.g. increased penalties for drink driving), but little support for an increase in alcohol price/taxation.
- Attitudes towards cannabis use and cannabis policy appear to be largely stable over this time frame, with a minority supporting cannabis legalization, but a majority opposing criminal penalties for cannabis possession.
- Public support for harm reduction interventions such as NSPs and regulated injecting rooms remains high.
Interim results were published in DPMP Bulletin 21: What does the research evidence tell us about what Australians think about the legal status of drugs? (link to publication below)
The project will provide accurate information regarding Australian public opinion towards drug and alcohol policy, and how opinions have changed during the past decade. This will give policy makers an evidence based understanding of the public’s views.