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Long-term cannabis users on the New South Wales north coast

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Author: Peter Didcott, David Reilly, Wendy Swift, Wayne Hall

Resource Type: Monographs

NDARC Monograph No. 30 (1997)

Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in Australia but there is very little information on the characteristics of long-term regular cannabis users in Australia. We do not have information on: their patterns of cannabis use and the social contexts of cannabis use, the possible health consequences and perceived benefits of cannabis use, the lifestyle of long-term regular users, and the impact of cannabis on users, their families and the communities within which they live. The New South Wales North Coast was chosen as the site of the study of these issues because it is a region where there was a considerable concentration of long-term cannabis users.

The study had four major objectives. The first was to describe the characteristics of long-term cannabis users in a rural area. The second was to describe their patterns of cannabis and other drug use and the contexts of use. The third was to determine to the extent possible the prevalence and correlates of some of the harmful health, social and psychological effects that have been attributed to long-term cannabis use. The fourth objective was to investigate the attitudes and beliefs of cannabis users, their families and significant others, about the reasons for their use of cannabis, the health and psychological effects of the drug, whether there was a need for treatment, and the effects of law enforcement on their cannabis use.