Understanding and preventing substance use at a community level

Pressing need for more evidence to guide efforts to address substance use among young Indigenous Australians

(Narrative review)

This project reviewed the literature on evaluated efforts to prevent or treat substance use among young Indigenous Australians.

Publication in press.

Investigators: Lee, Jagtenberg, Ellis and Conigrave

Cannabis use and violence in three remote Aboriginal communities: analysis of clinic presentations

(Original research)

This comprehensive study explores the association between cannabis and violence in a randomly selected community sample in remote Arnhem Land (NT).

Publication underway.

Investigators: Lee, Sukavatvibul, and Conigrave

Top End Tobacco Project

(Original research)

In collaboration with James Cook University, this project aims to reduce tabacco smoking in three remote Aboriginal communities plus several homelands in the Top End (Arnhem Land) and the Northern Territory over a five year period (2007-2011).

In trying to help Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) individuals or communities to stop smoking or reduce the harms from alcohol, it is important to be aware of the strong biological basis to smoke or drink.

Baseline surveys were undertaken June 2008 to February 2009.

Preliminary data show up to 77% of the 400 community members interviewed identified themselves as current smokers.

More than half of these smokers are thinking about or actively trying to quit. Community members have expressed the need for greater community-based quit support.

Following consultation with community members, culturally and conceptually appropriate survey feedback is taking place through presentations at public meetings, to clan and family groups, to service providers and workplaces.

To date this, along with the baseline survey, has stimulated the development and implementation of community-specific intervention strategies. These include: assisting to build capacity in local health workers to deliver brief interventions and provide quit support, quit competitions and developing local language tobacco resources.

Hand-held expired carbon monoxide monitors have proven extremely successful in both verifying self-reported smoking status and creating opportunities for brief interventions in each community.

Investigators: Clough, Conigrave and Eades

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