Alcohol, drugs and Australian young people Academic Article uri icon


  • Experimentation with alcohol and other drugs is often seen as a normal part of adolescent development. The harm associated with substance misuse in young people include injury, violent behaviour, sexual risk taking, drink-driving, overdose, toxicity and death (1-4). Australian young people are drinking alcohol and using illicit substances at an earlier age than previous cohorts (5). hey are more likely to binge drink, have poly-substance use and are at risk of co-morbid mental health problems (1-3). The reasons young people use drugs are complex and varied. An effective response to illicit drug use by young people has to be holistic, as complex and varied as the needs it addresses. It must seek to prevent minimize and manage harm caused by drug use and must be provided to and involve young people in the context of their family, peer group, school and community. Reaching out to young people with drug and alcohol problems is everyone's responsibility. Australia has developed specific prevention and early intervention programs for young people at risk of substance abuse however, further research and development is still needed for effective prevention, early intervention and treatment programs.


  • Milne, Bronwyn
  • Bell, James
  • Lampropoulos, Basiliki
  • Towns, Susan

publication date

  • January 2007