Thursday, 04 April 2013

Under 30s alcohol and drug use to be surveyed

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beerCheersShe says that depending on the results, the survey could very well change the perception West Australians have of young adults and their drug use. Image: ElizabethA STUDY is investigating the use of alcohol and other drugs by young adults in a bid to develop and monitor illicit substance policies in Western Australia.

The Young Adult Drug and Alcohol Survey (YADAS) is an anonymous online survey focusing on responses from adults between 18 and 30 years of age, run by the Drug and Alcohol Office of Western Australia and Edith Cowan University (ECU).

ECU School of Law and Justice Chief Investigator Natalie Gately says there is a gap in knowledge about the drug and alcohol patterns of 18-30 year-olds in WA.

“The under 18 [alcohol and drug use] patterns are usually monitored through the Australian School Student Alcohol and Drug Survey (ASSAD),” Dr Gately says.

“The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) collects drug use data from households, and usually captures the mid-adult range. 

“The 18-30 year-olds are captured in the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia [DUMA] Project, but that is a recently arrested detained population.

“Therefore, there is little empirical data on the general population in the young adult age range.”

Dr Gately says researchers hope to get a better understanding of the patterns of alcohol use, the types of drugs used and the patterns of drug use amongst the age group which is ‘perceived’ to be the target age of drug and alcohol use.

“Data obtained will fill the gap in the knowledge of current trends of the drug use in adults in the most prevalent age range for drug use behaviours,” she says.

“It will provide the evidence to assist the monitoring of policies intended to reduce the use of and attenuate the harms associated with alcohol and other drug use.”

She says that depending on the results, the survey could very well change the perception West Australians have of young adults and their drug use.

“If it turns out to be lower or on par with older adults, it will dispel the myth that these young people are the main consumers of alcohol and drugs,” Dr Gately says. 

“If the patterns show a higher rate of usage, resources can be targeted to better address this age group.”

The survey begins with a short demographic section then goes on to ask questions about alcohol use, tobacco (cigarette) use, prescription drugs and illicit drugs.

Dr Gately says essentially what researchers want to find out is if particular substances are used, and if they are; how much and how often.

Find more information and how to participate in the survey here.

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