National Drug Strategy 2010-2015 Roundtable Consultation Report
6 Emerging Issues
The roundtables participants were asked to consider and discuss the following questions:
- Identify any emerging issues or new trends in drug use that may impact the new National Drug Strategy.
- What are the particular opportunities and challenges these issues or trends are likely to pose for the community and the alcohol and drug sector over the next 5 years?
Participants identified that increasing numbers of people with alcohol and drug issues are presenting with a range of complex needs – including mental illness, hepatitis C, family relationship breakdown, domestic violence, homelessness and other health, social and economic issues, which is increasing demands for case co-ordination and management across the various sectors. This was consistent with a recurring theme related to improved service integration across the various sectors.
Participants noted that the internet presents both an opportunity and a challenge in relation to the NDS. It was noted that use of social networking sites is providing a means for acquiring equipment to establish “suburban laboratories”. It was also acknowledged that the internet provides an increasing source of information on drugs, which is leading to greater drug experimentation and is also providing increased access to both licit and illicit drugs.
In terms of opportunities, participants noted that the internet also provides a great opportunity for providing education and information to specific and sometimes hard to reach target groups (such as youth) and those working in the sector.
Other emerging issues and concerns were raised about the following:
- loss and grief arising from fragmentation of families due to substance misuse affects the ability to pass on stories and is affecting culture in Aboriginal communities;
- a trend of increased violence in communities due to substance misuse;
- the ageing population and ageing workforce – presents a complex future agenda coupled with disadvantage;
- there needs to be a stronger and more formalised partnerships between the Alcohol and Other Drug sector, State based community services (child protection, domestic violence) and law enforcement; and