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Curtin University
National Drug Research Institute

Preventing Harmful Drug Use In Australia

Research priority:

Reducing harm among people who continue to use alcohol and other drugs

The primary focus of this research priority area is to conduct research which informs policy and practice interventions that aim to reduce the harm to individuals, families, organisations and communities for people who continue to use alcohol and other drugs. The scope of the work is necessarily broad, and involves NDRI researchers from several discipline areas and research teams. The research work includes interventions from the most micro level, such as preventing harm for individual drug users and their peers, to the most macro level, such as contributing to the development of more effective drug treaties and international conventions. Historically, this work has focused on informing the development of better policy and regulatory systems with the capacity to improve the situation for thousands of people and create a macro context that supports the challenging work of treatment, harm reduction and other interventions that are implemented at an individual level.

Examples of research projects in this area include research contributing to the development of new cannabis laws in Western Australia and an evaluation of the impact of those changes; a study of repeat drink drivers to inform better countermeasures for this group of high risk offenders; studies to reduce hepatitis C transmission among people who inject drugs; research to understand and improve responses to alcohol use by older Australians; studies to improve responses to prevent fatal heroin-related overdoses, including the feasibility of improving access to naloxone (Narcan®) for peer administration; provision of research evidence leading to the inclusion of harm minimisation provisions in liquor licensing laws; informing strategies to reduce alcohol-related harm in the late-night entertainment environment; and development of a model to minimise harm associated with teenage drinking at major events.