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Drugs

INTRODUCTION

Drugs are substances that have a physiological and often psychological effect on the way the body functions. Drug dependency affects many people; in 2016 the National Drug Strategy Household Survey estimated 2.9 million Australians to have used illicit drugs in their lifetime, though a small proportion develops a dependency or addiction. Drug use is a serious and complex issue that can have both short term and long term effects on the user, their family, friends and community. These can be severe effects, and can contribute to the development of mental illness. Since the 1980s, Australia has adopted a policy of “harm minimisation”, however Australian drug laws still criminalise any engagement with illicit drugs.

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[1] Antonette Gaffney and Jason Payne, ‘How much crime is drug or alcohol related? Self-reported attributions of police detainees’ (Report No. 439, Australian Institute of Criminology, May 2012) 1.

[2] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ‘The Health of Australia’s Prisoners 2012’ (2013) 78.

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