INSIGHT: A local report has been compiled delving into the drug and alcohol habits of the area.
INSIGHT: A local report has been compiled delving into the drug and alcohol habits of the area. John Gass

Local drug habits broken down

UNHEALTHY relationships and easy access are just some of the precipitating factors leading locals to use drugs and alcohol.

A new 100 page, locally conducted report has just been made available, with some alarming truths divulged in the data.

The results come after a survey was circulated locally, with close to 500 individuals taking part.

"I think it's really awesome to think our community is acknowledging and aware that this is a challenge in our community, and across all community's, and we're not burying our heads in the sand,” report author Nicola Fischer from Community Development Services said.

"That's really important, firstly, to recognise a need for change and what are we going to do about it,” she said.

Ms Fischer's report aims to find the differing circumstances that lead both men and women to use drugs or alcohol.

"The report is clearly showing that early intervention is key to prevention and we need to start that awareness, education, campaigns really early on. It needs to be community wide and we need to be holisticly focused on the strategies we roll out so they are gender inclusive, age inclusive and culturally inclusive,” she said.

In analysing the data by gender, males identified peer pressure or social pressure from friends, family, community or social media (76.12 per cent), and experimentation (74.63 per cent) as their greatest risk factors.

Violent/controlling relationships rank in the top four risk factors for females (72.85 per cent). Easy access to drugs, and boredom and/or a lack of things to do was strongly supported (68 per cent) as a significant risk factor.

Nearly 78 per cent of women identified depression or anxiety as a reason for use. Nearly 30 per cent of females and 34.85 per cent of males reported exposure to drugs and alcohol at the age of 12-17 years.

"We must not fail to take into consideration current social norms and community stigma both of which can create a barrier to services for those vulnerable and in need,” Ms Fischer said.

"The report provides a brief outline of the proposed action plan for youth, other community control measures, next steps and most importantly key considerations which we hope will stimulate further research and collaboration and a continued effort to secure funding to deliver the key strategies discussed,” she said.

A copy of the report is now available at the public library and at the Granite Belt Neighbourhood Centre.

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