Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts Honours
School of Psychology
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
Dr David Ryder
Attitudes are essential to understanding the individual within the context of their social world (Perloff, 2003). Australia's policy toward drug use and drug-related harm encompasses a harm minimisation approach (Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy [MCDS], 2004). Harm minimisation seeks to ameliorate the social, economic and health consequences of drug use through a comprehensive framework of supply reduction, demand reduction, and harm reduction policies and programs (MCDS, 2004). This paper reviews the relevant literature on attitudes towards harm minimisation, both internationally and in Australia. Indeed, Australian research suggested (Bammer, 1995; Lawrence, Bammer & Chapman, 2000) that there is a heavy media influence toward strictly abstinence-oriented policies which influenced public opinion. Other Australian research (Makkai & McAllister, 1998; Single & Rohl, 1998) suggested a shift in the public consciousness toward viewing drug use and drug-related harm as primarily a health, not a moral issue. Research by Goddard and colleagues (2002, 2003, 2006) and Quick (2007) suggested that after exposure to harm minimisation principles there was a shift in attitudes toward acceptance of harm minimisation. Overall this research suggested that public attitudes may be shifted towards acceptance of harm minimisation which is the philosophy of Australia's current National Drug Strategy, through exposure to evidence on the efficacy of harm minimisation strategies.
McAlpine, A. (2007). The effect of brief education and dispositional variables on attitudes toward harm minimisation among a university student population. Retrieved from http://ro.ecu.edu.au/theses_hons/1031