Review of illicit drug use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet
Place of Publication
Most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people do not use illicit drugs, but the proportion of drug use is higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than among non-Indigenous people. Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; in 2012-2013, 19% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over reported having recently1 used cannabis. Research suggests high levels of heavy cannabis use in some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, which may be associated with dependence and harms to social and emotional wellbeing. Illicit drug use is associated with a number of health impacts and social harms that disproportionately affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. These harms include increased risk of contracting hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from injecting drug use [; higher levels of psychological distress ; and an increased risk of suicide. Illicit drug use is also linked with social issues, such as harm to children and family, violence, crime and incarceration. holders. Readers may see these terms used interchangeably withthe term ‘Indigenous’ in some instances. If they have any concerns they should be advised to contact the HealthInfoNet for further information.