ECU survey puts drug, alcohol use in the spotlight

ECU criminology researcher Natalie Gately is investigating alcohol and drug use among Perth’s
ECU criminology researcher Natalie Gately is investigating alcohol and drug use among Perth’s

The Young Adult Drug and Alcohol Survey is an anonymous questionnaire asking respondents aged 18 to 30 years old about their illicit and legal drug use.

Researcher Natalie Gately, who is running the survey in conjunction with the Drug and Alcohol Office, said information about this age group’s use of drugs and alcohol was often inferred, as other questionaries did not target that demographic.

‘The information we have about many young people aged 18 to 30 is from admittance into emergency departments and those that end up in fights,’ she said. ‘This research aims to get an accurate picture of drug and alcohol use.’

Dr Gately said statistics released last week by the Australian Institute of Criminology in the Societal costs of Alcohol Misuse in Australia report highlighted the need for a complete picture of young people’s substance use.

The report showed alcohol-related problems nationwide cost about $14.352 billion in 2010, with the main costs relating to reduced productivity, attendance at traffic accidents and increased use of the criminal justice and health systems.

It also showed the costs of alcohol misuse outweighed the revenue generated by taxes on it.

‘There has been much discussion about young people and crime, and the complication elements of those who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol in commission of those crimes,’ Dr Gately said. ‘This survey will provide invaluable information to assist the understanding of the prevalence and consumption of drugs by young adults.’

She said the information could then be used to inform alcohol policy.

‘Breaking the cycle of substance misuse has substantial benefits for the individual, their families and communities as well as being associated with substantial economic savings.’

The survey can be accessed online at ecuau.qualtrics.com.