Showing posts from July, 2012

Are our kids really that bad?

Here is an edited version of an Opinion Piece I wrote for ABC Online way back in January 2008. If you believe the media you would quite honestly believe that we now have the ‘worst group of young people in the history of young people’. Current affairs programs and radio shock jocks love to tell tales of young people out of control, that we have higher rates of drug use than ever before and that drinking rates are through the roof.   I have been in an extremely privileged position over the past decade or so. Almost every week over that time I have been asked to speak to school communities right across the country about alcohol and other drug issues. I get to speak to a range of people about this subject and I continue to feel extremely positive about young Australians. So many of them are doing wonderful things, have made great choices and have amazing futures in front of them. When do we ever talk about them and celebrate the good things about our children? Now that’s not

Are Australians really the world's highest users of illicit drugs?

The annual release of the UN World Drug Report always creates a flurry of media interest in this country (I would imagine the rest of the world doesn't really take much interest in the contents!) mainly due to Australians and New Zealanders usually being awarded the dubious title of "the world's biggest drug users." This year was no exception! According to the report, annual use of all drugs, except heroin, in our two countries "remain much higher than the global average". The latest available data suggests that New Zealand has the highest prevalence of the use of cannabis, with Australia not too far behind, and our use of ecstasy, although falling in recent years, continues to be the highest in the world.We are certainly seeing increasing availability of cocaine across the country and rates of use appear to be rising accordingly. So what is the story? Are we actually the world's largest consumers of drugs and how is this report put together? When