Indigenous Cannabis Epidemic

Cannabis use by indigenous Australians in Northern Australia is of epidemic proportions according to a recent study.

Over 70 per cent of adolescent males and 20 per cent of adolescent females were current users.

Of those indigenous cannabis users, 90 per cent were heavy users and were addicted after long term use spanning more than 5 years.

Between 30 and 60 per cent of cannabis users income was spent on cannabis which was supplied by dealers in urban or regional centres.

Regular cannabis users reported hallucinations, suicide ideation and depression.

Community violence increased when cannabis supplies were scarce.

Adolescent cannabis addicts were less likely to participate in community activities, traditional life, family life, training and education and more likely to have been imprisoned.

(Source: Medical Journal of Australia, 2 March 2009).

DRUG ADVISORY COUNCIL COMMENTS-

This report highlights the critical need for adolescent indigenous Australians that have a cannabis addiction to be provided with detoxification and rehabilitation that frees them from their addiction.

Heavy cannabis use has been proven scientifically to cause cancer, mental illness, brain damage, suppression of the immune system leading to more sickness, schizophrenia and heart disease so these addicted indigenous adolescents are at high risk.

Rehabilitation needs to be urgent, compulsory and comprehensive to ensure that these at risk young Australians are helped to be drug free before any more damage is done to them.