Govt targets party drugs in new campaign

By Abrad · May 10, 2006 ·
  1. Abrad
    Party drugs will be the target of a new campaign warning young Australians against the dangers of ecstasy and the link between mental illness and cannabis use.

    Until now, the government's 'tough on drugs' policy has mainly focused on illicit drugs such as heroin.

    But with growing evidence showing long-term cannabis users are more likely to suffer anxiety, depression and mental illness, the government wants young Australians to be aware of the drug's dangers.

    Health Minister Tony Abbott says the use of ecstasy and amphetamines is on the rise and the high level of cannabis use among young people remains a major concern.

    As part of the government's mental health package announced last month, $74 million will be spent on training drug and alcohol workers on how to recognise the link between drug use and mental illness.

    A further $21 million will go to frontline workers in indigenous communities, while almost $22 million will be spent on a community awareness campaign.

    A National Cannabis Control and Prevention Centre will be set up at a cost of $14 million over four years.

    It will be responsible for training specialists to educate young people on the dangers of cannabis, with new figures showing one third of Australians have used the drug and 300,000 people are using it on a daily basis.

    And the government will be relying on counsellors at university campuses to join the fight against drugs.

    A network of on-campus counsellors will be established to get the anti-drugs message through to university students at a cost of almost $20 million over four years.

    The government will also target alcohol use with $25 million going towards an education campaign.

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