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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Patterns of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis use and related harm in city, regional and remote areas of Australia



Prevalence of substance use and related harms
differs across geographic locations, with prevalence increasing with remoteness. This paper builds on previous research, investigating patterns of problematic use by remoteness.

Analysis of the National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) data from 2007 by geographic location (in accordance with the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) remoteness index).

Problematic cannabis use was predicted by demographics; older males with less education were more likely to report problematic cannabis use regardless of location. Younger, less educated males in inner regional and remote areas were more likely to report risky alcohol consumption for short term harms, while older, less educated males in outer regional and remote areas were more likely to report daily drinking. People from remote areas were significantly more likely to report driving under the influence of alcohol.

It is clear that men with lower levels of education were significantly more likely to report problematic alcohol and cannabis use patterns. An additional level of risk is associated with living in inner regional and remote areas, particularly in relation to risky drinking. Findings suggest a complex relationship between remoteness and substance use which requires further investigation.

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