Illicit Drugs – General

An illicit drug is one that is illegal to have (for example, cannabis, heroin, and cocaine), and the non-medical use of drugs that are legally available such as pain killers and sleeping pills [22491][33425].

What are the harms from using illicit drugs?

Using illicit drugs can lead to health problems including [22491][32347]:

  • injury
  • chronic disease (heart and liver problems)
  • blood-borne viruses (infections like hepatitis and HIV)
  • lower levels of social and emotional wellbeing (mental health problems)
  • increased risk of suicide.

The whole community can be affected by the negative impacts associated with illicit drug use such as; an increased risk of harm to children and families as well as violence, assault and crime [31467].

Effective services to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people overcome the harms associated with illicit drug use are those that [31467]:

  • are initiated and controlled by the community
  • are culturally appropriate
  • are able to address a range of health issues
  • create strong partnerships with other organisations
  • are flexible in service delivery
  • have high levels of confidentiality with client information
  • provide a high level of training and skills development for staff.


Key resources


Workforce information



Turtle Dreaming by Donna Rioli

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