Australia Has a Serious Addiction Problem

Australia Has a Serious Addiction Problem

Alternative Treatment, Articles, Australia, Education, International, Treatment, Understanding Addiction

Australia Has a Serious Addiction Problem

Addiction is defined as the act of being addicted to a specific substance or behavior. In psychology, addiction is defined as “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry.” (American Society of Addiction Medicine, 2018). This is further characterized by an inability to abstain with consistency from the substance or behavior. Without treatment and recovery activities, addiction is a serious problem that is progressive and can lead to disability or death.

Addiction in Australia

For Australia, the addiction problem is one of the country’s greatest issues. There are literal millions of Australians and their families that are struggling with a wide range of issues related to substance abuse and use. Unfortunately, for many, they do not receive treatment. There are always challenges to treatment, but it is available. This will be discussed at the end of this post.


For Australia, alcohol is one of the greatest dangers. In fact, nearly 6,000 people die each year from alcohol related incidents. That averages one person every 90 minutes each day. Too often, people overlook the dangers of drinking because it is legal, but alcohol is just as dangerous and addictive as illegal drugs or illicit drug use.

Alcohol can inhibit decision making abilities and puts great strain on the body, yet it is culturally acceptable. Even binge drinking has become a popular pastime for many. This can lead to a lifelong dependence. In Australia, binge drinking is defined as 6 drinks in two hours for men and four for women.

Illegal Drugs

Australia also has an issue with illegal drug use given the relatively small population size. Though marijuana is still the most commonly used drug, ecstasy, hallucinogens, and amphetamines are also popular. Close to three million people have tried ecstasy and that does not include the other drugs that fall into the hallucinogen or amphetamine categories.

The problem is that many people see overcoming addiction as something that requires only willpower. The truth is that overcoming addiction takes much more than willpower to overcome and stay clean long term. Addiction is actually a biological response by the body. For some drugs and individuals, a single use will leave the body craving more.

Prescription Drugs

Though legal, it is possible to become addicted to prescription drugs or to use them in an illegal manner. This is a problem in Australia. One study showed that as of 2017, doctors in Australia were writing 14 million opioid painkiller prescriptions annually. While this may not seem like a bad thing, about a tenth of people who take opioid painkillers, will become addiction or dependent. This translates to 1.4 million people in Australia alone who are addicted to pain killers. The saddest part is the prescriptions likely started as a real need for pain relief. While this is not true for all as some people doctor shop to gain access to these drugs, many had a real need.

People tend to underestimate the danger of opioid prescriptions because they come from a doctor for a real need. Just because something is medically useful, does not ensure safety. In 2015 it was found that well over half of drug related deaths in Australia were due to prescription opioids.

What to Do

With temptation running rampant in Australia, it can be tough to abstain. This is especially true when the drug of choice is a prescription or legal, such as alcohol. Some may even see minor drugs such as marijuana as harmless, even though it is illegal. This can easily lead to addiction and the issues that arise with an addiction.

Some may feel that the best way to escape addiction is to simply stay away. While an environmental change can be helpful, professional help is often required. That is where an in-patient facility can be greatly beneficial.

Seeking Help at DARA

If you or a loved one is suffering with an addiction of any type, consider DARA as an option for help. DARA is one of the top in-patient rehab facilities in the area with multiple locations in Brisbane, Melbourne, Auckland, Sydney, and others.

On average, a stay at DARA lasts between 6 and 12 weeks to help face the addiction issues in your life. DARA provides a luxury, resort style facility with amenities that will help you heal and be comfortable at affordable rates. Whether you are drawn purely by the need for help, the rates, or the beautiful views, DARA can provide you with the best. Each and every patient receives treatment that includes physical, spiritual, and mental aspects to get a good start on the road to recovery.

DARA Treatments

Australia Has a Serious Addiction Problem

DARA focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy, also called CBT. CBT is a form of therapy that helps an individual identify specific behaviors and then the thoughts, feelings, and actions that make up those behaviors. Once these are identified, a change in the thought process can lead to changes in life.

In addition to CBT, DARA uses physical activity and nutrition to help each patient heal from the inside out. A part of most addictions is a lack of self-care. This lack of self-care can lead to vitamin deficiencies poor eating, and lack of exercise. At DARA, top chefs in the area prepare daily meals and some form of physical activity is required each day. Activities such as swimming, yoga, and time in the gym are likely options. As the mind heals from the addiction, the body can begin to heal as well.

There are also weekly times of meditation and massages are offered three times a week for every patient. These are designed to both help patients relax and to release toxins from the body that have built up from drug and/or alcohol use and abuse. An additional education component about addiction is included to help individuals understand how addiction develops and continues.

The key to the success of DARA centers is the combination of these treatments and some time away from people and places in which drugs or alcohol are present. If you or a loved one is suffering with an addiction, call DARA to gain further information or set up a stay.

Contact DARA

CLICK HERE to get a free confidential addiction rehabilitation assessment. Alternatively, you can click on the live chat icon to chat with someone now.

Who Uses Illicit Drugs in Australia?

Who Uses Illicit Drugs in Australia?

Alternative Treatment, Articles, Australia, Education, International, Treatment, Understanding Addiction

Illicit Drugs User Study in Australia

A study in Australia recently found that almost half of all Australians, 43% that are aged 14 and over, have used illicit drugs at least once in their lives. Of those same people, 16% have used illicit drugs at least once in the last year. In that 16% of the population, 75% have used between 1 and 11 times. This is considered infrequent use. The most commonly used or tried drugs are, in order, cannabis, ecstasy, hallucinogens, cocaine, and finally methamphetamine. Inhalants and heroine were also used, but at lower rates of less than 5 percent.

Age Differences

With nearly half the population admitting to use at some point, it may be interesting to know what age groups were the heaviest illicit drugs users. The study discovered this information for readers. It was found that the highest rate of lifetime use fell to 30-39 year old group right at 55% and closely followed by 40-49 year old group, just under 55 percent. This was followed by the 20-29 year old age group at 49% and 50-59 year old age group at 48 percent. However, in the past year the numbers have dropped significantly after age 30 to only 18 percent for lifetime use.

This shows that most people only use for a short period of time, typically in their twenties. This could be because as they age, more responsibility requires them to stop and function as adults without the use of drugs. However, in all age groups, rates of lifetime and recent use are higher for men.

Educational Differences

Though it is often assumed that those who are educated and employed are less likely to have ever been involved in drugs in any way, this is not the case. People with a post school qualification tend to have a higher lifetime rate of drug use over those without qualifications, 47 and 34% respectively. Furthermore, people in the paid workforce are also at a higher rate of lifetime use over those who are unemployed by about 8 percent. This may be due to the availability of disposable income.

Those who have used and are employed are much more likely to use cannabis over other options. Socioeconomic status does not seem to affect drug use over a lifetime, but those of lower socioeconomic advantage are more likely to continue use over time.

Assessing Illicit Drug Use

Even though drug use can start at any age, the early it starts, the more likely someone is to become addicted. This is true of nearly every illegal substance. This goes beyond experimenting with drugs to a true, physical problem. However, there are some drugs, such as methamphetamines, that only require one use in order for an addiction to develop. With that in mind, it is always best to know the signs of addiction so if they are present help can be sought for you or a loved one.

Defining Addiction

Before you can look for the signs of addiction, you must be able to define addiction. An addiction is a chronic disease that affects the brain’s reward system, motivation, and memory abilities. Someone with an addiction will crave the drug of choice.

General Signs of Addiction

There are a few overreaching, general signs of addiction that include:

  • Lack of control over the substance
  • Decreased socialization
  • Ignoring risk factors associated with use (sharing needles)
  • Physical symptoms (side effects, withdrawal symptoms, tolerance)

These can increase in intensity depending on the length of time a user has been using or the substance used.

Initial Signs of Addiction

Initial signs of addiction may also be called red flags or warning signs, and include:

  • Experimentation
  • Family history (those with close relatives who use are more likely to use)
  • Being drawn to a particular substance
  • Seeking substance rich activities
  • Binging episodes with the substance (often without memory of the event)

These can sometimes be difficult to identify, but overtime they will become evident and obvious.

Personality Changes

Often, some of the first signs that are noticed are those of personality changes. These are beyond changes in teenagers who are discovering their own personality in the world and move into blatant, out of character changes over time. These can include:

  • Increased secrecy (requiring privacy)
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities that were once important
  • Sleep pattern changes
  • Ignoring negative consequences of actions repeatedly
  • Neglecting relationships and obligations (friends, family, school, work)
  • Risk taking (especially to support the habit)

Health Changes

Drugs can also create physical and mental health issues that are often obvious. Health changes to watch for include:

  • Bloodshot, glazed, or eyes that are enlarged or dilated without cause
  • Speech changes (slurring, rambling)
  • Constant health issues (colds, runny nose, headaches)
  • Changes in weight (loss or gain quickly)
  • Poor skin, hair, teeth, or nails (poor hygiene in general)
  • Memory issues
  • Withdrawal when no drugs are available (sweating, shaking, vomiting)

Seeking Help

Who Uses Illicit Drugs in Australia?

If these describe you or a loved one, then it is time to seek professional help. DARA offers quality, affordable, resort style in-patient treatment at various locations throughout Australia. DARA treats each patient with an individualized plan to heal the mind, body, and spirit. This is accomplished through the use of cognitive behavioral therapy, physical wellness, nutrition, and education. CBT is used in both group and individual therapy sessions designed to help addicts share and understand their addiction. Physical wellness is provided through a personal trainer, access to a gym and pool, as well as structured group activities. Nutrition is prepared by top area chefs to meet the nutritional requirements of patients so the body can heal from the inside as well as the outside. Special times for meditation, massage, and relaxation are also included. If you need help battling addiction, DARA is a definite top choice.

Call Right Away

CLICK HERE to get a free confidential addiction rehabilitation assessment. Alternatively, you can click on the live chat icon to chat with someone now.

Drug Use New Zealand: Wastewater Shares Shocking Tale

Drug Use New Zealand: Wastewater Shares Shocking Tale

Alternative Treatment, Articles, Australia, Education, International, Treatment, Understanding Addiction

Drug Use New Zealand: Wastewater Shares Shocking Tale

Wastewater testing is not uncommon, but the findings for drug use in New Zealand are still shocking. Whether it is meth found in Northland, MDMA in Christchurch, or cocaine in Auckland, a drug problem truly exists. The results of a testing of the wastewater from November 2018 to January 2019 have shown positive results for cocaine, meth, and MDMA. The test covered approximately 80 percent of the population. The meth levels alone were higher in New Zealand than all of Europe. A real problem for drug use in New Zealand exists.

Breakdown of Drug Use in New Zealand

Preliminary results are staggering, showing Kiwis consuming about 16 kilograms of meth per week especially near Northland in which about 20 million dollars per week in social harm was done. The second highest levels in the Canterbury District were for MDMA which averaged 4 kilograms per week. Finally came 700 grams weekly of cocaine a week in the areas. The lower cocaine use likely means a smaller user base and thus a smaller demand. This may be related to the price of cocaine in the area. However, Australia is well known for high cocaine usage among residents.

To break this down even further, wastewater testing allows police to estimate that about 9.6 million dollars in detected drugs are used weekly. This is about 500 million dollars in profit for criminals each year. Wastewater was tested to help police and related agencies make informed decisions about controlling and eliminating the drug trade in these areas.

Why People Use

There is no single reason that people use drugs, though there are some common reasons that may cause people to get started. Typically drug use that develops into addiction starts at a young age. Often, young people take drugs for the following reasons:

  • Fitting in
  • Relaxing
  • Escaping
  • Boredom
  • To appear mature
  • Out of rebellion
  • To experiment

For most young people drugs start as a solution to a problem, but then they become a problem that can last a lifetime. Unfortunately, this also often cuts life short due to health problems related to the addiction or overdose.

How Do Drugs Work

Drugs come in many forms, but all are essentially poisons. Usually, the amount taken determines the effects on the user. Small amounts tend to speed you up, acting as a stimulant, while larger amounts slow you down or act as sedatives. A large enough amount will kill a user whether it is a first time use or after repeated use.

Drugs also affect the mind. The effect on the brain are why people become addicted. This is because the user’s perception is altered. Even though the user feels they are behaving normally, they are often being irrational, odd, destructive, or inappropriate. Drugs tend to affect the memory and overall brain function. Memories of what happened may be lost or harder to recall. Actual information can also be harder to retrieve from the memory when under the influence.

Drugs further affect the personality. A once happy, cheerful, and outgoing person can turn into a despondent, depressed person seemingly overnight. Students may begin to fail academically and adults may suffer at work and financially. Illegal drugs and improper use of legal drugs is dangerous in every aspect.

When to Seek Help

Seeking help for a drug problem can be scary, embarrassing, and an emotional experience. Many wait too long to seek treatment and lose their lives or end up in jail. It can be hard to know when to seek professional help for many reasons. However, the truth is that drug addiction is not a character flaw, but a disease. It takes much more than willpower to give up drug use. This is part of the effects on the brain, the actual brain chemistry has been altered so that the body believes it will not function or live without the drug.

If you have tried to quit, but cannot, then you likely have an addiction and definitely need professional help. Even if you have stopped using, but are still struggling to maintain non-use, professional help can be highly beneficial. There is no need to wait for rock bottom before seeking treatment. As soon as you can make a commitment to becoming drug free, seek help. It will not be an easy road, but it is one that can change and potentially save your life.

Help at DARA

Drug Use New Zealand: Wastewater Shares Shocking Tale

DARA is a resort style, in-patient facility that can help you or your loved one on the road to recovery. No matter what type of addiction you are suffering from in life, DARA has the resources to help at affordable rates. One of the best ways to break the addiction cycle is to take yourself out of the environment. DARA’s drug free environment offers a 6 to 12 week program that allows you time to detox and learn to handle triggers that could signal a relapse once back home.

DARA Treatments

DARA treats addiction through multiple avenues that address mind, body, and spirit. Much like a holistic medical approach, different avenues offer a better chance at long term recovery. DARA focuses on the use of therapy known as CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy, physical wellness, nutrition, and education.

Therapy is offered in both individual and group formats with each patient receiving an individualized plan depending on what they need most upon entry. Through therapy, common triggers and issues are addressed and a plan put in place to avoid or handle these issues once returning home. Education classes on addiction are also offered to help individuals understand the dynamics of an addiction and why recovery comes with challenges that must be overcome.

Physical wellness and nutrition, along with times of meditation and relaxation are also part of treatment. The physical body is often damaged from drug use and nutrition and hygiene are neglected. This damage can be reversed in many cases through improved physical habits and proper nutrition. DARA provides top chefs in the area to prepare meals for patients and personal trainers are also given to help each individual get into better physical condition.

Get Help Now

CLICK HERE to get a free confidential addiction rehabilitation assessment. Alternatively, you can click on the live chat icon to chat with someone now. Facilities are available throughout Australia in Melbourne, Auckland, Brisbane, and many other locations.