ADS1151 Addiction Studies: Fundamental Concepts

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ADS1151 Addiction Studies: Fundamental Concepts

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ADS1151 Addiction Studies: Fundamental Concepts

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Course Code: ADS1151
University: Edith Cowan University

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Country: Australia


Task: Evidence based academic essay

Write an essay explaining how the Australian National Drug Strategy framework can be used to minimise the harm associated with the use of one of the following drugs:
1. Tobacco
2. Heroin 3. Methamphetamine 
Within your essay, answer the following:

Describe the psychoactive drug (include category, usage in Australia (rates and trends) etc.).
Using the 4 Ls model, describe the harm associated with this drug to the individual, family and society.
3. Explain the concept of harm minimisation that underpins Australia’s National Drug Strategy.
Provide three examples of initiatives/approaches used in Australia which aim to minimise harm associated with the use of this drug. Explain which pillar of the harm minimisation model each example fits within (supply reduction, demand reduction or harm reduction). 


Addiction is one of the greatest challenges that both the developed and developing nations. The vice grip of addiction affects all age groups, staring from the youth and adolescents to the elderly age groups, although the in terms of vigour and impact, the most impacted age group by addiction is the youth and adolescents. There are various types of addictions, involving various types of psychoactive substances, however, tobacco addiction is the most prevalent form of addiction that affects almost all age groups. Although, nicotine is a proven psychoactive substance, the awareness is not sufficient for many development nations. Despite the array of adverse effects associated with the nicotine, the addiction statistics continue escalating to alarming rates rather than reducing (Heartfoundation.org.au, 2018). This essay will attempt to explore tobacco as a psychoactive substance, its characterization by the 4L model, and the implementation of the Australian national drug strategy and the three pillars associated with it.
Discussion: Description of the psychoactive drug:
As discussed by Nutt et al. (2014), nicotine is a paradoxical drug that both stimulates and also depresses functions as well. This particular drug affects the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, skeletal system, gastrointestinal system, and the peripheral nervous system. As discussed by Harrell (2018), the nicotine is one of the most toxic drugs. In terms of the chemical properties, nicotine is a potent parasympathetic stimulant and is an alkaloid found in the leaves of Nicotiana tabacum, Nicotiana rustica, Duboisia hopwoodii and Asclepias syriaca. Nicotine has been classified as the stimulant of the autonomic ganglia and is the agonist of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. It also needs to be highlighted in this context that nicotine is classified as the schedule II controlled substance. With respect to the therapeutic drugs act it has to be mentioned that Nicotine is listed in the poison standards in schedules 7, 6, and 4 as well (Tga.gov.au, 2018).
Considering rates and trends associated with the drug, one among seven Australians aged 15 years and over have been reported to smoke regularly. Moreover, statistical reports suggest that close to 2.5 million Australians have been discovered to smoke daily and for the irregular smokers the numbers rise up to 200000. As per the statistical reports, 30% of the Australian citizens have reported to be ex-smokers. Considering the gender based data associated with smoking tobacco, males over the age of 15 in Australia are more prone to smoking than women. On a more elaborative note, more than 1.6 million Australian males that are aged above 15 are smokers, whereas, for the females it is 1.2 million. The trends of smoking has changed considerably in the last decade, whereas the rate of smoking in Australia in 2007/2008 had been 20.1%, the rates reduced to 17.4% in 2011/12 and reduced to 15.5% in the 2014/15 which is appreciable (Heartfoundation.org.au, 2018).
4 Ls Model:
The 4 L model have been designed or adapted by Roizen, this model aids in understanding the extent, severity and characteristics of addiction and drug related difficulties experienced by the addicted. The model emphasizes on the patterns of usage of the drug and the exact challenges it might develop with respect to 4 major spheres of the life of the individual (Health.gov.au, 2018). The first sphere is the liver, which represents the impact of the addiction on the health, including physical, psychological or emotional health issues. The impact of nicotine of physical health are diverse. First and foremost, it is a carcinogen which leads to lung cancer. Along with that, it reduces appetite and raises metabolism rate which leads to extreme weight loss, it enhances the risk of atherosclerosis leading several cardiovascular complications, it reduces fertility and adversely affects foetal development if the baby is exposed to maternal smoking, and lastly, extreme nicotine dependence also leads to reinforcement disorders (Nutt et al., 2014). The second sphere is lover, which affects the personal or social relationship of the individual including the family, friends, children, lovers etc. Nicotine dependence and the psychological distress has been reported to affect the social or personal relationship of the individual resulting from the aggression, violence and withdrawal symptoms. The third sphere is the Lifestyle or livelihood, nicotine dependence might affect the accommodation, work, finances, education, and recreation by affecting the financial stability and the psychological stability of the individual. In extreme cases, the dependency might lead the individual to lose interest in education, occupation, and recreation, leading the individual to focus entirely on the tobacco consumption (Wolfson, 2017).  The last sphere is Legal, which refers to the challenges that the individual might experience regarding criminal or civil proceedings. Although, nicotine is a psycho-stimulant drug, it does not alter the neuro-functioning to an extent where it might lead the individual towards any criminal activities.
The concept of harm minimization underpinning the Australian drug strategy:
According to Australian drug strategy framework, harm minimization is a useful approach that helps to focus on the assessment of wide range of factors that contributes to the harm that associated with the alcohol and other drug use of young people (Midford et al. 2015). The interventions can be implemented according to the contributed factors in order to prevent those harm. The harm minimization is the recent drug related policy for controlling the harm caused by smoking tobacco in Australian governing all drug related laws and responses (Hing et al., 2017). The concept of harm minimization is not well understood or wide accepted in the community because of personal belief of individuals. Majority of the individual think that in order to reduce the harm caused by use of tobacco the widely accept the use of tobacco (Thomas et al., 2017). Therefore, harm minimization policy recognizes that the tobacco used by mostly younger individual legally or illegally which negatively affected the life of younger individual. The harm minimization policy has been the key policy of Australian state and federal government since 1985 when the national campaign against drug abuse was launched.  This is based on few premises that aid in controlling the contributing factors of harm associated with tobacco (Thomas et al., 2017). First premise is that the uses of drug, legal or illegal both are unavoidable part of the society. Second premise is Drug use occurs across a continuum which ranges from the occasion use of drug to dependent use (Gainsbury et al., 2014). Third premise is the ranges of harm are related to the diverse types and pattern of drug use. Last premise is the range of approaches, which can be used for responding to these harms caused by drugs such as tobacco.
Three strategies used in Australia for harm minimization:
Harm minimization is a useful approach that helps to focus on the assessment of wide range of factors that contributes to the harm that associated with the alcohol and other drug use of young people (Gainsbury et al., 2014). The harm minimization strategy can be categorized into three different area which helped for minimizing the harmful effect of tobacco consumption (Midford et al. 2015). First strategy is harm reduction of tobacco, which aimed to reduce the harm from the tobacco for both communities as well as the individual without stopping the use of drug (Gainsbury et al., 2015). The approach is taken by manufacturing innovative tobacco products, use of pharmaceutical medications and use of e- cigarette for reducing the harm of tobacco consumption. The second strategy is supply reduction tobacco by legislation of laws by government and implementation of appropriate policy. Since all of the smoker started smoking cigarette at very young age, the federal government legislated public health (tobacco) act 2008 and juvenile smoking suppression act, 1993 was legislated by Australian government, which prohibited the cell of tobacco apparently under 16years old children (Midford et al. 2015).  Tobacco control policy was undertaken by Australian government in order to reduce the supply of tobacco where the taxes of manufacturing tobacco related products can be increased so that the supply of the tobacco can be reduced (Hing et al., 2017).. Last strategy is demand reduction for uptaking the harmful drugs like tobacco. The approach is taken by increasing the price of tobacco, the packaging the tobacco related products in plain packets (Thomas et al., 2017). The campaign using social media, workshops for providing knowledge about harmfulness of tobacco are other approaches that reduce the demand (Hing et al., 2017). The demand also reduced by banning all the promotions related to uptake of tobacco.
Thus, it can be concluded that tobacco is a paradoxical drug that both stimulate and depresses the normal function of individuals. It affects the central nervous system of individual, peripheral nervous system and other organ of the human body which in turn increases, arousal and skeletal muscle relaxation of individual. Therefore, it is a harmful drug to consume which has negative impact on individual life. In order to understand the nature of the drugs and drug related difficulties, four L model adopted by Roizen considering impact of the tobacco use on major sphere of younger individual. According to Australian drug strategy framework, harm minimization is a useful approach for controlling the tobacco consumption. The interventions can be implemented according to the contributed factors in order to prevent the harms. This is based on few premises that aid in controlling the contributing factors of harm associated with tobacco. The three strategies are implemented by Australian government for reducing the tobacco consumption which would provide quality life.
Gainsbury, S. M., Aro, D., Ball, D., Tobar, C., & Russell, A. (2015). Optimal content for warning messages to enhance consumer decision making and reduce problem gambling. Journal of Business Research, 68(10), 2093-2101.
Gainsbury, S. M., Blankers, M., Wilkinson, C., Schelleman-Offermans, K., & Cousijn, J. (2014). Recommendations for international gambling harm-minimisation guidelines: Comparison with effective public health policy. Journal of Gambling Studies, 30(4), 771-788.
Harrell, P. T. (2018). The Changing Landscape of Youth Tobacco Research: An Interview with Dr. Pallav Pokhrel, Ph. D. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 188, 45-46.
Health.gov.au (2018). Department of Health | 2.3 The four L’s model. [Onilne]. Retrieved from https://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/drugtreat-pubs-front12-fa-toc~drugtreat-pubs-front12-fa-secb~drugtreat-pubs-front12-fa-secb-2~drugtreat-pubs-front12-fa-secb-2-3 [Accessed on 20th Oct]
Health.gov.au, (2018). Department of Health | 2.3 The four L’s model. [Online]. Retrieved from https://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/drugtreat-pubs-front12-fa-toc~drugtreat-pubs-front12-fa-secb~drugtreat-pubs-front12-fa-secb-2~drugtreat-pubs-front12-fa-secb-2-3 [Accessed on 20th Oct].
Heartfoundation.org.au (2018). Smoking statistics. [Online]. Retrieved from https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/about-us/what-we-do/heart-disease-in-australia/smoking-statistics. [Accessed on 20th Oct]
Hing, N., Sproston, K., Brook, K., & Brading, R. (2017). The structural features of sports and race betting inducements: Issues for harm minimisation and consumer protection. Journal of gambling studies, 33(2), 685-704.
Midford, R., Foxcroft, D. R., Cahill, H., Ramsden, R., & Lester, L. (2015). Rejoinder to Dennis Gorman’s critique of:”Preventing alcohol harm: Early results from a cluster randomised, controlled trial in Victoria, Australia of comprehensive harm minimisation school drug education”. International Journal of Drug Policy, 26(8), 721-722.
Nutt, D. J., Phillips, L. D., Balfour, D., Curran, H. V., Dockrell, M., Foulds, J., … & Ramsey, J. (2014). Estimating the harms of nicotine-containing products using the MCDA approach. European addiction research, 20(5), 218-225.
Tga.gov.au (2018). 2.1 Nicotine. [Online]. Retrieved from https://www.tga.gov.au/book-page/21-nicotine [Accessed on 20th Oct]
Thomas, S. L., Randle, M., Bestman, A., Pitt, H., Bowe, S. J., Cowlishaw, S., & Daube, M. (2017). Public attitudes towards gambling product harm and harm reduction strategies: an online study of 16–88 year olds in Victoria, Australia. Harm reduction journal, 14(1), 49.
Wolfson, M. (2017). The Fight Against Big Tobacco: the Movement, the State and the Public’s Health. Routledge.

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