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Young People's Drug Use When Heroin is Less Available

NCJ Number
Youth Studies Australia Volume: 21 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2002 Pages: 11-16
Louisa Degenhardt; Michael Gascoigne; John Howard
Date Published
September 2002
6 pages
This article reports on the results of a study in Australia concerning the effects of a heroin shortage on the demand for adolescent drug treatment services.
The authors explain that during the period between December 2000 and May 2001, Australia experienced a heroin shortage. Researchers took advantage of this time period to study the effects of such a shortage on drug treatment programs for adolescents. The authors theorized that three main effects of the heroin shortage were possible: that users would substitute other drugs for heroin, that users would leave the heroin market, and that inquiries to drug treatment programs would increase. An examination of the Ted Noffs Foundation’s Program for Adolescent Life Management during 2001 revealed the demand for drug treatment at this facility did not increase during the heroin shortage. However, the authors report that the type of drug use did change, with more clients seeking treatment for cannabis use and psychostimulant use. The authors conclude that this shift in type of drug use was due to the shortage of heroin in Australia and that adult heroin users were also likely to substitute other types of drugs for heroin when heroin was less available.


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