Rhonda Parker

Rhonda Parker


    Drugs, road safety and sentencing are all the subject of State Government funded research

    18/11/1999 10:10 AM


    The role of cannabis and other drugs in suicide, illicit drugs and road safety- and the sentencing of drug offenders- are all to be the subject of State Government funded research.

    The Minister Responsible for WA Drug Abuse Strategy, Rhonda Parker, today announced the research projects, to a value of $120,000, were part of the second action plan, Together Against Drugs.

    The WA Strategy Against Drug Abuse action plan 1999–2001 also includes a project to focus on helping parents prevent drug abuse as well as identifying interventions which assist families experiencing difficulties with drug use by their children.

    Mrs Parker said an adjunct project would examine how communities’ capacity to prevent drug abuse could be strengthened.

    “This will be important Western Australian research on preventing drug abuse and is in line with the State Government’s commitment to support families and local communities in their own efforts,” the Minister said.

    “We will also establish an annual research, policy and practice symposium to promote the translation of research into practise.”

    Mrs Parker said there was a need to more thoroughly investigate the role played by illicit drugs, particularly cannabis, which could precipitate marked changes in behaviour, and accordingly, increase the risk for self harm.“

    Research presented at the Inaugural International Cannabis and Psychosis Conference in Melbourne earlier this year, identified cannabis use as being a risk factor in vulnerable individuals, who may become aggressive, experience depressive illness or exhibit suicidal tendencies,” she said.

    Mrs Parker said research had already shown that high levels of alcohol and other drugs were commonly detected in suicides, in those cases where one or more drugs were the primary cause of death, and also for those cases where death was due to other causes.

    “Research into sentencing drug offenders was also important because at present it was very difficult to identify sentencing outcomes for different groups of offenders,” she said.

    “The availability of more detailed sentencing data, will enable the Government to evaluate the impact of different sentencing approaches on offenders and to provide it with the ability to monitor and further develop innovative sentencing approaches that are part of the Together Against Drugs strategy.”

    “Two research projects on families and communities highlight the important role for government to resource community based organisations, and to develop a combination of social structures and opportunities that enhance the capacity of parents to prevent and respond to the problem of drug abuse.”

    Media Contact: Owen Cole: 9481 7810