SNPG939 Psychoactive Substance And Mental Health: Harm Minimisation Essay Assessment Answer

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Question :

SNPG939: Psychoactive Substance and Mental Health


Assessment ItemForm of AssessmentDue DateReturn/Feedback Due DateWeighting

Assessment 2

Essay, Poster & Presentation
Part A: Essay
Part A: Within 15 working days from submission date


Assessment 2
Due date
Part A: Essay (20%)
Week 6, 7KXUVGD\ 11WK $SULO 2019, 17:00 

Part A: Your assignment will be submitted into a Turnitin submission box within the SNPG939 Moodle site. You will have the opportunity to review and re-submit your assignment up to the due date and time.
To learn more about using Turnitin please access the link:
Type of CollaborationIndividual assessment
Part A: 1800 words

Part A: Harm Minimisation Essay
Harm minimisation works to reduce the adverse health, social and economic impacts of drug use on communities, families and individuals.
Using both the national and international literature, critically analyse the impact the three pillars of harm minimisation have on reducing drug-related harm in Australia.

Style and format
Part A: Formal essay style (introduction, body, conclusion). You may choose to use the dot points above as headings to help structure the essay. Reference style/format as per Author – Date (APA6).

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Answer :

Harm minimisation of Substance use on Social, health and economic impacts


Harm minimisation aims to build healthy and sound work culture and communities through minimising as well as preventing the use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs such as meth, cannabis among others. The paper critically analyses the social, health and economic impacts of substance use on people. Harm minimisation reduces the unfavourable health, social as well as economic impacts of drug use on families, communities as well as individuals (Mazanov, 2016). The paper also analyses the three pillars of harm minimisation that helps to diminish the drug associated harm in Australia.

Main context 

The problem of substance abuse includes addiction to tobacco and alcohol as well as other drugs. It is hence also named as substance addiction or dependence.

According to a survey, one out of twenty individuals in Australia has a substance use problem or addiction. Excessive usage of substance can lead to long term detrimental health effects such as brain damage and damage to other organs of the body.

The most commonly used substances include alcohol and tobacco. While smoking is the most avoidable cause of death in the world, around 13 percent individuals in Australia over the age of 14 are addicted to tobacco, and 8 percent of them are disease burdened in Australia (Fry, Fry & Castanelli, 2015).

Alcohol is also a leading substance use problem in Australia, and one out of six individuals drink alcohol over the levels of risk. Drinking and driving is the most common factor for road accidents which can lead to the death of the person influenced with consumption as well as an end the lives of innocents who are involved in the accident.

Drug use involves the use of illegal drugs such as amphetamines, cocaine, and cannabis among others. It also involves the misuse of prescription drugs such as painkillers, morphine and cough syrups among others (Degenhardt et al., 2016). The illegal drugs most common in Australia are cocaine, cannabis, ecstasy, and amphetamines among others.

There are certain signs relating to substance use problem among people and knowledge of the signs can help them identify them from the rest of the sober population. The signs include –

  • Regularly using one or more substance to attain a state of high.
  • Cravings to use substances.
  • Spending way too much time alone.
  • Giving up of work, leisure, and social activities for substance use.
  • Being aware of the potential damage caused by substance use but is still using it.

Enjoying a drink now and then does not cause problems but when someone uses excessive substances and loses control of their senses and their actions, then it starts to become a problem for everyone. Substance use can cause injuries and medical problems (Lu et al., 2016)

Excessive use of alcohol and use of drugs like meth, cocaine, and cannabis can have a wide variety of short term and long term health problems. Short term effects include changes in appetite where the person has cravings to eat more or loses the appetite, weakness in the body, abnormal blood pressure and erratic heart rate among others. The person can also suffer a stroke or develop psychosis (Siskind et al., 2017). The overdose of drugs can even lead to death. The long term health impacts include heart disease, lung disease, mental illness, cancer and also hepatitis among other diseases. People lose their ability to cope with stress and also affect the decision making of the people. Substance use can also change the sleeping pattern of people and push the people towards depression.  

According to a study conducted in India, 58 percent of the families felt terrible about one of their member's involvement in substance use. Two-fifths of the participants expressed their anger and annoyance, and about 22 percent of the families provided necessary advice to give up substance use (Marques et al., 2015). Drug use or substance addiction can lead to the development of abusing attitude within the individuals. The individuals with extreme drug use problem abuse their family members and involve altercation with the members of the society. 

Substance use can significantly impact the economic aspect of the country, organisation, and individual. According to a recent survey in the United States of America, the yearly cost of addiction is approximately 600 billion dollars in the form of health care, lost revenue, damages, and legal fees. Workers with the problem of substance use can sustain injury related to absenteeism of 2.7 percent more than the average worker. This cites the loss of 11,000 to 13,000 dollars every year in terms of injuries, absenteeism, and loss of productivity. Drug and alcohol use is considered to be the primary cause of children being neglected of their basic requirements like food and shelter (Florence et al., 2016). The criminal offences caused by drug users take up an average cost of 24,000 dollars per prisoner for one-year imprisonment according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The following analysis is provided by the Merck Manual of the stages of dependence over drugs and alcohol.

  • The body of a drug user reaches a certain level of tolerance and people find themselves in need of more drugs for the effects that the drug provides called "high."
  • Excessive use of drugs and alcohol leads to people's belief that not taking the drug will make the person edgy, disoriented and unable to function. This is referred to as the development of psychological dependence on the drug (Wu et al., 2015)
  • The next stage includes withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms include vomiting, nausea, sweating, shaking as well as seizures due to stopping the use of the drug.
  • Addiction presents the user with a range of dangers including physical and mental illness, violent threats, exposure to crime due to financial issues, destruction of an individual's interpersonal relationship as well as loss in integrity (Thomas et al., 2017).

The three pillars of harm minimisation include reduce supply, reduce demand and reduce harm to individuals and their families. The harm minimisation program aims to build healthy and sound Australian work culture and communities through minimising as well as preventing the use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs such as meth, cannabis among others (Midford et al., 2016)

Demand reduction – the first pillar in harm minimisation prevents the update as well as delays the onset of the use of tobacco, alcohol as well as other drugs (Midford et al., 2018). To reduce demand among the people to reduce demand of the drugs, efficient government programs must be carried out. The government programs should create awareness of the problems relating to substance use in terms of health, social and economic impact. The programs must also include a wide range of interventions to promote cooperation among individuals. For example; the prices of tobacco and alcohol should incur more taxes in order to reduce the demand for the products (Kubacki et al., 2015). There should be proper counselling centres for the youth to address the symptoms of substance use. 

Families and communities are required to provide appropriate steps to reduce the demand for illicit drugs and alcohol. The impact of the drug related harm could be seen in the life of the people and even for the law of the country. For example; the intake of tobacco eventually damages the lungs of the human being and intake of alcohol damage the liver. In the country like Australia the reduction in demand of alcohol as well as tobacco and other drugs have help to maintain the health factor of the people within the country. The harm reduction drug approach is highly affecting the lifestyle and the activities of Australian people to deal with the drugs impact and other factors. The harm reduction approach is the needle as well as Syringe programs within the country. The program has been implemented for maintaining effective value within the country for the 20 years.

Supply reduction – the problem of illicit drug trafficking is a primary reason for the increase in the number of individuals going toward substance use. The illicit trafficking of drugs such as cannabis, meth, and cocaine among others has devastating consequences on all sectors of the countries worldwide. Proper steps are required to be taken by the Australian government to prevent and disrupt and also altogether stop the production of illicit drugs as well as the supply of the drugs. There should be proper checking points needed to be established in seaports and harbours to monitor the entry of drugs into the country (Gately, Ellis & Morris, 2016). Air trafficking or trafficking drugs through airways is also required to be checked. For example; the airport authority of Australia should check commercial flights as well as private flights to stop the supply of drugs into the country. 

The government and medical authorities must control and regulate the availability of prescription drugs and their usage by the individuals. Legal drugs are available at cheap rates and are more often than a not primary reason for addiction in average individuals. Use of opium drugs such as Vicodin which is also a painkiller should be monitored especially. It is highly essential to check the drugs and maintain effective paperwork for reducing the supply of illegal drugs within the country. The reduction within the supply chain of the illegal drugs within the country to maintain the city and the people. For example; it is essential for the custom officers and the police authorisation to check the drugs that are supplied to the country Australia. The moderate quality evidence regarding the provision of the OST within the prison settings is more vital than the OST provision in reducing the heroin use among the teenagers and the other reducing the injecting drugs. 

Harm reduction – it refers to the reduction in the adverse effects of social, health as well as economic consequences of the use of drugs for the individuals and their families and also to the broader society. To address the social impacts of drugs on individuals, the Australian government must set up proper counselling centres for substance addicted individuals (Stockings et al., 2016). The counselling centres should act as the medium to reduce the after-effects of drug rehabilitation. A previous drug user can sometimes show symptoms of relapse regarding work issues and family problems; therefore the counselling centres must address those issues and reduce the harm due to substance use. 

To address the health impact of people with substance use problems the rehabilitation centres can help. For examples; rehabilitation centres work as a health care facility for substance addicted individuals and detoxify their system of drugs. The detoxification can leave satisfied after effects; therefore, it is required that the individual gets a thorough inspection by a certified psychologist (Midford et al., 2018). Lastly to address the economic impact of substance use government should provide job opportunities in affiliated institutions and create policies so that people with past drug problems do not get difficulties to get a job. The harm reduction from the drugs within the country is a challenging task because making the people aware of the condition and especially making the teenagers aware of the situation is quite challenging activity.  


The paper concludes that the three pillars of harm minimisation strategies that are demand reduction, supply reduction, and harm reduction strive to provide a realistic as well as a balanced approach to alcohol as well as other drugs including meth and cannabis among others in the workers. Individuals with substance use problem can face numerous social impacts like desertion by their families, health impacts like depression and anxiety as well as economic impacts like facing financial difficulties or getting no job. The drug minimisation within the country Australia is having the effective and the valuable part for the development of harm activity within the field. Harm minimisation activity within the country eventually allow the society to maintain their activity to have the valuable working function within the country.