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Keywords:

  • youth;
  • drug use;
  • indigenous Australia

Abstract

Objective: To examine marijuana use by youth in a remote Aboriginal community in Northern Australia over a 5-year period.

Design: Participant observation, structured and unstructured interviews.

Setting: Remote Indigenous Australian community.

Participants: Young Aboriginal people and adult community members.

Main outcome measure: Emergent themes of the attitudes towards marijuana use among remote Indigenous residents are reported.

Results: Restrictions in the availability of alcohol and petrol have led to increased use of marijuana with serious social and community consequences.

Conclusions: Efforts to control licit substances, such as alcohol, in remote communities need to be addressed in the context of understanding of the dynamics of alcohol and drug use in totality as well as interventions that address underlying structural and social inequalities.