It might surprise you to learn that alcohol, tobacco and illegal drug use are higher among people living in remote areas than those living in the big cities. Almost one third of young Australians live in rural and remote communities, so it is important to understand why they might be more at risk.
Some reasons why young people in these areas could be at higher risk include:
- Boredom or feeling like there is nothing else to do
- Fears about privacy when asking for advice or getting help for drug use in small communities where lots of people know each other
- Limited access to services and resources
Research studies tell us that young people in rural areas may be more likely to experience harm, particularly from alcohol use. These harms include:
- Driving a car while drunk
- Getting into fights or being a victim of alcohol-related violence
- Needing hospital care.
The good news is that there are things we can do to reduce the risk.
In many ways, how we approach preventing these harms among young people living in rural and remote areas is the same as how we do this in metro areas. However, there are some differences.
The better we understand the unique barriers faced by young people living in rural and remote communities, the easier it is to overcome them. Some of the ways we can overcome these barriers are outlined below.