High levels of cannabis use persist in Aboriginal communities in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory

K S Kylie Lee, Alan R Clough and Katherine M Conigrave
Med J Aust 2007; 187 (10): 594-595.

To the Editor: Cannabis use is implicated in serious social disruption in many Northern Territory Aboriginal communities.1 Rising levels of cannabis use were first reported in Aboriginal communities in Arnhem Land in 2002, along with associated concerns about escalating social impacts and mental health effects compounded by other substance use.2

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  • K S Kylie Lee1,2
  • Alan R Clough1,3
  • Katherine M Conigrave4,2

  • 1 School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences, James Cook University, Cairns, QLD.
  • 2 Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.
  • 3 School of Indigenous Australian Studies, James Cook University, Cairns, QLD.
  • 4 Drug Health Services, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, NSW.


  • 1. Wild R, Anderson P. Ampe akelyernemane meke mekarle: “little children are sacred”. Report of the Northern Territory Board of Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse. Darwin: NT Government, 2007. (accessed Jun 2007).
  • 2. Clough AR, Cairney S, Maruff P, Parker R. Rising cannabis use in Indigenous communities [letter]. Med J Aust 2002; 177: 395-396. <MJA full text>
  • 3. Clough AR, Lee KSK, Cairney S, et al. Changes in cannabis use and its consequences over 3 years in a remote indigenous population in northern Australia. Addiction 2006; 101: 696-705.
  • 4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2004 National Drug Strategy Household Survey: detailed findings. Drug Statistics Series No. 16. Canberra: AIHW, 2005. (AIHW Cat. No. PHE 66.) (accessed Jun 2007).
  • 5. Swift W, Hall W, Teesson M. Cannabis use and dependence among Australian adults: results from the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Addiction 2001; 96: 737-748.


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