Alcohol and Other Drugs

It’s common for young people to experiment with alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (AOD). 

The average age of initiation to illicit drug use is 19 years.[1] However commonly used legal drugs such as tobacco and alcohol contribute toward the most harm among people.[2] Although AOD use is risky it’s important to remember that just because a young person is experimenting or is exposed to AOD, this does not necessarily mean they will become AOD dependent.[3]


Young people are a key population group to target in order to sustainably reduce AOD harm in the community. In partnership with AOD and other allied services, youth services have an important role to play in helping young people to minimise AOD related harm. It is the responsibility of the entire service system to develop strategies to effectively respond to these issues. By working together, services and sectors can take many practical steps to better support and improve the health and wellbeing of young people and their families affected by AOD issues.

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