VIETNAMESE DRUG AND ALCOHOL PROFESSIONALS ASSOCIATION
Mr TONY ISSA
(Granville) [1.00 p.m.]: I was delighted to be in Cabramatta on 22 June 2011 representing one of the best health Ministers New South Wales has had, the Hon. Jillian Skinner, at an important Drug Action Week event: the launch of the new drug and alcohol information website developed by the Vietnamese Drug and Alcohol Professionals Association. This website was launched in the Vietnamese language to enable the Vietnamese community to access up-to-date information on drugs and alcohol in the privacy and comfort of their own homes. With such a large multicultural community in western Sydney, the importance of these services cannot be underestimated.
Today congratulate and thank the Vietnamese Drug and Alcohol Professionals Association for this vital service. This year the theme of Drug Action Week is "Looking after YOUR mind," an opportunity to emphasise and focus on the serious effects of drugs and alcohol on mental health. There is a strong link between mental health disorders and regular or dependent drug use. Often people only think and know about the short-term physical effects of drug and alcohol use but do not consider the effects on their mental health. Approximately 50 per cent to 70 per cent of young people who present with an alcohol or substance use issue also have a mental health problem, and those aged 18 to 24 have the highest prevalence of mental health disorders of any group.
Among adults who reported a mental or behavioural problem, 32 per cent were daily smokers, compared with 20 per cent who were not; 15 per cent of adults with reported mental or behavioural problems also consumed alcohol at risky levels, compared with 13 per cent of those who did not; around one in 10 people reported that they had a long-term mental or behavioural problem; and nearly one-fifth of adults reported using some medication for their mental wellbeing within a two-week period. Drug Action Week is a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of drug and alcohol issues in the community and to showcase how communities are responding to these issues. Once again, I congratulate the Vietnamese Drug and Alcohol Professionals Association and the Vietnamese community in general for leading the way in providing support to members of their community.