Doctor Peter Higgs, Danielle Horyniak
Beyond those of South-East Asian ethnicity, little is known about injecting drug use (IDU) among culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) populations. There has been some concern about emerging IDU among Melbourne’s African migrant communities since the mid-2000s, and in our recent fieldwork (Burnet Institute MIX study) we have noted a number of people of African ethnicity becoming involved in the street-based heroin market in Melbourne’s West. Given that East Africans are among the fastest-growing migrant groups in Australia, and African youth experience significant social disadvantage and marginalisation, it is possible that African youth may be at risk of becoming involved in IDU.
The project aims to:
This research aims to benefit the African community directly. As there is no empirical data exploring IDU among this population, our research will serve as an assessment of the extent of IDU among this group. We will be able to highlight where harm reduction and prevention resources and services may be needed, and research data generated may be used to inform the development of relevant community-based programs.
The project will involve interviews with African youth, who live, work or study in Melbourne’s Western suburbs (Cities of Maribyrnong/Brimbank) and have either ever injected drugs or may be at risk of transitioning to IDU. The project will be a collaboration between researchers at the Burnet Institute and African community workers from the Centre for Multicultural Youth.
Participants will be recruited through the MIX study, snowball sampling and through key contacts facilitated by the community workers. Face-to-face in-depth interviews will be conducted and will be voice-recorded and transcribed. The questionnaire will cover basic demographics, birth country experiences, migration experiences, social integration and drug and alcohol use.
Eighteen in-depth interviews have been conducted with marginalised African youth (6 current injectors, 12 never injectors), and analysis is currently underway.
Key findings to-date:
The findings highlight the need for implementation of programs that encourage open discussion and reduce stigma about AOD use among African migrant communities.
Early findings from the study were presented at APSAD 2012, and an oral presentation describing motivations and consequences of heavy alcohol consumption among this group will be presented at the upcoming Australasian Refugee Health Conference (October 2013). Preparation of two manuscripts for submission to peer-review journals (one focusing on exposure and attitudes to injecting drug use, and one focusing on motivations for and consequences of harmful alcohol consumption) is underway.
Preparation of two manuscripts for submission to peer-review journals (one focusing on exposure and attitudes to injecting drug use, and one focusing on motivations for and consequences of harmful alcohol consumption) is underway.
For more information relating to this project, please contact Danielle Horyniak: