The use of psychoactive substances, in the form of alcohol and other drugs (AOD), is a common human behaviour. The vast majority of adults include some form of substance use in their lifestyle. There is, however, tremendous variation in the amount and type of substances that different people and groups consume at different times. Harmful substance use can have a major negative impact on the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities, and is a growing concern in Australia and internationally. There is considerable controversy regarding appropriate responses to harmful substance use of all kinds. 

As a profession and science, psychology has much to offer in terms of theory, research and practice in the AOD field. The APS is concerned about the recent shift in government policy and public discourse on illicit drugs from harm minimisation to zero tolerance, and from health and treatment issues to punitive ‘law and order’ responses. This change goes against the weight of expert advice and scientific evidence. 

Position Statements and Review Papers

APS Tip Sheets