Tackling endemic substance abuse among Indigenous Australians: the contribution of values- based family empowerment education (Part 2 of 2)

Tsey, Komla (2008) Tackling endemic substance abuse among Indigenous Australians: the contribution of values- based family empowerment education (Part 2 of 2). Forum on Public Policy, 2008 (1). pp. 1-24.

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The extent to which endemic substance abuse and other negative outcomes of historical and continued disadvantage and loss has persisted and possibly grown among Indigenous Australian communities reflects the failure of policy and practice to achieve a critical impact. This paper supports current thinking that tackling these complex issues requires among other things a rebuilding of community social norms based on personal and social responsibility; the essence of the concept of 'principled autonomy'. The best chance of success in rebuilding social norms lies in multilevel approaches where macro social policy reforms are complemented by effective community interventions that engage and empower the intended beneficiaries to take greater control and responsibility for their situation. Unfortunately, despite their complementary goals, recent Federal Government macro policy reforms designed to curb Indigenous substance abuse is caught in a dichotomizing discourse between options based on compulsory, emergency type approaches versus those which place individual, group and community empowerment at the core of change efforts. The paper provides a detailed case study of an Indigenous developed family empowerment program as an example of an effective community initiative that both empowers people to take greater control and also builds social norms. The aim is to contribute to the current policy direction by providing a middle path between the polarized positions. It highlights an urgent need to move beyond the binary positions and recognize and support proven local initiatives if new government policy reform agendas are to achieve their goals.

Item ID: 8178
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1938-9809
Keywords: substance abuse, Indigenous Australians, empowerment, education, social determinants of health,
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Volume Spring 2008. Part 2 of 2.

Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2010 23:14
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Determinants of Health @ 100%
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