The harm caused by tobacco, alcohol and other drugs is a major public health problem for First Nations Australians.

Nationally, tobacco smoking was responsible for 20 per cent of Indigenous deaths and 12.1 per cent of First Nations Australians burden of disease in 2003. These smoking-related deaths and illnesses are preventable.

Alcohol is the leading risk factor for mental disease and injury for First Nations Australians and First Nations Australian people are hospitalised for alcohol misuse at around four times the national rate.

Rates of long-term leaded petrol sniffing increased throughout the 1990s, resulting in higher levels of related illness and death. For example, brain injuries from petrol sniffing were thought to be the lead cause of disability amongst the peoples of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara lands of South Australia.

Click below for information on how we are helping to address these issues. 

  • Smoking


    The harm caused by tobacco is a major public health problem for Indigenous Australians.

  • Other substance misuse

    Other substance misuse

    Substances and patterns of use in remote communities can differ from those practised more widely in Australia.

  • Alcohol


    There has been mounting evidence of the devastating effect of alcohol misuse in rural and remote Indigenous communities.

  • Petrol sniffing

    Petrol sniffing

    Petrol sniffing has been a major source of illness, death and social dysfunction in Indigenous communities over the past few decades.

  • Gambling


    Gambling is a common recreational activity in the Northern Territory (NT) with over 70% of the adult population participating in some form of gambling.

  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

    Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

    Prevention and Health Promotion Resources