Social determinants of drug use – barriers to translating research into policy
Abstract: Our understanding of the causes of alcohol and other drug (AOD) use and harms has expanded in the past 20 years. In particular, aetiological theories have become substantially more complex, incorporating research on human development and social determinants of health. In this paper, factors that present challenges to the AOD sector translating this research into policy are considered. These include a) the complexity of social determinants, b) community attitudes, and c) governance and funding structures. It is concluded that the challenges are substantial, but not insurmountable. Research on social determinants of AOD use and harms is building an evidence base to inform policy. However, leadership is needed to transform funding priorities from single-issue, short-term projects focusing on individual-level changes to broader, longer-term approaches.
Key words: social determinants, policy, drugs, knowledge transfer.
Health Promotion Journal of Australia 2009; 20:180-5