The National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) is currently collating data from 2022 about alcohol and tobacco consumption, and illicit drug use among the general population in Australia. It is conducted every two to three years. The 2019 survey estimated that 9.0 million (43%) people aged 14 and over in Australia had illicitly used a drug at some point in their lifetime (including the non-medical use of pharmaceuticals). The illicit drug trade impacts on economic and social development around the world. It threatens security and stability in some countries and disproportionately impacts on the most vulnerable and marginalized. In this section, students will explore what is meant by the term ‘illicit drugs’ and how they are made available in Australia.
- Introduce the class to the theme of the resource they will be exploring over the next four lessons. Using the notes above, explain the impact that the illicit drug trade is having on the world, including Australia.
- Write down the term “illicit drugs” in the middle of the whiteboard or a large sheet of paper. Conduct a class call out to determine what is meant by the term and what might be listed as an illicit drug. These can be written around “illicit drugs” in the form of a spider diagram. Show or provide a copy of the factsheet What are illegal drugs and ask students to identify any illicit drugs they may have missed. Add these to the spider diagram. (If requiring further background information about illegal drugs this can be accessed via the Australian Government’s, Department of Health and Aged Care web page – Types of drugs).
- Ask students to predict how these drugs may appear on the streets of Australia. Add these as dot points below the spider diagram. Discuss the ways they have come across this information.
- Show the news clip Sydney men charged over multinational crime ring importing drugs to NSW | ABC News. Ask students whether this information supports/adds to their predications and what evidence there is of Australian authorities cooperating with international agencies.
- Hand out a piece of paper to each student asking them to write their name on the top of their sheet. Explain that they will predict and write down ways they could be an active citizen to combat illicit drug crime activity in their community. Collect the completed sheets. These will be used in the last lesson.
Lesson Idea 1: Drug trafficking
Criminal networks traffic a range of drugs world-wide, including cannabis, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. As international borders become increasingly open, global abuse and accessibility to drugs have become increasingly widespread.
In this lesson students will explore the impact of drug taking on Australian democratic society/communities and how organised crime accesses, grows or creates illicit drugs in Australia.
- Explain the purpose of the lesson to the class then display the document The social impact of illicit drugs on an interactive whiteboard. (Or hand out a paper copy to each student.) Conduct a guided reading of the document. Discuss the impact of drug taking on individuals and society. Ask students to complete the Making Connections exercise (Text to Self, Text to Text and Text to World) using what they have experienced, read or seen to help them to understand the document they have just read. Once completed ask students to pair and share their answers.
- Show the media video NZ drug haul: Authorities find more than half a billion dollars’ worth of cocaine found floating in the ocean (9news.com.au). Provide each student with a Note taking worksheet, explaining how it is structured:
- questions they have about the information in the news item
- words they don’t know the meaning of
- key information provided in the video
- summary of the key facts.
Instruct students to complete the worksheet while watching the video a second time. Once finished, discuss any unknown vocabulary and questions students have. Complete the activity by asking students to use the information they have written on their worksheet to write a paragraph identifying how illicit drugs can be brought into Australia.
- Pose the following question to the class. “If illicit drug supplies have increased in Australia, where are the drug criminals getting their supplies from?” Provide students with blank maps of the world and explain that they will be using information from four separate illicit drug flow maps to create a combined Australian illicit drug flow map.
Show the following maps highlighting heroin, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines pathways.
- Heroin trafficking flow
- Cocaine trafficking flow
- Map of marijuana and hashish trade routes
- Traffic flow on methamphetamines 2016-2020 (by reported seizures)
While showing each map, conduct a class call out to determine where the drugs are harvested and/or manufactured, and how they come into Australia and the Pacific.
Show the maps once more allowing time for students to add the relevant information to their map. Remind students that their map must have a title and a colour key for each illicit drug. Collect the completed maps to be assessed.
- Finish the lesson by mentioning that many of these drugs won’t arrive on Australia’s shores via legal means and discuss what they might do if they see suspicious activity such as boxes being unloaded from a boat on a deserted beach.