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Attitudes to drug use among East African migrants in Melbourne’s western suburbs

Relatively little is known about alcohol and illicit drug use among culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Australia.
There has been some concern about emerging injecting drug use (IDU) among Melbourne’s African migrant communities since the mid-2000s, and in our recent fieldwork we have noted a number of people of African ethnicity becoming involved in the street-based heroin market in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

Given that East Africans are among the fastest-growing migrant groups in Australia, it is possible that African youth may be at risk of becoming involved in IDU.

This project aimed to describe engagement in drug use, particularly IDU, among young Africans living in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

The study also explored cultural attitudes and understandings around drug use and how these may relate to issues such as migration experiences, acculturation, intergenerational conflict and social identity.


Findings from the project were used to inform the development of relevant community- based programs as well as to inform the production of relevant harm reduction and harm prevention resources. Findings from this research may also be useful in developing frameworks for responding to emerging drug use in vulnerable culturally and linguistically diverse communities. 

Danielle Horinyak

Doctor Danielle Horyniak

Contact Doctor Danielle Horyniak for more information about this project.


Partners +

  • Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre
  • Centre for Multicultural Youth