ARC DECRA funding success to address gender and sexuality in drug education

The DECRA scheme 2022 is a part of the ARC's Discovery Program, providing focused support for early career researchers by investing in their work and potential to establish novel, high-quality programs of research.

ARCSHS is proud to announce Dr Adrian Farrugia has been awarded DECRA funding for his project titled ‘Addressing gender and sexuality in drug education’.

This project aims to generate new knowledge on the relationship between young people’s concerns about drugs and the priorities informing drug education. Drug education is a key strategy used in Australia in efforts to reduce the harm associated with youth alcohol and illicit drug use, yet it has been the subject of sustained criticism for its inability to address young people effectively, and tackle in non-stigmatising ways the gendered and sexual dimensions of harm. Outcomes expected from this project include more effective and equitable drug education materials.

Adrian is a member of the Drugs, Gender and Sexuality (DruGS) Program at ARCSHS. In collaboration with DruGS team colleagues Dr Renae Fomiatti and Professor Suzanne Fraser, Adrian’s research on the impediments to the uptake of take-home naloxone in Australia led to the development of, Australia’s first dedicated website presenting personal stories of opioid overdose and the use of take-home naloxone to save lives.

With this same team, Adrian is currently researching experiences of hepatitis C treatment in Australia.  All this work is part of a theme in his research focusing on better ways of tackling the complex harms usually considered the effects of drug use alone, but which can be better understood as fundamentally socially and politically shaped.

His DECRA fellowship will build on this work and specifically on his earlier PhD research investigating the ethics and politics of how young people’s drug consumption is addressed in Australian drug education curriculum.