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Societal disruption as a disaster. Exploring suicide, drug addiction and domestic violence in Australia through a disaster risk reduction lens
This contributing paper aims to review the impact of drug addiction, domestic violence and suicide in Australia through the lens of disaster risk reduction. Some types of societal disruption can result in health threats and impacts not usually associated with emergency or disaster management frameworks. These frameworks are most commonly aligned to disaster definitions that are largely oriented towards predefined rapid onset hazards, often causing disasters. Disaster risk management is primarily informed by historical data that may not be sensitive to societal disruptions or non-traditional health threats. The study explores whether drug addiction, domestic violence and suicide can be considered as disasters themselves according to thresholds and definitions; and whether contemporary health emergency and disaster risk management (HEDRM) practice can be adapted to support action to reduce the impact of these events and inform disaster risk reduction.
This paper determines that the health impacts on victims of drug addiction, domestic violence and suicide, and the individual and cumulative health impacts upon the affected families and communities meets internationally recognised definitions of a disaster. The impact of drug addiction, domestic violence and suicide disproportionally affects vulnerable populations within communities. Public Health practice can institute prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery programs to reduce the impact of drug addiction, domestic violence and suicide.