National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

The National Drug Strategy 2010-2015: consultation draft

Pillar 1: Supply reduction

prev pageTOC |next page

Supply reduction strategies are directed toward enforcing the prohibition of illegal drugs and regulating and enforcing access to legal drugs, including alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceuticals and other drugs. In the case of illegal drugs, supply reduction activities, including both border and domestic policing, extend to controlling the availability of precursor chemicals and equipment used in the manufacture of drugs. It also extends to compliance with Australia's obligations under international drug control treaties.

Reducing the supply of drugs requires the collaborative participation of all levels of government including law enforcement and the health sector (public and private), industry and regulatory authorities.

It also requires engagement of the Australian community in seeking their support for these strategies. The message must be clear that the supply and misuse of illegal drugs and the illegal supply and misuse of tobacco, alcohol, pharmaceuticals and other legal drugs is not acceptable.

For alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceuticals and other legal drugs, government and non-government authorities need to collaborate in regulating access to these drugs based on community norms and standards, and the health and other harms arising from inappropriate access. For alcohol, this means that liquor licensing, planning authorities, licensed venues and retailers need to be involved – as do parents in reducing the supply of alcohol to minors. For tobacco, the involvement of retailers is essential. For pharmaceutical drugs, doctors and pharmacists need to be consulted and involved in supply reduction strategies to reduce pharmaceutical misuse. Retailers of other drugs (for example, inhalants) are an essential part of regulation and enforcement of supply.

For illegal drugs, law enforcement strategies are needed which target all parts and levels of the supply chain from actions aimed at preventing importation across the border to those that target the point of supply to consumers. The increasing prevalence in the use of the internet to facilitate the global supply of illegal drugs – particularly those marked as 'party pills' and 'legal highs' – also needs to be considered within these strategies. Communities – not only in metropolitan areas but also in rural and remote areas and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities – have a strong role to play in not tolerating illegal drug supply and helping law enforcement to combat it.

There is a strong connection between the supply of illegal drugs and the illegal supply of legal drugs because of the financial proceeds that arise from such activities. Therefore the disruption of organised crime and money laundering is an important component of any drug supply reduction strategy. The disruption and dismantling of organised crime is a high priority for governments as reflected in the Commonwealth's Organised Crime Strategic Framework.

Top of page

Objective 1: Reduce the supply of illegal drugs (both current and emerging)
Objective 2: Control and manage the supply of alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceuticals and other legal drugs

Objective 1: Reduce the supply of illegal drugs (both current and emerging)

Reducing the supply of illegal drugs requires activity at Australia's borders to prevent and disrupt importations of illegal drugs and their precursors and within Australia to prevent cultivation, manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs. Legislative frameworks exist and require constant enforcement to ensure a reduction in the supply of illegal drugs is achieved. These frameworks need to be supported by demand reduction strategies which engage the health sector and community and serve to raise awareness of the harms and consequences arising from illegal drug misuse.

Noting the importance of border activities in controlling the importation of illegal drugs, Australia must continue to develop strong international partnerships and strengthen the border management capabilities of our international partners, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. It is important too that Australia continues to participate in international law enforcement activities, such as those coordinated by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The illicit drug market is not only constrained by the international border. Information sharing and coordinated approaches are needed to stem the supply of illicit drugs at all stages of the supply chain from overseas suppliers, interception at the border (jurisdictional and international), and investigation and prosecution of domestic producers, manufacturers and suppliers.

Actions

Top of page

Objective 2: Control and manage the supply of alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceuticals and other legal drugs

Supply reduction for alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceutical and other legal drugs involves activities targeted toward the regulation of legitimate supply and the detection and interruption of illegal markets.

By way of example, regulation of the sale of alcohol focuses on who can sell alcohol, to whom and when, for example by ensuring that alcohol is sold only to adults and only by licensed premises and liquor retailers. Regulations also control the number and type of outlets in a community, aiming to minimise the social impact of alcohol in any given community. Police, licensing inspectors and hospitality workers have a responsibility for limiting supply to intoxicated people or removing them from licenced premises. Parents, siblings, and friends are the main sources of supply of alcohol to young people and therefore have a key role to play in reducing access to alcohol by this group.

Similarly, age restrictions on tobacco sales need to be enforced and families have a responsibility to reduce access by young people. The illegal cultivation, sale and supply of tobacco and the importation and distribution of kava exceeding the permitted amount require appropriate regulation and enforcement.

An emerging and challenging issue is the misuse of pharmaceutical drugs – including opioids, stimulants and performance- and image-enhancing drugs. An effective supply reduction response will require a collaborative cross-sectoral approach that balances the need to ensure the availability of these drugs for medicinal purposes while, at the same time, restricting illegal access and diversion to illegal drug markets. Legislative and regulatory frameworks exist and require constant monitoring to ensure they support the appropriate prescribing and supply of pharmaceutical drugs. These frameworks also need to be supported by demand reduction strategies such as information and education campaigns which engage the health sector and community and serve to raise awareness of this emerging issue.

For legal substances like inhalants (petrol, paint, glue) that are readily misused, a balance also needs to be found between access for legitimate purposes and regulation of supply. This balance needs to take account of the prevalence of misuse and the harms from these substances.

Actions

prev pageTOC |next page