Health Fact Sheet 5 – National Illicit Drug Strategy

The Government is committed to addressing the problems caused by illicit drugs in Australia and will introduce a range of new supply and demand reduction initiatives as well as maintaining existing efforts under the "Tough on Drugs" initiative.

Page last updated: 13 May 2003

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13 May 2003

National Illicit Drug Strategy

The Government remains committed to addressing the problems caused by illicit drugs in Australia and will introduce a range of new supply and demand reduction initiatives as well as maintaining existing efforts under the "Tough on Drugs" initiative.

$215.9 million will be provided for the continuation of the Council of Australian Government's National Illicit Drug Diversion Initiative which aims to provide minor drug offenders alternatives to the criminal justice system by providing greater access to appropriate education, assessment and treatment services. Further funding of $38.6 million will also be provided for the continuation of the Initiatives Needle and Syringe Program Supporting Measures.

New funding will be provided to address identified new priorities in the next phase of 9Tough on Drugs', including:

  • addressing the new public health challenges faced by the increased availability and use of psychostimulants, such as amphetamines, ecstasy and cocaine;
  • improving treatment for drug users with coexisting mental health problems (comorbidity);
  • establishing a National Illicit Drug Strategy Research Fund, with an emphasis on developing strategies to address challenges faced by the alcohol and drug workforce;
  • improving access to drug treatment networks in rural and regional Australia; and
  • providing the public with access to quality assured drug related information and referral.

The Government has endorsed an implementation strategy for the introduction of retractable needle and syringe technology into Australia over three years.

The National Illicit Drug Strategy is a partnership between the Health and Ageing Portfolio, the Justice and Customs, Education, Science and Training, and Family and Community Services Portfolios. Funding under the Strategy has also been provided to these Portfolios.

Council of Australian Government's (COAG) Illicit Drug Diversion Initiative

As announced by the Prime Minister on 31 December 2002, the Government will provide $215.9 million over four years for a second phase of the Council of Australian Governments Illicit Drug Diversion Initiative, established in 1999. Diversion activities are now established in all States and Territories, providing greater access to information, education and treatment services for minor drug offenders.

This funding will allow the Initiative to build on existing momentum, ensuring minor drug offenders are given a chance to address their illicit drug use and stay out of the criminal justice system.

2003-04
$m
2004-05
$m
2005-06
$m
2006-07
$m
52.2 53.4 54.6 55.7

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COAG Illicit Drug Diversion Supporting Measure: Increased Education, Counselling and Referral Services through Needle and Syringe Programs

Funding of $22.4 million over four years will be provided for the continuation of the Initiative's Supporting Measures for Needle and Syringe Programs. The aim of this program is to provide ongoing support to increase the rates of voluntary entry into treatment programs, and increase access to community based counselling and education services through Needle and Syringe Programs. It will support:

  • increased education, counselling and referral services through existing community based Needle and Syringe Programs;
  • increased training for health care workers in non-government organisations and community based Needle and Syringe Programs; and
  • recruitment of additional staff to increase the level of education, counselling and referral provided through existing community based Needle and Syringe Programs.
2003-04
$m
2004-05
$m
2005-06
$m
2006-07
$m
5.4 5.5 5.7 5.8

COAG Illicit Drug Diversion Supporting Measure: Needle and Syringe Programs

Funding of $16.3 million over four years will be provided for the continuation of the Initiative's - Diversification of Existing Needle and Syringe Programs Supporting Measure. The aim of this program is to increase the accessibility of Needle and Syringe Programs through pharmacies and other outlets, and provide information and training support. It will support:

  • the provision and disposal of injecting equipment;
  • increased education for people who inject drugs illicitly; and
  • referrals to health and social services.
2003-04
$m
2004-05
$m
2005-06
$m
2006-07
$m
3.9 4.0 4.1 4.2

Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Contact: Jenny Hefford, Assistant Secretary, Drug Strategy Branch, (02) 6289 8771

Introduction of Retractable Needle and Syringe Technology into Australia

In recognition of the significant advances in the development of retractable needle and syringe technology, the Government has endorsed an implementation strategy for the introduction of retractable needle and syringe technology into Australia, at a revised cost of $17.5 million over three years. Savings from the original 2002-2003 initiative will be redirected to new activities on illicit drugs in this Budget.

2003-04
$m
2004-05
$m
2005-06
$m
2006-07
$m
2.8 2.6 12.1 -

Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Contact: Greg Sam, Assistant Secretary, Communicable Disease Branch, (02) 6289 7011

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Improving Treatments for Drug Users with Coexisting Mental Health Problems (Comorbidity)

Research has shown that many drug users with a coexisting mental health diagnosis are currently not receiving the coordinated treatment they require. The Government will provide $4.4 million over two years to improve service coordination and treatment outcomes for these clients. This will be achieved through the development of best practice guidelines for service delivery and increased inter-sectoral education and training.

2003-04
$m
2004-05
$m
2005-06
$m
2006-07
$m
1.7 2.7 - -

Contact: Jenny Hefford, Assistant Secretary, Drug Strategy Branch, (02) 6289 8771

National Psychostimulants Initiative

The increased use of psychostimulant drugs, particularly the more harmful forms of these drugs such as methamphetamine, has significant health and social implications for drug users, service providers and the broader community.

The Government will provide $2 million over two years to address problems associated with the increased availability and use of psychostimulants. Funding will cover an evaluation of current treatment options and the development of guidelines.

2003-04
$m
2004-05
$m
2005-06
$m
2006-07
$m
1.0 1.0 - -

Contact: Jenny Hefford, Assistant Secretary, Drug Strategy Branch, (02) 6289 8771

National Illicit Drug Strategy Rural and Regional Initiative

Recognising the disadvantages faced by rural and regional communities, the Government will provide $4 million over four years to investigate ways of improving rural and regional access to a range of drug treatment services.

2003-04
$m
2004-05
$m
2005-06
$m
2006-07
$m
1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0

Contact: Jenny Hefford, Assistant Secretary, Drug Strategy Branch, (02) 6289 8771

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National Illicit Drug Strategy Research Fund

The Government will provide $2.8 million over four years for the establishment of a National Illicit Drug Strategy Research Fund. This Fund will enable investigator driven research into the prevention and treatment of illicit drug use.

2003-04
$m
2004-05
$m
2005-06
$m
2006-07
$m
0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7

Contact: Jenny Hefford, Assistant Secretary, Drug Strategy Branch, (02) 6289 8771

Australian Drug Information Network

Funding of $1 million over four years will be provided to maintain the Australian Drug Information Network. The Network is a portal website, providing access to a wide range of web-based information through a comprehensive search capability of over 600 quality reviewed websites. The Network also serves as a valuable tool for locating information on treatment services and resources.

2003-04
$m
2004-05
$m
2005-06
$m
2006-07
$m
0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3

Contact: Jenny Hefford, Assistant Secretary, Drug Strategy Branch, (02) 6289 8771

COAG Illicit Drug Diversion Supporting Measure: Community Partnerships Initiative

$4.4 million allocated for the continuation of this 1999-2000 Federal Budget Initiative will be redirected to a range of new illicit drug initiatives.

Contact: Jenny Hefford, Assistant Secretary, Drug Strategy Branch, (02) 6289 8771

COAG Illicit Drug Diversion Supporting Measure:

Cannabis Cessation Initiative

Funding of $1.1 million was provided to develop resources for cannabis-dependent adults and adolescents in the 1999-2000 Federal Budget. The resources have been successfully developed and distributed and the funding will be redirected to a range of new illicit drug initiatives.

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