Budget extends help to people at risk from drugs
The Australian Government’s determination to reduce the harm caused by illicit drugs and alcohol is demonstrated in the 2006-2007 Budget, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Christopher Pyne, said.
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PDF printable version of Budget extends help to people at risk from drugs (PDF 23 KB)
9 May 2006
The Australian Government’s determination to reduce the harm caused by illicit drugs and alcohol is demonstrated in the 2006-2007 Budget, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Christopher Pyne, said tonight.
Mr Pyne said more than $214 million in funding had been allocated in tonight’s Budget to combat drug and alcohol problems, including the alarming rise in use of psychostimulants.
"Reports from 2004 indicate over half a million Australians have used methamphetamines in the previous 12 months," Mr Pyne said.
"As part of this funding, $38.9 million will be used to combat emerging trends in illicit drug use, which includes Ice and Ecstasy.
"Ice, or crystal methamphetamine, often leads to violent and psychotic behavior in users and provide extraordinary challenges to front line drug and alcohol rehabilitation workers.
"This new funding for research, training and prevention will go a long way towards giving them a break, and will help thousands of drug users to get their lives back on track.
"The link between drug use and abuse and mental illness is well established and the Government recognises the need to give special assistance to people with both drug and mental health problems," Mr Pyne said.
"This Budget provides the funding needed to take this message out into the community and to help people who are at risk or who need treatment.
"More than $115 million has been allocated to community awareness, specialist training for drug and alcohol workers, and a network of counsellors in universities.
"This is a large amount of money which will go to the heart of the problem and make a real difference to the lives of young people by averting the suffering and distress that drug abuse can cause."
The Budget also includes funding to establish a national centre as a focus for measures against cannabis use, a new national campaign against abuse of alcohol, and a third phase of the National Illicit Drugs Campaign.
"I am sure this wide-reaching package of measures will be very welcome, not only to the dedicated people working with drug and alcohol problems, but parents and friends all over the nation who understand the damage that drugs can do," Mr Pyne said.
"The Government’s Tough on Drugs strategy is the largest investment by any Australian Government to combat the drug problem. Drug abuse is a very complex social problem and that is why we are covering all angles - from prevention and education, to sympathetic treatment."
Media contact: Adam Howard 0400 414 833
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