National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

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10 Dec 2010

Submission by Fiona Sharkie (Quit Victoria)

Introduction and Mission

On page 14, first paragraph, suggested addition: "The internet poses both challenges and opportunities for the National Drug Strategy. It is an efficient channel for information on illegal drug manufacture and use and the promotion of tobacco products."

The Pillars: Supply Reduction

No specific comments (adequately notes the need to curtail illicit tobacco).

The Pillars: Demand Reduction

People with drug dependence have very high smoking prevalence rates (between 51-91%) and often die from illnesses caused by tobacco. However, tobacco cessation is often ignored by treatment services. Reviews of tobacco cessation literature indicate that smoking cessation during substance abuse treatment does not impair drug treatment outcomes and can in fact enhance outcome success. As such, it should be noted that drug treatment services should be giving much more attention to addressing nicotine dependence among clients.

The Pillars: Harm reduction

Page 26, under Objective 1: Reduce harms to community safety and amenity:

Should include as an action the need to legislate for more smokefree areas (such as outdoor dining areas, parks, playgrounds and beaches) to: further reduce exposure to secondhand smoke; denormalise smoking for children; reduce cigarette butt litter; and generally improve the amenity and enjoyment of public spaces. There is a need for consideration to be given as to how to best regulate alternative nicotine delivery devices.

Workforce

The working group for the national workforce strategy should include experts in smoking cessation.

Evidence base and Performance measures

Page 31, last paragraph, suggested amendment: "Other academic institutions contribute to the evidence base with support from the NHMRC, ARC, universities and state and territory governments.

Governance

There is no reference to the National Preventive Health Agency and how the strategy will interact with, and/or contribute to, its work.

Other comments

I wish to reiterate the position of Cancer Council Australia, Heart Foundation, Action on Smoking and Health Australia and the Australian Council on Smoking and Health that was submitted to the NDS consultation in February 2010. We feel that it is no longer appropriate to include tobacco in the NDS as it is comprehensively covered in the National Preventative Health Taskforce Report and National Partnership Agreement on Preventative Health. As the NDS has a strong law enforcement focus, we believe that the future approach for dealing with tobacco differs from what is required to manage other illicit and licit drug use. We note that tobacco control should be managed, at a national level, through the National Preventive Health Agency.

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