National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

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Currently viewing 19 published submissions.

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SubmissionDate

Submission by Dr Khim Harris (Fresh Start Recovery Programme)

On page 28 of the Draft Strategy, under the "actions for Objective 3: Reduce harms to individuals

• Sustain efforts to prevent drug overdose and other health harms through continuing substitution therapies and withdrawal treatment.";



As the current level of those addicted to illegal opiates remains the same (2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey), the current efforts don’t seem to be reducing the number of individuals using illegal opiates, only increasing those taking government funded legal opiates (Since 1998 the number of pharmacotherapy clients receiving pharmacotherapy treatment on a ‘snapshot/specified’ day, has increased from 24,657 to 43,445, National Opioid Pharmacotherapy Statistics Annual Data collection: 2009 report). Surely the drug strategy should be to increase the effort to reduce health harm, by focusing on helping those to become drug free by promoting abstinence therapies over maintenance therapies.

View full submission by Dr Khim Harris

20101210195513

10 Dec 2010

Submission by Macciza

Again I will be succinct - with regards to personal Cannabis cultivation and consumption by adults - you have failed and your efforts in this and related ares are counter-productive and cause greater social harm than any policy of legalisation. By criminalising an essentially victimless crime you create its victims, and the associated social harms.



The policy of prohibition creates greater adverse health, social and economic consequences than personal consumption of Cannabis. It is generally agreed that the harms associated with the criminalisation of personal Cannabis consumption far outweigh any possible adverse health effects of its use in moderate amounts. The social and economic consequence of Cannabis's illegality far out weigh any possible direct consequence of personal Cannabis cultivation and use by adults.



The use of medicinal Cannabis medications should be allowed immediately. Cannabinoids have a remarkable safety record, particularly when compared to other therapeutically active substances.  Most significantly, the consumption of marijuana – regardless of quantity or potency -- cannot induce a fatal overdose. There are no recorded cases of overdose fatalities attributed to cannabis, and the estimated lethal dose for humans is so high that it cannot be achieved by users.



The most required 'Harm Reduction' with regards to moderate Cannabis cultivation and consumption by adults is the removal of criminal sanctions and the harms associated with criminal detection, prosecution and penalties. Any policy that ignores these factors is a contributing factor to ongoing harm production.



The National Drug Strategy should enforce its policy of harm reduction and recommend the removal of criminal penalties for the cultivation and consumption of Cannabis by adults.

View full submission by Macciza

20101210203456

10 Dec 2010

Submission by WANADA (WANADA)

The sections within harm reduction would logically flow better if they were reversed – i.e. harm to individual, families, communities (compared with the reverse order presented).

A number of examples of harm reduction are presented with one significant exclusion intoxication maintenance/sobering up services

Objective 1 on reducing harm to community, there is inadequate information on the impact of alcohol and other drug use within regional, rural and remote communities, where this can be significant and all encompassing.

Action point 6 refers to awareness in the community and workforce of clandestine laboratories, and yet misses the impact of working under the influence of alcohol and other drugs.

Action point 7 refers to working with industry (presumably the alcohol and pharmaceutical industries) and provides only one example of mixing alcohol with energy drinks. Improved awareness of mixing legal substances with other legal and/or illegal substances is needed for the public and those in the industries.

Objective 2 on reducing harm to families – WANADA welcomes this and the above focus within the NDS. Reference to FASD and the ‘particular issues’ for Indigenous communities is not backed up with examples, and without this expansion implies FASD does not impact on all communities/pregnant women who consume alcohol. Action point 5 related to preventing “misuse” of alcohol and other drugs during pregnancy surely needs to be preventing “use”

Objective 3 on reducing harm to individuals appropriately covers a range of initiatives. View full submission by WANADA

20101210173901

10 Dec 2010

Submission by Jan Warren (South Australian Department of Education and Children's Services)

DECS strongly supports diversion initiatives that also include responses to school-drug incidents that need to involve police. These provide an excellent opportunity for early intervention and help to build authentic partnerships between health, law enforcement and education.



DECS strongly supports "drug education initiatives to ensure they are appropriately targeted and evidence based in terms of patterns of substance abuse through the life span and mode of delivery".



View full submission by Jan Warren

20101210170121

10 Dec 2010

Submission by Burnet Institute (Burnet Institute)

For Australia to regain its position as a world leader in harm reduction significant innovation and vision not apparent in the current document are required. Examples of programs that may be explored/trialled include NSP in prisons, injecting rooms, improved substitution therapy programs, take home and peer naloxone. Other initiatives which could be supported under the strategy could include party safe initiatives, user-friendly health centres, peer education, 24 hour service provision, use of new and as yet underutilised technologies such as vending machines. Services scale-up should be among the objectives and can be reflected in process indicators around harm reduction services e.g. waiting times for pharmacotherapy, access to NSPs.

Despite strong evidence supporting substitution programs they receive little attention in the strategy. There is a clear opportunity for the Commonwealth to demonstrate leadership in this area to make programs more accessible and affordable for clients, an estimated 50% of people who inject drugs who would benefit from treatment are not currently accessing it (Ritter and Chalmers 2009). View full submission by Burnet Institute

20101210153557

10 Dec 2010

Submission by Fiona Sharkie (Quit Victoria)

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. View full submission by Fiona Sharkie

20101210164951

10 Dec 2010

Submission by J.B. Withnall, Prof S.B.Hill, Dr S. Bourgeois (University of Western Sydney)

Contact details:

Janice Withnall, University of Western Sydney

02 4570 1194 j.withnall@uws.edu.au Mobile: 0434 219664



Midlife women with Alcohol Use Disorders - a newly identified priority group for recovery healthcare



The prevalence of high-risk drinking within the sub-population of Australian women, (35 years to 59 years of age - midlife women) is estimated at 16 % of the Baby Boomer and Generation X cohort ; a similar figure to the 16 to 18% in the UK population . Women consume damaging amounts of alcohol across the lifespan, with Australian women in their 40s and 50s in distress starting to drink. This group of women are effectively excluded from harm minimisation programs due to: non recognition because of their age, gender and stage of life alcohol misuse; and the lack of evidence-informed practice to meet their needs (including assessment, treatment and life span chronic AUDs healthcare).



Our research, conducted between 2005 and 2010 in Australia, (known as ‘Researching with Women in Recovery and healthcare practitioners: RWR’) has focussed on ways to improve midlife women’s alcohol use disorders (AUDs) healthcare, abstinent recovery development and recovery support for this important societal group. Our submission (detail in table – Other comments section) is to address the recovery needs of midlife women with AUDs and to represent the participants in the study.



Midlife women with AUDs:

A. are a growing alcohol abuse and dependence sub-population where evidence and practice needs to be updated

B. are an important societal group for new and priority research (innovation, dissemination, validation, integration and evaluation)

C. are an emerging problem due to the ageing population and because they are a key link in intergenerational change in female alcohol consumption

D. are not included in practice guidelines or long-term recovery interventions studies

E. must be included in practical policy and programs to limit discriminatory exclusion and prejudicial stereotyping

F. need public health and social marketing messages, using contemporary research, to provide midlife women and supporters with information to raise early intervention awareness.

View full submission by J.B. Withnall, Prof S.B.Hill, Dr S. Bourgeois

20101210155747

10 Dec 2010

Submission by J.B. Withnall, Prof S.B.Hill, Dr S. Bourgeois (University of Western Sydney)

Contact details:

Janice Withnall, University of Western Sydney

02 4570 1194 j.withnall@uws.edu.au Mobile: 0434 219664



Midlife women with Alcohol Use Disorders - a newly identified priority group for recovery healthcare



The prevalence of high-risk drinking within the sub-population of Australian women, (35 years to 59 years of age - midlife women) is estimated at 16 % of the Baby Boomer and Generation X cohort ; a similar figure to the 16 to 18% in the UK population . Women consume damaging amounts of alcohol across the lifespan, with Australian women in their 40s and 50s in distress starting to drink. This group of women are effectively excluded from harm minimisation programs due to: non recognition because of their age, gender and stage of life alcohol misuse; and the lack of evidence-informed practice to meet their needs (including assessment, treatment and life span chronic AUDs healthcare).



Our research, conducted between 2005 and 2010 in Australia, (known as ‘Researching with Women in Recovery and healthcare practitioners: RWR’) has focussed on ways to improve midlife women’s alcohol use disorders (AUDs) healthcare, abstinent recovery development and recovery support for this important societal group. Our submission (detail in table – Other comments section) is to address the recovery needs of midlife women with AUDs and to represent the participants in the study.



Midlife women with AUDs:

A. are a growing alcohol abuse and dependence sub-population where evidence and practice needs to be updated

B. are an important societal group for new and priority research (innovation, dissemination, validation, integration and evaluation)

C. are an emerging problem due to the ageing population and because they are a key link in intergenerational change in female alcohol consumption

D. are not included in practice guidelines or long-term recovery interventions studies

E. must be included in practical policy and programs to limit discriminatory exclusion and prejudicial stereotyping

F. need public health and social marketing messages, using contemporary research, to provide midlife women and supporters with information to raise early intervention awareness.

View full submission by J.B. Withnall, Prof S.B.Hill, Dr S. Bourgeois

20101210155747

10 Dec 2010

Submission by APSAD (Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol & other Drugs (APSAD))

Placing emphasis on FASD and the harm reduction initiatives that are available to reduce its prevalence and incidence is supported by APSAD, as well as most of the other potential interventions illustrated in the draft.

We note that the term ‘binge drinking’ is used in the draft. APSAD suggests that this be removed as the term no longer has any agreed-upon meaning and for that reason is not used in leading scientific journals in the ATOD field, nor by NHMRC. A more appropriate term that operationalises the underlying concept is preferred, such as ‘episodic heavy drinking’.

APSAD fully supports legislation and practices that divert problematic drug users out of the criminal justice system into interventions well matched to their needs, but draws attention to the fact that this is mis-characterised in the draft Strategy as ‘harm reduction’. Treatment and education initiatives form part of demand reduction, not harm reduction. The current drafting causes confusion about the meaning of harm reduction. The term is better reserved for interventions that aim to reduce harm among people who continue to use drugs. This has been the definition used in the NDS through many of its previous phases, and is the internationally accepted definition. View full submission by APSAD

20101210150450

10 Dec 2010

Submission by School Drug Education and Road Aware (SDERA)

As a result of the consistent approach promoted over the years, through the NSDES, schools have adopted an appropriate stance on harm reduction and there is now little confusion about the terminolgy and the intent of this "pillar". SDERA supports the promotion of appropriate harm reduction strategies in the school setting including abstinence. SDERA further supports early intervention in the school setting to prevent entrenched drug use behaviour occurring and for the protection of the school community through the development of safe school environments. View full submission by School Drug Education and Road Aware

20101210150017

10 Dec 2010

Submission by Trevor King (DPMP Deputy Director) (UNSW: Drug Policy Modelling Program)

The statement that ‘harm reduction is as important for the NDS as supply and demand reduction’ is welcome and its application across drug types is important. We also welcome the focus on families in this section.



In the past Australia was recognised for providing leadership in the harm reduction area. This is no longer the case. The action on p 26 to “sustain existing harm reduction efforts including needle and syringe programs….” and the last two actions listed on p 28 (“sustain efforts to prevent drug overdose” and “continue support for needle and syringe programs”) fall short of what is now required.



This strategy should signal Australia’s willingness to explore or implement strategies such as heroin prescription, injecting rooms, peer administered naloxone, pill testing kits and so on. An action should be included to this effect in this section. For example, the action could read – “to continue to advance internationally recognised harm reduction interventions plus explore and develop new harm reduction opportunities as appropriate”.



The ‘medically supervised injecting centre’ should no longer be referred to as an experiment (p 25).

View full submission by Trevor King (DPMP Deputy Director)

20101210121352

10 Dec 2010

Submission by Australian Drug Foundation (ADF)



Objective 1: Amend to “Reduce harms to community health and safety”



Actions

• Make local communities… must include local communities in the partnership process, for example communities are excluded from liquor licensing decision making processes

• Investigate nationally… on alcohol outlet density and trading hours - We strongly support this action and commend the findings of the PHT which has already investigated these.

• Work with industry and consider regulation…. from emerging substances….for examples….energy drinks ”

When working with the alcohol industry, important to clarify which sector of the industry (producers, retailers, hospitality) as they have different motivations from each other and to the health lobby. The recognition that regulation may be needed is important as self–regulation by the industry has failed in most instances



Objective 2. Reduce Harm to families



The inclusion of families as a specific group who experience harm due to others alcohol and drug use is welcomed.



Actions

• Develop initiatives to reduce …. Need to include legislative options along with community education and information campaigns, as already exists in 3 jurisdictions.

• Consider introducing health warning labels…. Replace ‘Consider ‘ with ‘Introduce and trial …..



Objective 3. Reduce harm to individuals



Need a commitment and openness to trial new harm reduction strategies which already have a robust evidence base; e.g. heroin maintenance; supervised injecting facilities; decriminalisation of personal use of illicit drugs. It is important that the NDS provides the opportunity and support for such research to be undertaken when indicated by evidence .



Actions

• Use of Internet reword to

Develop and implement internet-based approaches to target hard to reach individuals and those who do not necessarily identify as needing treatment…



• Continue and expand evidence based illicit drug diversion programs….

• Add “Provide access to NSPs within prisons

View full submission by Australian Drug Foundation

20101210101433

10 Dec 2010

Submission by L Grant (National Council of Women of Tasmania Inc)

Please see submission forwarded by email View full submission by L Grant

20101209211032

09 Dec 2010

Submission by ACSO (ACSO)

ACSO supports the general direction of all the proposed objectives and associated actions under the harm reduction pillar. In particular, the focus in the Strategy on diversion from the criminal justice system is commended. Diverting individuals away from the criminal justice system is a pivotal part of minimising or preventing cross contamination for many people who are experimenting or recreationally using substances. By exposing people to the criminal justice system it may introduce them to increased criminogenic behaviours and higher risk taking with substance use. ACSO have been responsible for coordinating numerous drug diversion programs over a ten year period including; police cautioning, court-based integrated programs, rural outreach and Indigenous programs. Underpinning these services is a harm minimisation framework and health and justice stakeholders work collaboratively to reduce the relationship between criminal activity and substance use issues as they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Education can be a key component of a therapeutic intervention or may be beneficial to clients in a formal educational setting such as Caution with Cannabis or ‘First Offenders Court Intervention Service’ (FOCIS). Diversion programs have proven to be effective and ACSO have received 32088 referral cases over the ten year history of the programs and 56382 treatment episodes have been brokered for these cases to reduce their substance use and criminal activity without becoming absorbed in the forensic system. View full submission by ACSO

20101209123811

09 Dec 2010

Submission by Richard Struik (Western Australian Local Government Association)

We support this section, particularly Objective 1 which involving partnerships with Local Government planning, and Objective 2's focus on strengthening the ability of children to be raised in a healthy environment. View full submission by Richard Struik

20101207183550

07 Dec 2010

Submission by Christina Naylor (Drug Awareness NSW)

Injecting rooms, needle exchanges and drug substitjution must be replaced by genuine programs to cure addiction (e.g. with naltrexone).



View full submission by Christina Naylor

20101129190154

29 Nov 2010

Submission by Professor John Toumbourou (Deakin University)

P 27. In my view the following sentence does not capture the current policy. “However, emerging health evidence highlights the importance of delaying introduction to alcohol as long as possible.” I recommend the sentence be modified as follows. “However, based on current health evidence Australian health guidelines advise against underage alcohol use and encourage delaying introduction as long as possible.” View full submission by Professor John Toumbourou

20101129213647

29 Nov 2010

Submission by Mike (Western Health)

Although this Strategy document earler mentions Pharmaceutical Drug Misuse, this subject (and it's increasing recognition, related morbidity and mortality) is not addressed specifically in this section: I believe it should outline strategies like Real-Time Recording of all pharmacy dispensed medicines being made available to ALL doctors so as to help reduce the risk of drug diversion and drug related risk; further, strategies like the FDA's REMS (Risk Evaluation and Monitoring) approach to increasing Opioid prescrition; the better education (and enhancing performance/ quality assurance) of doctors in regards to Opioid risk identification and management. etc approach and View full submission by Mike

20101127174643

27 Nov 2010

Submission by Tanya (NA)

Although the strategy recognises smoking as being more prevelant among lower socio economic groups the continual rise in cost of tobacco creates even more financial strain and therefore social problems for individuals and families.

Strategies to prevent uptake of smoking include limiting advertising and display of tobacco yet these were all exposed to older smokers at a young age. Smokers are effectively being blamed for their behavoiur and seen as deserving of the continual extra taxes on their product of dependance- a classic case of blame the victim.

The strategies to make smoking less acceptable are working to the extent that they result in the smoker being stigmatised so that they are vulnerable in a political sense.

The ever increasing cost of cigarettes needs to be addressed as a strategy to reduce the social harms individuals and families experience from this addicitve substance. View full submission by Tanya

20101122132442

22 Nov 2010

Page currency, Latest update: 23 September, 2009