Australia's National Drug Strategy beyond 2009: consultation paper
A balanced approach
A feature of Australia's National Drug Strategy has been the emphasis on a balanced approach – across all levels of government, between supply reduction, demand reduction and harm reduction strategies, between preventing use and harms, and facilitating access to treatment. In this context, the term 'balance' is sometimes used as shorthand for ensuring that investment is weighted towards where there is evidence of the most harm.
In this context, investment in National Drug Strategy approaches and programs should not be measured in dollar terms alone. Regulatory and legislative approaches, technological and environmental interventions or simply better focusing of existing resources can sometimes come at significantly lower cost than conventional programmatic approaches to emerging issues. Equal efforts in law enforcement activity are not a simple substitute for efforts in health or education or vice versa. Each of these approaches is necessary.
Further research into what constitutes an appropriate balance of investment could provide a good starting point for further progressing this commitment under the National Drug Strategy.