- Australia has developed a long- term framework for reducing harm associated with alcohol and drugs in line with the agreement of a ten- year National drug strategy 2017-2026.
- Their aim is to “to build safe, healthy and resilient Australian communities through preventing and minimising alcohol, tobacco and other drug-related health, social, cultural and economic harms among individuals, families and communities.”
- A balanced approach to harm minimisation has been taken across three pillars; demand reduction, supply reduction and harm reduction.
- The underlying strategic principles are i) partnership ii) coordination and collaboration iii) evidence- informed response vi) national direct jurisdictional implementation.
- The National Drug Strategy 2017-2026 identities three different types of priority areas of focus for consideration in implementation: actions, populations and substances.
- In order to achieve to the goals laid out in the Strategy, jurisdictions work together to achieve national policy and programme outcomes as well as specific initiatives reflecting local and/ or national circumstances and areas of responsibility.
- Alcohol, tobacco and other drug services and support are readily available.
- They range from brief interventions in primary care and hospital services through more intensive specialist treatment services.
- The course of action is tailored to the nature, complexity and severity of problem
- The treatment that is available is of high quality with guidelines and strong evidence base.
- Care is integrated between different services.
- In order to maintain recovery, strategies to enhance overall quality of life are implemented. These include enhancing social engagement and reintegration with the community and providing family support.
- Post treatment support programmes are also provided to reduce relapse
- Access to pharmacotherapies and subsidised medications, including smoking cessation aids.
- Assessment and brief intervention by GPs, nurses and allied health professionals.
- Family-support programs that can positively impact on patterns of drug use (including intergenerational patterns).
- Throughout the National Drug Strategy 2017-2026 prevention of drug use and addiction is covered from different angles and falls in line with the three pillars of harm minimisation.
- The pillar of Demand Reduction specifically focusses on the prevention of uptake and/or delaying the onset of use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. This entails the reduction of availability, accessibility and restrictions on marketing and providing designated programmes focused on building protective factors in order to prevent initial uptake.
- The pillar Supply Reduction regards the prevention, disruption or otherwise reduction in production and supply of illegal drugs. This includes regulation of sale, age restrictions, border controls and the monitoring of prescription medication.
- The Harm Reduction pillar looks to prevent the adverse health, social and economic consequences of the use of drugs, for the user, their families and the wider community. This includes introducing environmental changes in order to reduce the impact of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use such as creating smoke-free areas, chill out spaces, providing food and free water at licensed venues and the opportunity for the safe disposal of needles and syringes.
- Early intervention targeting at risk groups including collaborating with the education sector to deliver early intervention through schools for at risk youth and prevention programs that provide support to community level organisations and clubs.