What Drug Policy Australia Does

National Advocacy

We act as a national drug policy advocate promoting new ideas, approaches and policies to improve public health relating to the use of all forms of psychoactive drugs in Australia.

A particular focus is identifying programs that have been effective overseas and working out how they could be implemented in Australia to improve the health of drug consumers, their families, friends and society generally.

“We promote evidence-based health policies that avoid moral judgements and the criminalisation of consumers for small quantities of psychoactive substances.”

We believe that Australia should adopt a decriminalised but regulated framework for the possession of all drugs for personal use based on Portugal's highly successful drug law reform of 2001 (commonly referred to as “The Portugal Model”). This is a proven alternative to the current "war on drugs" approach and involves the decriminalisation of drug use, but with mandatory referral to drug treatment for problematic users.

Other examples of successful drug programs that can be implemented or expanded in Australia include:

  • Heroin-assisted therapy used successfully in Switzerland's and the United Kingdom’s Health Systems, as a means to help users stay alive and disease-free;
  • Medically Supervised Injecting facilities like the MSIC established in Sydney has been proven to reduce accidental deaths, improve the safety and the health of IV drug consumers;
  • Pill testing at major music festivals and hospitals (such as pill-testing available in the Netherlands medical centres).

“The benefit of "heroin-assisted" therapy is to replace unsafe compulsive drug use with safer modes of administration and dosage.”

International studies have demonstrated that these, and many other alternative harm-reduction approaches have led to marked reductions in problematic drug use, HIV transmissions, Hepatitis infections and other harms.

Public Education

A major focus of DPA is educating the public about successful international harm-reduction strategies and how they could be implemented in Australia, to significantly reduce the incidence of problematic drug use and resulting diseases.

To this end, DPA is developing education programs focusing on safer drug use aimed at specific consumer groups including dance festival patrons and IV drug users. These education programs will be tailored to the needs of these consumer groups and will provide information on how to minimise the harms associated with drug use.

DPA is holding a drug policy conference in the second half of 2016 which will be open to drug policy experts and the public.

Media Appearances

DPA will contribute to the public debate through mainstream and social media, with a focus on disseminating information on significant local and international drug policy initiatives, successful harm-reduction programs and new research.

DPA also provides spokespeople for radio, television, documentaries, conferences, interviews and other public speaking engagements.

Media organisations can contact Greg Chipp or Doctor John Sherman for any media comments on any drug policy issue. Immediate enquiries to 0417 773372 or use our contact form.

"Drug Policy Australia advocates scientifically proven harm reduction methods and rejects a prohibitionist approach (epitomised by the War on Drugs) which has been shown to have a net negative effect on both the health of drug consumers and the community."

Strategic Partnerships

DPA is developing strategic partnerships within the AOD sector including educators, medical researchers, health professionals and other stakeholders in order to assist them with advocacy, volunteers, financial and organisational management.

DPA seeks to assist existing organisations by providing a vehicle for promoting awareness of their successes, and through cooperation and information-sharing across ADO sector participants at local, State and Federal levels.

Grants Program

DPA is in the process of developing a grants program, to assist Australian researchers that focus on new harm reduction strategies and approaches. Small Research Grants will be available in the following areas:

Local organisations targeting health and safer use practices to specific consumers groups, in the form health information brochures;

  • Individual/organisational funding of public education campaigns, consistent with DPA's objectives;
  • Legal research into overseas regulatory models and their application within the Australian legal system, in order to prevent/control the diseases and harm associated with psychoactive substance use in Australia;
  • Harm-reduction research designed to reduce the incidence and severity of diseases suffered by consumers of psychoactive substances.