"Drug Policy Australia raises awareness of the harms to the public health associated with the use of psychoactive substances and undertakes education, research and advocacy of proven harm-reduction strategies to minimise that harm."
The Facts from the Government
- 3 million Australians aged over 14 used illicit drugs within the preceding 12-months. (2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey published by the Australian Government's Institute of Health and Welfare)
- Australians spent $11.3 billion on methylamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA and heroin from August 2018-2019. (Ninth wastewater report reveals Australians spend over $11.3 billion a year on drugs).
- Australians spent another $14.9 billion on alcohol (Australian Bureau of Statistics Household Expenditure Survey)
The optimum health outcome for those Australians using a psychoactive substance and their families is best achieved by legal regulation and harm reduction strategies.
"We believe that legally enforced abstinence is unrealistic and counter-productive in modern Australia which has one of the highest per capita consumption rates of illicit drugs in the western world."
Break up of Annual Drug Policy Expenditure
The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales has reported that of the $1.7 billion allocated by Australian Governments for Drug Policy, 66% is spent on law enforcement and only 2% is spent on harm reduction measures.
Unfortunately, the government is spending over 70% of the budget allocated to illicit drugs on law enforcement at the expense of more cost-effective harm reduction measures like pill testing or safe injecting rooms.
We are concerned with the practical and ethical questions raised by drug use in Australian society which includes prohibited drugs like cannabis, ecstasy or amphetamines (ice) and freely available drugs like alcohol, tobacco or prescription medication.
The proliferation of new synthetic drugs, technological advancements in illicit drug production and supply of drugs through the internet make drug policy an increasingly important and developing area of public health policy.
We believe that government and public policy makers should give priority to the expansion of programs that have shown to reduce the incidence and severity of the many health risks associated with the use of psychoactive substances.
"We believe that the current prohibitionist approach to psychoactive substances does more harm than good to public health."
We for advocate for a regulated decriminalised drug market based on the Portugal harm minimisation model of decriminalising the personal possession and use of recreational drugs.
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