Drug Policy Australia is a public health NGO primarily concerned with promoting new approaches to minimise the health risks and other harms caused by the use of both licit and illicit Drugs which affects the wellbeing of all Australians.
"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."
According to the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey published by the Australian Government's Institute of Health and Welfare, 3 million Australians aged over 14 used illicit drugs within the preceding 12-months. It is estimated by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commissions from analysis of wastewater treatment plants that Australians spent $9.3 billion on illicit recreational drugs in 2018. In addition according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Household Expenditure Survey, Australians spent another $14.9 billion on alcohol
Because of this high prevalence of drug use in Australia, the optimum health outcome for those Australians using a psychoactive substance and their families is best achieved by harm reduction strategies.
"Drug Policy Australia raises awareness of the harms to individuals and 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 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.
Break up of Annual Drug Policy Expenditure
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.