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Advocacy

We champion the evidence-based policy and funding shifts we believe will reduce the long term harms of drugs and alcohol.

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Shifting Australia’s alcohol culture

We know Australia has a long way to go when it comes to building a healthier culture around alcohol. Key to this shift is educating parents on how to role model healthy behaviour, along with liquor licensing reforms that support healthier consumption in the community. This works in tandem with our work focusing on the sporting community.

Drugs and alcohol in Sport

In a country where sport is central to our cultural narrative, alcohol is very closely tied to our sporting identity. We work to shift regulations around alcohol advertising during sport, challenging National Sporting Organisations’ acceptance of unhealthy sponsorship (particularly alcohol sponsorship). We’re working for the sustainability of community sport, without depending on alcohol and fast food, and supporting the implementation of drug policies at a community sport level. We know performance enhancing drugs in sport is a persistent and growing issue, and we bring our evidence-based approach to this area.

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Pharmaceutical misuse

We know pharmaceutical drugs have a significant impact on the population – with annual deaths from pharmaceutical misuse outstripping those from road deaths or illicit drugs. We’re pushing for improvements in the way addictive drugs are distributed and monitored, along with increase funding and education around the provision of alternatives (where appropriate).

Decriminalisation

We have long known the drug prohibition does not eliminate harms, and we’re pushing for new approaches that are known to be effective. We support the principle of decriminalisation of the personal use of illicit drugs – treating drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal one. We encourage a greater focus on reintegrating drug users back into the community, and for greater access to treatment for those in need. We also support harm reduction measures like drug consumption rooms, and pill testing at music festivals to reduce the risk of unnecessary deaths.

Prevention works

We know that primary prevention is the best way to improve rates of harm from alcohol and other drugs. We support growing funding for primary prevention, focusing on education for parents in early childhood, with ongoing support for parents, particularly those at risk. We’re also looking to partner with others to improve the protective factors or social determinants that put families at risk generation after generation.

North Richmond MSIC

ADF commends Victorian Government on MSIC Trial

On 31 October 2017, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation commended the Victorian Government for its decision to approve a pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC).

“A pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in North Richmond will save lives and give clients access to treatment services that are critical in helping them in their recovery journey,” said John Rogerson, CEO of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.

With around 90 MSICs around the world, it’s indisputable that trialling one in North Richmond will reduce overdose deaths and provide clients access to much needed health and welfare services.

Read the ADF’s media release here.

Some recent history on this campaign

In February a coronial inquest was held into the death of a 34-year-old Victorian mother who overdosed in the toilet of a fast-food restaurant in North Richmond.

The inquest heard there were 172 heroin overdose deaths in Victoria last year – 34 of which died after buying heroin in the City of Yarra. Of those deaths, 19 were in the North Richmond area known as the “heroin rectangle”.

In handing down her findings, Coroner Jacqui Hawkins said a safe injecting facility in North Richmond was essential.

A medically supervised injection centre wouldn’t only save lives, it would:

  • Free-up police to tackle other law and order issues
  • Reduce the number of needles and syringes being left on the streets making the community safer
  • Reduce the number of ambulance call-outs to overdoses allowing them to attend other emergency situations
  • Reduce the number of incidents where members of the community are exposed to traumatic scenes of overdosing and people using drugs
  • Refer highly vulnerable people to various health and welfare services

In the past 30 years there have been more than 90 medically supervised injecting facilities set up across the globe, operating in 10 different countries – all of which are preventing deaths and creating pathways to treatment every day.

On the 7th September a parliamentary committee report looking into a pilot MSIC in North Richmond was tabled in the Victorian Parliament. Read our executive summary of the report below:

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Our strategic goals 2016 – 2020

GOAL 1: Strong communities

Build community capacity to reduce alcohol and other drug harms, at a local level.

Success measure: Measurable reduction in AOD harms at a local level.

GOAL 2: Awareness

Increase population-level awareness of healthy alcohol and other drug behaviour and the role of harm prevention.

Success measure: Australians are more aware of the prevention of alcohol and other drug harm at an individual and community level.

GOAL 3: Influence

Our strategic advocacy agenda influences policy, regulation and funding decisions that prevent AOD harm.

Success measure: We have a clear and bold policy Agenda, are consulted by community leaders and policymakers and play an influential role in policy reforms and funding decisions.

GOAL 4: Impact

Build a purposeful, engaged, high performing workforce to support the delivery of our strategy and sustainable impact of our programs and services.

Success measure: Our organisation is achieving goals 1, 2 and 3 above in an efficient way with an engaged and purposeful workforce.