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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Draft drug strategy aims to reduce harm

Raising the legal age of smoking, banning smoking in correctional facilities, setting a minimum price per standard drink, and improving access to sterile injecting equipment are just a number of measures being considered in the ACT Drug Strategy Action Plan 2018-2021 that’s now open for consultation.

The document proposes 39 actions as it sets out to better prevent the harms associated with consumption of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

It identifies excessive single-occasion and lifetime alcohol consumption, uptake of smoking amongst young people and exposure to second-hand smoking, prevention and education of HIV and hepatitis, and controlling the availability of pharmaceuticals as just some of the ACT Government’s key objectives.

The ACT Drug Strategy Action Plan 2018-2021 has been developed with input from a range of stakeholders, and summarises the Government’s priority actions across the broad range of issues encompassed by drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

The plan is aligned with the National Drug Strategy 20172026 and looks to prevent and minimise alcohol, tobacco and other drug-related health, social, cultural and economic harms among individuals, families and communities.

ACT Minister for Health and Wellbeing Meegan Fitzharris said the plan has a clear focus on preventative health.

“Tobacco smoking and risky alcohol consumption are two of the key risk factors which contribute significantly to the burden of chronic disease in our community.

“In line with the national strategy, the ACT Government will take a ‘harm minimisation’ approach, focussing on demand reduction, supply reduction and harm reduction,” Ms Fitzharris said.

She said the Government is committed to evidence‑based responses to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, and pointed to Australia’s first pill testing trial at Grooving the Moo earlier this year as an example of that.

Minister Fitzharris strongly encouraged members of the community to look at the draft and offer their feedback.

“Feedback to this consultation process will inform the ACT Government’s priority actions over the next three years in relation to the harmful effects of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.”

The draft strategy is available for viewing at yoursay.act.gov.au, with community feedback being accepted until 3 August.

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