Drugs, Substance Abuse, Addiction

Harm minimisation policies are those directed towards reducing the adverse health, social and economic consequences of drug use.


The Australian Greens believe that:

  1. The use of all drugs, including legal drugs such as alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals, has the potential to cause harm to the individual and to the community.
  2. The response to illegal drug use is best addressed within a health and social framework.
  3. A harm minimisation approach is the most appropriate way to reduce the adverse health, social and economic consequences of drug use, for the individual user and the community.
  4. Policy and programs should be adopted that are evidence-based and subject to continuous evaluation.
  5. All Australians with a substance abuse problem should have access to a range of evidence-based and regularly evaluated treatment and recovery services.
  6. Information and education programs should be available to enable informed debate about the effects of all drugs, including prescription, non-prescription, legal and illegal drugs.
  7. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities must control, to the greatest extent possible, the development and management of harm minimisation policies and treatment and recovery programs in their communities.

Illicit Drugs

  1. The Australian Greens do not support the legalisation of currently illegal drugs.
  2. There should be greater funding for demand and harm reduction.
  3. The individual use of illegal drugs should not fall within the criminal framework.


  1. The costs to the community of alcohol abuse are enormous, and include negative health effects, traffic deaths, violence and domestic abuse.


  1. Active and passive consumption of tobacco smoke is a demonstrated health risk and is a significant cost to the community and health.


The Australian Greens want:

  1. A reduction in harmful substance abuse, including smoking rates that are close to zero and alcohol consumption patterns that are within the limits recommended by public health experts.
  2. The cost to government and the community of regulating drug use to be reduced with improved health and social outcomes.
  3. Improved effectiveness of all management, treatment and other regulatory and judicial responses to drug use in the community, to maximise harm reduction, supply reduction and demand reduction, and to improve health and social outcomes.
  4. Universal access to drug and alcohol treatment programs for those in need.
  5. An increase in public dissemination of scientifically rigorous information on the risks and safe use of licit and illicit drugs.
  6. The regulated use of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) for specified medical purposes, such as intractable pain.
  7. Increased availability of harm reduction programs including drug-substitution therapy, medically supervised injecting rooms, and widely accessible supply of clean needles, including in prisons.
  8. Public funding of drug substitution treatment and its distribution.
  9. The removal of legal barriers to both research and the evidence-based management of substance-abuse and other medical conditions, where considered necessary by the public health community.
  10. Severe penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or other drugs that impair cognitive or psychomotor skills.
  11. To address the problem of inhalant misuse by supporting the rollout of measures, such as non-sniffable fuel throughout regions of Australia where petrol sniffing is a problem, as well as associated diversionary and rehabilitation programs.
  12. To support research trials and evaluation of policy and treatment programs.
  13. To extend the range of counselling and treatment programs covered by Medicare.

Illicit Drugs

  1. Maintenance of criminal penalties for drug dealers, and introduction of a system of civil sanctions for personal use of illicit drugs, when not associated with other crimes, including measures such as education, counselling and treatment, rather than criminal penalties.
  2. Increased availability of diversion to rehabilitation and treatment and recovery programs as a sentencing alternative for people convicted of crimes committed to support a personal addiction to drugs.
  3. Improved communication between relevant agencies and local communities to address problems associated with harmful drug use.


  1. No advertising promotions of alcohol in sport, that target young people, or encourage excessive drinking.
  2. All alcoholic beverages to be taxed based on alcohol content rather than value.


  1. A ban on financial donations from the tobacco and alcohol industries to political parties and candidates.
  2. Australia to lead the world in reducing the consumption of tobacco products.
  3. Increased assistance to support programs to quit tobacco, and treatment strategies for nicotine addiction.
  4. To reduce the effects of passive smoking, by disallowing smoking in defined public spaces.