Drugs, Substance Abuse and 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. 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.
  3. Policy and programs should be adopted that are evidence-based and subject to continuous evaluation.
  4. All Australians with a substance abuse problem should have access to a range of evidence-based and regularly evaluated treatment and recovery services.
  5. Community education about the health impacts and most appropriate responses to the use of drugs (including prescription, non-prescription, legal and illegal drugs) should be informed by scientific evidence.
  6. 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.
  7. The response to drug use is best addressed within a health and social framework.
  8. The Australian Greens do not support the legalisation of currently illegal drugs.
  9. There should be greater funding for demand and harm reduction.
  10. The individual use of illegal drugs should not fall within the criminal framework.
  11. The costs to the community of alcohol abuse are enormous, and include negative health effects, traffic deaths, violence and domestic abuse.
  12. 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 and tobacco consumption rates to close to zero.
  2. A reduction in alcohol consumption patterns to within the limits recommended by public health experts.
  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.
  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 cannabis and cannabis-derived products for medically-prescribed purposes.
  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. The 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 rigorous evaluation of drug treatment programs.
  13. To extend the range of counselling and treatment programs covered by Medicare.
  14. Criminal penalties for the trafficking or production of commercial quantities of illicit drugs.
  15. Measures such as education, counselling, and treatment to be the first response for people with an addiction to illicit drugs.
  16. Diversion, treatment and rehabilitation programs to be a sentencing option for people convicted of non-violent crimes committed in support of their drug addiction.
  17. Coordinated, inter-agency approaches to minimising harmful drug use.
  18. No advertising or promotion of alcohol in sport, which targets young people or encourages excessive drinking.
  19. All alcoholic beverages to be taxed based on alcohol content rather than value.
  20. A ban on financial donations from the tobacco and alcohol industries to political parties and candidates.
  21. Australia to lead the world in reducing the consumption of tobacco products.
  22. Increased assistance to support programs to quit tobacco, and treatment strategies for nicotine addiction.
  23. To continue to reduce the effects of passive smoking, by disallowing smoking in defined public spaces.