The Greens will restore Australia’s reputation as a leader on innovative drug policy through the establishment of a Harm Reduction Innovation Fund. By investing in harm reduction, we create better health outcomes for drug users and for our communities as a whole.
The current approach to reducing the harm that illicit drugs cause in our community is not working. And right now, many of the things we are doing to address this issue are making it worse rather than better.
The Greens recognise that when we treat personal drug use as a criminal issue, we use vital resources to punish the individual rather than focussing on illicit drug manufacturers and distributors who are the real criminals. We are also distracted from the opportunities to reduce drug users’ exposure to harm, and often avoidable deaths.
Our police and politicians acknowledge that we cannot “arrest our way” out of this issue, so The Greens are proposing a new approach, with harm reduction innovation at its core.
Our plan will:
- Establish a Harm Reduction Innovation Fund and commit $10 million per annum over the forward estimates to foster the implementation of innovative harm reduction strategies in Australia.
- Prioritise investment in harm reduction measures that assist in building an evidence base for wider implementation of effective strategies.
- Explore and review global harm reduction initiatives to keep up with international best practice, and restore our reputation as a leader in innovation in drug policy.
- Ensure initiatives are evaluated and have safety controls and ethical approvals.
The importance of reform
A compassionate but pragmatic approach that uses evidence will win over myth, morality and magic. … many people change their lives but it often takes time and, in the meantime, lives can be lost. We support saving lives and reducing damage.
Tony Trimingham who lost his son to a heroin overdose and founded Family Drug Support Australia
The number of these deaths seems to be increasing, the number of the presentations to emergency departments of people attending these events is increasing, and it doesn't have to be like this.
Dr Alex Wodak, President of the Australian Drug Foundation, who plans to introduce pill testing at NSW music festivals
Australia has become a country where politics has overtaken policy, and policy-based evidence seems to trump evidence based policy. Nowhere is this more evident than in sectors representing those who have a small political voice, such as the AOD sector. … Australia needs to maintain a nimble approach to adopting global best practice in the field.
Associate Professor David Caldicott, Emergency Consultant in the ED, Calvary Hospital, Canberra
We are currently at a point in history were we can take stock of what has worked and what has not…We have the opportunity to rethink and renew some approaches that have not worked and consider scope for innovation.
Professor Ann Roche, director of the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction