25 September 2023

High hopes for new drugs policy

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A new action plan to deal with the dangers of drug usage in the ACT has been released by ACT Health.

The ACT Drug Strategy Action Plan 2018-2021 establishes harm minimisation as the centre of its policy and outlines priorities for the next three years taking into account the use of alcohol, tobacco and other substances.

Announcing the plan, Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Meegan Fitzharris said it demonstrated the ACT was leading the nation in many key areas, including continuing to support pill testing and looking at new ways to deal with an increase in opioid harm.

Ms Fitzharris said the plan outlined 43 key actions to be prioritised over the next three years to tackle the impact of alcohol, tobacco and other harmful drugs in the ACT.

She said some of the key outcomes of the plan included collaborating with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and services to consider priorities; examining further opportunities to expand pill testing at events in the ACT; and exploring the feasibility of establishing a medically supervised injecting facility.

Ms Fitzharris said the plan prioritised screening, testing, treatment, and harm reduction, with evidence-based responses to drug use.

“Every year there are over 1,000 admissions to our hospitals from overdoses,” the Minister said.

“These overdoses are the result of alcohol consumption as well as the use of other drugs such as heroin, methamphetamines and pharmaceutical opioids,” she said.

“That’s why harm reduction is a key element of this action plan, and this is demonstrated by the support for pill testing.”

ACT Health’s 36-page action plan can be accessed at this PS News link.

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