The Alcohol and Other Drugs System in Australia
The alcohol and other drugs system in Australia involves the government, non-government (not for profit, charitable and religious organisations, and self help groups) and private sectors (hospitals, pharmacists, medical practitioners and other private providers). These sectors work together to provide the full spectrum of alcohol and other drug services in Australia including:
- development and enforcement of legislation
- treatment services
- prevention programs
The National Drug Strategy provides the overarching drug policy framework in Australia. The Strategy is developed by the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy and responsibility for its implementation lies with the Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs. Jurisdictions also have local strategies and action plans in place to address alcohol and other drugs.
Legislation regarding alcohol and other drugs is developed at both a national and jurisdictional level in Australia, with the Commonwealth and the state and territories each having responsibility for different areas. Responsibility for enforcement of legislation lies with national and local police and law enforcement agencies.
Treatment services in Australia are provided by a mix of government, non-government and private sector providers. Approximately half of all publicly funded alcohol and other drug treatment services are provided by the non-government sector across Australia (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2009).
There is a broad range of government, non-government and community sectors involved in the prevention of alcohol and other drug use and related harms in Australia. National campaigns regarding tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug use are delivered and jurisdictions also implement their own local programs aimed at preventing harms from alcohol and other drugs.
There are three national drug research centres which receive funding from the Australian government, of which NCETA is one. The other two Centres are the National Drug Research Institute and the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. These three Centres contribute to understanding of a broad range of alcohol and other drug issues on an international level.
There are a number of organisations which provide advocacy in the alcohol and other drugs field. These organisations generally represent the needs of those affected by alcohol and other drug use (people who use drugs and their loved ones) and those who provide services in the alcohol and other drugs area.
The Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA) is the peak body representing the interests of the non-government sector in Australia. For more information, see www.adca.org.au.
The Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug User's League (AIVL) AIVL is the national peak organisation representing the State and Territory-based Drug User Organisations and issues of national significance for illicit drug users. For more information, see http://www.aivl.org.au/.
Information regarding the National Drug Strategy, the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy and the Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs can be found at www.nationaldrugstrategy.gov.au.
Information about alcohol and other drug treatment service provision in Australia can be found at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare site, look for the reports from the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set www.aihw.gov.au.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2009) 'Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2007-08: report on the national minimum data set'. Drug treatment series no. 9. Cat. no. HSE 73. Canberra: AIHW.