National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

National Drug Strategy 2010 - 2015 - Roundtable Consultation Synopsis Framework - Melbourne 21 April 2010

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Synopsis of the Roundtable Consultation on the National Drug Strategy 2010 - 2015 in Melbourne on 21 April 2010


The Melbourne roundtable was attended by 23 participants. A list of participants and the organisations they represent can be found at Attachment A.


There was general consensus among participants of the need to reshape and reduce the number of objectives contained in the National Drug Strategy (NDS). Discussions at the roundtable indicated that there is currently not a clear delineation across the objectives, priorities and the principles underpinning the NDS. There was a suggestion that an alternative approach could be to identify a set of desirable outcomes and then outline the core strategies for addressing these outcomes. Participants also suggested a means for reducing the number of core objectives may be to align them to the NDS core pillars so that there would be an overarching objective to improve related health, social and economic outcomes, which would then be achieved by: Further, as part of re-drafting the NDS, participants sought that effort should be made to outline the positive steps that have been taken to date through the implementation of a harm minimisation approach. Participants identified that the NDS should better advocate community educations as a means for impacting cultural change towards the use of licit and illicit drugs. Alcohol use by young people was particularly highlighted by participants as an area where cultural change was needed.

Participants also identified that the NDS should highlight the importance of early intervention as a means to reducing substance misuse. There was a desire for the NDS to more explicitly outline the core activities related to alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs as contained in the sub strategies.

Overall there was support among participants of the need to better capture key licit and illicit drug prevention, supply and harm reduction activities within the NDS, which could then better inform and guide subsequent sub strategies.

There was discussion at the roundtable of the need for the NDS to give consideration to high risk population groups being treated as a priority. In particular participants noted the importance for providing support and treatment services to those people with dependent children, as these children were at risk due to being subjected to an environment of risk taking behaviours by their parents. Refugees were also identified as a potential target group, given they are often disconnected from the mainstream community and will often not seek out treatment or other support services.

Participants indicated that people with substance misuse problems and population groups who are vulnerable, often present with a range of complex needs that the NDS needs to acknowledge. Participants noted that to best support these people, and to successfully implement a ‘no wrong door’ policy, there needs to be an emphasis on integrated care, which will require flexible funding models to allow different sectors to work together to deliver the full compliment of required services (e.g. drug and alcohol treatment, family counselling and housing services). Participants indicated that the national health reform agenda may provide for better service integration opportunities, particularly in providing better incentives for medical practitioners to work with alcohol and other drug treatment services.

Participants noted the need for a greater emphasis on workforce development across the sector. In particular, given the key role NGO’s have in service delivery, participants acknowledged the need for appropriate base funding for these organisations to enable investment in continuous improvement and workforce development.

It was noted by participants that that the NDS should support innovation as a priority, which acknowledges the introduction of new treatment and service delivery arrangements. Further participants sought that the current engagement and governance models for the NDS be re-visited. In particular, there was widespread support for the peak bodies representing drug and alcohol services to be included in national governance arrangements. Participants felt that this arrangement would better enable engagement with the broader sector.

There was support for the NDS to be tied to a set of performance measures, however participants were concerned at the cost to the sector in collecting this data and also the difficulty many drug and alcohol services would have in developing the necessary capability to collect and use this use this data.

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Policy Framework

The following issues and suggestions were raised by workshop participants:





Other key issues raised by participants in relation to priorities included: Top of page

Emerging Issues

Participants discussed a range of emerging and issues, which will impact the NDS over the next five years. Issues identified included: Top of page

Increased Vulnerability

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Workforce and Capacity Building

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Governance Arrangements

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Performance Measures

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Attachment A - Participants - Roundtable, Melbourne 21 April 2010

1Kris McKrackenAlcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs ServicesA/g CEO
2John RyanAnexCEO
3Mark HollickAnglicare AOD Services
4Sheree VertiganAustralian Secondary Schools Principals AssociationPresident
5Gary BennettBethlehem House (St Vincent de Paul)Manager
6Chris WakeCorrectional Primary Health Risdon PrisonClinical Director
7Kate Waters Maribyrong CouncilA/g Coordinator - Safer Communities
8Stefan GruenertOdyssey House VictoriaCEO
9Enrico CementonSubstance Use and Mental Illness Treatment Team (SUMITT)Consultant Psychiatrist, SUMITT
10Debra SalterTasmania Police Drug Policy ServicesManager
11Dan LubmanTurning Point Alcohol and Drug CentreDirector
12Sam BiondoVAADACEO
13John FitzgeraldVicHealthAssociate Professor
14Brett GuerinVictoria PoliceDetective Superintendent
15Leanne SargentVictoria PoliceManager - Policy and Research
16Tony BigginVictoria PoliceDetective Superintendent
17Julian ThomasVictorian Department of JusticeA/g Manager - Policy and Planning
18Jon CurrieVictorian Drug and Alcohol Prevention CouncilChair
19Christine DelamoreVictorian Parents' CouncilExecutive Officer
20David MurrayYouth Substance Abuse Service Pty LtdExecutive Director
Working Group Members / Representatives
21Margaret HamiltonAustralian National Council on DrugsExecutive Member
22Jenny HolmesVictorian Department of HealthSenior Policy Officer
23Belinda McNairVictorian Department of HealthRegional AOD Coordinator
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