Queenslanders to have their say on alcohol & drugs

Queenslanders are being asked to have their say on a future state-wide approach to alcohol and drugs.

“The Queensland Government is committed to reducing the harmful effects of alcohol and drug use on the Queensland community, in line with the National Drug Strategy and other existing strategies,” he said.

“To have greater impact on problem alcohol and drug use, we need to consider comprehensive responses built around evidence of what works.

“This means we have to re-think our approaches so we can reduce costs, increase effectiveness, and improve the health, wellbeing and safety of individuals, families and the whole community.”

The Queensland Mental Health Commission is leading work to develop a new alcohol and other drugs plan due for government consideration in 2021.

It has released 10 consultation papers written by alcohol and other drug experts who map out evidence-based options for reform, built on the themes identified through face-to-face and online consultations conducted over the last 12 months.

Mr Frkovic said the National Drug Strategy aimed to minimise alcohol and other drugs harm by reducing supply through law enforcement, reducing demand through education and treatment, and reducing harm to people that have an addiction and require health interventions.

He said the consultation papers explored approaches to balance demand, supply, and harm-reduction strategies.

“We need a system that comprehensively addresses the effects of alcohol and other drugs.

“Health-based and therapeutic responses to problem substance use are an essential part of addressing potential harm to individuals and the community.

“A priority for consideration is balancing the system and increasing access to an expanded range of alcohol and other drug treatment services across the State.”

Mr Frkovic said an increased focus on health and therapeutic responses would sit alongside a suite of strategies encompassing prevention, education, early intervention and treatment.

He said alcohol continued to be a major community issue, with long-term health and social impacts.

“Getting in early to prevent or reduce problematic alcohol or drug use reduces the human cost and the need for costly health and societal responses.

“Other areas being explored include workforce development and addressing stigma and discrimination, which can be barriers to seeking help.”

The consultation papers also consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on alcohol and drug use, alcohol-related harm, and alcohol and drug use among vulnerable groups.

Consultation papers and a feedback survey are available at

https://www.qmhc.qld.gov.au/strategic-planning/action-plans/alcohol-and-other-drugs

Consultations close on 29 January 2021.

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