The Australian Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy has outlined the national drug strategy for 2010-2015, a framework for action on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

The aim of the National Drug Strategy 2010–2015 is to build safe and healthy communities by minimising alcohol, tobacco and other drug-related health, social and economic harms among individuals, families and communities. The harms to individuals, families, communities and Australian society as a whole from alcohol, tobacco and other drugs are well known. For example, the cost to Australian society of alcohol, tobacco and other drug misuse in the financial year 2004–05 was estimated at $56.1 billion, including costs to the health and hospitals system, lost workplace productivity, road accidents and crime.

The overarching approach of harm minimisation, which has guided the National Drug Strategy since its inception in 1985, will continue through 2010–2015. This encompasses the three pillars of:

  • demand reduction to prevent the uptake and/or delay the onset of use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; reduce the misuse of alcohol and the use of tobacco and other drugs in the community; and support people to recover from dependence and reintegrate with the community
  • supply reduction to prevent, stop, disrupt or otherwise reduce the production and supply of illegal drugs; and control, manage and/or regulate the availability of legal drugs
  • harm reduction to reduce the adverse health, social and economic consequences of the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

The three pillars apply across all drug types but in different ways, for example, depending onwhether the drugs being used are legal or illegal. The approaches in the three pillars will be applied with sensitivity to age and stage of life, disadvantaged populations, and settings of use and intervention.

In the National Drug Strategy 2010–2015, the three pillars are underpinned by strong commitments to:

  • building workforce capacity
  • evidence-based and evidence-informed practice, innovation and evaluation
  • performance measurement
  • building partnerships across sectors.

Specific objectives have been identified under each pillar as follows:

Demand reduction

  • prevent uptake and delay onset of drug use
  • reduce use of drugs in the community
  • support people to recover from dependence and reconnect with the community
  • support efforts to promote social inclusion and resilient individuals, families and communities.

Supply reduction

  • reduce the supply of illegal drugs (both current and emerging)
  • control and manage the supply of alcohol, tobacco and other legal drugs.

Harm reduction

  • reduce harms to community safety and amenity
  • reduce harms to families
  • reduce harms to individuals.

Part 1 of the National Drug Strategy 2010–2015 provides background and explains the conceptual framework of the strategy.

Part 2 details specific objectives and suggested actions under each pillar.

Part 3 discusses the supporting approaches of workforce, evidence, performance monitoring and governance.