The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care
20 March 2022
As part of our plan for a stronger future, the Morrison Government will extend the National Ice Action Strategy (NIAS), investing more than $315 million over four years in the ongoing fight to reduce the impact of ice, other drugs and alcohol.
This investment is alongside an additional $27.9 million being committed to support other critical drug and alcohol treatment projects in areas of identified need.
With today’s announcement, the Morrison Government will invest around $830 million in alcohol and other drug treatment services and programs over the next four years.
National wastewater drug monitoring shows methamphetamine use has reduced for the second consecutive year. And MDMA, cocaine and heroin consumption have all fallen.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt said while this was a good sign, there is still work to be done.
“For too many Australians, illegal drugs are still an insidious scourge on our community, robbing families of their loved ones,” Minister Hunt said.
“I’m proud that the Morrison Government will extend the National Ice Action Strategy for a further four years, allowing organisations across the nation to continue delivering innovative, community-based solutions to curb use of drugs such as methamphetamines.”
“The Morrison Government is committed to building safe and healthy communities, reducing the impacts and harms of drug and alcohol use for individuals, their families and their communities.”
Estimates from 2019 suggest that roughly 300,000 Australians used methamphetamines in the past 12 months, with over half of these using crystal methamphetamine, or ice.
The four most common drugs that people seek treatment for are alcohol (34%), amphetamines (28%), cannabis (18%), and heroin (5.1%).
Since its inception in 2016, the NIAS has helped thousands of people gain access to treatment programs and supported communities to tackle local drug and alcohol issues with local solutions.
By committing to the NIAS for a further four years, the Morrison Government is ensuring critical treatment and other programs are continued and improved.
This is particularly important for high-risk population groups, including people in rural and regional areas and indigenous communities.
Under the NIAS, drug and alcohol treatment services are commissioned by Primary Health Networks, which means they are designed with local needs front of mind.
In addition to treatment services, the NIAS supports:
- Local Drug Action Teams (LDAT) to deliver grass roots solutions to drug and alcohol issues faced by communities. More funding will enhance and build on the 280 teams currently operating across the country and improve engagement with the community post-COVID-19.
- The Cracks in the Ice and Positive Choices web portal, which has resources for teachers, parents and students. The portal is well respected by the sector and users, helping to reduce or delay young people using drugs or alcohol. It had more than 2.6 million views from 2016 to 2020.
- The Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screen Test (ASSIST), a questionnaire that screens for risky substance use which can be helpful in a number of settings.
- The National Centre for Clinical Research on Emerging Drugs of Concern which researches new treatment options and works with practitioners to put new evidence into practice and improve clinical care.
We are increasing our efforts at every level to reduce the impact of drug and alcohol use on individuals, families, and communities.