The Turnbull Government is today launching the next phase of our National Drugs Campaign to help tackle the use of illicit drugs, particularly ice, among young Australians.
The new television and online campaign illustrates the range of risks associated with drug use and provides information on the range of resources, support and treatment options available.
The $10 million campaign has resources for parents, including the Positive Choices Online Portal, to help them learn about drugs and be able to have important conversations with their kids.
We’re also promoting the new National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline – 1800 250 015 – which links to existing state and territory alcohol and other drug telephone services that offer free and confidential support, information, counselling and referral.
I’d encourage anyone wanting information to visit the new website at www.drughelp.gov.au.
We’re launching the campaign today at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne – where doctors and surgeons are all too familiar with the dangers of drugs. They’ve treated people suffering from drug-induced psychosis and teenagers who have taken MDMA and gone into cardiac arrest.
It takes courage for someone to admit they may have a problem with drugs, and it’s the first step to overcoming it.
The Turnbull Government is offering more help than ever before and has committed more than $685 million over four years to reduce the impact that drug and alcohol misuse has on individuals, families and communities.
This includes the unprecedented $298 million investment over four years through the National Ice Action Strategy.
Drug use in Australia is high and continues to rise. In fact, Australia has one of the highest rates of methamphetamine use in the world.
So we need to increase our efforts against illicit drugs at every level – individuals, families, communities and governments.
And as we approach schoolies season at the end of the year, it’s important that young people and their parents are armed with the facts about drugs. That’s why the new campaign also has a focus on party drugs such as MDMA, “caps”, ecstasy and pills.
The 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey found that around 3.1 million Australians (more than 15.6 per cent) had used an illicit drug at least once in the past year. This was slightly higher than in 2013 and reflects a steady increase from 13.4 per cent in 2007.
Methamphetamine or ‘ice’ is a particular problem. Recent data from police, health and emergency services suggests the number of ice users in Australia is now well above 200,000 – with more than 60,000 of these people using it weekly or more often.
And in 2016, around 1.8 million people reported being victims of a drug-related incident.
These are truly shocking statistics and highlight the need to take action.
A 2016 report into the social costs of methamphetamine conducted by the National Drug Research Institute (NDRI) found that the social cost of methamphetamine in Australia was over $5 billion in the year studied (2013-14).
The primary contributors to this cost were: crime, including police and court costs ($3.2 billion); workplace absenteeism ($290 million); child maltreatment ($260 million); and health ($200 million).
For more information about the campaign visit www.drughelp.gov.au