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					    Substance Abuse
Protecting the Victims: Punishing the Guilty




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               Protecting the Victims: Punishing the Guilty



Contents                                                      Page


1.                 Foreword                                      3


2.                 Background                                    4


3.                 State Substance Abuse Strategy                5


4.                 The Role of Government                        6
      4.1          Lead Minister                                 6
      4.2          Funding                                       6
      4.3          Programs                                      7


5.                 Education and Prevention                      8
      5.1          Prevention                                    8
      5.2          Hotels and Clubs.                             9
      5.3          Youth Alcohol Abuse Summit                    9



6.                 Health and Treatment                         10


7.                 Enforcement                                  12
      7.1          Targeting and Punishing the Guilty           12
      7.2          Supporting our police                        13


8.                 Justice and Corrections                      14
      8.1          Drug Court                                   14
      8.2          Prisons                                      14


9.                 Summary and Conclusion                       15




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1.     Foreword


Most parents fear that their children will fall victim to drug and substance abuse. The
community is equally concerned about under-age drinking and the health and financial burdens
associated with alcohol abuse and tobacco use. Illicit drug use and associated physical and
mental health issues, and law and order consequences which inevitably follow, are growing
concerns in South Australia.

In 2002 Mike Rann promised to tackle substance abuse and related crime, but has delivered
little by way of results. Drug and alcohol related street crime, including public acts of violence
in our city’s entertainment precincts, is increasing. This is because the Rann Government
heralds a populist law and order agenda, which ensures bureaucratic fights over funding,
resulting in the failure to address the shifting nature of this problem. Mike Rann said he would
“get results” during the 2006 election. He has failed.

A new approach is needed.

A State Liberal Government will refocus the Substance Abuse Strategy, and will concentrate
funding to get the desired results in the crucial areas. There needs to be greater accountability
and transparency with our goals and better measurement of their achievement. We must work
against criminals while simultaneously working to rehabilitate those who have lost their way
through substance abuse.

We are not doing enough to prevent alcohol abuse and the uptake of smoking - particularly
amongst the very young in our communities.

We need a new approach to stem the uptake of alcohol, smoking and drug use by our children.




            Isobel Redmond MP                             Martin Hamilton-Smith MP
          Leader of the Opposition                   Shadow Minister for Substance Abuse




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2.      Background


Under-age drinking, binge drinking and tobacco use in the community are critical issues facing
South Australian families. Illicit drug use is of equal concern.

On 21 October 1999, a Select Committee on a Heroin Rehabilitation Trial made 20
recommendations to the South Australian Parliament for change, to which the Olsen Liberal
Government and the Rann Labor Opposition made favourable responses. This was followed in
2002 by a Drug Summit which made a further 51 recommendations for change.1 Three years
later, the Rann Labor Government eventually produced the “South Australian Drug Strategy
2005-2010”.2 This strategy focussed upon prevention and health but failed to discuss in great
detail how results would be realised and monitored.

On 14 December 2009, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare issued its findings from
the National Minimum Data Set. The information related to alcohol and other drug treatment
services in South Australia for 2007-08 and reported that “Compared with the national figures,
South Australia had proportionally more episodes for alcohol and amphetamines.”3

There is clearly a problem with alcohol and substance abuse in South Australia. We need a
new approach.




1
  South Australian Government, South Australian Drugs Summit 2002 Communiqué, http://www.socialinclusion.sa.gov.au/page.php?id=28
2
  South Australian Government, South Australian Drug Strategy 2005-2010,
  www.alcohol.sa.gov.au/webdata/resources/.../SA_Drug_Strategy.pdf -
3
  Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Alcohol and other Drug Treatment Services in South Australia, December 2009. p. 4


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3.          State Substance Abuse Strategy


With alcohol being the drug of principal concern it is necessary to ensure that the State
Substance Strategy is extended to include alcohol abuse.4

The Strategy must be clear and will be widely promulgated to the broader community,
especially to victims of drug abuse and to parties involved in dealing with drug and alcohol
problems.

Adequate funding is essential to ensure the effective implementation of the strategy. This
funding must be subject to audit and review, not buried within the State Budget under a range
of portfolio budget lines, as is currently the practice.

Greater effectiveness and efficiency must be achieved through improved coordination within
Government and better communication. Too often Health, Police, Corrections and Social
Inclusion with other Departments, are competing for funds involving overlapping programs.

We must get the balance right. We must provide incentives and deterrents appropriately.
We must understand who the victims are and who must be punished. A fresh approach is
needed: a whole of government strategy which encompasses education and prevention, health
treatment, law enforcement, judicial and correctional services.

We will work with the community to pre-empt drug use through education, reduce binge
drinking and alcohol abuse (particularly amongst teenagers), treat victims, stop illicit drug
operations and deal with the criminal element through the courts and the corrections system.

A State Liberal Government will:

              •	              Develop	a	South	Australian	substance	abuse	strategy	that	reflects	the	
                              specific	circumstances	in	this	State,	whilst	still	reflective	of	the	national	drug	
                              strategic framework;

              •	              Ensure	a	systematic,	whole-of-government	approach	to	the	new	Strategy;	

              •	              Ensure	that	funding	for	substance	abuse	is	better	defined	in	the	State	
                              Budget and is subject to audit.




4
    op. cit. Alcohol and other Drug Treatment Services in South Australia, p. 4.


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4.     The Role of Government


4.1    Lead Minister

Waging an effective war on substance abuse involves not only action on law and order, but
also on health and education. An effective drug strategy requires a coordinated holistic
approach	across	a	number	of	portfolios	including	Police,	Justice,	Corrections,	Education,	
Families and Communities, Aboriginal Affairs and Health.

A State Liberal Government will:

        •	         Form	a	‘Cabinet	Action	Group	on	Drugs’	as	a	sub-committee	of	
                   Cabinet. Membership will comprise Ministers for Health, Mental Health,
                   Substance Abuse, Police, Justice and Corrections, and other Ministers as
                   appropriate.	Chief	Executives	of	the	corresponding	Departments	will	form	a	
                   “Coordinating Action Group”.

        •	         Ensure	that	the	Minister	for	Substance	Abuse	has	a	coordinating	and	
                   controlling role over the funding necessary to implement the South
                   Australian Substance Abuse Strategy.

4.2    Funding

Funding targeted to the implementation of the Substance Abuse Strategy will be under the
control of the Minister for Substance Abuse who will act as Chair of the Cabinet Action Group.
Funds will be spent and administered through the respective Departments as determined by
the Cabinet Action Group. Baseline funding through respective departmental budget lines
will continue (eg mental health funding, hospital funding for treatment of addicts). However, as
priorities evolve, strategy-specific funding will be managed centrally and directed to prevention,
treatment or policing to ensure we get the balance right.




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4.3         Programs

There are many programs currently funded which are designed to address the problems of
substance abuse. Data provided by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare suggests
that the programs that are currently available are not effective in reducing either alcohol or
amphetamine use.5 Programs that are failing will be scrapped. This will include scrutiny of
programs run by non-government organisations (NGOs), although a Liberal Government will
continue to favour non-government program implementation, particularly through church
groups and appropriate NGOs.

State Government must, in conjunction with the Commonwealth and Local Government, live
up to its funding responsibilities to deal with this problem. We must also encourage greater
philanthropy from the community, and private investment by charitable organisations in
substance abuse programs.

A State Liberal Government will

             •	              Re-evaluate	the	efficiency	and	efficacy	of	all	Government	funded	drug,	
                             alcohol and substance abuse programs. This will include the full spectrum
                             of all related programs, including prevention, early intervention through to
                             correctional services.




5
    Alcohol and other drug treatment services in South Australia 2007-08 , Australian Government, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare,
    December 2009


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5.     Education and Prevention


The Rann Labor Government has described itself as being “tough on crime” without
considering the distinction between criminals and victims. Most drug users are not bikies and
are not involved in organised crime. Some may be committing offences in order to sustain their
habit. Government must make greater efforts to distinguish between criminal drug suppliers
and their victims.

5.1    Prevention

Education	and	prevention	is	about	reducing	the	demand	for	drugs.		The	message	needs	to	be	
carried through the school system directly to children. This message should be delivered by
community leaders and personalities who command respect from children. Families need to
be reached through their doctors, schools, sporting clubs, community groups and any other
places where families gather and meet. The Department for Families and Communities will play
a	pivotal	role	in	disseminating	this	information,	along	with	the	Departments	of	Education	and	
the South Australian Police. Other Government Departments should also be involved in the
education prevention message.

A State Liberal Government will

        •	          Maintain	a	tough	on	drugs,	tough	on	crime	approach,	but	put	an	equal	focus	
                    on education and prevention;

        •	          Ensure	that	young	people	in	particular	understand	the	health	and	mental	
                    health dangers of substance abuse

        •	          Provide	easily	accessible	information	on	substance	abuse	for	parents	and	
                    grandparents;

        •	          Ensure	that	those	who	profit	from	selling	drugs	feel	the	full	weight	of	the	law;	
                    and

        •	          Work	with	schools	and	parents	on	education	and	preventative	measures

        •	          Not	submit	school	children	to	mandatory	drug	testing.		




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5.2    Hotels and Clubs

Traditionally governments have always worked with the hotel and club industry to provide safe,
enjoyable entertainment venues for patrons.

Hotels and club operators, like Government, recognise that these venues can attract people
who seek to trade or use drugs at the venue. The Government will need to form a stronger
alliance with the licensed hotel and club industry to assist it in its efforts to prevent drug and
substance abuse on their properties.

Licensed venue operators have long recognised they have a positive role to play in providing
a solution to illegal drug and substance use at these venues. It is expected that they will be a
critical part of the solution.

A State Liberal Government will:

        •	         Continue	to	have	high	expectations	of	licensees	and	will	seek	to	strengthen	
                   the alliance between licensees and government with a view to reducing the
                   use of illegal drugs on licensed premises.

5.3    Youth Alcohol Abuse Summit

A culture of alcohol abuse exists within the Australian community and governments need to
take more effective action to bring about change. Young people are mainly accessing alcohol
in private homes and this is where most under-age binge drinking occurs.

While there is a need to take tougher action in relation to under-age access to licensed premises,
we also need to better inform parents and the community about alcohol abuse on private property
and within homes at parties. We need to consider whether adults should be free to provide liquor
to under-age children who are not their own without informing or seeking the approval of the
parents or guardians of those children. This is a difficult issue but it must be addressed.

The education prevention message needs to be delivered and heard within the family home.
Government must form a partnership with families and parents in particular. Government and
parents must work together on behalf of the children. Children will model behaviour they see
at home. Therefore parents who need help must receive it, for their own sake and that of their
children.

The Government must implement a program of targeted preventative education that links with
existing programs designed to prevent the initiation of use of illicit drugs including alcohol.
This activity should encompass the whole community and be delivered both in and outside the
school setting.

Government must fund an ongoing public information program to increase community
understanding of drug and alcohol related harm and how they can minimise it. This program
should also explain the value and importance of having a range of goals for treatment.

A State Liberal Government will

        •	         Convene	a	Summit	on	Youth	Alcohol	Abuse	as	soon	as	possible	after	
                   forming Government to engage with teenagers, parents and stakeholders
                   about ways forward.

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6.     Health and Treatment


Victims of drug and alcohol abuse must be able to access medical help when and where they
need it. Addicts should not and cannot be told to go away and come back at another time.
Rehabilitation services must be adequately funded and located in easily accessible areas.

South Australia must also adequately fund medical facilities to deal with victims when they
present for treatment. The burden is increasing on our hospital emergency departments, so we
need	to	ensure	that	capital	works	and	ongoing	funding	service	provision	reflects	the	growing	
needs of those facilities dealing with substance abuse victims.

Ambulance services must be available and used in the event of overdose or other drug-related
emergencies. People should not be afraid of any criminal implications in calling the Ambulance
Service in an emergency, and ambulance officers must feel safe and be protected when
responding to such calls.

We need to increase protection for children within drug-using families by providing support
to parents and pregnant women. New programs are needed for the homeless and those with
known mental illnesses. This extends to protection from blood-borne viruses resulting from the
sharing of needles.

New resources need to be directed towards the introduction of new pharmacotherapies (eg
Naltrexone and Buprenorphine) into the community. We need new mechanisms to establish
contact with drug users not currently accessing treatment and to expand detoxification
services. Treatment options must be appropriate to the needs of both men and women, and
sensitive to cultural and linguistically diverse communities.

A new focus is needed on the provision of parenting advice, life skills guidance for drug
users and, where appropriate, child care and support services to protect children and other
dependents of drug users at risk of neglect and abuse.

Needle and exchange services provide an opportunity for Government to support user groups
in providing education and information to their members. These services will be targeted to
areas of high illicit drug use.

Over the last eight years the substance abuse problem has moved on from opioids to a greater
mix of substances, including amphetamines, and this requires different approaches. We will
monitor opioid use and continue to seek community participation on the issue.




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A State Liberal Government will:

        •	        Ensure	there	is	greater	provision	of	a	range	of	counselling	and	support	
                  services for drug users and their families, including services that are
                  culturally	appropriate	and	which	reflect	the	needs	of	Indigenous	and	
                  multicultural communities;

        •	        Provide	a	focus	on	rural	and	remote	communities,	in	particular	the	
                  Indigenous community;

        •	        Continue	to	expand	the	methadone	maintenance	treatment	program	in	the	
                  public and private sector, and the decentralisation of treatment services
                  provided by the Drug and Alcohol Services of South Australia (DASSA);

        •	        Re-evaluate	all	government	funded	drug,	alcohol	and	substance	abuse	
                  programs to ensure that they are targeted, and deliver outcomes that help
                  individuals and protect our children;

        •	        Maintain	support	for,	and	where	appropriate,	extend	these	effective	services;

        •	        Monitor	opioid	use	and	continue	to	seek	community	guidance	on	the	issue,	
                  but will not introduce safe injecting rooms;

        •	        Review	the	resources	provided	to	the	National	Centre	for	Education	and	
                  Training on Addiction, the University of Adelaide and the DASSA to enable
                  continuation of their activities in research and the provision of information
                  and training for professionals.




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7.     Enforcement


7.1    Targeting and Punishing the Guilty

The Rann Government has, with the Opposition’s full support, introduced anti-bikie gang
legislation.	However,	the	bikie	fortresses	stand	and	Labor’s	efforts	have	floundered.	These	laws	
have been declared invalid by the Courts, suggesting that the Rann Government has not got it
right. We will make sure these laws target the people they are intended for, and that they do not
have unintended consequences for innocent citizens.

The Rann Labor Government has run a populist line on law and order which has focussed
public anger at drug-affected offenders, many of whom commit crimes in order to sustain their
addiction. These people are rarely involved in organised crime. As a result of Premier Rann’s
demonisation of all drug users, there is little, if any, sympathy for drug-affected offenders and
a	“rack	‘em,	pack	‘em	&	stack	‘em”	policy	in	our	prisons.	The	effect	of	this	populist	line	from	
Labor has been to put the spotlight on punishment rather than the prevention of crime. The
Government invites offenders to be arrested rather than diverted from a life of crime and from
their addiction.

A State Liberal Government will:

        •	         Amend	anti-bikie	laws	to	ensure	they	target	those	responsible	for	organised	
                   crime and not innocent victims.




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7.2    Supporting our police

The public hysteria encouraged by the Rann approach has made it difficult to focus the agenda
back on prevention of crime and the causes of crime.

Principal among the causes of crime is alcohol and substance abuse, combined with family
breakdown and mental health. We hear little about these causes of drug addiction from
the Rann Labor Government but plenty of rhetoric on how tough Labor has become. The
Government must ensure that vigorous law enforcement efforts to contain the supply of drugs
to users are part of a broad strategy which includes education and treatment. Police must be
assisted to deal with drug users in a way that will produce better outcomes for the user, the
judicial system and the general community.

“Racking, stacking and packing” drug users in our jails does not, in itself, solve the
problem.

We must build our enforcement capacity to provide for more police on the beat to monitor,
evaluate and divert. In particular, we must enhance and expand diversion options to
provide more effective alternatives than imprisonment for dependent users identified by law
enforcement. Police officers need to be resourced to provide greater involvement in the
development and delivery of community drug education programs. South Australian police
officers do a fantastic job at each stage of the drug abuse cycle. Police officers are pivotal
to prevention and education and should not be characterised by the Government as the hard
edge of Government’s response.

A State Liberal Government will:

        •	        Review	the	number	and	the	functions	of	non-sworn	personnel	within	SAPol	
                  to ensure that we have more police on the beat.




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8.     Justice and Corrections


8.1    Drug Court

It is often the case that a drug user’s first contact with the police and/or the criminal justice
system provides the catalyst for change of behaviour for the better. In all cases, the best
outcome is one which sees a drug user on the road to rehabilitation in order to lead a healthy
life within the community.

Government must ensure, through the laws it enacts and through its good offices, that
offenders are persuaded or compelled to enter and remain in treatment. A revolving door
which sees drug offenders in and out of prison, rather than on the road to rehabilitation, is not
a solution.

The Drug Court operating within the Adelaide Magistrates Court should be reviewed to ensure
SA is meeting World Best Practice. The South Australian public must be assured that the South
Australian system is superior.

A State Liberal Government will:

        •	         Review	the	operation	of	the	Drug	Court	operating	within	the	Adelaide	
                   Magistrates Court.

8.2    Prisons

Resources need to be provided to increase drug detection measures to prevent drugs being
smuggled into prisons. The Corrections system provides a unique opportunity to manage and
deal with drug users. The presence in prisons of high numbers of drug users together with high
rates of recidivism leads to a significant risk of overdose or abuse by users on release from
prison. It is unacceptable for prisoners to be able to access drugs within our prisons.

We must expand the availability of treatment programs in prisons, increase support to
prisoners with a history of drug dependence prior to and following their release from prison,
and in doing so, we must cater in particular for Indigenous and female prisoners. Government
must ensure funding for a broad range of programs that provide drug-using prisoners with
incentives to cease, or significantly reduce, drug taking behaviour.

A State Liberal Government will:

        •	         Review	current	resources	provided	to	detect	drugs	being	smuggled	into	
                   prisons; and

        •	         Review	government	funded	rehabilitation	programs.	




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                  Protecting the Victims: Punishing the Guilty



9.     Summary and Conclusion


In summary, a fresh approach is needed. The Rann Government began its term in office
in 2002 with a Drug Summit amidst great fanfare. However, we have seen the Rann Labor
Government, in line with its populist agenda, tip the scale towards the demonisation and
punishment of drug users rather than educating, preventing and diverting.

The problems of under-age drinking and binge drinking with the associated problems of
physical violence, road fatalities and anti-social behaviour have increased in the eight years
Labor has been in office. New approaches are needed; and innovative, effective solutions must
be implemented. Our drinking culture needs to be addressed to protect the most vulnerable.

There are criminals abusing drugs, many of whom are involved in bikie gangs and organised
crime. These people should be the targets of “tough on drugs” laws. Others who may be
committing minor offences to sustain their own addiction have been condemned to ongoing
isolation by the Rann Labor Government’s approach. We need to reset the scales.

A State Liberal Government will ensure funding and the organisation of government will be
redirected so as to guarantee balance in our approach to this terrible problem. A solution will
be found through a combination of education, prevention, treatment and enforcement. The
rhetoric of Government must change to more sensible and balanced language. Government
must more fully engage with NGOs that are often in a better position to reach victims than
public servants from government departments and agencies.

We must recognise the valued role our police play, together with our health professionals,
as they respond to the drug and alcohol crisis in our community. The prime concern for
government must be community safety and the individual safety and health of citizens. We
therefore must be prepared to consider bold new initiatives to address this substance abuse
crisis.

There is work to be done. We must protect the victims and punish the guilty.




               Printed and authorised by Julian Sheezel, Liberal Party, 104 Greenhill Rd, Unley 5061.

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