Harm Minimisation Has Been An Overwhelming Success In Australia. It Would Be Equally So In Other Countries

Essay by marieCHASECollege, Undergraduate April 2009

download word file, 8 pages 3.0

Downloaded 12 times

"Harm minimisation has been an overwhelming success in Australia. It would be equally so in other countries". Discuss.

The aim of Australian drug policy since 1985 has been harm minimisation. Harm minimisation is the overall policies and programs aimed at reducing harm associated with drug use without necessarily eliminating use (Heather et al 1993). Harm minimisation has been a hallmark of Australia's approach to drugs, giving Australia prominent role in international debates on drug issues (Single & Rohl 1997). Control of illicit drugs has been a global concern since the International Opium Commission, known as the Shanghai Conference of 1909 (Australia Institute of Criminology 2001). This essay will describe Australia's three main strategies for harm minimisation and discuss the success of Harm Minimisation in Australia and oversea's.

Three types of strategies responsible for the success of harm minimisation in Australia are supply control, demand reduction and harm reduction. Supply control refers to strategies based on controlling the production and availability of alcohol and drugs.

This is done mainly through legislation and regulation. Some examples are banning the sale of cigarettes to under 18 year of age, and prohibition of the importation and trafficking of heroin (Gossop 1998).

Demand reduction strategies are designed to prevent the uptake of harmful drug use and reduce the desire for an individual or community to use alcohol or drugs. Some examples of demand reduction are raising the price of alcohol though increased taxation, drug education programs, detoxification and rehabilitation programs for dependent users (Gossop 1998).

Harm reduction strategies are aimed at those individuals who continue to use alcohol and drugs. The focus is reducing harm rather than drug use. Some examples are selling only low alcohol beer at sporting events, providing clean needles and syringes to injecting drug users and teaching users how to...