‘I’d like to echo the chair’s need to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated approach that spans all aspects of drug control and the implements we have at our disposal, across demand reduction and in concert with the supply side processes. I’d like to touch briefly on 3 themes. First, the need for a concentrated and coordinated approach. Secondly prevention and treatment and hiv and aids and the crucial nature of data programmes.
The national drug policy in Australia constitutes a balance between supply reduction, harm reduction and demand reduction. Support is provided through the general health care system and subsidies for buprenorphine and methadone treatment. Drug education is provided in schools. We know however that drug use is not limited to the use of illicit drugs alone. Alcohol and tobacco, our legal drugs, continue to impose a significant burden of disease and death. The Australian government is focussing on a new preventative strategy to ensure our efforts in both illicit drug control and alcohol and tobacco will be coordinated to achieve best results. These measures must be combined with a strong approach to trafficking and supply if they are to succeed. Australia’s record in HIV AIDS has been strong. The Australian government has demonstrated leadership. The foundation of success has been partnership with affected communities and the health and research sectors and the adoption of innovative intiiatives. Australia notes the unodc programme establishing a regional task force on hiv aids in the pacific and asia. Australia has also expressed our commitment to partnership with countries in the pacific, east asia, and china. I’d like to return to one of the key priorities for Australia and that’s the issue of improving data collection and reporting framework which enables monitoring of both regional and global drug trends. Australia conducts a survey every 3 years (2007 survey was just released) this gives a general picture of what is happening in our population but we also conduct specific data collections with a specific focus on young people and vulnerable populations. As we determine the strategies for world drug control for 2009 and onwards it is vital we focus on improving our data collection and capacity. This would enable member states to assess the progress we have made and continue to make to address the world drug problems.’
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