IAWGD Annual Report 2014-2015: Key Achievements

Responding to the use of crystal methamphetamine (Ice) in Tasmania and contributing to the National Ice Taskforce

Tasmania is not immune to the impacts of crystal methamphetamine use.  Patterns of use in Tasmania are similar to what is being experienced across the nation, with all jurisdictions reporting an increase in the use of the crystal form of methamphetamine.

The Review of Drug Use and Service Responses in North West Tasmania final report (NW Review) was released by the Minister for Health in November 2014.  This review was requested by the Minister for Health and undertaken by the DHHS and the Alcohol and Drug Services (located within the Tasmanian Health Service) in response to concerns regarding the use of crystal methamphetamine on the North West. The recommendations of the review are intended to enhance the response to drug use issues (including crystal methamphetamine) not just in the North West, but across Tasmania. On 3 May 2015, the Minister for Health announced a commitment of an additional $4.8 million over 4 years to support implementation of the recommendations of the NW Review report.

The National Ice Taskforce ('Taskforce') was established in April 2015 to lead the development and implementation of a National Ice Action Strategy by the end of 2015.  At the request of Cabinet, DPAC in consultation with DHHS, the Departments of Justice (DoJ,) Police and Emergency Management (DPEM) and Education (DoE), drafted an Options Paper entitled A Coordinated approach to the use of methamphetamine (ice) in Tasmania. The Options Paper was considered on 14 April 2015, and as a result the IAWGD was tasked to lead implementation of the findings of the NW Review. The IAWGD is also working alongside DPAC to progress Tasmania's involvement in the National Taskforce to assist the development of the National Ice Action Strategy.

The IAWGD will continue to lead the Tasmanian response to the use of crystal methamphetamine and development of the National Ice Action Strategy by the end of 2015.

Tasmanian Alcohol Action Framework 2010-2015

The Tasmanian Alcohol Action Framework 2010-2015 (TAAF) was launched in 2010 as a response to alcohol-related harms in the community such as preventable illness, injuries, motor vehicle accidents, assaults, death and family and social issues.

The IAWGD is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the TAAF with assistance and advice from the Alcohol Advisory Group. In 2014-15, the IAWGD continued to coordinate the implementation of activities and initiatives by developing the 2014 Annual Report and 2015-16 Implementation Plan.  The 2015-16 Implementation Plan will be the last under the current TAAF with the IAWGD having requested and been approved an extension of the TAAF until the end of 2016.  A comprehensive review will be undertaken to determine the need for a new alcohol strategy for Tasmania.  This will align with the development of a new National Alcohol Strategy which is anticipated to be completed mid-2016.

Some noteworthy achievements during the reporting period include:

  • DoE updated its Drug Education and Drug Management policy and procedures.
  • The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Guidelines for Managing Drug-related Incidents in Tasmanian Schools was renewed for the period 2015-2019.
  • 7 000 Party Rules booklets, developed by the Drug Education Network (DEN), were distributed through the DEN, DPEM and various venues.
  • Sporting clubs were continued to be supported by the Good Sports Program.  There were 295 clubs registered as at 31 December 2014.
  • The Salvation Army Tasmania has introduced the 'Street Teams' initiative to the Hobart Salamanca area on Friday and Saturday nights from 10pm to 3am. The teams provide practical assistance to people on the waterfront late at night, and watch out for people's personal safety by providing a 'chill out safe space', assistance to reach a secure taxi rank or a safe ride home.  This is a collaborative effort between The Salvation Army, Tasmania Police and the City of Hobart.

Towards a new Tobacco Action Plan

The Tasmanian Tobacco Action Plan 2011-2015 was developed by the Tobacco Control Coalition in 2010 and endorsed by the IAWGD as a plan to prevent and reduce tobacco-related harm in Tasmania.

In 2014-15, the IAWGD endorsed the Tobacco Action Plan Year 4 Report prepared by the Tobacco Control Coalition.  Some of the actions progressed in 2014-15 under the Tobacco Action Plan include: 

  • Continued implementation of A Smoke Free Start for Every Tasmanian Baby 2014-2017 by the Smoke Free Pregnancy Working Group.
  • Continued implementation of the Smoke Free Young People Strategy 2013-2017 by the Smoke Free Young People Working Group. This includes the development of the Smoke Free Generation: Be a part of it! branding, various resources and a website for young people to access information on local options for cessation support.
  • Commencement of smoke free prisons from 1 February 2015 following a staged implementation process.
  • Release for public consultation of a discussion paper on Options for a public health response to electronic cigarettes.
  • Investigation of strategies to further regulate how tobacco is sold.

Moving forward, the Tobacco Control Coalition will develop a new Tobacco Action Plan as the current one expires at the end of 2015.

Illicit Drug Action Plan

In 2014, the IAWGD commenced work on the development of a Tasmanian Illicit Drug Action Plan 2016-2018 ('Action Plan'), through the Illicit Drug Advisory Group.  It was intended the Action Plan would replace the Tasmanian Psychostimulants Action Plan (TPAP) developed under the previous TDS, but with an expanded focus also on cannabis, new psychoactive substances and performance and image enhancing drugs, as well as on poly drug use and pharmaceuticals misuse.

The Action Plan will provide a framework for short-term, action-focused approaches that support the reduction of illicit drug-related use and harms in Tasmania and aligns with the NDS and the TDS to focus on supply, demand and harm reduction strategies.  The Action Plan will act as a focal point for collaborative, inter-sectoral approaches. 

During the reporting period, a targeted consultation draft was developed, but not disseminated.  The work of the National Ice Taskforce and development of a National Ice Action Strategy, and potential for the need for a Tasmanian response, has suggested that further work on developing and finalising a Tasmanian Illicit Drug Action Plan await the finalisation of the National Ice Action Strategy.

Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention

Everybody's Business was developed by the IAWGD in 2013 as the Strategic Framework for Implementing Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention (PPEI) Approaches in averting Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Use in Tasmania.  Everybody's Business strengthens the importance of health promotion, prevention of harms and early intervention in the Tasmanian context and guides the formulation and development of PPEI activities and actions.

In June 2015 the ATDC launched the alcohol, tobacco and other drugs sector Implementation Plan that sets out a range of PPEI activities that can be undertaken by the sector.  The ATDC developed the plan in consultation with the ATOD PPEI Implementation Group which consisted of key representatives from stakeholder organisations and interested parties within the alcohol, tobacco and other drug sector. The Drug Education Network (DEN) is identified as the lead agency to support the implementation of ATOD PPEI activities, and will report annually to the IAWGD.

Review of the Liquor Licensing Act

The Liquor and Gaming Branch of the Department of Treasury and Finance completed a review of the Liquor Licensing Act 1990. The review provided an opportunity for the Tasmanian Government to assess how well the Act and its administrative functions aligned with the TAAF, and also identified areas of change for Government consideration.

It is intended that the Liquor Licensing Amendment Bill 2015 be tabled in the latter half of 2015.

Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs

The IAWGD continues to contribute to work occurring nationally and coordinated through the Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs (IGCD), which consists of senior officers that represent health and law enforcement agencies, including the Australian Government Departments of Health; Attorney-General's; and Customs and Border Protection Service, and each Australian state and territory and New Zealand.  One member from each agency is represented on the IGCD.  Both the Tasmanian Departments of Health and Human Services and Police and Emergency Management are represented on the IGCD.

The IGCD provides policy advice and is responsible for implementing the NDS policies and programs. The Committee reports to Ministers through the Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Principal Committee (MHDAPC) and the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council (AHMAC).  Law enforcement or justice related matters are also progressed through the National Justice and Policing Senior Officials Group (NJPSOG) and the Law, Crime and Community Safety Council (LCCSC).

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