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Reducing the alcohol and drug toll: Victoria's plan 2013 - 2017

The Minister for Mental Health, the Hon. Mary Wooldridge has released Reducing the alcohol and drug toll. Victoria’s plan 2013 – 2017.  This is Victoria’s first whole of government strategy to reduce the impact of alcohol and drug abuse on the Victorian community.

The plan sets out how the Victorian Government will work with the community to bring down the alcohol and drug toll and deliver better health outcomes to thousands of Victorians who want to recover from the harm associated with alcohol misuse and drug use.  

The Victorian Government is working to reduce the rates of risky drinking and drug use, and the toll of deaths, disease, injury, crime and other social costs from the misuse of alcohol and drugs.

Reducing the alcohol and drug toll sets out a 15-point plan that provides a comprehensive response to the three major drug types, alcohol, pharmaceutical drugs and illegal drugs.  It also focuses on care, treatment and recovery as well as strengthening leadership and coordinated action in reducing the alcohol and drug toll. 

Below is a summary document that provides a snapshot of the 15 point plan and the actions of the strategy.

  Reducing the alcohol and drug toll: Victoria's plan 2013–2017 - Summary

The full strategy can be found here:

  Reducing the alcohol and drug toll: Victoria's plan 2013–2017 - Strategy

Why was the strategy developed?

Currently 1 in 10 Victorians drink at risky levels at least weekly, (Source: 2010 Vic Pop Health Survey) and alcohol consumption is a major contributor to disease, injury and other social harms.

Since 1999, there has been a 62 per cent increase in alcohol-related hospital admissions and a 57 per cent increase in alcohol-related assaults. At the same time there have been significant increases in alcohol-related ambulance attendances and road trauma. (Source: Alcohol Statistics Series, 2007-08)

Over the same period, there have been ongoing problems with the use of illicit drugs. While the numbers of people using cannabis, pharmaceutical drugs, hallucinogens and opioids have remained relatively steady, there has been a recent increase in the number of people using amphetamine type substances.

Regardless of the substance, illicit drug harms continue to be a major burden for Victorians. (Source: National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2010).

How was the strategy developed?

An Expert Advisory Group (EAG)

The Victorian Government sought advice from an independent advisory group which met provided expert advice on alcohol and other drugs issues to inform the development of the Strategy.

The membership of the EAG reflected diverse interests including from across health, education, justice, business, local government and community groups.

  EAG membership list

The EAG terms of reference

The Consultation Process

The Victorian Government and the EAG held a series of meetings and consultation forums in 2011. A public submissions process was held in the second half of 2011. The discussion paper prepared to inform that process can be found here:

  Whole of government Victorian alcohol and drug strategy - Community Consultation

The Victorian Government encouraged Victorians to provide comment and ideas on how the harms associated with alcohol and drugs can be reduced to help shape the Strategy.

The Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association (VAADA) also undertook community engagement on alcohol and drug reform to inform the Strategy. The consultations included an online forum, a series of street surveys and focus groups that ran in metropolitan and regional Victoria. The report from this consultation process can be found here.

Information from alcohol and drug reviews, reports and evaluations

A comprehensive review of program specific and service system reviews was conducted as part of the Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) report into AOD prevention and treatment programs that was released in March 2011.

The reviews referred to in the VAGO report are contained below. The Government is keen to provide as much information to interested parties as possible to inform the development of the strategy and has made available over 30 documents, many of which were previously not accessible.

The reports and reviews have mainly been produced for the Department of Health, and provided a reference point for the consultations conducted as part of the development of the Strategy.

Victorian Auditor-General's Office review documents

The Department of Health publishes a range of data and reports on alcohol and drug issues - visit our publications page to find these published reports.

Contact

If you wish for further information on the strategy please email: aodstrategy@health.vic.gov.au.