Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1364 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
a big contribution to a social plan, something to which the Labor Party has declared a commitment. If government is to put together a social plan, or at least become more coherent in its social planning, then it does need Canberra people to come along and go with the ride.
If it is going to happen in the next couple of years, then we had better get on with it now. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
MS DUNDAS (6.21): I rise to support this motion, as moved by Ms Tucker. The problem with drug addiction is one that affects many families. I would suggest most families would know someone who was affected by drug addiction, be that alcohol, tobacco, cannabis or other illegal or legal drugs.
The Australian Democrats are strong advocates for a harm minimisation approach to substance use. I believe it should be noted and remembered that harm minimisation is still the official policy of the Australian federal government, despite the current "tough on drugs stance" of our tory Prime Minister. Here in the ACT, we have generally taken a more progressive approach to drug use. The setting up of this task group may be able to provide some recommendations and find out where we can improve.
This task group will, no doubt, show that there are still people slipping through the gaps. There are gaps in our system. Community organisations have spoken to me about some of the current gaps. I will mention them now to highlight them, so they can perhaps be addressed when the task force is established.
The heroin drought that occurred last year has seen an increased use of amphetamines. Amphetamines have very different effects from heroin, and their use has more severe mental health problems, especially substance-induced psychosis.
There are also problems associated with injecting. It is true that some injecting drug users are psychologically addicted to the act of injecting, so when they are no longer heroin dependent, or if heroin is not available, they may try injecting other drugs which they are unfamiliar with, leading to an increased risk of overdose-or just a change of drugs rather than a cure.
People with dual diagnosis are continuing to have problems with inadequate integration of the relevant services. It is also true that the particular needs of women in treatment are often unmet, especially in relation to their responsibility for children and the fear of having their children taken from them.
Accommodation issues are another area that affect people with problematic drug use. There seems to be a lack of accommodation services for clients with alcohol and drug-related problems, especially for men in that state. Separate from that, whilst people are in detox centres, they are often faced with the prospect of either losing their public or private rental housing or the storage of their belongings.