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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1579 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

circumstances. That is important in the context of the comments I have just made about addressing disadvantage in the system.

Let me finish by talking about a couple of other programs in ACT government schools. The ACT government is continuing to implement the four-year drug education project for school communities in the ACT. This project targets both government and non-government schools. It involves teachers, students, parents and the wider community in delivering a range of drug education programs in all schools.

There is a proposal for the ACT to host a national school drug education strategy meeting. That will be occurring this week. It is another opportunity for all jurisdictions to share their ideas and experiences in dealing with drug use by young people.

The ACT government's view in relation to the most recent statistics is that they remain figures of concern. I think drug use will remain on the political landscape, here in the ACT, around Australia and the western world, for many years to come. There are no magic bullets in addressing this problem, but it is about having myriad programs in place.

I have outlined to members today that there is a wide range of programs already in place in ACT government schools, focusing on harm minimisation and prevention. There is also a commitment by this government to address the underlying issues of self-esteem, participation, and ability to access and continue in education to year 12. All these are important parts in addressing the problem.

When I saw the results of the most recent survey, I had a discussion with my department. I outlined to them that I thought we needed to continue to revise our approaches. I have asked the department to continue to evaluate the programs, to come back to me with options on future programs and options to improve on them.

We ought to be continuing the process of effectively delivering a preventative and harm-minimisation message to young people in schools. We should also be addressing the underlying social issues concerning access and participation within our school systems that will, hopefully, seek to address the broader problems that often result in young people making the wrong choices in relation to drug use.

MS DUNDAS (4.45): I rise to address the matter of public importance raised by Mr Pratt. I am pleased that Mr Pratt has been able to bring to the Assembly this matter of public importance.

As the results of this secondary school survey reveal, drugs are part of our society and, yes, they are fairly commonplace. I would suggest that most families know someone who is affected by drug addiction-be that alcohol, tobacco, cannabis or other legal or illegal drugs.

From this survey, we have achieved the first step-a recognition that drug use does occur, and that it does occur in school-aged children. This is similar to when I raised in the chamber the fact that the rate of chlamydia in young people aged 12 to 24 had doubled in the past six years,. There were some people who wished to think that young

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