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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 8 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2277 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

and decision makers are still out of touch with that reality, and that is why the substance abuse task force has to be community based and is so critically important to finding solutions which are relevant.

I can assure members that there is a lot of wisdom in the community. A lot of young people know that it is not okay to be taking lots of drugs and that it hurts. They have got an idea of how we can get that message across, and it is not through zero tolerance. They laugh at that as a solution.

Therefore, before going on with developing the programs, we need to bring players together and get a real analysis of the extent of the whole substance abuse problem in our society. We hope to see a community-based substance abuse task force put together, and I remind government that that idea came out of a community forum in the reception room of this place. That idea did not originate with me or with a member of this place; it came from those in the community who work with the issues of substance abuse. I sincerely hope that this government does create a substance abuse task force that reflects that community wisdom.

Issues of indigenous people have been addressed in the budget a little bit. I applaud and commend that, although there is a lot more work to be done with indigenous people on that. I believe we need to be open and progressive, and we need to be compassionate and forgiving. We need to demonstrate that as a society we are capable of caring for those who are severely disabled by substance abuse-as well as being brave enough to look at the big philosophical and social questions that come up when we look at substance abuse in our society.

MR SMYTH (4.14): Mr Speaker, this is a matter of great public importance, and we thank Ms Dundas for putting it on the notice paper today. Given that it is Drug Action Week, it is appropriate that we in this Assembly indicate that we take the issue very seriously.

I have said before that a broad view is required when addressing this issue. At one end of the spectrum are education and prevention; at the other end of the spectrum are enforcement and how the police deal with drugs; and squarely in the middle is treatment-how we help somebody, once they are on the treadmill of drug abuse and drug dependence, deal with the issues they face. The issue might be an individual finding himself or herself using drugs and the effect that has on family and friends.

To combat that effectively we need a broad range of options, as other speakers have said quite effectively. We need to meet people where they are at rather than saying that they need to conform to what it is we wish to offer. Reflecting upon last year's budget, in which there were numerous programs that we put together as a government, there was additional public methadone clinic funding, there was a drug and alcohol family skills-based program for parents and we put another $2.17 million over three years into community-based packages.

It is not just illicit drugs we need to talk about; we need to talk about tobacco and alcohol-and perhaps caffeine. Youth smoking is of grave concern. Whilst smoking is going down amongst young men, it is still on the rise amongst young women. We need to stop teenagers from taking up the habit of smoking and assist those who have taken up

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