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Thursday, 30 April 1987
Page: 2364

(Question No. 3423)


Mr Hodges asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 18 March 1986:

(1) What sum is being spent on the national advertising campaign publicising the National Drug Counselling Hotline.

(2) Where are the advertisements being placed and with what frequency.

(3) What are the (a) numbers, (b) locations, (c) hours of work and (d) pay rates of counsellors manning telephones.

(4) Over what period is the campaign being conducted.

(5) What other initiatives are being undertaken as part of this campaign to combat the drug problem.


Dr Blewett —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) An important element of the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NCADA) was the National Drug Information Line on 008-038 111. This toll-free number was provided not as a counselling service but to assist people seeking information about drug abuse. Research prior to the launch of the Campaign indicates a majority of the community felt they did not have enough information about drugs and substantially more felt that governments were not doing enough to provide such information.

The National Drug Information Line was publicised in ``The Drug Offensive'' booklet delivered to every household in Australia and through paid advertising in all media. Expenditure on advertising the National Drug Information Line was approximately $600 000.

(2) Details of the paid advertising of the National Drug Information Line are as follows:

Television $134 000

Advertisements appeared on metropolitan and provincial television between the hours of 9.00 a.m. and midnight from 17 April to 3 May and from 18 May to 24 May inclusive. The advertisements were also screened as community service announcements until October 1986.

Radio $111 880

In metropolitan areas, 40 spots were booked between 7.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. for each of the weeks com- mencing 13 April, 20 April, 4 May and and 11 May. 20 spots were booked on selected provincial stations for each of the four weeks, also between 7.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m.

Press $251 988

Space was booked in metropolitan dailies and suburban papers during the week commencing 27 April and in provincial newspapers (including those in the Northern Territory) during the week commencing 20 April. Arrangements were also made with selected free newspapers and religious publications. Subsequent press advertisements were run 22-24 August 1986.

Bus/Tram Panels $76 398

Space was booked in metropolitan areas for the period 13 April to 24 May 1986.

Milk Cartons $25 000

Message was displayed on milk cartons in New South Wales from 21 April until 2 June 1986.

(3) The National Drug Information Line was not a counselling service. However, a small number of calls did require the attention of a trained counsellor and arrangements were made to re-direct such calls to counselling services in the States and Territories. I do not have details for each State and Territory of the numbers, locations, hours of work and pay rates of counsellors involved.

(4) Paid and community service advertising for the National Drug Information Line operated from April to October 1986.

(5) The NCADA encompasses a range of new and expanded initiatives in education, treatment, rehabilitation, drug control and law enforcement.

In 1985 the Commonwealth committed itself to a long term program of assistance initially for three years and beyond to mount a National Campaign Against Drug Abuse. The NCADA commitment provides $8 million indexed each year for three years for national initiatives and $12 million indexed each year for three years for cost-shared programs with the States. The range of cost-shared programs to be conducted jointly with the States and Territories was announced on 14 August 1985.

At the recent meeting of the World Health Organisation Conference on Drug Misuse the range of NCADA initiatives in health law enforcement and in international relations was fully outlined.

In brief the health initiatives included:

an upgraded National Drug Education Program;

the National Strategy for the Campaign agreed by all governments and outlined in the document ``The National Campaign Against Drug Abuse'';

the production of new drug education materials most of which were available as part of Phase 1 of the Media Campaign;

the National Media Campaign which is designed to raise awareness, involve the community and address drug specific problems in accordance with priorities set by the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy;

upgraded training and professional education programs;

24 hour information and counselling services;

new and expanded methadone programs;

hospital based treatment programs;

treatment and rehabilitation programs for prisoners;

better drug data collection;

research into drug abuse; and

two Centres of Excellence in drug studies.

As part of the second arm of the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse, law enforcement initiatives include:

investigation of drug related matters by the National Crime Authority (NCA);

$7.2 million for new computer capacity and $10 million for additional staff for the Australian Federal Police;

$1.5 million for better drug intelligence capacity for the Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence;

$5.56 million for upgrading of customs controls;

new powers for the Director of Public Prosecutions;

tamper proof drug exhibit bags and security computer programs to be developed by the National Police Research Unit;

joint Federal/NSW Taskforce on Drug Trafficking funded to continue operations in 1985/86;

upgrading of police drug law enforcement training at the Australian Police College;

agreement to the extension of telephone interception powers for drug trafficking investigations;

the creation of new offences of sending drugs through the mail;

preparation of draft model legislation on manufacture, distribution and medical use of drugs of dependence;

examination of cargo security arrangements at ports and airports;

decision to amend body search provisions of the Customs Act;

agreement and examination of draft legislation on forfeiture of assets of drug traffickers;

the power to seek access to taxation information granted to the NCA in regard to drugs references;

upgrading of coastal surveillance-$33 million in 1985/86 and $33 million in 1986/87; and

Operation Noah-code-named operation to elicit information from the community on drug trafficking.

A further important aim of NCADA involves initiatives in the international arena. Australia continues to support the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs; the International Narcotics Control Board; the Thai Office of the Narcotics Control Board; the SE Asian Heads of Narcotics Law Enforcement Agencies Conferences; drug abuse prevention measures through ASEAN, and United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control, mutual assistance arrangements in international customs matters, the Milan Conference on Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders, extradition initiatives and WHO initiatives especially through our recent re-election to the WHO Executive Board.