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Tuesday, 19 May 1970

Dr Cass (MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA) asked the Minister for Customs and Excise, upon notice:

(1)   Who are the members of the National Standing Control Committee on Drugs of Dependence set up at the First Ministerial Meeting in February, 1969.

(2)   What qualifications do each of them have in the field of drugs and their abuse.

(3)   What is a drug and what properties must it posses to justify its consideration by the Control Committee on Drugs of Dependence.

Mr Chipp - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   The National Standing Control Committee set up by the Committee of Commonwealth and State Ministers is chaired by the comptrollerGeneral of Customs. Its Members are senior Commonwealth and State officials. For example, the Commonwealth Department of Health is represented by its Deputy Director-General, and the Attorney-General's Department by ils First AssistantSecretary. The State Health and Chief Secretary's Departments are represented by department heads or senior officials. The Committeemembers are assisted by expert advisers from various disciplines in the drug field. In addition, the Committee has set up working parties of experts to carry out ad hoc projects and is able to draw on the expertise of the Health Education and Mental Health Committees of the National Health and Medical Research Council.

(2)   See answer to question (1).

(3)   The term 'drug' has widely varying definitions. The National Standing Control Committee is not precluded from considering the question of abuse of any kind of substance which might be called a drug. However, it is primarily concerned wilh drugs which cause physical and 'or psychological dependence. These drugs fall into two main categories, namely:

(a)   narcotic drugs and marihuana, as listed in the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961, to which Australia is a party.

(b)   psychotropic substances such as amphetamines, barbiturates, hallucinogens and some tranquillizers.

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