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Further funding for Tough on Drugs Community Partnerships Initiative.

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I am pleased to announce funding totalling $6.6 million to 89 non-government organisations under the Tough on Drugs Community Partnerships Initiative to deliver a range of early intervention and education projects to prevent illicit drug use in our communities.

The successful recipients represent communities in all states and territories.

With this announcement, 223 organisations will have received funding for a range of projects to provide young people and their families with support, information and strategies to encourage people to reject illicit drugs.

Since 1997, the Australian Government has committed more than $1 billion to Tough on Drugs and there is evidence that the Strategy is contributing to real results.

The 2001 National Drug Strategy Household Survey reported a 23 per cent reduction in the proportion of people using illicit drugs in the previous three years. Since 1999, there has been a 67 per cent reduction in heroin-related deaths for people aged 15 to 55 years. Australian Government law enforcement agencies have prevented over nine tonnes of illicit drugs from reaching Australian streets since 1997 and recent work by the National Alcohol and Drug Centre suggests that this reduction in supply has particularly deterred drug use by teenagers and young adults.

The clear success of the Tough on Drugs policy means that there should be no weakening, such as the federal Labor Party’s permissive approach to heroin injecting rooms.

Community Partnerships such as those recognised in this announcement demonstrate that through a social coalition of government, dedicated individuals and non-government organisations, we can develop local solutions that can make a real difference in the drug prevention effort.

I wish all funding recipients and their local communities every success in their vital work.

3 February 2004