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Three-front attack on drugs.

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Minister for Justice

Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Senator for South Australia




Friday 3rd July 1998




Justice Minister, Senator Amanda Vanstone, said today a concerted attack on the drug problem was e ssential to prevent a 'drug culture' in future generations.


Senator Vanstone was speaking at a Drug Arm breakfast in Brisbane.


“The cost of drugs on our community is enormous,” Senator Vanstone said.


“It is easy when we hear statistics on drug use or abuse and drug related deaths, such as the 778 deaths attributable to heroin, cocaine, speed and ecstasy in 1995, to overlook the fact that each statistic represents a major human cost not only to the user, but to his or her family and loved ones.


“In addition, the enormous economic costs burden our whole community in areas such as health, law enforcement, insurance losses and the costs of drug related crime.


“It is causes like this that have prompted the Government, through the $200 million Tough on Drugs strategy, to target spending in areas of specific need.


"Tough on Drugs attacks the drug problem on three fronts, stopping the importation of illegal drugs, assisting those addicted to illegal drugs and educating our young to the risks associated with drug use.


"Drugs are a prime motivating factor in a large number of crimes with some estimates putting 80% of property crime as having some drug connection.


“In response to this specific problem, the Government is funding the Australian Institute of Criminology to join a U-S program to detect early warning of drug use patterns and better knowledge of links between drugs and crime in Australia as well as funding through the National Campaign Against Violence and Crime projects designed to reduce residential burglary.


“Other Tough on Drugs initiatives include significant funding to strengthen law enforcement efforts to prevent drugs coming into Australia. A key emphasis is organised crime through agencies such as the National Crime Authority and Australian Federal Police.


“Equal effort is also being placed by the Government on prevention and harm minimisation measures.


“Programs like the Schools Drug strategy, grants for local community-based drug prevention and education projects and the establishment of new treatment facilities are all part of the Tough on Drugs strategy which represents probably the most concerted attack on the drug problem by any Government in Australian history.”


Media Contact: Kevin Donnellan 0419 400 078


Copy of Minister's speech available upon request