Policy Successes

"Since the inception of the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse in 1985, Australia has had major successes in reducing the prevalence of, and harms from, drug use.
"&#149 Far fewer Australians are smoking and being exposed to second-hand smoke as a result of comprehensive public health approaches, including bans on advertising, bans on smoking in enclosed public spaces and significant investments in public education and media campaigns. The daily smoking rate among Australians aged 14 years and over has fallen from 30.5 per cent in 1988 to 16.6 per cent in 2007.
"• Far fewer people are using illegal drugs. The 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey shows the proportion of people reporting recent use of illegal drugs fell from 22 per cent in 1998 to 13.4 per cent in 2007. The recent use of cannabis—the most commonly used illegal drug—fell from 17.9 per cent in 1998 to 9.1 per cent in 2007.
"• Law enforcement agencies have continued to be effective in detecting and seizing illegal drugs to disrupt supply. The number of illegal drug seizures increased by almost 70 per cent between 1999–2000 and 2008–09, and the collective weight of seizures increased by about 116 per cent.
"• The heroin shortage that began in 2000 has been sustained, with heroin use remaining at low levels since then.
• Harms associated with injecting drug use have also been reduced. It is estimated that from 2000–2009 needle and syringe programs, which ensure the safe supply and disposal of syringes to injecting drug users, have directly averted over 32 000 new HIV infections and nearly 97 000 hepatitis C infections."


Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy. The National Drug Strategy 2010–2015: A framework for action on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Commonwealth of Australia, 2011, p. 4.