This submission canvasses a range of priorities which are cost effective, evidence informed and respond to contemporary alcohol and other drug (AOD) related harms in Victoria.
The submission headlines with a call for a Victorian AOD Strategy. To date, there has been minimal strategic planning over the vital work which the AOD treatment sector provides or broader thinking to address surging yet often preventable AOD related harm. This Strategy would provide an assurance to the Victorian community that there is intelligent and coherent design in how we respond to AOD related use in our State.
A proposed Victorian AOD Strategy should be supported by an independent overseeing body which would remove politics and populism, which often collude to stigmatise the issue of AOD and pervade policy development.
Of note, the VAADA submission calls for:
- An uplift in capacity through the ongoing employment of the 84 trainee AOD workers who are receiving training through allocations made in the 2023/24 Victorian Budget;
- The development of an Industry Plan to support the current professional workforce and ensure that the workforce of tomorrow is available to meet the AOD needs of all Victorians;
- Immediately addressing the weaknesses in our fragile opioid pharmacotherapy system; and
- The development of a Harm Reduction Framework, which would provide direction for health and community services to reduce harms relating to AOD, such as overdose prevention centres and drug checking services. Importantly, this work would provide clarity in how Victoria would respond to the increased risks posed by fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.
Chris Christoforou, CEO of VAADA, says, ‘We are facing increasing challenges in responding to AOD related harm in the community and will be confronted by real and immediate threats should substances such as fentanyl emerge in Victoria. The need for investment in a whole of government AOD Strategy is paramount to address piecemeal responses to such risks and challenges. VAADA and its members are ready to work with the Victorian Government to support the creation of world class health system that responds to the AOD support needs of all Victorians”.
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact David Taylor on 0413 914 206.
VAADA is the peak body that represents over 80 Alcohol and other Drug services across Victoria. On a daily basis these services are dealing with the effects of harmful alcohol and other drug consumption.