While welcoming the rollout of the National Take Home Naloxone Program, Tasmania’s alcohol, tobacco and other drugs peak body continues to be frustrated by the chronic underfunding of alcohol, tobacco and other drug services.
Given the impact alcohol and other drugs has on our community, the lack of priority on alcohol and other drugs is a serious issue, explains Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council Tasmania chief executive Alison Lai.
“The chronic underfunding of alcohol and other drug services across Australia is a long-standing issue that this Federal Budget unfortunately does little to address,” Mrs Lai said.
“The announcement in March that the government would continue funding for the National Ice Action Strategy will ensure that these essential services continue across the country but this is not new money, it is continuation of funding that was already being provided,” Mrs Lai said.
The ATDC welcomes the announcement of the National Take Home Naloxone Program, providing access to a safe, fast-acting medication that reverses the effects of opioid overdose or adverse reaction.
“This announcement builds on the success of the first pilot naloxone program in Tasmania in 2020-21, that saw at least 13 Tasmanians saved from overdose in one year,” Mrs Lai said.
“This is a significant number, as across the last decade there has been on average around 40 Tasmanians who lost their lives to accidental overdose per year.
“Tasmania’s Take Home Naloxone trial has been a great success with anecdotal reports of several lives being saved already, so we are pleased to see access to take-home naloxone expanded.
“However, this Federal budget has failed to address the long-standing underfunding of a sector which remains under pressure to meet increasing service demand and changing client need.
“The ATDC echoes the feeling of frustration across the nation that the alcohol and other drug sector continues to be overlooked.
“The longer the Federal Government continues to push alcohol and other drugs into the ‘too hard basket’, the more Australians will be unable to access support when they need it,” Mrs Lai said.
Available for interview:
- Alison Lai – CEO, ATDC
- Jackie Hallam – Policy Manager, ATDC
- Liz Knox – Communications and Engagement Coordinator, ATDC (firstname.lastname@example.org)