Parliamentary Drug Summit brings together key experts to discuss harm minimisation and drug law reform

April 2016

Research staff from NDARC, NDRI and NCETA all played key roles in the recent cross-party Parliamentary Drug Summit convened in Canberra on 2 March.

Professor Alison Ritter, Director of the Drug Policy Modelling Program (DPMP) at NDARC, facilitated the day which included participants from a wide range of backgrounds in the substance use and drug policy field including NDARC’s Dr Caitlin Hughes and Professor Michael Farrell, NDRI’s Professor Simon Lenton (see Conversation With) and Associate Professor Ted Wilkes, and Professor Ann Roche, Director of NCETA.

The program included presentations on current drug trends and responses, a look at components of good drug policy, and barriers and opportunities for drug policy innovation. The panels provided a chance to hear from a range of key experts as well as representatives of drug users, which attendees described as a valuable reminder that the key to effective drug law reform is to include drug users into the conversation (see Opinion).

The Summit produced a signed declaration urging policy makers to shift responses to illicit drug use towards harm minimisation and improving health and safety outcomes, and focus law enforcement strategies on the organised criminal supply marketplace where the benefits of police interventions will be highest.

The Summit was co-convened by Greens leader Richard Di Natale, Labor's Melissa Parke, and Liberal MP Dr Sharman Stone. It comprised International and Australian representatives with expertise in health, NGO, justice, personal addiction and academia, and provided an opportunity to share experiences and recommendations around harm minimisation and drug law reform. 

The details of the Summit, including presentations and other materials can be found at: