The Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) has welcomed additional investments in blood borne virus (BBV), sexually transmissible infection (STI) and alcohol and other drugs (AOD) initiatives flagged in tonight’s Federal Budget.
Funding for implementation of the new National BBV and STI Strategies and investment in a new Whole-of-Government Drug Strategy package have been announced as part of the Health Budget.
“The Australian Government has announced an additional $45.4 million over four years, commencing in 2019–20, to step up public health prevention and promotion activities around BBVs and STIs to deliver on the goals of the new National BBV and STI Strategies,” said Melanie Walker, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AIVL. “The beneficiaries of this investment will be groups identified in the National BBV and STI Strategies, many of whom are particularly vulnerable members of the community.
“There is also $189.1 million in additional funding over five years, commencing in 2018–19, for a new Whole-of-Government Drug Strategy package to build on existing services and support, including in rural, regional and remote areas. This initiative includes funding recently announced for a national take-home naloxone program,” Ms Walker said.
According to the Health Budget papers, the new Drug Strategy initiative includes the following components that are additional to current funding in these areas:
- Rehabilitation services ($10.5 million)
- Increasing access to services in rural, regional and remote areas ($9.6 million)
- Providing local family drug support ($4.3 million)
- Reducing prescription opioid use through better access to pain management services ($4.3 million)
- PBS subsidised take home naloxone ($7.2 million)
- National Ice Action Strategy ($153.3 million).
“In summary, the Health Budget looks good on first glance. AIVL looks forward to seeing more detail on planned spending and initiatives and engaging with the Australian Government and the Department of Health to ensure that implementation of the newly announced measures meets the needs of affected communities,” Ms Walker said.
AIVL is the national organisation representing people who use/have used illicit drugs and is the peak body for the state and territory peer-based drug user organisations.
Jake Docker, CEO, AIVL – email firstname.lastname@example.org