Australian Institute of Criminology

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Evaluation of the impact of Drug Summit initiatives in two NSW regions

Katie Willis
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, December 2002

Abstract

As part of an evaluation of the impact of New South Wales Drug Summit initiatives, the Australian Institute of Criminology was commissioned to undertake an analysis of pre- and post-Summit drug indicator data in two key New South Wales regions, Western Sydney and Northern Rivers. The 1999 Drug Summit triggered an overall improvement in the number and type of a wide range of drug programs and strategies targeting illicit drugs in the two regions, including in the areas of: drug prevention and education; drug treatment; health and welfare training; research; and law enforcement. With respect to health and law enforcement in the two regions, the study finds that: fewer people now suffer from drug-related harm than they did in 1997, and there have been declines in the number of drug related deaths, the number of ambulance attendances at overdoses and the number of illicit drug-related emergency department presentations; there has been an increase in the number of people accessing methadone/buprenorphine pharmacotherapy treatment in the regions; and the number of charges for dealing or trafficking in prohibited drugs has varied greatly in both regions since 1999, with no consistent upward or downward trend.