About Victoria Police
Drug and Alcohol Strategy Unit
Release date: Wed 16 May 2007
Last updated: Mon 22 August 2011
Victoria Police established the Drug and Alcohol Strategy Unit in 1991. The role of the unit is to coordinate the development and implementation of drug and alcohol policies, strategies and initiatives within Victoria Police. The policy framework for the development of a coordinated and integrated response to reducing drug-related harm in Australia is found in the National Drug Strategy.
What is harm minimisation?
Harm minimisation aims to improve health, social and economic outcomes for the community and the individual, and encompasses a wide range of approaches, including:
The principle of harm minimisation acknowledges that early intervention strategies that reduce the risks of harm connected with drug use, without necessarily eliminating use, can be of benefit to the individual users and the wider community.
What does the Drug and Alcohol Strategy Unit do?
The Drug and Alcohol Strategy Unit performs a number of key tasks:
Police Diversion at Point of Arrest Diversion, at the point of apprehension by the police, targets non-violent, illicit drug users. There must be sufficient admissible evidence that the offender is using or in possession of a small (non-traffikable) quantity of illicit drugs and the drugs must be for personal use only.
Cannabis Cautioning Program
The Cannabis Cautioning Program component of the Drug Diversion involves providing a cautioning notice for simple use/possess cannabis offences to adult offenders who meet the police criteria. Cannabis educational information and a referral for a cannabis education session accompany the caution.
Drug Diversion Program
A person detained for use or possession of an illicit drug other than cannabis can be offered a caution on condition that they undertake a clinical assessment and commence drug treatment. The offender, who fits the criteria and agrees to a caution, will be provided with a drug assessment appointment within five working days of arrest. If the offender complies with the conditions of the caution, no conviction will be recorded. Victoria Police will keep a record that the offender has received a drug caution but this information will not be released in criminal record checks for employment or travel.
Court Referral Education, Drug Intervention and Treatment (CREDIT)
The CREDIT program can be offered to offenders with substance issues as part of bail proceedings after initial arrest.
Court diversion - Deferred sentencing
Deferred sentencing targets persons aged between 18 and 25 who have a drug problem and have been found guilty of an offence. Sentencing will be deferred for up to six months with a specific condition to attend drug treatment. Pre-sentence clinical drug assessments will be undertaken and a treatment plan recommended to the court. Offenders will then attend the prescribed drug treatment and a report on progress will be made to the court before sentencing.
Fifth Australasian Drug Strategy Conference (ADSC)
The ADSC was first held in 1999 and is now recognised as Australasia's pre-eminent Law Enforcement drug strategy conference. Held every two to three years, the conference attracts hundreds of delegates and international speakers.
The fifth ADSC, hosted by Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police, was held March, 2010 at the new Melbourne Convention Centre with a particular focus on the significant and dramatic impact of alcohol and drug misuse across all aspects of the community.
More information please contact the Drug and Alcohol Strategy Unit on 9024 6696.