This is the moment to make your voice heard

‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter’ – Martin Luther King.

It’s been a while since I shared a good quote, and this very well-known quote resonated at this moment in time, when it comes to the importance of community engaging in discussions on the things that are important to them.

Right now, Tasmanians are being invited to engage in an important discussion, which is the opportunity to provide feedback into the finalisation of the 2023-2028 Tasmanian Drug Strategy.

For the next five years, the Tasmanian Drug Strategy will be the Tasmanian Government’s key document that they will refer to when making decisions about their work to reduce the harm of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in the community. This includes vaping and pharmaceutical medicines and will cover what the priorities are in prevention and reforms in treatment, through to law enforcement and how data and information is collected.

They are in the final stages of developing the Strategy, with the last stage being an invitation to the general public to provide their thoughts, which can be done via an online survey or through some face-to-face workshops that will be held across Tasmania (from Queenstown, to Smithton, across to St Helens and more.). The list of dates and venues for the face-to-face workshops can be found on the Department of Health website.

Please take a moment to engage in this process, and I know you’ll forgive me for my passionate enthusiasm in encouraging people to do so.

My motivation is two-fold. The first is that this may be the last opportunity for several years for everyday Tasmanians to be heard on this topic at a time when their views have the highest potential to help drive change.

My second motivation is the perception that Tasmanians generally don’t get involved in these processes. A good example of this was the insight shared by the Tasmanian Liquor Licence Commissioner at the ATDC Conference in June, where they spoke to a noticeable absence of engagement from the community in response to liquor licence applications (e.g. when an organisation is seeking to obtain a liquor licence to introduce a new bottle shop into a community). The reasoning for this unknown, it could be because we need to improve how we let people know about these opportunities, or because people don’t feel confident or are of the view that they don’t need to comment because others will.

This is why I am encouraging everyone to take a moment to take part in this discussion.

Whether your interest is in how the government responds to alcohol consumption, pharmaceutical medications, or other illicit drugs, there is a section in the online survey that allows you to provide comment on this. If your interest is in seeing Tasmania introduce legislative and regulatory reform for the personal possession of illicit drugs, or perhaps you are a researcher with an interest in how data and information is being used to guide decision making, there will be an opportunity for you to provide comment.

So go forth, don’t be silent and be part of the conversation, and if anyone requires any assistance with providing feedback, please reach out.

Alison Lai
Chief Executive Officer