Urgent Help
IS THIS AN EMERGENCY? Are you or others in danger? Do you need an ambulance or the police? 24 HOURS
Lifeline 24 hour phone line for crisis support and suicide prevention. 24 HOURS
13YARN 24 hour crisis phone line support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 24 HOURS

Victorian drug treatment notice trial is a welcome next step to divert young people back to critical support services

Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS) welcomes the announcement from Victorian Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes to trial drug treatment notices and diversions following the introduction and debate of Fiona Patten’s Decriminalisation of Possession and Use of Drugs Bill.

YSAS is Victoria’s leading youth alcohol and other drugs support service for young people aged 12-25 who are seeking help with substance use issues and experiencing serious disadvantage.

Andrew Bruun, YSAS CEO said that the decision from Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes to establish a working group with police, health professionals, addiction specialists and youth workers to explore a drug treatment notice trial is a welcome next step to ensure young people are given the opportunity to recover and learn, rather than receiving a criminal penalty that will stick with them for life. 

“We know that when young people are given the opportunity to recover and learn from their choices in a supported environment with healthcare and youth workers they can not only overcome many of life’s challenges, but also access the opportunities and resources every young person needs to get back on track. 

“YSAS already works in partnership with the Victoria Police to operate the highly effective Embedded Youth Outreach Program (EOYP) which connects young people with youth workers at the first point of contact with police officers to treat addiction as a health issue, rather than a criminal one. 

“We’ve seen that when we put a pathway in place for young people that diverts them from the criminal justice system and back to treatment, education and other support services we can intervene early in a young person’s life and stop years of potential pain and misery” he said. 

“I’d like commend the Victorian Government for taking this critical next step to explore infringement trial options and meaningful action on Fiona Patten’s common sense drug reform which has widespread support from the Victorian drug and alcohol sector.”

Other components of the Decriminalisation of Possession and Use of Drugs Bill including the expansion of Victoria’s safe injecting facilities and drug checking trial would further the Victorian State Government’s commitment to keeping young people safe and minimising harm for many young Victorians with drug dependence or those who experiment with drugs recreationally.  

About YSAS (Youth Support + Advocacy Service)

The Youth Support + Advocacy Service (YSAS) is Australia’s largest, youth-specific community service organisation. Operating since 1998 as Victoria’s flagship Youth Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) service, YSAS now employs over 400 skilled staff across 19 sites in metropolitan and regional Victoria. While YSAS continues to provide effective Youth AOD services, the organisation also has extensive experience in providing young people and families with services that support improved mental health and meaningful community participation.

The latest from YSAS

Media Release  
23.04.2024

YSAS welcomes the Allan government’s Statewide Action Plan to reduce alcohol-related harm, including the appointment of Victoria’s first Chief Addiction Advisor.

YSAS CEO Andrew Bruun said the plan demonstrates the government’s commitment to making evidence-based harm reduction policy and treatment available to those who most need it.

“A targeted,…

Media Release  
23.04.2024

Young people with lived experience of drug and alcohol-related harm are disappointed the Victorian government won’t create a safe injecting service in Melbourne’s CBD.

YSAS practitioners, addiction medicine specialists and experts with lived and living experience have supported the life-saving North Richmond supervised safe injecting service since its inception in 2018.

Story  
22.04.2024

John Albrecht has fundraised for febfast each year for 15 years, often raising over $10,000. Here are his top tips for boosting your fundraising efforts.

When it comes to charity fundraisers – think febfast, Run for the Kids etc. – it’s often the money-raising bit that’s the hardest. We diligently…

Story  
04.03.2024

Daniel Robinson Croft is a lived and living experience Youth Peer Advocate at Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS), Australia’s largest youth-specific community service organisation focussed on youth alcohol and other drugs, mental health and youth services. Daniel frequently volunteers for various harm reduction services within Victoria and is a community campaigner for…

Story  
08.02.2024

This opinion piece was featured on ABC Health & Wellbeing on 11 February 2023.

What if I told you I’d found a tablet that could make you sleep better, think clearer, concentrate longer, run faster, and help your immune system?

That doing one simple thing could bring such a…

Media Release  
07.02.2024

One week into the month-long national fundraiser febfast over 2,000 participants have signed up to take a break from alcohol, go sugar-free of give up another vice. In the midst of Australia’s cost-of-living crisis it’s never been a more important time to support charities experiencing the double pinch of…

Media Release  
31.01.2024

National fundraiser febfast has begun— where Aussies ditch booze, sugar or another vice to improve their health and raise funds for young people facing addiction.

To mark the beginning of febfast, CEO of VicHealth Dr Sandro Demaio is available to talk about the scientific health benefits…

Story  
30.01.2024

Official 2024 febfast Australia Ambassadors Sarah Bunnell and David Andrew from Naked Life Spirits share their secrets and tips for cutting back or switching sober for 29 days this February to raise funds for YSAS services and programs.

In the heart of Melbourne’s vibrant scene, amidst trendy…