Introduction: As a result of considerable community concern surrounding the use, availability and harms of illicit drug use in New South Wales (NSW), in May 1999 the NSW Government convened a Drug Summit to discuss these issues, and produced a series of recommendations for action to ameliorate them. In response to these recommendations, the NSW Government developed a Plan of Action (POA), which comprised eleven sections replicating the working groups who took part in the Summit. The Plan outlined the response of the NSW Government to the Summit’s recommendations and the ways in which it would address them.
Over the ensuing three years, the NSW Government provided $176 million in additional funding to carry out these initiatives. This brought the Government’s expenditure on drug related programs to close to $500 million over four years. The NSW Office of Drug Policy (ODP) was established within the NSW Cabinet Office. Part of the ODP’s role was to oversee the implementation of the POA, and of the effectiveness of the initiatives put in place.
A key component of this initiative was the requirement of Drug Summit-funded agencies to define project level performance indicators. All agencies which received funding were required to define performance indicators and to evaluate Drug Summit funded projects against these indicators.
As part of the Drug Summit evaluation, the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) was funded to identify and catalogue all known indicators that could be utilised for monitoring the illicit drug environment in NSW. These indicators were mapped against the eleven sections of the Drug Summit POA in order to advise the ODP of a valid, comprehensive, and effective method of evaluating whether NSW Drug Summit initiatives have contributed to a global improvement in the illicit drug problem in NSW.
The current report is the result of over ten months of extensive liaison and collaboration with agencies and organisations across NSW, and comprises two volumes. The first follows the structure of the Drug Summit Plan of Action, and has mapped all potential indicators that were identified against each of the content areas of the POA. The second is a catalogue of the major indicator data sources that were identified.
Volume 1: Indicators for monitoring the effectiveness of the plan of action
Volume 1 aims to map the indicators identified against the above eleven sections to aid in the evaluation of the Government’s performance in responding to issues in these areas.
For further details on the Government’s Plan of Action, please go to the Cabinet Office of Drug Policy website (http://www.druginfo.nsw.gov.au).
The structure of Volume 1 is as follows: