Alcohol and illicit drugs not only create headaches for those who over-indulge in these substances. They also create many political headaches for the three tiers of Australian government who attempt to manage the social, economic, health, legal and moral dilemmas that these substances present. Indeed, the ugly task of cleaning up vomit, used syringes and broken glass that many Australian local governments must undertake each week seems relatively straightforward compared to the complex work required to reduce serious alcohol and other drug related harms.
Local governments generally have played a limited role with illicit drug- related issues, as they are typically addressed by the federal and state governments’ law enforcement or health service providers. Local governments’ role in alcohol management is more pronounced, however, as alcohol is consumed by thousands of their residents each week in their municipalities’ businesses, sports clubs and other facilities.