Policy Resources, Reports & Publications

AIVL produces a range of policy resources to better enable drug users and people who work with them to educate themselves and their peers about the myriad of issues with regard to injecting and illicit drug use. A short description of each policy resource currently available can be found below. AIVL Educational resources can be found here.

Individuals can obtain copies of these resources from their local drug user organisation. Organisations can order AIVL Resources by contacting the AIVL Office on Ph: 02 6279 1600 or email: info@aivl.org.au

Why Wouldn’t I Discriminate Against all of Them? – A Report on Stigma and Discrimination Towards the Injecting Drug User Community

Following on from AIVL’s Market Research Report into stigma and discrimination  towards injecting drug users AIVL sort to further explore a range of questions from the perspective of people who inject drugs, to ask how current attitudes towards our community have developed over time and left us in a situation where we are almost universally categorised as social pariahs whose lives are of no value.

We felt we needed to ‘look back’ and try to pinpoint the origins of many of these views before we could make any meaningful effort to look forward’ and begin the process of challenging and changing the tired narratives that dominate injecting drug users’ lives.  This report outlines these origins and includes recommendations to guide action for all who seek to make a difference by encourageing genuine change.

This Report is now available online (PDF, 2.3 MB)

Double Jeopardy: Older Injecting Opioid Users in Australia

In keeping with general population trends, the ageing nature of opioid injectors has become apparent in recent years. This stands in stark contrast to the youth focus of our National Drug Strategy 2010-15 and its emphasis on early intervention and drug prevention. Similarly, a strong youth focus is reflected in the body of literature about illicit drug use generally. The association between drug use and death and destruction is so pronounced in popular culture that it may well come as a surprise to many that illicit drug users have a future and an old age to look forward to at all. Equally, many drug users, who did not anticipate or prepare for old age and retirement, are also surprised to find themselves still here and advancing in years. In all, this tendency to associate illicit drug use with young people has diverted attention away from older cohorts of drug users and as a result, little is known about ageing in relation to illicit drug use.

The idea for AIVL’s latest discussion paper: “Double Jeopardy: Older Injecting Opioid Users in Australia” was first suggested by members of AIVL’s constituency, many of whom are reaching older age themselves. As soon as we were alerted to this emerging demographic and the changing composition of the drug using community, AIVL was keen to draw attention to the issue and to explore the needs and concerns of older drug users. “Double Jeopardy” primarily sets out to document the existence of a cohort of injecting drug users aged 40 years or more in Australia and to estimate the possible size of this group. It also aims to explore the experience of advancing age from a drug user perspective and to examine the interrelationship between ageing and illicit drug use. The concurrent trajectories of ageing and illicit drug use can combine to create a set of unique outcomes for older opioid users – resulting for many in a state of “double jeopardy”. The emergence of an older demographic of opioid users is a recent phenomenon, which poses many questions, many of which are yet to be adequately answered. AIVL trusts this new discussion paper will open the door and encourage further interest and inquiry into this emerging issue in Australia.”

This report is now available online (PDF 995 Kb)

Young People: Sex, Drugs & BBVs – Do They Really Care?

This report contains the findings and recommendations from the first stage of a new Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) project, the ‘National Youth BBV, STI & Drug Use Project’.

The project aims to provide peer-based education about the prevention of blood borne viruses (BBVs) and sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and their relationship to drug use. It is specifically targeted at young people, those aged between 18-29 years. The first stage of the project involved a scoping and review of relevant literature, a consultation process with young people and service providers and the developmentof a set of recommendations, all of which are outlined in this report.

The recommendations presented will form the basis for the next phase of the project – the development and implementation of a national peer education project to raise awareness of the relationship between blood borne viruses(BBVs), sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and drug use among young people.

This report is now available online (PDF 192 Kb)

Hepatitis C Models of Access and Service Delivery for People With a History of Injecting Drug Use

AIVL has develop this discussion paper with the aim of improving not only access to hepatitis C  treatment for people with a history of injecting drug use but ensuring comprehensive models of access and service delivery that address hepatitis C in the context of our entire lives.

AIVL believes that people with hepatitis C require models of access and care that are responsive and take into account the many ways that hepatitis C can affect an individual’s health and wellbeing. With 80 – 90% of new infections attributable to injecting drug use, these figures show the extent to which a re-think of current methods is crucially needed.

This report is now available online (PDF 803Kb)

Download a briefer paper developed specifically for a discussion on barriers to hepatitis C treatment for one of the main national advisory committees on BBVs & STIs. This shorter paper is entitled Barriers to Hepatitis C Treatment for People with a History of Injecting Drug Use (PDF, 477Kb)

Barriers to Hepatitis C Treatment for People with a History of Injecting Drug Use

While AIVL welcomes efforts to increase access to safe, effective and appropriate health services for people with a history of injecting drug use, we are genuinely concerned about what appears to be a disproportionate focus on ‘quantity’ (increasing treatment episodes) rather than ‘quality’ (addressing some of the core reasons why there is a need to set increased treatment targets in the first place).It is in the interest of exploring and encouraging further discussion on the reasons why many people with a  history of injecting drug use are not accessing hepatitis C treatment and what can be done about this situation, that AIVL developed a new national discussion paper on Hepatitis C Models of Access and Service Delivery for People with a History of Injecting Drug Use. That document has formed the basis for this much briefer paper developed specifically for a discussion on barriers to hepatitis C treatment for one of the main national advisory committees on BBVs & STIs.

This report is now available online (PDF, 477Kb)

Legislative and Policy Barriers to Needle & Syringe Program and Injecting Equipment Access for People Who Inject Drugs 

AIVL has developed this national discussion paper to inform further discussion and examination of the legislative and policy reform that may be necessary to address barriers to access. In this regard the paper identifies the broad ‘types’ of legislation, policy and other regulatory frameworks that directly or indirectly impact on access to injecting equipment at the jurisdictional level. Our hope is that this paper will act as a catalyst for further discussion but any actual process of reform would require a more detailed analysis of the relevant legislation and policies for each state/territory.

This report is now available online (PDF 718 kb)


A National Statement On Ethical Issues For Research Involving Injecting/Illicit Drug Use

The guidelines that have informed this national statement  were originally developed in 1997 by AIVL’s member organisation in NSW, the NSW Users & AIDS Association (NUAA) for use in the NSW context. At the time NUAA developed the NSW-based guidelines, AIVL was an unfunded national network with no permanent premises or staff. As much of the research funding in the area of illicit drugs and blood borne viruses is funded nationally through the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC), it was decided that upon receiving funding for a program of policy activities in 2000, AIVL should adapt the NUAA guidelines into a national statement to promote further discussion and action in this area.

These guidelines now available online (PDF, 436 Kb)

Prison-Based Syringe Exchange Programs: A Discussion Paper

Prison-Based Syringe Exchange Programs: A Discussion Paper

All prisoners have the right to receive health care, including preventative measures, equivalent to that available in the community without discrimination, in particular with respect to their legal status and nationality

UPDATED: This report now available online (PDF, 664 Kb)

Retractable Syringes – AIVL’s Policy Position

Retractable needles and syringes are not a new issue for Australia and have been publicly discussed since Needle and Syringe Programs (NSPs) have been in existence in Australia. They arelargely a response to the perceived rather than actual  problem in the community of the risk of blood borne virus (BBV) transmission risk from publicly discarded needles and syringes.

The issue has been thoroughly investigated a number of times but because retractables have always been shown to have many negative and unacceptable health consequences for drug users, they have always been disregarded as a viable option. However, there is renewed interest in this technology among some parliamentarians coupled with pressure from the community on the disposal of injecting equipment and the vigorous lobbying by some of the manufacturers of retractable needles and syringes.

This  position paper is now available online (PDF 88 Kb)

Psychostimulant Users and Hepatitis C

Psychostimulant Users and Hepatitis CAIVL has been monitoring the growing interest and concern in relation to the impact of psychostimulant use across Australia over the past few years and we have now produced a snapshot on the Hepatitis C Transmission risks for psychostimulant users.

This report now available online (PDF, 245 Kb)


Charter Of Drug Users Rights And Responsibilities In Oral Health Care Settings

Charter Of Drug Users Rights And Responsibilities In Oral Health Care Settings

Dental and oral health has and continues to be a major issue for many injecting/illicit drug users and their families who are simply unable to access oral health services. Not only are waiting lists and lack of funding for dental health services a problem, many illicit drug users face humiliation and discrimination when accessing dental care.

This charter now available online (PDF, 135 Kb)

Funding Kit and Directory

Funding Kit and Directory

The AIVL Funding Kit and Directory contain information for Member Organisations on how to apply for funding to better ensure successful applications.

The Funding Kit contains information about the application writing process to better equip Member Organisations to successfully apply for funding from a range of sources for various types of programs and projects.

The Funding Kit Directory contains a listing of various resources that are useful in the funding application process.