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Police Drug Diversion Initiative (PDDI)

The Police Drug Diversion Initiative is part of a nationally agreed approach to illicit drugs being implemented in all Australian states and territories.  The approach combines strong national action against drug supply with early intervention for drug users, to help reduce the prevalence and harms associated with drug use in Australia.

The PDDI is a health intervention under the Controlled Substances Act 1984 (the Act) that makes it mandatory for SA Police to divert adults detected for simple possession drug offences away from the criminal justice system and into a health assessment. Its aim is to provide individuals with the opportunity to address their drug use through health services and reduce the number of people appearing before the courts for use or possession of illicit drugs offences.

The PDDI recognises that police have unique access to people who use drugs, including young people at the early stages of drug use.  The Initiative seeks to use this access as a strategic and timely opportunity to increase the engagement of people who use drugs with health service providers.

The PDDI diverts people detected by police for simple possession of illicit drugs to a health intervention, rather than process them through the criminal justice system.

Aims of the PDDI are to:

  • Provide people with the opportunity of early incentives to address their drug use.
  • Increase the number of people who use drugs diverted into drug education, assessment and treatment.
  • Increase the participation of Aboriginal people in drug assessment and treatment.
  • Increase Aboriginal acceptance of and participation in diversion programs.
  • Reduce the number of people appearing before the courts for use or possession of small quantities of illicit drugs and for drug-related offending.

Health interventions are highly effective in preventing illicit drug use and the criminal activity associated with use. There is wide support for the diversion process from within the health and non-government sectors and the ongoing availability of health interventions is seen as a positive attribute of the current system in South Australia.

Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia, as part of SA Health, coordinates the Police Drug Diversion Initiative including: commissioning health intervention services for both youth and adults; operating the Police Drug Diversion Line (a 24 hour, 7 day a week service) to link police officers with available appointments for offenders; monitoring client data and compliance rates; and providing strategic oversight of the program in partnership with South Australia Police. 


For more information:

Senior Policy Officer, Illicit Drug Policy and Programs
Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia
Telephone:  (08) 7425 5000.



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