On 9 March 2003, during the New South Wales state election campaign, Premier Bob Carr announced that a re-elected Labor government would convene a state summit on alcohol. The 1999 NSW Drug Summit and the 2002 Obesity Summit were obvious models. The 1999 Drug Summit, also conceived during a state election campaign, was generally considered to have been successful. It developed a realistic policy framework and substantially increased funding to improve prevention, community and treatment services to reduce problems resulting from illicit drug use in NSW. However, the problems arising from alcohol greatly exceed those of illicit drugs, and, as our favourite drug provides both considerable benefits as well as sizeable costs, these problems are more complex for communities to grapple with.
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