NDRI's mission is:
To conduct and disseminate high quality research that contributes to the primary prevention of harmful drug use and the reduction of drug related harm.
In conducting its research, NDRI follows the philosophy of harm minimisation that has underpinned Australia's National Drug Strategy since 1985. Harm minimisation recognises that drug use, both legal and illegal, is a fact of modern society, and while use may be reduced to a degree, there will always be a need to protect people from the harmful consequences of drug use.
As harm minimisation focuses on the harms caused by drug use, it provides a framework in which a range of strategies can be legitimately used to achieve the overall goal. These strategies can be broadly classified into three areas:
- Supply reduction — controlling the amount of drug available
- Demand reduction — encouraging people not to use, to delay use, or to use less of a drug, and
- Harm reduction — helping those who continue to use drugs to do so in ways that are less harmful.