Twenty-seven legal, medical, health, community and church groups, have welcomed news that the NSW Government is considering changing the law regarding small quantities of drugs and instead introduce a diversionary system.
This group, many of whom are members of the Fair Treatment campaign, has long-campaigned for such a move, arguing drug laws should be reformed so that drug use can be treated primarily as a health and social issue.
We welcome a greater emphasis on diversion but this will only be effective if health and social measures have increased funding and support.
We support these sensible measures that reflect the government is listening to the medical and legal experts and making laws based on the evidence.
This small step brings NSW in line with other jurisdictions around Australia that have similar diversion systems.
Too many people who use drugs are made to live in the shadows, looked down upon with shame and stigma and therefore don’t seek help because of our current drug laws.
Opportunity for change
We believe this move by the NSW Government could allow police to be tough on crime, diverting resources to policing large drug traffickers and violent offences. This is where we as a society need their attention to be. We need the helping hand of treatment and support extended to those with drug dependency.
We all want a society in which all people are valued and their dignity as human beings recognised. Parents want to know that their kids will come home from a night out and if they have drug dependency society will help keep them safe until they can get treatment. This move by the NSW government is to be applauded.
We look forward to an ongoing dialogue about the freeing up of police resources and funding for treatment for people who seek it.
Rev. Simon Hansford
Uniting Church NSW & ACT
Nicholas Cowdery AO QC
NSW Council of Civil Liberties
Pastor Jon Owen
Dr Erin Lalor
Alcohol and Other Drug Foundation
Network of Alcohol and Other Drugs Agencies
Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Association ACT
Drug Policy Australia
Professor Alison Ritter
Drug Policy Modelling Program UNSW
Dr Alex Wodak AM
Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation
Dr Marianne Jauncey
Medically Supervised Injecting Centre
Mental Health Coordinating Council
Dr Tony Sara
ASMOF NSW (the Doctors Union)
Families and Friends of Drug Law Reform
The National LGBTI Health Alliance
Public Health Association of Australia
Professor Carla Treloar
Centre for Social Research, Social Policy Research Centre
Professor Simon Lenton
National Drug Research Institute
Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy
Professor Anne M Roche
National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction
Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine
Dr Jake Rance
Older Women’s Network NSW Inc