Statement of support – NSW proposed drug law reforms

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. 


Signatories

Rev. Simon Hansford
Moderator
Uniting Church NSW & ACT

Nicholas Cowdery AO QC
President
NSW Council of Civil Liberties

Pastor Jon Owen
CEO
Wayside Chapel

Dr Erin Lalor
CEO
Alcohol and Other Drug Foundation

Robert Stirling
CEO
Network of Alcohol and Other Drugs Agencies

Devin Bowles
CEO
Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Association ACT

Tracey Burton
Executive Director
Uniting

Wil Tregonning
CEO
Unharm

Greg Chipp
Director
Drug Policy Australia

Professor Alison Ritter
Director
Drug Policy Modelling Program UNSW

Dr Alex Wodak AM
President
Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation

Dr Marianne Jauncey
Medical Director
Medically Supervised Injecting Centre

Carmel Tebbutt
CEO
Mental Health Coordinating Council

Dr Tony Sara
President
ASMOF NSW (the Doctors Union)

Bill Bush
President
Families and Friends of Drug Law Reform

Nicky Bath
CEO
The National LGBTI Health Alliance

Terry Slevin
CEO
Public Health Association of Australia

Professor Carla Treloar
Director
Centre for Social Research, Social Policy Research Centre

Professor Simon Lenton
Director
National Drug Research Institute

Chris Gough
Executive Director
Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy

Professor Anne M Roche
Director
National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction

Alexis Apostolellis
CEO
Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine

Dr Jake Rance
Research Fellow
UNSW

Steven Drew
CEO
Hepatitis NSW

Yumi Lee
Manager
Older Women’s Network NSW Inc