THE use of sniffer dogs at music festivals should be probed and drug-driving laws expanded to include more substances, according to an explosive parliamentary report.
The unprecedented measures are expected to be among more than 50 recommendations to be handed down by the joint house committee in the Victorian parliament on Tuesday.
Some of the proposals are tipped to be highly controversial and could revolutionise the state’s approach to drugs if implemented.
The Herald Sun believes recommendations are likely to include:
POLICE not charging people caught with small quantities of drugs, instead referring them to drug rehabilitation;
CREATING a real-time warning system to alert users and hospitals about new and dangerous drugs;
ALL new government drug policies to undergo independent reviews on their cost and effect;
DRUG-driving laws should be changed to include more drugs and clearer impairment limits;
THE harms and benefits of sniffer dogs at events should be reviewed to stop people swallowing large quantities at entry points;
MORE flexibility on the punishments handed to parolees caught taking drugs; and
INTRODUCING new pharmaceutical options for heroin treatment.
The panel began looking at the state’s drug laws and responses after the inquiry was proposed in the Upper House by Vote Reason MP Fiona Patten.
The committee received more than 200 submissions and heard evidence from Victoria Police and the Australian Medical Association.
As part of its research, the panel visited Europe, Canada and other jurisdictions to see new approaches to the war on drugs.
Committee members have declined to comment on the impending report, but when introducing the motion to parliament in late 2015, Ms Patten said: “This is not about legalising drugs, it’s about looking at how effective our current drug policies are.’’
The long-awaited report comes after the Andrews Government reversed its promise to not allow an injecting room trial last year.
Premier Daniel Andrews ruled out the controversial plan, however later announced an 18-month trial in North Richmond after intense pressure from residents, community groups and frontline workers, including paramedics.
– Authored by Alex White, The Herald Sun. Image from Herald Sun