I am bringing into the Victorian Parliament legislation to decriminalise all drugs.
It is about saving lives and reducing harm caused by drugs. It is about treating drug use as a health issue with a health solution, not a criminal one.
Irrefutable international evidence proves replacing criminal penalties with mandatory health and recovery treatment is the most effective and efficient way.
Similarly compelling evidence proves the 50-year-old `War on Drugs’, based on prohibition, has been one of the most disastrous public policy failures in modern history – destroying countless lives, squandering an obscene amount of public funds, and creating a massive black market that has enriched organised criminals.
Victoria Police supports treatment-based responses, rightly describing drug problems as `first and foremost health issues.’’ But the existing law ties up extensive police resources dealing with something that police acknowledge is a health issue, not a criminal one.*
My Bill will fix that. Victoria Police would issue a mandatory notice and referral to drug education or treatment to people believed on reasonable grounds to have used a drug of dependence, or to possess a drug of dependence.
Compliance with a notice will result in no finding of guilt and no recorded criminal outcome. More importantly, it will result in a health intervention.
Prohibition is being replaced with successful harm-minimisation approaches the world over.
We should not only accept corroborated evidence but listen to experts. The countless advocates for this change include the World Health Organization, the United Nations, the Global Commission on Drug Policy, and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
Change here in Victoria and throughout Australia is inevitable. You can help make that sooner rather than later by joining the campaign and urging your elected representative to honour their responsibility to protect and promote the public interest at decrim.com.au
*Almost 95% of drug arrests in Victoria are of private consumers, not providers.
Of the 32860 drug arrests in Victoria last year, 26195, or just on 80%, were for drug use or possession only. That is an average of 72 Victorians every day.
Possession or attempted possession is around the sixth most common charge heard in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria.
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