Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (10:07): Today marks International Overdose Awareness Day. As the coroner reported, 500 Victorians died from an overdose in 2020–21, so today my heart goes out to the friends and families of those poor people who died from an overdose. Let us not forget that countless other people—thousands of other people—have overdosed and survived, but quite often with an acquired brain injury and other lifelong disabilities. We can do more. We must do more.
The Burnet Institute today put out a release calling on us to decriminalise the use and possession of drugs. We must do this. This is supported by the AMA. In fact I do not know a single organisation that does not support the decriminalisation of drugs to reduce the deaths from overdoses. There is a mural in North Richmond that says, ‘You talk we die’, and that mural is still there, because it is true.
I was fortunate early on Friday night to go to a wonderful example of harm reduction at a life-saving centre. It was a fixed drug testing centre in Canberra. I would encourage people to look it up. We could do that here.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Members statement 31/8/22