A new report that says it’s time to drop criminal charges for personal drug use and possession has received support from an organisation that helps people overcome addictions at Dubbo.
Lyndon Community contests decriminalisation “is one approach to improve the way those affected are dealt with”.
A report by think tank Australia21 after a 2015 round-table meeting of former police commissioners, prosecutors, judges and advocates, this week called for a bold change to policy.
Participants in the roundtable meeting agreed drug use should be treated primarily as a social and health problem.
Lyndon Community chief executive officer Ed Zarnow said there needed to be a number of changes.
“Lyndon as a provider of drug and alcohol treatment services in regional NSW supports the Australia 21 report and any improvements in the way we can assist those affected by drugs or alcohol,” he said.
“Decriminalisation is one approach to improve the way those affected are dealt with and viewed in the community.
“Law reform changes also need to be supported with increased funding for services as it is likely there will be increased demand from the proposed changes.”
Australia21’s "Can Australia respond to drugs more effectively and safely?" report makes thirteen recommendations.
According to the Australian Crime Commission, there are 80,000 arrests for drug consumption annually.
Participants said the legacy of 50 years of prohibition was growth in the size and danger of the drug market, a drop in the price of drugs by more than 80 per cent, improved availability and a rise in drug-related crime.
The roundtable was convened by former Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Palmer and he acknowledged to the Daily Liberal he had “changed his position dramatically over the years”.
“What we now have is badly broken, ineffective and even counterproductive to the harm minimisation aims of Australia’s national illicit drugs policy,” he said.
“We must be courageous enough to consider a new and different approach.”