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The Law Society of NSW responds to drug reform package

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| H B The Law Society of New South Wales ACN 000 000 699 ACN 000 000 699

170 Phillip Street Sydney N SW 2000 Phone (02) 9926 0333 F*x (02) 9231 5809 D X 362 Sydney

July 28,1999

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The Law Society of NSW responds to drug reform package

Australia’s peak legal body, The Law Society of NSW, applauds the Government’s drug reform strategy announced this week.

The Law Society supports the Government’s commitment to addressing all the issues outlined in the drug program - from education and treatment through to early intervention and diversion from the justice system.

The President of the Law Society, Ms Margaret Hole, urges the Government and the Opposition to give a long-term commitment to continue the heroin trials - if evaluated as successful - and to expand them into rural areas where the need is so great.

Ms Hole has written to the Premier, Mr Carr, and the Leader of the Opposition, Ms Chikarovski, calling upon them to make an unequivocal public commitment to these trials when they are found to be successful.

The Law Society is eager to see the full details of the Government’s proposals.

“We don’t have the details of what is proposed,” said Ms Hole. “We hope that those will be provided because we want to see the necessary provision of services started as soon as possible,” she said

Ms Hole urged the Government to implement the drug reform strategies throughout the state.

“There is urgent need for facilities - such as drug courts, rehabilitation and detox services, counselling and support - in country areas and particularly for children," she said.

The Law Society will continue its constructive dialogue on the vital issue of drug reform.

“Drug abuse is primarily a health and social issue - not a criminal one - and it should be addressed as such,” said Ms Hole. “We see the trauma and breakdown within families, the health problems of those who abuse drugs, the suffering of victims of drug-related crime, and the legal system’s attempt to fight the problem.”

The drug reform program should help to reduce some of the impact of this pernicious problem, Ms Hole said.

Media enquiries: Anabel Dean 9926 0288.

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