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Report backs Greens position on drugs policy



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Media Release

Dr. Richard Di Natale

Greens Senator for Victoria

3/04/12

Report backs Greens position on drugs policy

The Greens today welcomed the release of a report by Australia21 calling for a new approach in Australian policy to illicit drugs.

“This report backs up what the Greens have been saying for a long time,” said Greens’ health spokesperson, Senator Richard Di Natale, a former GP and public health professional who worked in the drug and alcohol field.

“It’s remarkable how many former politicians are prepared to campaign for drug law reform but that few current politicians ever have the courage to speak up. It's time for our elected politicians to begin an open and frank debate on the subject.

“The current law and order approach to drugs is not working, and in many instances is making the problem worse. There is an enormous amount of evidence that we need to change tack.

“Evidence from around the world also shows that locking people up for personal use fails to act as a deterrent and diverts resources away from treatment. We would be much better off putting resources used in policing into prevention and treatment programs.

“But we also need to accept that despite our best efforts some people will continue to use drugs so we need to limit the harm of that drug use by investing much more in harm reduction strategies such as needle and syringe exchange and medically supervised injecting centres.

“Everyone from presidents to police, from judges to social workers acknowledge the current approach isn’t working. Many politicians privately agree but they now need to make their voices heard.”

Media contact: Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600