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Greens propose Australian Drugs Policy Institute.

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Senator Bob Brown Senator for Tasmania

Greens propose Australian Drugs Policy Institute

25th Jan 06

The Greens have called for the establishment of an Australian Drugs Policy Institute to undertake research and evaluate prevention and treatment programs to reduce the harmful impact of drug use.

The Greens’ new policy for harm minimization of drugs was passed at its national conference in Hobart last November and announced by Greens Leader Bob Brown in Canberra today. The policy is the result of extensive consultations with experts around Australia* and views individual drug problems as a health issue, not a criminal issue.

The policy backs criminal penalties for the supply or possession of commercial quantities of illegal drugs. It endorses harm minimisation programmes, such as the methadone and needle

syringe exchange, which are currently funded by the Commonwealth and widely used in Australia. It emphasises the need for rehabilitation to replace criminal sanctions for personal drug use.

“There are serious health risks associated with all drug use. We think people, especially young people, should be discouraged from abusing drugs including tobacco and alcohol. It is harmful for your health and our policy of harm minimisation reflects that,” said Senator Brown.

The contentious past proposals to investigate options for the regulated supply of marijuana and ecstasy have gone, with the role of developing safe policy options based on evidence-based trials going to the Australian Drugs Policy Institute.

Senator Brown said that after 10 years of the Howard Government, the public knowledge of problems arising from the use of marijuana and other drugs was appalling.

“The Government has had blinkers on. Now the Prime Minister is belatedly going to tackle concerns about marijuana use with further

research. We propose that it be appropriately funded and include targeted, specific education programmes,” Senator Brown said.

Further information: Ebony Bennett 0409 164 603

*Experts available for comment: Dr Alex Wodak, Director of Alcohol and Drug Service, St Vincents Hospital, Darlinghurst (02) 9361 8012;

Associate Professor Lorraine Mazerolle, Acting Director, key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance, Griffith University, Brisbane (07) 3735 5938