Harm Reduction Victoria Welcomes the Launch of Australia 21 Drug Reform Report –
Harm Reduction Victoria (HRVic) is pleased to support the launch of Australia21 on Monday March 20 at Parliament House NSW by Jeff Kennett, founder of BeyondBlue and former Liberal Premier of Victoria, and Bob Carr, former Labor Minister for Foreign Affairs and former Premier of New South Wales.
HRVic congratulates the roundtable collaboration that includes personnel formally involved with supply reduction initiatives such as the former Commissioner for the Australian Federal Police who states “What we now have is badly broken, ineffective and even counterproductive to the harm minimisation aims of Australia’s national illicit drugs policy. We must be courageous enough to consider a new and different approach.”
The Australia21 report makes several recommendations, summarised as:
- Maximising harm reduction strategies within the harm minimisation approach which includes the reduction of criminal sanctioning and reliance on a judicial system restricted to prison related outcomes,
- Implementing the testing and regulation of drugs used in a variety of locations and venues,
- Increasing the provision of health and social programs to reduce drug-related problems,
- Reducing and even eliminating criminal control of the drug market,
- Supporting police and the judicial system to focus law enforcement more usefully.
Jenny Kelsall, Executive Officer HRVic comments “All the illicit drug related indicators are telling us the current environment and system of control is failing unequivocally. Drug seizure types and amounts at the Australian border are increasing. Drug treatment demand is increasing whilst the number of treatment spaces remains limited. Overdoses related events and deaths are increasing across the country. Blood borne virus acquisition disproportionately affects our indigenous population. In short, Australia is at a crisis point and we need to promote the levers of change.”
This report presents the evidence. The result has been carefully considered after rigorous debate among the diverse group of Roundtable participants and it has taken more than a year to reach consensus on the details and sign off the text. ‘Can Australia respond to drugs more effectively and safely?’ is the third in a series of Australia21 reports examining drug law reform.
Ms. Kelsall concludes “HRVic represents people who use and inject drugs in Victoria. Our programs and services provide support and practical strategies to one of the most marginalized and stigmatized groups in the community. Harm reduction services such as ours provide a crucial conduit to health and social services through referral and support as financial and budgetary constraints on our service increase. We support the creation and dissemination of evidence such as the Australia21 report that goes beyond the rhetoric. The evidence is clear if not a little overwhelming. A paradigm shift must occur.”
For more information contact Jenny Kelsall on +61 439 655 734 or +61 3 9329 1500 or Charles Henderson +61 0410 183 097