Harm Reduction Victoria

PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCES AMENDMENT WILL LEAD TO INCREASED DRUG RELATED HARMS SAYS HARM REDUCTION VICTORIA

by Seer E.S. on 09/09/2017

Last night the Victorian Government passed an amendment to Victoria’s drug laws which automatically prohibits anything considered a ‘psychoactive substance’.

Acting Executive Officer of Harm Reduction Victoria, Charles Henderson says he is disappointed that the Victorian Government has passed this legislation while an inquiry into drug laws is underway, “An all-encompassing ban will not reduce harm to individuals or the community.” stated Mr. Henderson, “The government is not only ignoring a mountain of evidence, but it is also making changes in law before its own checks and balances are completed.”

Mr. Henderson said, “Evidence from other countries that passed this type of legislation shows it does not stop the distribution of ‘novel’ drugs, in fact it leads to increases in harmful black market economies. Ireland passed similar law in 2010 to battle so-called ‘synthetic drugs’ and since then, young people in Ireland are more likely to have tried a new drug than before the law was passed.”

The Victorian Government is currently holding a broad ranging inquiry into drug law reform. Among other drug-related issues, the inquiry is examining ‘synthetic drugs’ or psychoactive substances in the context of their legal framework and what options may be available.

“Many organisations including Harm Reduction Victoria have put a lot of time and resources into this Inquiry. It makes no sense to undertake an Inquiry which in part, looks to address the advent of new psychoactive substances, and then passing law that universally prohibits these substances before the Inquiry is even completed.”

Over 200 individuals, experts and organisations have made submissions to the Inquiry and many of them have also met directly with the Inquiry committee. The Victorian Government is due to report on the inquiry into drug law reform in March 2018.

“If the Victorian Government wishes to do something effective, Harm Reduction Victoria recommends increasing the capacity and reach of well evidenced, successful approaches such as our peer based model, that has been demonstrated to address and ameliorate the harms associated with drug use.” Mr. Henderson concluded.

 

CONTACT CHARLES HENDERSON charlesh@hrvic.org.au for further information/comment

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