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Byron Shire
August 19, 2022

The ‘war on drugs’ failed so where to now? Time to have your say

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The impact of the drug ‘ice’ on local communities has been significant with the police, communities and the health services looking for ways to combat the impact of the drug. Recognising the seriousness of the effects of the drugs across the community a Special Commission of Inquiry into the drug ‘ice’ and other amphetamine stimulants such as MDMA is starting today. The inquiry will visit Lismore among other regional areas during the inquiry that will run until August this year.

‘This Special Commission of Inquiry will examine the effectiveness of current responses to ice and will consider options for improvement and reform,’ Commissioner professor Dan Howard SC said in his opening remarks this morning.

‘It will look at a wide range of issues and strategies to address the problem of ice and other illicit ATS (amphetamine stimulants), including law reform, harm-minimisation initiatives, drug service enhancement and vulnerable populations.’

While alcohol is still the drug that has the highest level of misuse, methamphetamine is now the second-most common drug to be misused on the North Coast, according to Leone Crayden the new CEO of The Buttery.

‘I think the inquiry needs to look at pill testing and the decriminalisation of drugs as part of its inquiry. The war on drugs hasn’t worked and we need to look at this as a health issue rather than with punitive responses,’ she said.

‘There has been an increase in drug use including MDMA across the region particularly in the younger generation and there is a lack of understanding of how dangerous it can be. They are buying an illegal drug and the buyer doesn’t know if the drug they bought is pure or has been cut with something dangerous like rat poison or other toxic chemicals.’

A spokesperson for the commission told Echonetdaily that ‘The Special Commission of Inquiry will consider a wide range of options to enhance NSW’s legal framework and response to ATS. The hearing was told today that the Inquiry will hear evidence from experts in the field of law reform and social policy about the arguments for and against various models of decriminalisation, including what has been done in this area in other jurisdictions.’

Your views sought

If you have a view on the impact of these drugs on yourself, your community or people you know then you are being asked to lodge a submission with the inquiry.

‘Importantly, the Commission will hear from people with lived experience of ice and ATS use as well as their families to understand the full impact these drugs can have on individuals and the wider community,’ said professor Howard.

‘It is also important that we hear from members of the public with their views on this important issue, and I encourage those interested to lodge a submission with the Inquiry.’

On 26 March 2019, the Commissioner released four Issues Papers on key concerns relating to the use, prevalence and impact of ice and other illicit ATS. The papers also examine the effectiveness of current policy and legal responses to harm caused by these drugs that will be investigated by the inquiry.

The Commissioner invites people and organisations to make submissions in response to questions raised in the issues papers, or to share information, experiences or views relevant to the inquiry generally.

Submissions are open until Tuesday May 7, 2019. For more information, to access the issues papers and to view the first directions hearing of the Commission today via webcast.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Unless your IQ is less the room temperature and over 10 you should be fully aware you will be hooked.
    Peddlers of these drugs should get the same treatment as in Malaysia.
    Sorry if it offends you

    • WOW! That’s a very tired old line and what has been “pedalled” from government for a very long time, Peter so I can understand your somewhat tainted opinion. Do yourself a favour, blow your mind with some actual facts and you won’t look like an ill-informed regurgitator of rubbish.

  2. A commission restricted to examining only ice and amphetamines is a diversionary tactic of the prohibitionists. Pick two particularly scary drugs which are highly susceptible to a scare campaign and draw attention away from the main problem; drug prohibition.
    If the aim of our drug laws was to reduce the problem of drugs in society and reduce access they have been an abject failure. If the aim of our drug laws was to greatly enhance access and create the 3rd largest industry on the planet; illicit drugs, they have been a raging success.
    We need to be wary of diversions like this and the medical marijuana issue. I’m a big fan of cannabis therapy BTW but I think it takes attention away from the real need, legalisation.
    Drugs must be a medical concern, not a legal one if we are to solve the problem of drugs in society.

  3. There is an increase in methamphetameme in northern rivers. A spin off from Meth usage is an extremely high consumption of alcohol during the “come down period”. Which may explain the increase problem with alcohol, our legal drug of choice, that is still top of the charts at number one problem.
    The biggest problem we as community face is the enormous amount of police resources channeled into RDT’s that are currently busting people who are professionals and smoked a joint 3 days ago. I’ll take a moment to point out that apart from (Production and Supply Offences) pot smokers would have to be the least criminal hazard to the community. Meanwhile reports of domestic crimes (mostly associated with Meth culture) are unattended because there is not enough resources available to deal with these issues. It’s business, and lets face it, the revenue is on the roads so thats where our police are. Meanwhile, the people dealing Meth can afford to pay drivers to get around, so they aren’t impacted by the RDTs. If there is going to be a reform to address the real issues, the obvious thing would be to bring some reform to laws concerning a) a method of testing that shows IF someone is under the influence of an illegal drug, not just traces of a pressence of an illegal drug. Keep it REAL and reform liberty. b) only charge people with offense of having or using an illegal drug if they are not intoxicated at time of being pulled over. This way at least peaceful non issue to community pot smokers could keep a license and a livelyhood. Free up police to work the ground level to track crime and dealing associated with meth use and get a handle on the issue that IS THREATENING the community. It’s so easy, put a force out there at 3am because Meth Addicts don’t sleep and get bored and they are the ones we see up roming the streets all night, when all the road blocks are down and police are at home in bed. It’s not rocket science, it’s realy simple, and todays strategy completely inaffective. Thirdly, the REAL worry is, what is the Most Attractive Job to Apply for if you were a Northern Rivers Youth? A Meth Dealer, don’t have to work to hard, can afford to pay rent, power, food, supply your habit, drink for the come down days, and pay a driver, without having to worry too much about being busted because of the lack of police pressence were the action is. We currently have a thriving environment for the culture we are experiencing that the commission claims it wants to address.

  4. Prohibition has been proven time and time again to actually have negative impacts ( as in more prohibited drug use ) on drug us. From the alc prohibition in the us last century to Portugal and it’s Heroine epidermic in the last several decades ( now making positive headway after decriminalisation ).
    Studies have proven prohibition crime sky rockets and the incidents of drug use does not reduce with prohibition.

    The war on drugs can only be lost in society with prohibition. Education healthcare & mental healthcare is the ONLY solution

  5. The war on drugs is a monumental lie! it was designed to lock people up and destroy communities. The Only reason that cannabis isn’t legal everywhere is because the drug companies worry that they can’t control and profit off of such an effective medical ingredient. If people can grow it in there garden then people are not buying it from their drug dealers in lab coats.
    States that have decriminalised Marijuana end up with far fewer people turning to prescription drugs that actually could kill you. Portugal legalised all drugs and now drug-related deaths are the second lowest in the European Union

  6. It totally sucks that as a taxpayer I have to pay for treatment and rehabilitation of problem pot smokers. Let ’em pay for their own treatment! Tax weed like tobacco and there would be plenty of $ for treatment of those who need it. How the farmers in the hills will make a living… well, that’s another matter

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