Unique practice experience informs our evidence to Inquiry into Drug Law Reform

Unique practice experience informs our evidence to Inquiry into Drug Law Reform

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Managing Director Bevan Warner and Ringwood Deputy Managing Lawyer Tazmyn Jewell gave evidence on Monday 19 June to the Victorian Parliament Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee’s Inquiry into Drug Law Reform.

In his opening remarks Mr Warner warned against a culture of ‘taboo’ around drugs, saying it is driving people away from public health supports and ways of minimising harm.

In our submission to the Inquiry we say that we are continuing to see high numbers of people using drugs and coming into contact with the criminal justice system.

We assist over 90,000 Victorians each year, and Mr Warner says that drugs are present in at least around half of the cases we deal with.

‘Illicit drug use is severely compounding the rate and escalation of harm and violence in multiple ways,’ he said.

‘There aren’t enough safe counselling and treatment pathways for people. We need to overcome our fears and legislate in ways that adopt a pragmatic, harm minimisation approach.’

Our submission to this Inquiry draws from and reiterates the submission we made in 2015 to the National Ice Taskforce. That submission gives unique first-hand accounts of working with ice-affected clients to detail the devastating toll the drug has on the community.

In our submission we emphasised the need for:

  • more residential rehabilitation, detox and related programs
  • more health services, and funding for intensive support services for families affected by drug use
  • properly resourced, tailored diversion and case management services to tackle the complex issues ice creates
  • a collaborative and cross-organisational approach to education for secondary school-aged students to build awareness about the legal issues associated with illicit drug use and how to minimise harm
  • further research into underlying factors that lead to ice addiction, and studies into effective programs to prevent reoffending.

We strongly support the expansion of the Drug Court as a way of providing consistent access to diversionary and support services state-wide in responding to drug use and drug-related offending.

Read our submission

Read our Submission to the Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee Inquiry into Drug Law Reform (docx, 134.9 KB).

About the Inquiry

For more information see the Parliament of Victoria's Inquiry into Drug Law Reform.