Turning Point’s submission to the federal inquiry into law enforcement and illicit drugs
Turning Point and MARC have made a joint submission to the federal Inquiry into the challenges and opportunities for law enforcement in addressing Australia’s illicit drug problem.
To reduce the harms of criminalisation and improve access to drug treatment and support, the submission made the following recommendations:
- Decriminalise the possession and use of small quantities of all illicit drugs for personal use by either removing criminal penalties from the law or replacing them with civil penalties or administrative sanctions.
- Harmonise and expand access to drug diversion programs so they are accessible and consistent across all Australian jurisdictions, including by ensuring:
- police diversion is legislated and available for cannabis and other illicit drugs Australia-wide;
- police cautioning discretion and any limits on the number of cautions people receive are removed;
- no admission of guilt/offence is required to access diversion;
- threshold quantities that distinguish between possession and supply-type offences, and quantities of drugs that determine eligibility for diversion are consistent, evidence-based, and considerate of use and purchasing patterns; and
- treatment is an optional aspect of diversion.
- Increase investment in treatment and support services to ensure they are accessible and support people to successfully participate in diversion programs.
- Invest in drug checking services to improve data collection, better identify emerging trends and risks in illicit drug markets, and inform more effective public health responses.