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ACT: Government decriminalises illicit drugs

The ACT Government’s decision to decriminalise the possession and use of illicit drugs is irresponsible and lacks compassion.

According to an ACT Government press release on 9 June 2022, Minister for Health, Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA said,

“We know from research and evidence around the world that criminalising drug users does not reduce drug use and that treating drug addiction as a health issue improves outcomes for everyone in the community.” 

This irresponsible assertion does not align with reality. The lasting effects of decriminalising illicit drugs are sobering.

If the Portuguese experience of decriminalisation is anything to go by, we can expect an increase in experimentation with hard drugs, a significant spike in crime, including homicides, and an increase in treatment for drug abuse. 

Surely the ACT Government is ‘rolling the dice’ on the outcomes of decriminalisation. 

Policing drug related crime when the possession and use of drugs like methamphetamine (AKA: crystal meth or ice) is decriminalised, is a nightmare for police. As Peter Brewer reported in the Canberra Times (11 June 2022), ice is “a driver of crime and violence; there is ample evidence of it every day in the court lists.”

Brewer goes on to highlight the huge issues for road safety with the decriminalisation of illicit drugs such as cocaine which cannot be detected through roadside testing of drivers.”  

Ice has arguably the most devastating impact on families of all drugs. It increases the incidence of psychosis, violence and impulsive behaviour and it reduces emotional control. Families living with an ice addict are constantly subject to their chaotic and volatile behaviour. The long-term health effects of using ice are well documented and include extreme weight loss, poor sleep, dental problems, regular colds, trouble concentrating, stiff muscles, heart problems, kidney problems, depression or stroke. 

Please pray for the ACT and contact the Health Minister to express your objection to the decriminalisation of possession and use of illicit drugs. Her contact details are available at https://www.parliament.act.gov.au/members/ninth-assembly-members/kurrajong/stephen-smith-rachel

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