The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the Victorian Government's rejection of a drug injecting trial in Melbourne, ahead of the Sex Party bill to be debated this week in Parliament.
ACL Victorian director, Dan Flynn, said Premier Daniel Andrews and Mental Health Minister Martin Foley were to be commended for sticking to the Government’s election promise to oppose such a trial.
In 2014, the then ALP opposition stated in an ACL pre-election questionnaire that they “do not support the introduction of supervised injecting rooms. Harm minimisation and evidence-based responses to drug use like needle and syringe programs, pharmacotherapies as well as treatment and support services are our focus”.
Mr Flynn said injecting illicit drugs was never safe and the State Government would be better served considering the successful Swedish approach to illicit drugs which makes drug rehabilitation mandatory for those found to be addicted to drugs in addition to strong policing of street selling.
“Drug-injecting rooms should not be presented as the solution to high drug use in Richmond, St Kilda or any other part of Victoria,” Mr Flynn said.
“Offering drug-injecting rooms sends the wrong message to those dealing with drug addiction and young people that somehow the practice is safe and acceptable.
“Reduction in drug trafficking and drug related crime will only be achieved by rehabilitating addicts towards drug free status, not maintaining them in their addiction,” Mr Flynn said.
Australia is obliged by international treaties to reduce demand for illicit drugs.
The United Nations International Narcotic Control Board, in a 2001 report, stated:
“. . . the operation of such facilities, where addicts inject themselves with illicit substances, condones Illicit drug use and drug trafficking and runs counter to the provisions of the international drug treaties.” (Para. 559)
Mr Flynn said it was highly irresponsible for Australian Sex Party leader and MLC Fiona Patten to call for the decriminalisation of drug possession, to open the way for ‘safe injecting rooms’ to operate.
“It is of no surprise that Ms Patten and the Australian Sex Party are pushing for such a measure, having previously advocated legalising the use and cultivation of cannabis,” Mr Flynn said.