10 October 2023
The NSW Bar Association welcomes the NSW Government’s amendments to NSW drug laws introduced in Parliament today.
“Drug use and addiction are health issues that are better addressed through health support outside the criminal justice system,” said the President of the NSW Bar Association, Gabrielle Bashir SC.
“The NSW Bar Association has strenuously advocated for action on the recommendations of the Ice Inquiry, led by Professor Dan Howard, since they were handed down in February 2020. This is a positive development on his evidence-based recommendations that will minimise harm and ease burdens on NSW Courts” Ms Bashir said.
“The NSW Bar welcomes the introduction of a pre-court diversion scheme for people found in possession of small amounts of illicit substances, and we will continue to advocate for the introduction of pill testing for the upcoming music festival season, to reduce the risk of these substances to our young people.
“It is vital to ensure the new scheme is properly supported by resourcing of specialist drug assessment and treatment services, as recommended by the Ice Inquiry. This should consist of health interventions which are available throughout NSW, including First Nations communities in desperate need of culturally appropriate treatment and support services.
“It will also be important to see training and oversight to ensure fair implementation by NSW Police of the discretion retained under the proposed system, in light of recent studies by the Law Enforcement and Conduct Commission and the Bureau of Crime Statistics demonstrating issues with this in the past.
“The NSW Bar Association looks forward to further detail of the new drug diversion program including the drug and alcohol interventions still to be prescribed by Government.”
Michael Bodey 0491 844 487; email@example.com