On World Overdose Awareness Day, the Australian Greens are calling for a rethink of our approach to drugs in this country.
“If we listen to the evidence and change our approach to drugs, we can reduce the number of overdoses,” said Greens spokesperson for Health, Senator Richard Di Natale.
“The dominant focus of Australia’s response to illicit drugs is enforcement. Enforcement takes up three-quarters of the total expenditure, with only one-quarter split between treatment, prevention and harm reduction.
“Prisons have become de facto treatment centres, but on this front jails are a dismal failure.
“We have the balance all wrong. If we reversed the equation and focused on treatment and harm reduction we could save lives and save money.
“We need to invest in proven measures such as needle and syringe exchanges and giving people easier access to treatment, such as putting methadone on the PBS.
“There are many potential reform options but the key decision is to treat drugs as a health issue rather than a criminal one. The focus must be on saving lives and minimising harm.”
Media contact: Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600