NSW Government rejects major recommendations from its own inquiry into the drug ice

| 27.02,20. 09:17 PM |

NSW Government rejects major recommendations from its own inquiry into the drug ice

Photo: The NSW Government rejected five of the major recommendations. (Flickr)

The NSW Government has rejected major recommendations from its own inquiry into the drug ice, including pill testing and more supervised injecting rooms.
The Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug 'Ice' made 109 recommendations aimed at strengthening the NSW Government's response to amphetamine-based drugs such as crystal meth or ice.
Some of the major recommendations include more supervised drug use rooms, a prison needle and syringe exchange program and state-wide clinically supervised substance testing — including mobile pill testing at festivals.
Commissioner Dan Howard also called for the decriminalisation of drugs for personal use, and he urged NSW Police to stop using drug detection dogs at music festivals and to limit its use of strip searches.
The report, which runs for more than 1200 pages, also called for the NSW Government to adopt a comprehensive Drug and Alcohol policy.
"The last NSW Health Drug and Alcohol Plan expired a decade ago," Commissioner Howard wrote.
"Australia has the highest rate of amphetamine dependence in the world and ... the highest rate of all-cause deaths associated with amphetamine dependence."
Commissioner Howard said the state's approach to drug use was profoundly flawed and said reform would require "political leadership and courage".
"Criminalising use and possession encourages us to stigmatise people who use drugs as the authors of their own misfortunate," he said.
Mr Howard said current laws "allow us tacit permission to turn a blind eye to the factors driving most problematic drug use".
He said these include childhood abuse, domestic violence and mental illness.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the Government would not consider more supervised drug use rooms, substance and pill testing, ceasing the use of drug detection dogs or a prison needle exchange.
"The Government will consider the remaining recommendations from the inquiry in consultation with stakeholders and will prepare a final response before the end of the year," he said.
"The Government wishes to acknowledge all those with lived experience, their families and friends, along with the broad range of experts, health practitioners and service providers who contributed to the Special Commission."
The NSW Government set up the Special Commission of Inquiry in November 2018 to help inform its response to the drug ice.
At the time, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said every option to combat the drug was on the table.
"Ice is a destructive drug that is ruining too many lives across NSW, especially in our regional centres," Ms Berejiklian said.
"We are establishing a powerful Special Commission of Inquiry because we want every option on the table to bolster our existing efforts to combat the evolving threat of this dangerous, illegal drug — and to get help for those that need it."


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