Recently, HACSU Officials attended a presentation from Labor for Drug Law Reform. The advocacy group within the Victorian Labor party stands for:
- Effective and humane policy that prioritises wellbeing and safety outcomes;
- An end to the criminalisation of drug users;
- Policy development that centres the voices of experts and peer networks;
- A harm reduction approach to our health, education and legal systems.
The group also seeks to increase public awareness and knowledge of the limitations of existing approaches to policy around alcohol and other drugs (AOD).
In the recommendations released in the 2018 Inquiry into Drug Law Reform conducted by the Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee of the Victorian Parliament provided insights into the substantial nature of this critical public health issue. In 2018-19 the Victorian Government responded to the recommendations with an investment of $259.9 million into AOD services including:
- The Drug Rehabilitation Plan that include $53.2 million directed towards new rehabilitation beds across Victoria including Lower Plenty, Healesville, Maryknoll, Bendigo and St Albans and $9.7 million towards additional facilities in Gippsland, Barwon and Hume regions in the 2017/18 budget.
- Initiatives to address Victorian hotspots for overdose and ATOD related harm, notably the establishment and $7.2 million upgrade to the North Richmond Safe Injecting Centre.
- The facilitation and creation of local jobs and facilities as part of the medical cannabis industry and is making it available to treat those suffering with extreme pain or terminal illness.
- Naloxone training, ATOD pathways, Safescript and Crisis Hubs are all additional initiatives that signal a brave move towards a health, harm reduction and community safety model of ATOD treatment.
In order to work towards safety for all Australians who use alcohol and other drugs, there is more work needed towards harm reduction through evidence-based medical and social models.
To learn more about Labor for Drug Law reform and read their policy platform, go to: https://laborfordruglawreform.org/home/