Letter to the Editor - Drug diversion programs will help unclog our courts

20/10/2021

The following letter from the President was published in today’s Daily Telegraph under the heading Drug diversion programs will help unclog our courts:

"The diversion of drug users (as opposed to drug dealers), away from the criminal justice system to health and other services which address the causes of their addiction, would provide a constructive solution to what everyone recognises as a real problem – an already overburdened justice system is being required to deal with minor offenders who should instead be accessing medical treatment and support to overcome their drug use.

Our police, prosecutors, courts and the legal profession are spending precious resources enforcing laws which provide no solution to the problem – criminal sanctions for personal drug use merely further stigmatise those whose drug use stems in many cases from trauma, abuse, domestic violence, homelessness and the like.

That is why the New South Wales Bar Association has advocated for decades that personal drug use and the possession of small quantities should be treated as a health issue requiring a properly resourced health intervention and treatment strategy, as opposed to by criminal sanction.

Michael McHugh SC

President

New South Wales Bar Association"


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