Moderator renews calls for reform following drug decriminalisation in Oregon

Moderator renews calls for reform following drug decriminalisation in Oregon

In an interview published yesterday NSW.ACT Moderator Simon Hansford has renewed calls for reform following the decriminalisation of all drugs in the first US state of Oregon.

Rev. Hansford told the Briefing’s Tom Tilley and Jan Fran that the Uniting Church has been arguing for decriminalisation for some time now.

“The challenge for us when you use examples like Oregon or like Portugal, the temptation is cut and paste and say we did it there, so therefore…”, Rev. Hansford said.

“Part of the conversation we need to be having is people understanding what drug use is like, what people’s addiction to drugs is like, dependency is like, and how we actually attend to that in a way that is bringing the whole society along with us rather than just simply making a decision.”

The Briefing podcast also features Kate Chatfield, Director of Policy with The Justice Collaborative, a non-profit advocating law reform in America.

“In large counties and states drugs have effectively been decriminalised because the prosecutor, the district attorneys, they will not prosecute people for simple drug possession,” Ms Chatfield said.

“That’s a bad use of our resources. We’re not going to incarcerate our way out of this.”

The Moderator’s interview wrapped up a big week for the Fair Treatment campaign that celebrated the NSW Government’s decision to fund a much-needed drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in Dubbo.

“This funding will make a significant difference for the region, it will mean that people who need drug treatment will be able to receive it rather than having to travel to Sydney or to miss out on treatment all together,” Rev. Hansford said last week.

“We have always said this is a health and social issue and not a criminal one and our faith in Christ reminds us of the inherent value of all people.

“We all want to live in a world where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, including people who use drugs. There are far too many people in Australia, especially in rural and regional Australia, who want drug treatment but are denied it because of a lack of government funding, this decision in relation to a new Dubbo treatment centre is to be applauded.”

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