Drug-induced deaths in Australia have hit their highest in 20 years and 200,000 people who need help are unable to get the treatment they need every year.
“It is now clearer than ever that the war on drugs is not working,” Doug Taylor, a senior executive of Uniting (NSW and ACT) which runs the nation’s only medically supervised drug injecting centre, said.
Mr Taylor said it was time for reform on how we respond to illicit drugs.
“Meaningful drug policy reform, for the fair treatment of all people, will only come through a courageous movement of people intent on forging a new path for people affected by drug policy,” Mr Taylor said.
“To this end the Uniting Church (NSW and ACT) and its service arm, Uniting, together with 60 other partner agencies is launching The Fair Treatment campaign.
“The campaign will be launched by global drug reform advocate and entrepreneur, Richard Branson, the Executive Secretary on Global Drug Policy, Dr Khalid Tinasti, and the Medical Director of Uniting’s Medically Supervised Injecting Centre, Dr Marianne Jauncey at Sydney Town Hall on October 12.”
Mr Taylor said there was no link between a law enforcement approach to reducing the rate of drug use. Of the more than 80,000 Australians charged with drug related offences in 2014/15, 66% were charged only with personal possession or use, and this number is increasing.
“A decriminalisation approach coupled with investment in harm reduction and treatment services can have a positive impact on both individual drug users and society as a whole,” he said.
“The Uniting Church in NSW and ACT is taking a leadership role in this important campaign, we are encouraging everyone to show their support for the need for a major change to national drug policy.”
The Uniting Church’s NSW and ACT Synod in 2016 passed a resolution calling on governments to direct greater investment in demand and harm reduction practices and the further decriminalisation of personal drug use – the only church in the world to do so.
Decriminalisation does not mean legalisation. Under decriminalisation there is no legal means to obtain drugs for personal use. Decriminalisation is simply the removal of criminal penalties for drug use/possession.
More than 15 years ago the Uniting Church supported the establishment of the Uniting Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC)
This was the first supervised injecting facility in the English- speaking world. There are now 110 such services in 10 different countries. There remains just one in NSW and one has recently opened in Victoria.
The Uniting MSIC has successfully treated thousands of overdoses, reduced the spread of diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C, taken public injecting off the streets and provided a pathway into health and social services for people who might otherwise have not contacted them.
SYDNEY TOWN HALL 483 George St, Sydney NSW 2000
Date Friday 12th October – 2018
Time Doors open at 10:00am – 1:00pm