Uniting Church backs NSW drug summit call, offers new resources
The Uniting Church Synod of NSW-ACT is backing the call for a NSW Drug Policy Summit to further the discussion around finding better ways to reduce the harm from illicit drugs.
Following Synod’s adoption of resolutions at its conference in April this year calling for the decriminalisation of personal use of illicit drugs and increased support for harm and demand reduction strategies, a campaign is being managed by Uniting under the supervision of CEO Peter Worland.
In August, members of Uniting’s Social Justice Forum attended a Cross-parliamentary Roundtable at NSW Parliament – addressed by expert speakers including past and present Medical Directors of Uniting’s Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Sydney.
Around 100 participants including medical, paramedical, drug treatment and other experts unanimously endorsed several reform proposals, including those adopted by Synod.
Participants at the Roundtable urged the NSW Government to now convene a full Drug Policy Summit to propose legislative reforms. On August 24 our Moderator, Rev Myung Hwa Park, wrote to both Premier Mike Baird and Opposition Leader Luke Foley, supporting this call.
Members of Uniting Church congregations are being urged to write to their local NSW/ACT member of parliament, calling for a Drug Policy Summit as the first step to sensible, evidence-based reform.
To help in this and to better inform congregations, the Social Justice Forum has prepared these information resources: [hotlink each in bold below to pdf]
- Reducing the harm from illicit drugs: an update for congregations (2 pp) – a brief outline of the origin and nature of the Synod resolutions and campaign
- NSW and ACT Synod resolutions and campaign to reduce the harm from illicit drugs: some common questions with responses (6 pp) – answering the main questions likely to be raised in discussion, and pointing to further research
- Reducing the harm: supporting the decriminalisation of the possession and personal use of illicit drugs – the foundations in our faith (3 pp) – theological underpinnings of our campaign
- Decriminalisation of illicit drugs: the facts (1 p infographic) – the key arguments for treating personal drug use as a health issue, not punishing it as a crime
If you have questions about these resources, or would like more information about the campaign or help with supportive actions, please contact the Social Justice Forum.