End the wasteful war on drugs

Treat drug use as a health not criminal issue and keep people safe.

The war on drugs has failed. Millions of taxpayer dollars are spent each year in NSW targeting and prosecuting people who use illegal drugs, yet drug use has only continued to increase. Nearly one in two people has tried some form of illegal drug, and more than one in three Australians have consumed cannabis at least once.

Whether it’s smoking a joint on the weekend or taking MDMA or cocaine at dance parties, we need to acknowledge that drug use is commonplace across South Coast. The reality is the vast majority of this activity is harmless to the individual and the community. In fact, legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco kill far more people each year and pose a massive burden on our already stretched public health system.

We know that in our area some drugs such as ice are incredibly harmful and addictive, wrecking lives and families. Sadly, when people risk hefty fines, a criminal record and even jail as a result of over-policing, they often don’t seek help when they need it – including if they overdose. Then, when they do seek help, they often have to wait up to six months or more for treatment, especially in regional NSW.  

In communities where there is limited or no access to public transport, people face the prospect of losing their licence when they are found with miniscule amounts of drugs in their system but no impairment results. They lose their ability to get to work, get their kids to school and visit loved ones when they pose no threat to themselves or the community. That’s not fair and it doesn’t help anyone. 

To reduce the potential harm of drug use, Amanda believes it must be treated as a health rather than criminal issue. Heavy-handed policing, including drug dogs and strip searches need to stop. Amanda supports the Greens plan to remove all criminal penalties for personal drug use and redirect the money spent on over policing to expand alcohol and other drug services, especially in regional NSW. 

If elected to NSW Parliament, Amanda will push for funding to build a much-needed drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in Nowra where people in need can find the support and healthcare they need. She will call for greater education and awareness on drug use as well as drug checking in the community and at events, so our young people can make informed decisions.

Amanda will also support protections for medicinal cannabis patients so that those in debilitating pain no longer have to make the choice between being able to drive to work or taking the one drug that actually alleviates their condition. 

Recognising the use of cannabis is widespread, Amanda will support the Greens plan to legalise the personal possession and use of cannabis for people 18 years and over. This includes creating a regulated cannabis market in NSW to reduce the harms from cannabis use while also preventing the over-commercialisation of the cannabis market by large corporations. Amanda will support redirecting resources spent on the war on drugs to drug treatment and other social services in South Coast communities.

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