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Attitudes Down Under

DATELINE: 25th April 1998 Sydney, NSW, AUSTRALIA

POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NEW SOUTH WALES

PO Box A1097, Sydney South, NSW, 2000

Drug law reform is urgently needed in New South Wales. It should not solely be the responsibility of politicians to arbitrarily make laws that dictate social behaviour in the community. It is felt that the wider community should be more engaged in dictating legislative outcomes especially when that legislation impacts on the social behaviour of individuals.

The Police Association does not condone the use and abuse of prohibited drugs. But there is an obvious discrepancy emerging in our society. The use and unfortunately, abuse of drugs is ever present and will remain so. Prohibitionist laws will not ease or solve that problem. Individuals will always make a choice to use and refuse to use drugs. There is clearly a role for police in the administration of more flexible drug laws. Unfortunately, there needs to be a shift in attitudes in the halls of power and the wider community before this can happen.

The NSW Police Service and the Police Association believe in the adoption of harm minimisation principles. This seems to be a common sense approach to the management of drug use and abuse in our society. There also needs to be an extensive and ongoing education strategy allied to harm minimisation to ensure those who choose to use drugs of any description, including cannabis, do not suffer due to ignorance and the lack of drug and alcohol treatment and rehabilitation services.

Ted Bassingthwaighte

Executive Member

Police Association of NSW

25. 4 .98

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