The Misuse of Drugs Act is under review again – and there are some good changes in the mix.
Synthetic cannabinoids have been linked to at least sixty deaths since mid-2017. Hundreds more people have wound up in hospital with negative side effects such as seizures and psychosis. The Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill is intended to stop some of our most vulnerable populations falling through the cracks – so we must get it right.
This bill proposes to:
- Reclassify AMB-FUBINACA and 5F-ADB as Class A drugs
- Affirm that Police should in most cases exercise their discretion not to prosecute those caught in possession of any drug for personal use. Police must consider whether a prosecution is required in the public interest, and whether a health-centred or therapeutic approach would be more beneficial.
- Introduce a temporary drug class order so dangerous new drugs can quickly be classified in the Misuse of Drugs Act as they reach the market.
This is a big step forward towards replacing minor drug offences with a health referral system. But it's really just a stopgap– we need to totally overhaul the outdated Misuse of Drugs Act, and replace it with legislation that puts health before handcuffs.
You can help keep the pressure on the government by making your own submission. Written submissions are due on Thursday 11 April 2019.