Australian Greens health spokesperson and former drug and alcohol clinician, Dr Richard Di Natale, today called for the new taskforce on ice to focus its attention on prevention, harm reduction and treatment rather than tougher law enforcement.
“The Greens welcome the establishment of a taskforce to deal with crystal methamphetamine but history tells us that we can’t enforce our way out of the illicit drug problem,” said Senator Di Natale.
“I worked as a drug and alcohol clinician in a regional centre so I understand how damaging drugs can be for individuals, families and communities, but I also know that a strict law and order approach is often counterproductive.
“If the taskforce is to be effective it needs to focus on reducing harm and saving lives – which means looking at how to better support treatment and detox facilities, mental health funding, drug courts and diversion programs.
“Sadly governments of all persuasions have underinvested in these areas, despite the evidence that they are the most cost-effective areas for investment.
“I will be requesting a ministerial briefing on the role of the taskforce because I’m keen to ensure that this is a genuine step towards addressing the issue.”
Media contact: Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600