More govt funds needed for drug prevention and treatment

24th May 2012

“Today’s Institute of Criminology Report, released by the Justice Minister Jason Clare, linking drug use levels to crime, shows the only way to stop such criminal behaviour is by diverting funds from prison construction to drug prevention and treatment,” Australian Lawyers Alliance National President Greg Barns said.

Mr Barns said it was no secret that drugs were a factor in crime – one major reason was that because they were illegal, they were expensive, and so users committed crimes to feed their habits.

“If the Gillard government is serious about reducing drug use they would decriminalise possession and use. This would reduce trafficking and reduce crimes committed to feed addictions,” he said.

Mr Barns said millions of dollars were being spent on pointless prosecutions of drug users, clogging our court systems and fuelling the need for governments to build prisons that would be otherwise unnecessary if the problem was properly tackled.

“Prevention is always better than cure. The earlier the government opens its eyes and seriously addresses this problem the better. It isn’t going to go away and the answer can’t always be to build another prison.

"Lives are being wasted and money is being needlessly taken from taxpayers and wasted on flawed policy.

"Meanwhile those who need access to justice through our courts must wait unnecessarily long periods to have their cases heard because of all the drug related crimes clogging the system up.

"The only people profiting from such policies are the drug cartels,” Mr Barns said.

Tags: Access to justice Criminal justice Health, medicine and law