Global Expert Calls for Drug Decriminalisation in Australia 8 June 2018

Alcohol and Drug use and abuse is a prevalent issue that impacts the NSW prison population. In the State of New South Wales, use and possession of drugs is a criminal offence. Approximately 50% of prisoners attributed their current offences to alcohol or drugs.1

Drug use is a significant contributing factor to women’s imprisonment in Australia. More women than men reported previous or current injecting drug use, with 56% compared to 42% respectively.2 Offenders who complete a drug diversion program are less likely to reoffend.

It is imperative that the NSW Parliament seriously consider reforming the current drug laws. Decriminalisation is a viable option. This would involve the decriminationalisation of the use and possession of small amounts of illicit drugs as per the Portugese model.

Drug Law Reform
Women’s Imprisonment
Key case: Tracy Brannigan

[1] Antonette Gaffney and Jason Payne, ‘How much crime is drug or alcohol related? Self-reported attributions of police detainees’ (Report No. 439, Australian Institute of Criminology, May 2012) 1.

[2] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ‘The Health of Australia’s Prisoners 2012’ (2013) 78.


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