April 19, 2023

Support for drug law reform in QLD

blind justice statue

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) is calling on Queensland parliamentarians to vote yes to legislative changes that support a health-based approach to drug use.

The ADF contracted uComms to conduct a survey of Queensland residents, on which action they supported for an individual found with a small amount of illicit drugs (cannabis, ecstasy, heroin or methamphetamine), for personal use.

The survey of 6,123 people was conducted in the state seats of Barron River, Broadwater, Maiwar, Cairns, Kawana, McConnell, Moggill, South Brisbane, Mundingburra and Townsville.

The polling suggests a clear majority of Queenslanders from the Gold Coast to Cairns are supportive of a health-based response to personal drug use, such as no action, a caution or warning only, referral to drug education program, referral to treatment or fine.

For people who do have issues with their drug use, often this has more to do with the other challenges they might be facing. In these situations, our role as a community is to help them with the support they need to be healthy and well.

Interactions with the justice system often exceed the harms that may be associated with drug use itself.

Jail time or having a criminal record for drug possession has negative impacts on the people involved, their families, and their communities, including reduced employment opportunities. Sadly, we know that this can affect families and communities over generations.

The criminalisation of drugs also causes stigma and can stop people who use drugs, from reaching out for help and support when they need it most.

A health-based approach to drug use, is key to reducing stigma. Other benefits include less drug-related deaths and diseases, less problematic drug use and more people reaching out for help.

There is strong and growing support among Australians for a health-based approach to drug use.

A majority of Queenslanders would prefer people in possession of small amounts of illicit drugs to receive a health-based response, such as a caution, fine, warning, or be referred to treatment or an education program.

Total support for non-criminal response to personal drug use

Cannabis ‘Ecstasy’ Heroin Methamphetamine
Barron River 92.1% 81.5% 73.7% 67.2%
Broadwater 86.2% 70.0% 57.8% 57.8%
Maiwar 88.7% 86.9% 78.7% 73.8%
Cairns 91.6% 78.5% 67.1% 61.1%
Kawana 77.1% 76.7% 68.1% 69.3%
McConnel 94.9% 91.0% 86.9% 82.9%
Moggill 90.1% 78.3% 69.8% 64.9%
South Brisbane 88.8% 82.1% 78.5% 76.4%
Mundingburra 88.2% 73.8% 64.4% 60.6%
Townsville 83.3% 75.2% 67.2% 58.5%

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