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Drugs and Addiction
Like many other places, there is a serious methamphetamine problem in Hervey Bay and
with that come undesired behaviours and crimes. Not only is the problem with the dealers,
addicts, families & friends it effects the whole community. This needs attention on a
Federal Level. Our justice system falls dramatically short and needs a major overhaul.
It is significant the way we socially regard the condition of addiction. I consider it an
illness and therefore more a health matter rather than a criminal or judicial matter.
We need to regard people’s suffering from a condition with compassion and there is a
more pragmatic approach rather than the existing approach. The legislative status of
addiction and the criminalisation of addicts is kind of symbolic and not really functional. I
don’t see how it especially helps.
Emotional difficulties, psychological difficulties and perhaps a spiritual disconnection are
the reasons people take drugs in self-medicating to make themselves feel better. Taking
drugs and excessive drinking is a result of psychological, mental, spiritual condition,
systematic of being sad, lonely, unhappy, and detached – drugs and alcohol seems like a
solution to that problem. Once the psychological, mental spiritual impetus is dealt with
there would be no need to take drugs or alcohol.
If anyone suffers from alcohol or drug addiction, the best way to tackle this is abstinence
based recovery and not take drugs of any nature; whether its Government funded opiates
like methadone or illegal street drugs or alcohol. These are all viewed in the same light
and the support structures are put in place to maintain recovery. More research and
funding into abstinence based recovery and be able to filter people towards this new life
style. People with access to the proper help and treatment can become active and helpful
members of society. A need to neutralise the mindset ‘toxic social threat’; that deems
them as criminals and offer them treatment. Activate and incorporate them back into
Maintenance of drug addiction through government sponsored substances like Methadone
should only be deployed as part of a reduction towards the aim of abstinence based
recovery. Most people on methadone are using other drugs to supplement their habit and
they’re not addressing the root problems. We need to approach the victims with respect,
where there has been criminal behaviour needs to be dealt with correctly but perhaps
within the penal system itself we can offer treatment to addicts. This deals with the
problem and prevents further problems being committed.

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Role is something people play, model is something people make – both are fake. People
brave enough both celebrities and recovering addicts have a profound effect on a number
of people who seek treatment and send out a very positive message that recovery is
possible encouraging addicts to get help. But as we know being in the celebrity lime light
can be a vapid vacuous toxic concept used to distract people from what is actually
important. Some in the spotlight can make it look glamorous, interesting which doesn’t
In the criminal justice system there is confusion and ignorance around addiction and its
quite understandable as a lot of drug addicts are anti-social and a strain on society,
they’re not necessarily engaged in criminal activity; they are a public nuisance.
It won’t be until access Abstinence based recovery is undertaken to be able to change
behaviour and significantly reduce criminal behaviour.
It is insignificant the substance they are using whether its legal drugs, street drugs,
alcohol – the legal status to drugs is irrelevant to a drug addict. If they want drugs they
will get drugs. We need to regard addiction in all its forms as a health issue.
We do not do enough to intervene. Treatment and education is the future with less
money being spent on policing and possession. Instead of arresting people for possession
spend on education and treatment. We need to change how we deliver programmes. We
need to be honest about the good and the bad of drug use. Too much negativity and not
enough honesty.
Prevention and diversion programmes. To a drug addict the law is seen as irrelevant at
bests it’s an inconvenience. If you need to get drugs because you’re a drug addict, wilful
ignorance, we need to treat compassionately and pragmatically. We need to recognise
the distinction that certain people will have an addiction to drugs, alcohol and ruin their
lives. We need to identify these people and offer the correct treatment. There is a real
argument for decriminalising so it gets treated like a health issue rather than a legal issue.
There is a massive difference between decriminalising and legalising drugs. Cannabis
would be the only drug you could make an argument for as there is no way you could
justify to legalise use crack cocaine, heroin, ice, methamphetamines. There is no medical
or legal reason why people could use these drugs. To park methadone on people for four
to seven years in the state of addiction is criminal.
Honesty and authenticity and compassion around this issue so people in parliament don’t
look like they’re out of touch.
Being arrested isn’t a lesson it’s just an administrative blimp. Need to demonstrate an
awareness of the situation. In many ways the disease or condition of addiction does
exacerbate and if you start taking drugs, you’ll take more drugs, then get more drugs and
then you’ll end up committing crime.
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The message is for people of addiction “if you have the condition of addiction there is help
available and I recommend abstinence based recovery. When people go into recovery
they have damaged a lot of people in the community, they are harming at least four or
five other people in their families who are significantly distressed by that behaviour – best
way of preventing on a long term basis is abstinence treatment is when harming of
families and communities stops.
It is difficult for the individual; it’s difficult for the families and detrimental to the
community. There are many that will die from addiction if nothing is done about it and it
is completely unnecessary because there is a solution.
Consequences are astronomical it is a greedy disease, will take your money, your friends,
your family, your car, your house, your body; will take absolutely everything.
Addicts are extremely annoying people to be around, they are selfish, impatient,
egotistical, self-destructive, demanding and total pains.
Professor David Nutt Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology, Imperial College, London says
“unquestionably addiction has got to do with the brain”. Most people take drugs of some
sort during their life, alcohol, cigarettes, but only 10% get addicted. That 10% is different
because their brain is different. His experience shows addiction occurs usually through
one of three things:



Stress – when you are stressed, you activate the amygdala and in some it
reacts excessively to stress, so people think taking alcohol can dampen that
down – many people become dependent on alcohol because it reduces their
Pleasure – they start to do something which is enjoyable and then they start to
take the drug to reinforce that. This comes from the area of the brain that has
transmitter called dopamine. If your dopamine is not working you are stiff and
Impulsivity – this is actually a very straight forward behaviour which we have
modelled in animals for example and it turns out if you have a very impulsive
rat it has alterations in the dopamine system in the brain. Deficiency of
dopamine which the drug regresses.

There is not enough treatment centres. The current response is methadone for treatment
and the Government would hope they would stop doing criminal activities to getting
money for drugs and stop sharing needles. This is a nice idea and also cheaper. It is
harder to get off, more addictive and rots the addict away. This approach does not deal
with the problem. People on methadone have no chance of an outcome from this poor
lifestyle as the addiction is still there. Methadone at best only puts a band aid on this
illness and governments swapping illegal street drugs for legal drugs are not helping.
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Addicts need to address the internal incentives that are driving them towards drugs and
The costs of the program would be an offset by the reduction in crime. This is evolved
thinking. Most theft is committed by addicts to get drugs. An introduction of a Crime
Reduction Initiative Program through the legal system as the alternative to sending them
to prison; would be necessary. The savings from this approach could be enormous. My
initial research says with $1 spent on funding programmes $3 is saved from crimes.
People are not their disease; we need to remove the stigmatism and shame from addicts
so they are no longer defined by their addiction. Resilience of the human spirit intersects
with social contextual factors to set the stage for those struggling with addiction to choose
a pathway to health. Addicts could be the person sitting next to you, your mother, your
father, your sister, your brother, your cousin, your best friend, even presidents are not

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In brief, our Judicial System needs a complete overhaul - based on common sense. This
system should be a deterrent to anyone thinking of breaking the law. Our jails are
overcrowded at 85% over capacity with drug, alcohol and misdemeanour related
offenders. These would be better treated in a boot style camp with counselling and
rehabilitation facilities. These people should serve a minimum of six months where reeducation can begin. This is also where community standards can be raised where it
becomes safe and these offenders and repeat offenders can be better equipped to make
positive choices in their future. As it is now they get drugs inside with all the security how
is this even possible? Where there is a will there is a way and drug addicts can be very
creative when they need to be.
This will free up the jails for serious and serial offenders including drug dealers.
Paedophiles and sex offenders should never be released. Corrupt police should not be
protected. I believe none of these types of offenders should be in protective prisons and
would be better placed in main stream prisons. Why should they be protected when they
violated the rights of our young, elderly and most vulnerable?
Serious and long term offenders; surely their idleness can be put to be better use. They
could grow their own food for example.
The problem needs to be addressed and we need to stop putting band aids on everything.
Let’s get it sorted once and for all. A discussion needs to be had on these matters from
one idea a solution can come with the right input.
The police know who are selling drugs in their local areas, but when they go to the trouble
of arresting them, the court system is too lenient and I believe having our jails full is one
of the factors at play.
Prison population has risen 16% in four years. Women in particular indigenous are being
incarcerated because of lack of resources. Northern Territory has less than 10% convicted
felons returning to jail once released under new initiatives.
The Queensland Bail Act 1980 is inadequate and fails to even have proper processes and
protocols in place before releasing offenders on bond.
No Bail, No Suspended Sentences. Do the crime, do the time. Life is life, not 25 and out
in 7.

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Raise the drinking age back to 21.
It is more about education; teenagers and young adults who are caught drunk and disorderly or
drink driving should be given the hard lesson of seeing the effects - car accidents, morgues,
victims of crime associated with alcohol. Enough of the softly approach and show people the
realities of their actions.
Take it a step forward and educate them in school before they even think about having a drink.
Parents have a responsibility also. I know of many parties held in Hervey Bay where parents sent
their underage (14-16 years in particular) teenagers off with six packs. Straight away that tells
them to disrespect and ignore the law. These parties have required attendance by police for
vandalism, assaults and other crimes as a result.
It would be great if a healthy approach to ‘schoolies’ was adopted and provide the school leavers
with an alternative that will reflect community standards. Not only does the law turn a blind eye
to drugs and alcohol during this period it teaches our future adults that it is ok to break the law
and excuse poor behaviour.
It is well scientifically proven that until a person is fully developed alcohol has a profound effect
not only the body but on the brain. Why do we not want them to reach their full potential? By
allowing underage drinking and giving them alcohol is detrimental to the individual and
community. On turning eighteen there are several decisions to consider on driving, alcohol
consumption, attending nightclubs and licensed premises.
Professor Ian Hickie, Executive Director of the Brain and Mind Research Institute at the University
of Sydney, identified) that alcohol can disrupt teen’s brain development. His opinion piece,
published in 2009, identified that starting to drink from 12-13 years of age until your early
twenties can disrupt this critical phase of brain growth. His advice was that teenagers should avoid
being introduced to alcohol for as long as possible.
My questions are: Why don’t we have this in place already? What is the point of loving your child
only to limit them from reaching their full potential? Why teach your child to justify breaking the
law? Why knowingly put your child in harm’s way?

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Medical Cannabis
So few people actually know anything about Medical Cannabis. The general public by and large still
believe that it’s a terrible dangerous drug and of course, people need to be educated.
My concern is that those people who do understand that whole plant medicine is needed will be
drowned out by big pharmaceuticals and we'll all essentially end up with a less than effective
I'm also concerned that the general public, unaware of the research that has already been done,
will read ill-informed articles that there is no existing research.
Main stream media that presents Cannabis in a positive light is a huge step forward in terms of the
struggle to educate people.
Are the trials are all smoke and mirrors? If we actually look at what they are trialling in New South
Wales - it won't help anyone. This is demonstrated by the few people who have registered for the
trial. With only 40 people registered in NSW and 20 in Queensland.
Another point is they are sourcing the cannabis and oil from overseas. Why aren't we supporting
OUR farmers and boosting OUR economy? We really need to be pushing for cannabis to be grown
and made in Australia and not imported - this is important not only to our farmers and economy
but for quality control.
Apparently, Bob Carr did something similar in NSW 12 yrs ago and it amounted to nothing and
they are still fighting. Coupled with this people just don't get it. They just don't understand that
this is nothing like what is actually needed because they don't read the fine print. The only thing
we actually have at the moment is the scheme that grants amnesty to cancer patients in NSW but
the amount of cannabis they are allowed to have is useless. There are only 40 people registered
for the scheme in NSW (TICS) and they are only allowed to have 15 grams of cannabis insufficient amount. Some of the carers have been busted by the NSW police which is why people
are staying away is what I am being told.
The trials and their details are still under construction and it probably won't start until next year. I
believe Mullaways may be conducting the clinical trials; still to be confirmed.
Why are we re-inventing the wheel and not using the research completed globally? How can we
justify $9 million?
Legalizing Medical Cannabis could be done tomorrow very easily. Please save the millions of dollars
on wasted trials and beseech the Government to give the big ✔ so those suffering can get the
much needed Medical Cannabis now.
Considering that up until about 85 years ago, cannabis oil was used around the world to treat a
variety of diseases, including cancer, it is not surprising that the phasing out of cannabis to treat
illness coincided with the rise of pharmaceutical companies.
Rick Simpson, a medical marijuana activist, is on a crusade to help others heal. He regards
cannabis as the most medicinally active plant on the face of the earth and shared this apparent
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miracle with others — completely free of charge. He now has thousands of testimonials from those
who were healed from ‘incurable’ disease to back up his claims ~ that cannabis annihilates cancer.
For the naysayers out there who are still not convinced about the effectiveness of cannabis for
curing cancer, the astounding healing attributes of the plant are well documented by a wealth of
peer-reviewed studies.
Traditional medicinal plant backed by modern medicine
Breast cancer - A study in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics explored the relationship between the
use of cannabinoid (CBD) and the subsequent down regulation of breast cancer tumour
aggressiveness. The researchers concluded that CBD represents the first nontoxic agent to
decrease the aggressiveness of metastatic breast cancer cells in vivo.
Several additional studies support these findings, including “Pathways mediating the effects of
cannabinoid on the reduction of breast cancer cell proliferation, invasion and metastasis” and
“Cannabinoids: a new hope for breast cancer therapy?”
Furthermore, the journal PLoS One reports further evidence of how cannabinoids modulate breast
cancer tumour growth and metastasis by inhibiting specific receptors.
Colon cancer - As published in Pharmacological Research:
“Studies on epithelial cells have shown that cannabinoids exert antiproliferative, antimetastatic and
apoptotic effects as well as reducing cytokine release and promoting wound healing. In vivo,
cannabinoids – via direct or indirect activation of CB(1) and/or CB(2) receptors – exert protective
effects in well-established models of intestinal inflammation and colon cancer.”
The team concluded that the administration of cannabinoids “may be a promising strategy to
counteract intestinal inflammation and colon cancer.”
Moreover, research in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology established that colon cancer
cell lines were strongly affected by cannabinoids.
Leukaemia - Cannabis was shown to induce cytotoxicity in leukaemia cell lines, according to the
journal Blood:
“We have shown that THC is a potent inducer of apoptosis, even at 1 x IC (50) (inhibitory
concentration 50%) concentrations and as early as 6 hours after exposure to the drug. These
effects were seen in leukemic cell lines (CEM, HEL-92, and HL60) as well as in peripheral blood
mononuclear cells.”
It also did not appear that the cannabis was simply aiding other chemo drugs — it was
independently bringing about results with the active compound THC responsible for cancer cell
death in vitro.
Likewise, a study in the Molecular Pharmacology Journal found that non psychoactive cannabinoid
dramatically induced apoptosis (cell death) in leukaemia cells. “Together, the results from this
study reveal that cannabinoid, acting through CB2 and regulation of Nox4 and p22 (phox)
expression, may be a novel and highly selective treatment for leukaemia.”
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Two additional studies, “p38 MAPK is involved in CB2 receptor-induced apoptosis of human
leukaemia cells” and “Gamma-irradiation enhances apoptosis induced by cannabinoid, a nonpsychotropic cannabinoid, in cultured HL-60 myeloblastic leukaemia cells“, also demonstrated the
effectiveness of cannabis in promoting leukaemia cell death.
Immunity - Research published in the paper Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
found that cannabinoid compounds play a vital role in modulating the immune system to improve
the outcome of a cancer diagnosis. In short, the team believes “[t]he experimental evidence
reviewed in this article argues in favour of the therapeutic potential of these compounds in
immune disorders and cancer.”
Moreover, the study Cannabinoids and the immune system confirms that cannabimimetic agents
have substantial effects on natural killer cells, thereby providing therapeutic usefulness in reducing
tumour growth and the induction of apoptosis. Therefore, cannabis demonstrates a “subtle but
significant role in the regulation of immunity and that this role can eventually be exploited in the
management of human disease.”
Cervical cancer - Uterine cervical cancer cells are significantly influenced by cannabis as well.
Published in Gynaecologic Oncology, the research team discovered that the compound induced
apoptosis in cervical carcinoma (CxCa) cell lines.
Melanoma - The most deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma has relatively few options of
treatment beyond prevention and early detection. With this in mind, the findings of the study
Cannabinoid receptors as novel targets for the treatment of melanoma are of particular note. In
animal tests, cannabinoids encouraged cancer cell death, while decreasing growth, proliferation
and metastasis of melanoma cells.
Non melanoma skin cancers also respond well to cannabinoids. According to research in the
Journal of Clinical Investigation:
“Local administration of [cannabinoids] induced a considerable growth inhibition of malignant
tumours generated by inoculation of epidermal tumour cells into nude mice. Cannabinoid-treated
tumours showed an increased number of apoptotic cells. This was accompanied by impairment of
tumour vascularization, as determined by altered blood vessel morphology and decreased
expression of proangiogenic factors (VEGF, placental growth factor, and angiopoietin 2). … These
results support a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of skin tumours.”
These are just a few examples — among hundreds — that demonstrate the effectiveness of
cannabis in eradicating cancer without adverse side-effects. Additionally, the following
documentary explores the history and modern uses of cannabis to heal serious diseases such as
cancer, AIDS, Crohn’s disease & more.
In todays Telegraph (14/06/15) NSW is leading the world with its $12 million medicinal cannabis
research centre, Premier Mike Baird says.
THE Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation will be headed up by NSW chief
scientist Mary O'Kane.

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It will seek to enable experts to share their world-class research and support the production of
safe, reliable and affordable cannabis based medicines.
"Whilst the potential therapeutic qualities of products derived from cannabis have been known for
centuries, the Centre will advance our understanding in this field and support the production of
safe, reliable and affordable cannabis-based medicines," he (Mike Baird) said.
So let’s look at what he actually said.
The benefits of cannabis have been known for centuries but this money will let us build a building
where we can make synthetic pharmaceutical drugs.
What he didn't say - they'll continue to prosecute anyone who is actually using or growing the
WHOLE plant instead of our pharmaceutical derivatives because they don't give a flying
fundamental about our health - all they care about is MONEY.
Coupled with this; if we actually look at what they are trialling, it won't help anyone; this is
demonstrated by the few people who have registered for the trial. With only 40 people registered
in NSW and 20 in Queensland how can we justify $9 million? Fearing prosecution stops people
from contributing and being involved in trials.
From a criminal law point of view the issue that we have at the moment is this. The current laws
around Cannabis supply and possession have not been written in the context of medical use.
So people being arrested and charged because of medicinal use are being charged under laws that
apply to a completely different context in terms of product, use and intent.
I am aware of the changes made by the TGA but that does not change the Drugs Misuse Act until
that Act is changed.
If a change in TGA scheduling impacted on the Drugs Misuse Act as an automatic process, people
would not be working with lawyers all day every day on someone like Adams Koessler’s case
(Fearless Father Campaign).

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Cannabis Laws
Some states offer diversion programs despite Cannabis being a criminal offence, but these
programs are only available to non-violent offenders. We are supposed to be one nation under
one law but clearly this is one area among many where this is not the case.
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY - The ACT has decriminalised minor Cannabis offences, but the
drug is still considered illegal. A civil penalty system for the possession of ‘small amounts’ of
Cannabis was introduced in 1993.
Offenders caught with up to two non-hydroponic Cannabis plants, or up to 25 grams of marijuana
are fined $100 and given 60 days to pay. Criminal charges are not laid and offenders can choose
to attend a treatment program instead of paying the fine.
NEW SOUTH WALES - Any Cannabis offence is considered a criminal offence in New South Wales,
which is one of the toughest states on drug use. Offenders caught with up to 15 grams of
Cannabis may be cautioned by police, who will also give them information about the harms
associated with it and a number to call for more advice. The offender can be cautioned twice
before charges are laid.
NORTHERN TERRITORY - Under Northern Territory law, adults found in possession of, up to 50
grams of marijuana or one gram of hash oil or 10 grams of hash or Cannabis seed or two nonhydroponic plants are likely to be fined $200 and given 28 days to pay their fine. If they do this,
they are not likely to face a criminal charge.
QUEENSLAND - Even though possession and use of Cannabis is a criminal offence in Queensland,
offenders caught with up to 50 grams of Cannabis must be first offered a drug diversion program.
This includes a mandatory assessment and brief intervention session. Police must offer this but
only one offer of diversion is allowed per person.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA - South Australia decriminalised minor Cannabis offences in 1987 and was the
first state to do so. Residents found with up to 100 grams of marijuana, 20 grams of hash (resin),
one non-hydroponic plant or Cannabis smoking equipment are fined $50 to $150 and given 60
days to pay.
TASMANIA - Under Tasmanian law, offenders found with up to 50 grams of Cannabis can be
cautioned three times in ten years, with different procedures at the time of each caution.
Information and referral is provided on the first caution and an intervention is implemented with
the second. On the third and final caution, the offender is assessed for dependence and sent for
intervention or treatment.
VICTORIA - Cannabis is illegal and criminal in Victoria, but drug offences there are tried in a
different court. As in the other non-decriminalised states, it’s up to the arresting police officer to
decide whether to charge the drug user, or refer them to a ‘diversion’ program aimed at informing
and aiding them.
Anyone carrying less than 50 grams of Cannabis in Victoria can be directed to an education
program, but – as in New South Wales – that option is only available to each offender twice before
charges are laid.
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WESTERN AUSTRALIA - Alongside New South Wales, Western Australia has the nation’s toughest
stance on drug offences. In 2004 it introduced civil penalties for Cannabis possession but this was
overturned with a change of government in 2008.
Since reforms in August 2011, offenders who have no prior Cannabis offences but are caught with
no more than 10 grams of harvested Cannabis and/or a used smoking implement must attend a
Cannabis Intervention Session within 28 days or receive a conviction.
State Cannabis Laws vary from state to state. All Cannabis cultivation (planting, watering or
tending to even one marijuana plant) offences attract a criminal conviction.
Why is the penalty or rather no penalty in Canberra – Our Capital? Is this for visiting dignitaries
where it is permitted in their country or is it so that the politician’s children don’t have a criminal
offence recorded against them?
All the money and resources on chasing marijuana is ridiculous. This needs to be put in to the
epidemic we have on ice / methamphetamines. Like always a crisis has to occur before anything
even hints of getting anything done. Prevention is always better than the cure.

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Hemp Industry
Hemp Is Not Pot: It's the Economic Stimulus and Green Jobs Solution We Need.
We can make over 25,000 things with it. Farmers love it. Environmentalists love it. You can't get
high from it. So why is it still illegal?
Hemp is a highly nutritional, sustainable, inexpensive and versatile crop. It can be used in and for
pretty much anything, and consistently proves itself to be superior in comparison to its competitors
and it’s heralded by people who aren’t even hippies as a ‘miracle plant’.
Hemp nourishes the soil, continuously recyclable, grows in every climate, easily identified, does
not need pesticides or herbicides, absorbs emissions and creates clean oxygen.
Was used and promoted by our forefathers, was not dangerous to the land or it’s people.
Paper, cloth, rope, food, oils, protein, fuel for cars, beauty products etc – this is not a weed it’s
Industry for Agriculture, Fuels, Medicines, Textiles and the list goes on.
This one product would create thousands of jobs, support our farmers and stimulate the economy.

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Stimulants — including methamphetamines, cocaine and speed — were the most readily available
class of drugs, with 56 sellers offering 2060 listings. This is only online! Imagine how many dealers
there are on our streets on our streets. Now, guess the amount of people addicted. Government
needs to act now!
Policing should be spent on the methamphetamine drug trade and not on cannabis.
Mental Health issues don't distinguish between class, education, knowledge or manners. The
DSMD (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ) lists Substance use and abuse
as a Mental Health issue. Since when have we treated people with mental health issues as
criminals & locked them away.... oh hang on... *faceplam*. Nationally around 60% of people with
a drug issue also have a mental health issue. It’s probably higher locally. BUT what came first?
Did the drugs cause the issue or are people self-medicating? By the time someone has a
dependency does it even matter? Maybe if we spent more money on our mental health services it
would have some impact. I mean 14 beds! 14 beds for the entire 100,000 Fraser Coast population
who may need inpatient care for mental health issues and this is inclusive of beds made available
to MCC. Whilst there are only 2 beds for inpatient detox, and they're only available for alcohol or
prescription Benzodiazepine withdrawal.
Currently there is no real transitional pathway for people returning to the community either. On
top of our current Methamphetamine problems the Methadone treatment clinic recently moved
here from Bundaberg. That's good for local people who use the service but has there been any
increase in anything other than clinical services & the large amount of heroin now becoming
increasingly available on local streets? There has certainly been an increase in heroin available
locally. Bayside Transformations Rehabilitation Programme are doing a good job, even though they
receive no Government funding, but they're not for everyone because of their religious stance. We
need to give people options in order for them to achieve and sustain their own individual &
independent recovery. People with Mental Health / Substance use issues are just like the rest of
humanity and can't think about meeting their complex needs until their basic needs, like secure
and safe housing and food are met.
In an area of high unemployment and homelessness such as the Fraser Coast, we need to provide
improved access to these basic needs, work harder to engage people in appropriate Community
Services and support them to get on their feet, so that they are then in the position to address
their more complex needs. We should be looking at how other countries are achieving success in
this area & approaching it from a model of best evidence based practice.
No amount of extra policing or locking people up is going to change anything. A new dealer will
rapidly take the place of the incarcerated one. How are we going to police the sale of 1000's of
possible precursors? If a cook knows what they are doing there a many ways to make
methamphetamines without using pseudoepinephrine.
Obviously early intervention and education are worth a go, but look at what happened to the
young man in the original post. When someone has a habit, scoring is the first, last and only thing
on their mind. Other things like paying the rent, bills, buying food, keeping their job, looking after
their children move down the priority list. It’s the nature of dependency, regardless of which drug.
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There are high functioning people that can keep up appearing 'normal' for a length of time, these
are the hidden users that we don’t see. The users that we see, at Centrelink, in court, committing
crimes, at DOCS, on the street, these are the ones who are low functioning. They may not have
had a trade, an education, a job, a stable home, family support, and they may have had an
already present MH issue, prior to starting meth. And they have fallen quickly. These are the
ones that become stigmatised and labelled scum. Because they are visible and inform the general
public’s opinions.
Terrorism is what we should be calling the war on drugs in Australia. The terror methamphetamine
users are causing our community is becoming a common theme. What is the Government going to
do about this? It could be anyone of us that falls victim to this at any time.
Even if someone didn't have a mental health issue prior to using, if they used out of curiosity or
peer pressure; they will have mental health issues after using for any length of time. Imagine if
you had two good legs but began to use crutches all the time, soon the muscles in your legs would
wither. It’s the same with a drug, if you use it often enough your own mental coping skills will
wither, self-discipline, will power, sitting with uncomfortable feeling, control of emotions, these
become withered. Yet these are the very skills you require to stop using.
Once people become embroiled in the drug and the whole lifestyle culture around using meth (and
particularly if by needle) they can’t see a way out. They become reactive rather than reasonable.
This is because their actions come from the emotional hind brain rather than the considering
frontal cortex. This happens to everyone when we are in flight fight survival mode and having a
habit is just that. The brain reacts by telling the user that it’s a matter of self-survival that they
need this drug. Hence cravings and peoples needing to re-act on them.
If users are to get to a stable and safe environment (based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) they
need to know they have safe and secure accommodation and income. Something they have
usually burnt their bridges with by this time. Engaging people with our local community
organisations (and we have some great ones) extra support and understanding from housing and
Centrelink, the police and court, choices re treatment. These are the things that can change
things around for people, especially as early intervention.
We also need to spend time educating, supporting and empathising with the families of people
with a dependency. It’s all too easy to enable, and parents, family and friends often feel a sense
of shame, as if it’s their fault, they did something wrong, they feel guilty. But each adult makes
their own choices and dependent people come from both happy and unhappy families. Drug use
does not differentiate.
It comes down to dollars. Fine money from possession and sale and use of illegal drugs. Tax and
fine money from sale and use of legal ones. Prison and policing costs for both illegal and legal
drug crimes. Tax and fine money collected for health care for both. But where is the health care
for the illegal drugs? The war on drugs does not work. People are dying from it.

©Jannean E Dean

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