Support the answer to our drugs problem

There wasn’t a lot of support for Greens leader Richard Di Natale this week after he claimed that the war on drugs had failed and so, Australia should decriminalise drugs.

It was an audacious, bold call - one that was quickly slapped down by leading medical experts across the country.

The Australian Medical Association jumped out of the blocks and put as much distance between itself and the Greens' radical proposal.

It's always going to be difficult to combat drug offenders through the legal system. Simply locking addicts and users away behind bars isn't the answer. But neither is decriminalising drugs.

There needs to be a concerted, unified approach towards the rehabilitation and treatment of people with addictions to illicit drugs.

As AMA president Michael Gannon said on Monday, we should never underestimate the harm that illicit drugs cause to people in our community.

Also, the Greens' plan is out of touch with society's expectations. This, from a party that wants to ban poker machines based on the damage they cause to society, but in the same breath they call to decriminalise drugs, potentially such as dangerous as ice. It seems a strange set of double standards.

Illicit drugs - even cannabis - destroy brain functions, adversely affect mental well-being and destroy lives and families.

In an opinion piece published in News Limited papers, Senator Di Natalie wrote: "Somewhere along the way, society decided drug users had morally failed and should be treated like criminals". Yes Senator, yes, many of them are criminals. They steal to support their habit, they bash people, stab people and worse. Decriminalising drugs won't stop that. People smoking cannabis will still suffer from mental issues after prolonged use. People on ice will still be violent.

They'll just be allowed to take those drugs without fear of legal repercussions. That's not the answer. But neither is simply throwing them behind bars.

Read any sentencing report handed down by a magistrate in Tasmania for people with drug addictions, and it is always clearly stated that those offenders are required to undergo a drug rehabilitation service. Those services just need more funding, simple as that. Just as they would under the Greens' plan, without any dangerous drug decriminalisation.

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