Would this new approach reduce illegal drug use? 8



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According to recent reports, one-third of drivers intercepted by police for random drug tests in NSW was positive. This is an alarming statistic that suggests a much tougher approach is needed for illegal drug users.

In the United Arab Emirates, if you are found with illegal drugs in your body (and interestingly, that includes codeine – common in Australian painkillers), you commit an offence whether driving or just walking about.

Australian illegal drug laws regarding possession, as I understand it, do not include having it in your body ie, after a blood or other test indicates you have taken drugs. It’s only illegal to be intoxicated while driving, in charge of a firearm or responsible for a child under a certain age.

I think we need to include possession as having it in one’s body, after all, you must have had physical possession of the drug to take it or inject it.

We also need to toughen up. Those who attend public hospital Accident and Emergency Departments as a result of illegal drugs should be required to pay for their treatment and charged with an offence relating to their drug taking.

Drivers found with specified concentrations of drugs while driving or in charge of a motor vehicle should have their vehicle (if they are the owner) confiscated and crushed, perhaps after a second offence.

Taking away someone’s motor vehicle is a very serious matter which may also impact on family members, however, I think it would go a long way in helping people decide to play it safe and not drive under the influence of drugs.

What do you think? Do you believe making illegal drug users pay for Accident and Emergency treatment and having their motor vehicles crushed would make a difference to Australia’s very serious drugs problem?

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Robin Henry

Robin is a retired adult educator, and human resources specialist with a background in the Air Force and Policing. He lives at Alice Springs in the Territory, but spends much of his time travelling. He is a prolific writer and runs several blogs.

  1. I so agree, Having seen 1st hand the problem in A & E whilst waiting treatment myself. Other sick patients including children had to wait while 4 nursing staff plus security dealt with this one person high on Ice. Make them pay from their ‘benefits’.

  2. Something has to be done. Our whole legal system needs an overhaul. For our children and grandchildren’s futures.

  3. Give a good stiff kick up their arses their lives are finished anyway, then spend more time on the genuinely sick

  4. I have been saying for years that if a drug or drunk person requires medical treatment in our A&E departments they should have to pay. Why is it so hard for pollies to get these ideas.

  5. When it comes to legal drugs and driving – where are the tests that show the acceptable limit as per alcohol (0.05%)?

  6. such cruel comments, so little thought. Maggi you assume all people on drugs are also on benefits, this is untrue, especially if we look at people on alcohol. Note alcohol is not mentioned in the article but it is still the most common drug used and leads to more deaths than other drugs. Our whole law system needs an overhaul? The whole legal system or just the laws pertaining to drug use? Mandatory sentencing and harsher punishments do nothing to; a) stop the behaviour, b) help the user. Ask yourself instead, why are people so let down by society that they turn to drugs to ease the pain, and yes you need to include alcohol in this. Christine, as soon as you allow laws to be passed denying treatment without payment you are destroying the Universal Health Scheme a scheme that is praised around the world. remove one item from free treatment and so many more would soon be taken off the free medical treatment. With the rabid religious people in power abortion would be the first to go, then treatment for diabetes, obesity. This would leave the whole system ready to be abolished.

  7. As a society we can’t continue to afford…either monetarily or socially…to support dangerous behaviours . The social impact of illegal drug taking is huge. Just think about the medical, police, SES personnel who have to deal with it all. And they’re the ‘tip of the iceberg’. We have to do something to deter people from making very poor choices. These people are adversely affecting the lives of all of us who do the right thing. As a society we can afford to let this continue. All people have to take responsibility for their choices in life.

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