Monday 4 July 2016
Four parliamentarians from across the political spectrum have joined forces in the NSW Parliament to renew the debate about harm minimisation approaches to illicit drug use.
The group will host a Harm Minimisation Summit on 11 August in the Jubilee Room in Parliament House, bringing together politicians, medical professionals, law and order officers and drug users.
The Summit will consider the context of illicit drug policy in NSW and debate the merits of harm-minimisation.
The group includes Mehreen Faruqi MLC from the Greens, Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich, Jo Haylen from the Labor Opposition and Shayne Mallard MLC, a Liberal party member of Parliament.
The group issues the following statement about the purpose of the group:
The Parliamentary Cross-Party Harm Minimisation Roundtable brings together members from across the NSW Parliament to examine illicit drugs policies that encompass health, education, law and order and communities.
In NSW, the problem of illicit drug use is a complex and enduring one, requiring a variety of responses rooted in evidence and innovation.
We are committed to working with medical experts, drug consumers, law and order professionals, social welfare organisations, researchers and our fellow citizens and parliamentarians to canvas multiple approaches and experiences around the world.
We understand that an assortment of responses is required to meaningfully engage and address the spectrum of drug use.
We believe NSW has led on harm minimisation over several decades and will initially host a drug harm minimisation summit in the Parliament to renew the conversation on drugs policy.
We seek an open mature conversation without judgement on reducing the often tragic personal harm caused by drugs.
The Summit will take place from 10am-1:30pm on August 11th in the Jubilee Room, NSW Parliament House.
ALEX GREENWICH MP, MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
Alex Greenwich, the Member for Sydney, is a strong supporter of medical facilities for problem users in his electorate, including the Medically Supervised Injecting Room and the O’Brien Centre, and has a close working relationship with professionals who run programs. He is a member of the Community Drug Action Team and works with LGBTI organisations and police to help ensure safe and positive experiences at festivals.
Quotes attributable to Alex Greenwich MP
“Drugs policy must focus on preventing death and injury, encouraging those with problems to get effective help and on reducing drug-related crime. It’s time that we had an open discussion about drugs focussed on reducing harm in the community without hype, hysteria, moralism and stigma. The summit will provide an opportunity to hear from health professionals, enforcement officers, people who have experienced addiction and policy leaders about alternative approaches to law and order that minimise harm.”