Joint Statement Opposing the Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2017
“LGBTI communities are disproportionately impacted by drug use. The criminalisation of personal possession and use of drugs is counterproductive, adds to stigma and discrimination within these populations, and doesn’t recognise that substance abuse is a health problem that no amount of law enforcement can fix.” - VAC CEO Simon Ruth
3 Aug 2017
As a community-controlled LGBTI community health organisation, VAC has joined forces with other health organisations, peak bodies and advocates, to oppose the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2017. In a joint statement released today, the bill is noted as "unenforceable in practice, not evidence-based, and likely to cause harm."
The joint statement has been signed by VAC along with High Alert, Penington Institute, Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs, Harm Reduction Victoria, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Yarra Drug & Health Forum, DanceWize, Rationalist Society of Australia, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and The Psychedelic Society.
The statement outlines the bill's shortcomings including:
- The definition of ‘psychoactive effect’ and therefore ‘psychoactive substance’ is broad and confusing, with enormous consequences for the scope of prohibition;
- It wrongly assumes all psychoactive substances are harmful and detaches the harm caused by different substances from the penalty associated with a total ban; and
- It is costly and difficult, if not impossible, to operationalise the concept of psychoactivity for law enforcement purposes.