Marginalised and vulnerable people require protection from the harms of drug use.

  • Marginalised people are already using illicit drugs at high rates, and less able to access help as a result. Almost one in ten clients of specialist homelessness services in Australia reported problematic drug use, which in turn hurt their likelihood of securing housing.
  • Criminalisation further marginalises vulnerable people whose drug use is often exacerbated by their marginal status. The results is a cycle of despair and drug use, that further marginalisation them from society and support services.
  • Marginalised and vulnerable people are often poorly equipped to handle the criminal justice system, compounding their disadvantage.
  • Ethnic minorities are often arrested and imprisoned for drug offences at disproportionate rates to their drug use. Indigenous people in Australia are more likely than the non-Indigenous population to be detained for a similar crime. The reasons for this are complex, but clearly, Indigenous people are at more risk from the intervention of the criminal justice system in what should be a public health matter.

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