Newsletter May 2023

We're excited to share these recent successes in the battle for drug law reform.

Of course, the reforms are incremental, but we're witnessing the once impenetrable wall of prohibition start to crack and crumble. Each crack signifies progress, and each crumbling piece is a step closer to our shared vision of a more enlightened drug policy!

So read on as we examine the latest breakthroughs!


TGA Reclassifies MDMA and Psilocybin

We’re proud to announce that Australia will be the first country in the world to recognise the therapeutic benefits of psychedelic substances. The TGA will reclassify MDMA and psilocybin as prescription treatments for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and treatment-resistant depression in July.

Queensland to Decimalise Drugs

The standout reform is in Queensland, where Police Minister Mark Ryan announced to Parliament in February that drug possession would be decriminalised. Under the proposed laws, people caught with small amounts of drugs will get a warning for a first offence and be offered a diversion program instead of criminal charges for a second and third offence. If conservative Queensland can change, so can the rest of Australia.

Queensland Pill Testing Trial

In another first, Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath announced that Queensland would introduce pill testing at festivals and fixed sites following the successful trials in Canberra.

ACT Pill Testing Trial Extended

The ACT government has extended the CanTEST Drug Testing trial. This free drug testing service allows people to check their illicit drugs anonymously without the threat of arrest and, where appropriate, receive health advice.

Doctors Peak Body Support Pill Testing

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Australia’s peak doctors’ body, called for all states to introduce pill-testing services. RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins said, “It’s a reality that despite the risks and illegality, some people will keep taking illicit drugs....we should minimise the harm. Pill testing saves lives.”

Melbourne Safe Injecting Room is Now Permanent

On the 4th of May, the Victorian parliament voted to make the North Richmond safe-injecting room permanent. Negotiations continue for the location of a second facility amid calls for a third facility to be established in Victoria's second-largest city Geelong.

The NSW Drug Summit

The newly elected NSW government has announced plans for a drugs summit modelled on the successful 1999 summit that cleared the political obstacles for introducing the King’s Cross safe injecting centre. Hopefully, the summit will also result in a consensus for real reform.

Legalise Cannabis in WA, Victoria and NSW Parliaments

The recent victories of the Legalise Cannabis party in state elections signal a turning point towards abolishing Australia’s prohibition of cannabis, marking a significant shift in the country’s drug policy. There are now 5 Legalise members in 3 state parliaments, and the party nearly captured a Senate seat in Queensland in the last federal election.

Cruising Ahead: Victoria Revisits Cannabis Driving Laws

Victoria's "Road Safety Amendment (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2023", introduced by the Legalise party in February, aims to reframe drug-driving laws for medicinal cannabis users. The bill seeks to protect patients using prescribed cannabis from prosecution if THC is detected, assuming safe driving.

Rising Public Support for Cannabis Legalisation

The electoral success of the Legalise Cannabis party reflects the growing public support for cannabis legalisation. The latest Australian Institute for Health survey reveals that over 41% of Australians now favour legalising cannabis compared to 37% who are opposed. It is a matter of time before the major parties realise it is to their advantage to support cannabis reform.

Support Drug Policy Australia

Although these have been significant wins, our politicians, particularly in Canberra, remain obstinate at the expense of public health and safety. They ignore the undeniable fact that Australia’s drug laws are ruining the lives of already vulnerable people and their families, which will only worsen with the expected influx of Fentanyl in Australia shortly.

With your support, we will continue to press for meaningful reforms to Australia’s dangerous drug laws.

But to continue our work, we need your continued financial support.

All donations are fully tax-deductible.

We need to talk.... about REFORM! 

Our new Reformers Club initiative brings like-minded campaigners together to discuss new ideas and strategies for reform!

Reformer club members meet online to discuss drug reform policy with each other, Drug Policy Australia directors and other experts.

All reformers also receive a gift and other exclusive member-only benefits, including freebies and discounts from our online shop and events!

The reformers club is meeting online this Monday, 29th of May, at 6:00 pm. If you'd like to be involved, please get in touch with me or Lisa van Rooyen at [email protected] for more information.

Get involved. Join the Reformers Club here.


A Royal Commission into Drugs would highlight the human costs of the war on drugs and make the government answerable.

We call on the Parliament to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry into: The health, social, economic, and law enforcement costs of Drug Prohibition.

Please sign our petition here and spread the word.

DanceSafe Fentanyl Test Strips 

Part of our mission involves ensuring drug users are better informed about the substances they use. With fentanyl-related deaths in Australia rising, knowing what’s in your supply is critical.

Earlier this year, the AFP intercepted 30 kg of fentanyl headed to Australia. In America last year, over 60,000 people died of an overdose involving synthetic opioids like Fentanyl.

If you or someone you care about is using drugs, please consider purchasing some Fentanyl test strips which detect the presence of Fentanyl and many of its analogues.

We stock these in our shop for your convenience.


Testing of drugs for Fentanyl is a sensible, low-cost harm reduction approach that saves lives! More information about Fentanyl is available here.

Drug Policy Australia sells a range of products, including pill testing kits, Fentanyl Testing strips, and our iconic "The Drug Laws are Dangerous" T-shirts.

We also stock MDMA, LSD, cocaine and ketamine safety testing kits, exclusively imported from DanceSafe, a renowned drug-checking organisation! All kits perform 75+ tests and come with ten pages of instructions and a colour chart.  

All profits from this store help fund our efforts to advocate and promote evidence-based drug policies that reduce the harm caused by illicit drugs.

How to Argue the Case for Reform with Friends and Family

Join the fight

Like alcohol prohibition, drug prohibition has been an unmitigated disaster. Not only has it failed to control the trade and use of illicit drugs, but it has unintended consequences that threaten public health and human rights, specifically for the vulnerable.

If you'd like to learn how to discuss and defend the case for reform with family and friends, this informational ebook is a helpful resource.

Download the Case for Reform e-book.

There is a better way!

Laws do not stop people from using drugs, but the right approach can prevent needless suffering and avoidable deaths.

Having recovered from my addiction, I appreciate how counterproductive the current drug laws are. The laws did not help me then; they are not helping the thousands of families who need help with addiction today.

This is why Dr John Sherman, an addiction specialist with 40 years of experience, and I started Drug Policy Australia.

We push for alternative approaches to drug policy that will save lives.

How You Can Help.

Do you agree that vulnerable Australians with problematic drug use deserve support, not punishment? 

Do you agree that criminalising people for using drugs does more harm than good?

If so, please help us end the persecution of vulnerable Australians that need help.

As a small charity, we depend on your donations to carry out our work. We are endlessly grateful for your commitment and know that every cent counts towards a fairer future. 

Drug Policy Australia is a registered charity, and all donations are tax-deductible.

Finally, thank you for your support and for recognising that drug reform is one of the most significant social justice issues of our time.

Recent responses

Get Involved and Join the Movement