Newsletter September 2023

As a fellow drug reform warrior, we've got good news!

From the historic decriminalisation of personal drug possession in Canberra to the burgeoning push for legal cannabis, we find ourselves at a pivotal moment.

We will also explore the latest international news, from Canada’s game-changing safe supply programs to the cannabis reforms sweeping across the globe.

Let's dive right in with the good news!


Canberra Decriminalisation Coming Soon

On October 28, the ACT will make history as the first Australian jurisdiction to decriminalise the personal possession of illicit drugs, including heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and MDMA. Hopefully, other states will soon follow in Canberra’s footsteps!

TGA Reclassified Psychedelics

In other exciting news, as of July 2023, MDMA and Psilocybin have been reclassified from prohibited to controlled drugs, and psychiatrists are now able to prescribe them for clinical use. The medicines will be used to treat PTSD and treatment-resistant depression.

Proposed NSW Drug Summit 

The last NSW drug summit in 1999 cleared the political hurdles for Australia’s first safe injecting facility. Hopes are high that the proposed NSW summit announced by the NSW Premier will pave the way for similar reforms. However, the Premier’s refusal to discuss decriminalisation and the recent dismissal of pill testing have dampened expectations for meaningful change in drug policy.

Push for Legal Cannabis in Parliament 

The Legalise Cannabis party and the Greens have presented bills to state and federal Parliaments to legalise cannabis in recent months. The Greens estimate that a legal cannabis market would generate $28 billion over nine years. If they won’t be swayed by compassion, hopefully, lawmakers will listen with their pockets. 

Cheaper Access to Methadone and Buprenorphine

As of the 1st of July, methadone and buprenorphine prescriptions are covered by the PBS. The historic change has reduced the cost of the medicine to $30 a month, or as little as $7.50 for concession card holders. A big win for harm reduction!

Australia's Annual Overdose Report

The Pennington Institute have released their 2023 Annual Overdose Report. In 2021, 1,675 people died of unintentional drug overdose, and 134 of these were due to fentanyl or similar synthetic opioids. The report calls for greater access to naloxone and drug monitoring systems to detect contaminated drug supplies. Read the full article here.

Australian Wastewater Report

According to the latest National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Report, Australians are consuming more cocaine, MDMA, methylamphetamine (ice) and ketamine than last year. The report confirms that illicit drug use is on the rise despite increased funding for law enforcement. The police are not only failing to prevent the influx of drugs into the country, they’re failing to prevent people from consuming them. So why do we continue to waste taxpayer money?



United Nations backflips on Punitive Drug Policy

In breaking news, the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights tabled a groundbreaking report in Geneva calling for drug decriminalisation and the responsible regulation of drugs. That’s right; this is the first time that a high-level UN body has come out in support of the legal regulation of drugs, citing human rights violations as a disastrous outcome of the "Drug-Free World" agenda. Watch this space... More information here.

Decriminalisation and Safer Supply Changing Lives in Canada

British Columbia decriminalised drugs in January this year, and police interactions and drug seizures have decreased. Meanwhile, safer supply programs are helping individuals reconnect with their families, gain employment, and improve their mental and overall health. Safe supply programs are crucial in the fight against fentanyl, and our politicians should watch Canada closely if we want to prevent our own overdose crisis. Read the article Saving Lives with Safer Supply.

Calls for Decriminalisation in Scotland

The Scottish Government released a new paper - A Caring, Compassionate and Human Rights Informed Drug Policy for Scotland - calling for drug policy reform. If the recommendations are followed, the country could be the next to decriminalise the personal possession of drugs and expand life-saving services such as safe injection sites and drug testing.

Legal Cannabis Sweeping Across Europe

Cannabis reforms have taken over Europe, with Luxemburg, Malta, and Switzerland all legalising cannabis in recent months. Meanwhile, politicians in Ukraine, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Germany are pushing for legalisation. 

Cannabis Tourism in Thailand

A year after Thailand legalised cannabis, the country has experienced an influx of curious and eager tourists from around Asia looking to indulge in legal cannabis from one of the thousands of new weed stores and cafes. 

World Drug Report 2023

The latest World Drug Report found that opioids continue to cause the most harm of all drugs throughout the globe. It also found that Australia on average, consumes more MDMA than any other country! You can read the executive summary here.

WARNING: Expected Fentanyl Influx

The Australian Federal Police have warned that they have intercepted increasing fentanyl shipments heading into Australia in recent months. Stay safe and test your drugs at home with DanceSafe’s fentanyl test strips, available on our website.

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 and fentanyl shipments into Australia becoming more common, knowing what’s in your supply is critical.

Testing drugs for fentanyl is a sensible, low-cost harm reduction approach that saves lives!

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

We stock these in our shop for your convenience.


Support Drug Policy Australia

A global shift is taking place, but things are not moving fast enough. Overdose deaths continue to rise, and fentanyl is becoming an ever-present threat in Australia.

At Drug Policy Australia, we are committed to advocating for a change to our outdated drug laws to stop any further unnecessary harm. But we need your help.

As a registered charity, we rely on your generous donations to continue our fight for drug policy reform. Your donation will advance sensible, evidence-based drug policies that support justice and human rights. 

All donations are fully tax-deductible.

We need to talk.... about REFORM! 

Passionate about drug policy reform? Our new Reformers Club brings like-minded thinkers together to discuss new ideas and strategies for change!

As a reformer's club member, you will be invited to join our online forums, where we will discuss drug reform with Drug Policy Australia directors and other experts in the field.

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

Join the movement. Sign up for the Reformers Club here.


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

Our petition for a Royal Commission into the harms caused by drug prohibition already has 2,291 supporters! Please join us by signing the petition here, and spread the word to your friends, families, and social networks! 

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

Drug Testing Kits available

Drug Policy Australia stocks 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

Want to talk with your loved ones about drug policy reform but don't have all the answers? Download our free e-book, and equip yourself with the tools to educate your friends and family on the ins and outs of drug reform.

Download the Case for Reform e-book here.

There is a better way!

Our current drug laws are unfairly targeting the most vulnerable members of our community, including young people and Indigenous Australians. In 2021, 1,675 Australians died of an accidental drug overdose. Deaths that could have been prevented.

How many more Australians need to die before our politicians start to take action?

We campaign for a compassionate world where vulnerable individuals are not persecuted, prosecuted and demeaned for their drug use; they are met with care and compassion.

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 Doctor John Sherman, an addiction specialist with 40 years of experience, and I started Drug Policy Australia.

How You Can Help.

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

If so, please help us end the persecution of vulnerable Australians who 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 our time's most significant social justice issues.


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