Portugal Decriminalised Drugs in 2001 - Should Australia do the same?
Our police and politicians say we cannot "arrest our way" out of Australia's drug problem. Then why not decriminalise personal drug use so people can get help if and when they need it?
On the 26th June Drug Policy Australia with 15 Supporting AOD organisations held the inaugural Melbourne Town Hall forum to celebrate 'Support. Don't Punish' day - a global initiative calling for drug policies that prioritise public health and the human rights.
The forum featured health professionals, politicians, journalists and community leaders, including Tony Trimingham OAM, CEO of Family Drug Support, Sam Biondo, Head of VAADA and Dr Stefan Gruenert, CEO of Odyssey House Victoria as well drug policy opinion leaders like state MP Fiona Patten who will talk about the recently released Victorian Drug Inquiry and Michael Short, Chief Editorial Writer for The Age.
FULL SPEAKER LIST in order of appearance:
- Greg Denham, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
- Stephanie Tzanetis, Head of HRVic's Dancewize Program
- Nick Kent, President of Students for Sensible Drug Policy
- Sam Biondo, Head of Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association (VAADA)
- Dr Stefan Gruenert, CEO of Odyssey House Victoria
- Michael Short, Chief Editorial Writer for The Age
- Fiona Patten, Member of the Victorian Drug Inquiry
- Tony Trimingham OAM, CEO of Family Drug Support
The "Support. Don't Punish" Global Day of Action is an opportunity to change the narrative - rather than punishing people who use drugs, let's support them.
This forum brought together voices and experiences from the Alcohol and Other Drug sector working at the coalface in an awareness campaign for more humane and evidence-based drug policies.
On the day we had 2 activities starting with a high visibility street campaign from 10 am and finishing with a town hall meeting at 6.pm attended by 150 people.
The street campaign involved 20 volunteers wearing Support Don’t Punish t-shirts handing out flyers at 10 locations in the Melbourne CBD. Volunteers interacted with the public, handed out information and collected donations.
At days end the volunteers assembled at the Melbourne Town Hall for a public meeting with 8 speakers featuring health professionals, politicians, journalists and community leaders.
The forum had information table from 6 AOD organisations who handed out health promotion material and interacted with the public.
If you'd like to involved in the 2019 Support Don't Punish activities volunteer to get involved and volunteer.