In a WA first this election, the WA Greens are moving to establish a new Drugs Information and Monitoring System (DIMS) which would share vital information, including through social media, about drugs being sold on the streets of Perth and their dangers.
The Greens are also calling for public funding for on-site laboratory grade testing at festivals to provide young Australians with real time, life-saving information about the contents of drugs.
Australian Greens leader Dr Richard Di Natale said that waiting until we read about yet another fatality from a drug overdose at a festival is too late.
“We know that young people will continue to try drugs - we need to get real about this. We can’t stick our heads in the sand and pretend it’s not going to happen. What we need to do is give them the tools they need to make educated choices.
“Pill testing is shown to reduce the likelihood that young people will take the drug they’re testing. It can save lives,” he said.
The WA Greens Harm Reduction policy calls for the decriminalisation of personal drug use, referring individuals to health care services rather than the criminal justice system.
Greens candidate Alison Xamon said that criminalising individuals for personal drug use was not working and that the law and order focus should be on the real criminals - drug dealers and drug traffickers.
“The current law and order response to drug use creates more harm than it prevents. We need to be providing people with the information they need to make safe choices. And when people do get into trouble we should be treating drug use as a health issue and providing the care required, rather than throwing the book at them," she said.
“We can do this while remaining tough on those suppliers who prey on young Australians."
The WA Greens Harm Reduction initiative will:
Treat personal drug use as a health issue and refer those in trouble to the health services they need, rather than the criminal justice system
Establish pill testing at high-risk events like music festivals to provide information to drug users on the content of illegal drugs to allow them to make more informed choices.
Prioritise investment in treatment, support and harm reduction measures that assist in building an evidence base for wider implementation of effective strategies.
Explore and review global harm reduction initiatives to keep up with international best practice, and restore our reputation as a leader in innovation in drug policy.
Ensure initiatives are evaluated and have safety controls and ethical approvals.
Call for the Initiation of a WA State Royal Commission into how we address the issue of drug crime, why the current “war on drugs” is failing, the importance of addressing stigma and discrimination in order to ensure people receive the services they need to make positive changes and the importance of justice reinvestment programs to maximize the efficient use of resources.
Remain tough on drug dealers and drug traffickers in WA.