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Salvos welcome moves towards drug law reform

The report on the Inquiry into Drug Law Reform in Victoria, released earlier this week, has been broadly welcomed by The Salvation Army. The report contains 50 recommendations which could shape a range of policy and practice approaches in policing, courts, prisons and treatment services for years to come.

According to Kathryn Wright, Director of The Salvation Army’s Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Unit, “The report strikes a healthy balance between responsiveness to the emerging evidence base on law reform and a cautionary approach that doesn’t go too far, too quickly.”

As a significant provider of AOD services across Victoria, The Salvation Army has seen firsthand the cost of the failings in our current systems. “Too often someone who is experiencing a health problem gets a response from the Justice system that doesn’t work for them or our communities”, said Ms Wright. The Inquiry has shown an understanding of the intersection between private and public health issues and the need to keep our communities safe, which aims at pragmatic, evidence-based responses in order to get better outcomes.

The report’s recommendations set out an agenda for change that addresses vital aspects of prevention, law enforcement, treatment and harm reduction, which should drive Victoria’s drug policy, strategy and budgetary investments. “The Salvation Army is looking forward to the Victorian Government’s response to this report and the possibilities it offers for better outcomes for individuals, families and communities currently experiencing harm from drugs”, said Ms Wright.