1 July 2017

The Law Society of NSW welcomes the Federal Government’s investment to improve care and prevention for ice addiction.

The President of The Law Society of NSW Pauline Wright said the national illicit drug market figures demonstrated a need for a continued intergovernmental and multi-agency approach to solving drug epidemics.

"There is a clear imperative for the expansion of Drug Courts including the NSW Drug Court," Ms Wright said.

"This should also be a priority for the NSW Government’s justice reforms."

Ms Wright said the NSW Drug Court had proven to be a more cost effective and successful solution to reducing re-offending for drug related crime than locking people up in increasingly crowded prisons.

Breaking the cycle of addiction is also best addressed through increased collaboration between justice and health systems and greater resourcing for rehabilitation services.

Diverting funds away from more prison beds and towards greater resourcing for rehabilitation services could also reduce the rising costs to taxpayers of housing drug offenders and the pressure on rehabilitation and justice services in the longer term.

"Drug courts ensure offenders are not only made accountable for their crime but commit to intensive rehabilitation," Ms Wright said.

"The opportunity for participants to face their substance abuse problem with counselling and support can radically change the direction of their lives.

Greater investment in early intervention, crime prevention and diversionary programs particularly in regional and rural areas where such services are lacking could also assist in repairing the damage to families and communities that substance abuse causes.

"Investment into targeted programs provided by Indigenous people could also help to address the underlying causes of drug offending in a culturally appropriate and community-based setting."

Media Contact: Marianna Papadakis 02 9926 0288 or 0413 440 or media@lawsociety.com.au

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