As we delve into the varying articles members have shared with us regarding ice, addiction and the multitude of arguments for changing the way we look at addiction and treatment, a few perspectives stand out. This week we focus on a blog post in the Huffington post focused on changing the criminal manner with which we respond to ice users.
Independent Member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich penned Treating Ice Users Like Criminals Won't Fix the Problem through which he argued for a rethinking of the ways in which our institutions react to drug addiction. One of his key concerns was media hype and hysteria, moral stances and stigmas associated with ice usage and the way such reactions impede those struggling with this problem in seeking assistance: “Drug experts tell me that many prevention campaigns and media reports are damaging when they focus on extreme examples, stigmatising people who use ice, thereby discouraging them from seeking help.”
His other concern was the common usage of ice as a recreational drug with research suggesting that 70% of those who use do so less than once a month. This reality alongside governments tackling the issue through law enforcement is a nonsensical reaction rather than a thoughtful response, according to Greenwich.
He notes that: “The drug-detection dog laws introduced in 2001 were supposed to identify drug trafficking and deter use. A 2006 Ombudsman review found they targeted low-level users, with most people searched not found with drugs. The Ombudsman recommended withdrawing the program, but drug dog searches have doubled since 2009 with 16,000 people subject to an intrusive search every year. During this time drug use increased from 12.1 percent to 13.8 percent.”
He calls for harm reduction approaches and a change away from the emphasis on criminal responses as they discourage young people seeking assistance if they become ill and focuses criminal processes on users rather than on traffickers and suppliers.
Greenwich asserts that in addressing ice problems in a manner that is evidence based and consistent with human rights, we must engage with those using ice to work together to find solutions rather than stigmatising this population.
To read the full article click here.
If you have any research, case studies, personal or professional experiences you’d like to contribute to the ice bank, please email Lorraine Dupree.