The Wheeler Centre
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Question Time: Drug Laws
Supply reduction, demand reduction and harm reduction are the three key tenets of Australian drug policy.
But these areas attract vastly different levels of funding, attention and reporting. Harm reduction strategies, in particular, ignite controversy and community anxiety. Today, we have only one safe injecting room (in Sydney) and no official means for pill testing at festivals around the country.
Recent studies indicate that Australia has one of the highest usage rates of illicit drugs in the world. Methamphetamine usage in Australia has tripled in the last five years and usage of MDMA and other drugs is surging, too. Despite copious media coverage, especially in relation to the ice epidemic, it seems there is little political appetite to change the status quo.
What’s working in our drug policy and what isn’t? What is the research telling us? What can we learn from other jurisdictions? Our panel tackle questions from the audience in a full hour of Q&A. Hosted by Madeleine Morris, with Stan Winford, Rick Nugent and Nicole Lee.
Madeleine Morris is a Melbourne-based reporter for ABC television’s 7.30. She was formerly a presenter for the BBC in London and reported from dozens of countries before returning to her native Australia. She is the author of Guilt-Free Bottle-Feeding: Why Your Formula-Fed Baby Can Grow Up To Be Happy, Healthy and Smart, published by Finch.
Nicole Lee is Director at 360Edge, a specialist drug and alcohol consultancy, and Professor at the National Drug Research Institute. She is an Australian leader in alcohol and drug clinical policy.
A practicing psychologist with 25 years experience in the substance use and mental health sectors, she’s provided key policy advice to state, commonwealth and international governments, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and has published more than 100 articles, books and practice guides on alcohol and other drug topics.
Stan Winford is Associate Director at the Centre for Innovative Justice, RMIT University where he is particularly interested in exploring how the justice system can have a positive impact on people’s lives through restorative and therapeutic approaches to justice, as well as the development of justice systems designed and informed by the experiences of those who use them.
Rick commenced his appointment as Assistant Commissioner of Eastern Region in September 2015, and brings to this role extensive operational and corporate experience, as well as a strong focus on working with stakeholders, staff development, and continual improvement. With a policing career spanning 28 years, Rick has served in a number of stations and departments across the organisation. In addition to general policing, Rick has performed duties as a detective for a significant portion of his career.