ATDC position statements on decriminalisation

1. Personal use and possession of illicit drugs should be decriminalised

The ATDC advocates a change toward the way that personal drug use and possession is handled in Tasmania. The ATDC advocates for a removal of criminal penalties toward people who are found with small quantities of illicit drugs for personal use. We maintain that a criminal justice response to the manufacturing, supplying and trafficking of large quantities of illicit drugs should remain.

2. Decriminalisation will reduce costs

It is the ATDC’s position that the human and financial costs resulting from current drug laws are borne not only by those who use drugs, but also by their families, friends and carers, and the Tasmanian community as a whole, and that these costs can be significantly reduced if a decriminalisation approach is taken.

3. Stigma stops treatment

Criminalising personal use and possession of small amounts of illicit drugs creates enormous stigma and discrimination and acts as a barrier for people who may wish to seek treatment and support for what is a primarily a health issue.

4. Community and health system readiness – there is work to be done

There is an appetite to progress discussions about decriminalisation of illicit drug use in Tasmania. The community is ready to have this discussion. The ATDC proposes that a review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 2001 is undertaken, in consultation with key stakeholders, the community and alongside the Tasmanian alcohol and other drug sector to support the community and health system progress this important drug law reform.

Dr Paul Blacklow, an economist at the University of Tasmania, estimated in 2017 that the cost of illicit drug use in Tasmania was $301.73M and that the cost, if Tasmania adopted a decriminalisation model would be $273.6M, a financial saving of $28.13M.