OPINION: A new approach to drug abuse is needed

EACH year it becomes more obvious a new approach is needed to tackle the spread of methamphetamine, or ice, addiction across Australia.

Fraser Coast's spike in hard drug use is far from an isolated incident with similar cases seen in both metropolitan and regional areas of this country.

Many former addicts say the key to minimising the spread of drug use is well-funded rehabilitation, rather than enforcement.

And the proof is in Portugal.

In 2001 Portugal decriminalised the use of all drugs meaning you received only a small fine and a referral to a treatment program. That means no jail times and no criminal record.

Controversial I know, but the country has seen a significant drop in overdoses and crime.

I'm not saying all drugs should be legalised, but the idea we give addicts the rehab and treatment they desperately need resonates much more than just locking someone away only for them to repeat their actions once they get out.



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