In January 2023, Jesuit Social Services provided a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement’s Inquiry into the challenges and opportunities for law enforcement in addressing Australia’s illicit drug problem. We emphasise the importance of a health-focused, trauma-informed, person-centred and community-based approach to addressing the harms associated with substance misuse.
In this submission, Jesuit Social Services outlines that ensuring a law enforcement approach founded on a health promotion and harm minimisation framework is essential to support people who misuse substances or are at risk of misusing substances – and this will have positive benefits for the wider community.
Summary of our recommendations
- We recommend that State and Territory governments should divert funding away from the criminal justice system towards evidence-based and place-based solutions that address the root causes of substance misuse.
- We recommend the Federal Government partner with State and Territory Governments to invest in innovative, evidence-informed health promotion, dual diagnosis programs and harm reduction strategies as a means of substance misuse prevention and early intervention.
- We recommend State and Territory Governments prioritise the use of restorative justice, cautioning, diversion and other preventative approaches to ensure people who have substance misuse challenges do not become caught up in the justice system.