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A new approach to tackling drugs in Australia

Photo: Plan for tackling Australian drug woes
A former Australian Federal Police commissioner is backing a new plan aimed at controlling drugs in Australia, which includes making pill testing available at music festivals and parties.

Former AFP commissioner Mick Palmer will help launch a campaign spruiking the plan by the Ted Noffs Foundation, which provides drug and alcohol treatment services for young Australians, on Tuesday.

Mr Palmer will speak alongside the foundation's chief executive Matt Noffs at the National Press Club in Canberra.

He said governments have relied on law enforcement to curb the drug trade and use for more than 50 years, and the results speak for themselves.

"The drug trade has just kept getting bigger, more dangerous and more prosperous," Mr Palmer said.

"We must be prepared to try new ideas and approaches."
The Ted Noffs Foundation has proposed several steps for revamping the nation's drug policies, including rolling out pill-testing services nationally to reduce harm at music festivals and similar events.

It has also suggested expanding treatment services for those experiencing drug problems and establishing more drug monitoring rooms.

Improving engagement services with disadvantaged young people and ending criminal charges that make getting help harder are also included in the plan.

Mr Noffs said governments have left drugs to be bought and sold in a black market run by criminals and gangs.

His foundation's campaign will raise awareness of how current drug laws are hurting kids.

"We'll demand that state and federal governments take control of drug use through a health and safety approach," Mr Noffs said.

The Ted Noffs Foundation is appealing for Australians to sign a petition as part of the campaign, at its website www.takecontrol.org.au

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