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The NSW government rejects 5 ice inquiry recommendations

Photo: NSW rejects 5 ice inquiry recommendations
The report from NSW's special commission of inquiry into the drug ice has been been made public a month after it was handed to the government.

The NSW government won't support the recommendations of an independent inquiry into ice which call for more injecting centres, syringe programs in jails, substance testing and a reduction in the use of drug detection dogs.

The special commission of inquiry's report was made public on Thursday a month after it was handed to the state government.

According to the report - which includes 109 recommendations - some $7.3 billion worth of crystal methamphetamine is consumed in Australia each year.

The report highlights "a clear lack of direction" by health services treating ice-affected patients and calls for a focus on prevention, education and decriminalisation.
"Recognising illicit drug use as a health and social problem rather than a criminal justice issue is a fundamental first step," it states.

The report backs the state coroner who in late 2019 called for NSW Police to stop using detection dogs at music festivals following an inquest into six MDMA-related deaths.

"The most significant concern raised in evidence to the inquiry is that the use of drug-detection dogs may increase drug-related health harms, including panic ingestion, consuming drugs before the festival, carrying drugs in vaginal and anal cavities, and buying drugs from unknown suppliers inside the festival," the report states.

But NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard says while the government will consider 104 recommendations it won't support the five relating to injecting centres, syringe programs, substance testing and drug dogs.

"The government maintains its view that drug detection dogs are the best method for police to screen large crowds of people for the presence of drug odours," the coalition's interim response states.

The Berejiklian government also remains opposed to pill or substance testing and "does not support a trial of a needle and syringe program in correctional centres due to the potential safety risks to inmates and correctional officers".

It won't expand the number of safe injecting centres beyond the single facility in Kings Cross, despite the special commission recommending consumption services be established "in areas of local need".

Providing smoking facilities within them would encourage early contact with health and social services, increase access to education and might prevent users moving on to inject amphetamine-type stimulants, the report found.

Mr Hazzard on Thursday argued the government was investing $231.6 million on preventing and treating harms associated with drug use.

"The government will consider the remaining recommendations from the Inquiry in consultation with stakeholders and will prepare a final response before the end of the year," the minister said in a statement.

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann wants the government to "put politics aside" to ensure the best policies are in place to save lives.

"In the coming months I'll be finalising a bill to decriminalise the use and possession of currently illicit drugs in NSW," Ms Faehrmann said in a statement on Thursday.

"We can't stop people from using drugs but we can stop people from dying from them."

The Ted Noffs Foundation said it was pleased the government hadn't shut the door on potentially removing criminal penalties for personal drug use.NSW rejects 5 ice inquiry recommendations

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