By Matt Noffs
Fifteen years ago, Cabramatta’s heroin issue was raging. Dealing and drug dependency was rife. But heroin use and crime has not only dropped significantly across south-west Sydney but across the country too.
The latest figures show ice has done the same thing. In fact, ice use has dropped by 33 per cent.
How? By treating the drug issue as a health issue, not a criminal one.
Reducing not just the supply of drugs but the demand for drugs has been an effort created by law enforcement working with health agencies including treatment and other harm reduction services.
Police understand this deeply. Ask former Victorian Police commissioner Ken Lay, who headed the ice taskforce. What were his findings? More treatment and less punishment.
I’ve worked in south-west Sydney for over a decade.
My grandfather Ted Noffs spent his life fighting for the rights of Australians who had disadvantaged in many forms.
My parents developed the country’s first adolescent drug treatment centre because nothing existed like it.
And my wife and I started the Street University in south-west Sydney because again, nothing like it existed.
And of course, we are not alone. There have been many pioneering organisations who helped see crime plummet.
For half a century, we have been fighting for Australia’s most vulnerable populations.
Now, with proposed introduction of welfare drug testing, we see all the work to make…
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