The following letter written by Bill Bush, President, Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform was published in the Canberra Times on Thursday 24 August, 2017
The Commonwealth’s intended drug testing of welfare recipients will push not just them to the brink (“Welfare drug tests ‘will push users to the brink’.” August 23, p9).
Compulsory drug testing will intensify the marginalisation of the most marginalised
It will aggravate the factors that led the drug users to dabble in drugs in the first place.
It will load more financial strain and worry on families forced to pick up the burden the Government has dropped.
It will destroy the financial viability of struggling drug treatment services that rely on the welfare payments of their patients.
The Commonwealth has failed miserably to keep drugs out of the country. Indeed it is clear that prohibition stimulates supply and guarantees availability. So having failed to keep its side of the bargain, the Commonwealth is coming after young Australians, their families and drug treatment services.
Even if cutting off welfare payments improves the budget bottom line of the Commonwealth, it will blow out that of States and Territories that shoulder the greater part of law enforcement and health costs of a drug policy set at the federal level.