Four Years After it was Scrapped, Drug Court will Return to Queensland
Four years after it was scrapped by the LNP, the drug court will return to Queensland.
The specialist court will begin as a pilot program Brisbane in November, helping people with drug and alcohol-related offences overcome their criminal behaviour with supervised rehabilitation.
In 2013, the drug, Murri and special circumstances courts were scrapped by the LNP, saving $35.7 million over four years.
At the time, then-attorney-general Jarrod Bleijie said the decision was not easy but it was necessary to return the state to a stronger fiscal position.
Offenders will be sentenced to a maximum four years in jail, wholly suspended, which can be reactivated if they commit another offence.
“For an individual who is suffering from a severe drug or alcohol misuse disorder, addressing the causes of that disorder is a difficult and often painful process,” she said.
“The drug and alcohol treatment order … [will allow] courts to work with offenders to break the vicious cycle of drug and alcohol misuse and criminal offending.”
LNP member for Condamine Pat Weir said he had attended court to support “someone very dear to me” who had a drug addiction and found themselves facing charges.
“He was convicted, received a large fine and discharged from court,” Mr Weir said.
“There was no offer of support to help break this addiction. He was expected to give up the drugs, get a job and pay off this large fine and reintegrate himself into society.
“He was lucky. I was there to support him. He was determined to win this battle and he did. But it was not easy.”
Mr Weir said without support to kick their addiction, more people would fail than succeed without a vast amount of support.
“Quite often the alcohol or drug addiction is a symptom, and not the disease,” he said.
“Many suffer from depression, anxiety, or other forms of mental health issues and turn to substance abuse to cope. If this underlying problem is not addressed as part of the rehabilitation process, then the chance of returning to substance abuse is very high.
“To watch a loved one battle the demons of substance abuse is one of the most traumatic experiences it is possible to endure.”
This was originally published by the Brisbane Times.