Queensland’s Police Drug Diversion program will be expanded to include the minor possession of all types of drugs by implementing a new tiered approach:
1st minor drug-possession offence – a police officer issues a warning, accompanied by a drug warning notice and a police referral to a support service.
2nd and 3rd minor drug-possession offence – a police officer offers the opportunity for the person to participate in a mandatory Drug Diversion Assessment Program.
4th minor drug-possession offence – a police officer issues the offender with a notice to appear in court.
The police drug diversion program, which is currently only for cannabis, will be expanded to include all drugs, meaning people found with small personal quantities of substances like heroin and methamphetamines will be given three chances to avoid criminal charges.
The impact of the changes will be widespread – prompting a call for more resources for “already swamped” health services.
Anyone facing criminal charges, or who has already been to jail for drug offences, would be ineligible for diversion.
According to 2019 data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, one in six Australians used an illicit drug in the previous 12 months.
The state government estimates 17,000 Queenslanders could avoid prosecution in the first year of implementation with the majority never having contact with police again.
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