Greens MP Cate Faehrmann to visit Portugal to study drug decriminalisation

Next week Greens MP and spokesperson for Drug Law Reform & Harm Reduction, Cate Faehrmann will travel to Portugal on a self-funded study tour to gather evidence of the country’s successful drug policies.

The trip will include attendance at the 2019 Harm Reduction Summit in Porto, plus several days of site visits in Lisbon and Porto as well as meetings with policy experts and lawmakers from across the world.

Ms Faehrmann will arrive in Lisbon, Portugal on Thursday 25 April and depart Porto, Portugal on Thursday, 2 May.

Ms Faehrmann said in her media release “We have a government in NSW with its head in the sand when it comes to drugs, and a Premier who has repeatedly denied the evidence before her that harm reduction works.

“I’ll be gathering evidence on how Portugal ended the war on drugs, and I’ll be all too happy to share with Premier Berejiklian on my return. It’s up to all parliamentarians to listen to the experts and develop laws based on evidence, not ideology.

“Portugal is a remarkable success story. By decriminalising the use and possession of all drugs, they have developed a harm reduction model that prioritises people’s health and wellbeing, offering the support and services that people need, when they need it.

“During this term of parliament I’ll be working with experts to see NSW adopt a harm reduction approach to drugs such as pill testing as well as better funding for health services like more supervised injecting centres and rehab. I’ll also be driving a conversation in the parliament and the community about what NSW can learn from other countries which have decriminalised drugs or even legalised drugs like cannabis.

Above: Greens MP and spokesperson for Drug Law Reform & Harm Reduction, Cate Faehrmann - Photo Facebook

Further reading from Ms Faehrmann's social media page: "In 2001, Portugal decriminalised all drugs in response to an overdose crisis at the time. They moved away from an approach that focuses on heavy-handed policing and persecution, to one that treats drug use as a health and social issue. "So I want to see for myself the difference these drug laws have made, and I'll be sharing what I learn right here on Instagram and Facebook, and of course offline too. "While it seems much of the world is exploring ways to move away from prohibition and towards harm reduction, NSW remains fixated on sniffer dogs, strip searches and a zero tolerance approach which treats people like criminals. It's time for sensible drug laws based on evidence.

"I'm looking forward to returning from my (self-funded) trip and bringing some of that evidence into the parliament where it is sorely needed."

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