Dealing with the drug trade in Yarra

In recent years Yarra – especially North Richmond – has been centre stage in the public debate about the illicit drug industry. The current ‘law and order’ approach is clearly not working as figures have shown a 68% rise in drug use in the past five years.

The proposal to install CCTV cameras along Victoria St cannot resolve the deeper issues and will likely result in dealers and users moving the trade into neighbouring residential streets.

What is required is a radical change in policy, as is happening in many parts of the world. We need to start viewing illicit drug use primarily as a health issue. The first step must be increasing rehabilitation services and introducing safe injecting facilities. This will help stop people from using on the street and in local parks and playgrounds. Ultimately, state testing and administration of illicit drugs through the health sector is essential to both harm-minimisation and undermining the drug trade. Trying to police drug use out of existence will never work.

– Councillor Stephen Jolly

In the news:

7 News Melbourne: Richmond knife fight

Herald Sun: Resident’s CCTV ­system used by police to charge man

The Leader: Yarra Council switches on to investigate CCTV cameras for Richmond drug spot

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