Natale: Drug addicts need treatment, support, not penalties

DRUG addicts should be given treatment and support instead of penalties.

That's the verdict of one of Australia's highest profile politicians who has been meeting with experts and concerned community members around the country this week.

Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale said police and court resources should be focused on those responsible for producing and distributing illicit drugs.

"Australia has one of the highest rates of illicit drug use in the world despite our no-tolerance policy," Dr Di Natale said.

"Treating drug use as a criminal matter rather than a health matter clearly isn't working.

"The Greens are not advocating for the legalisation of ice or any drug.

"We're hearing from the experts that removing criminal penalties for personal drug use would go a long way to helping drug users come forward for treatment."

His discussions come before a national drug summit set down for Canberra on March 2. - APN NEWSDESK