The University of Wollongong’s own Associate Professor Lynne Magor-Blatch will be heading to the United Nations General Assembly Special sitting next Friday to discuss a policy shift for drug users.

With almost 40 years experience working with people with alcohol and other drug issues, Professor Magor-Blatch is one of eleven experts selected from across the world to represent the non-government alcohol and other drug sector in roundtable discussions at UNGASS.

Prof. Magor-Blatch said:

“Australia, like many countries around the world, is filling its jails with drug users when these people should really be in treatment.”

Professor Magor-Blatch said 66 per cent of Australia’s drugs budget is spent on law enforcement but just 21 per cent spent on treatment, 10 percent on prevention and two per cent on harm reduction.

She plans to push for a stronger focus on the demand and harm reduction, which includes increased support to treatment, early intervention and prevention measures for drug users. She also believes that Australia needs more Family Drug Courts which will help parents stop using drugs and alcohol to promote family reunification.

“An estimated 40 per cent of children in out-of-home care have a parent who is experiencing problems of substance use. This places enormous strain on families and on community resources,” she said.

Statistics show that drug use is a major issue in the Illawarra.

“I feel very honoured to have been chosen to participate, and hope that we will be able to bring forward issues and concerns of importance to Australia and our region.”