The Committee for Home Affairs (CfHA) and the Committee for Health & Social Care (CfHSC) are exploring pathways to improve the health, wellbeing and safety of people who use drugs, their families and friends, and the wider community.
The aim is to gather Islanders' views on current penalties for possession and use of small quantities of drugs, harms associated with approaches focused on punishment, and potential alternative and non-punitive options.
The survey results, along with engagement with professional stakeholders in the first quarter of this year, will help inform the Committees' recommendations.
Potential approaches, which are not mutually exclusive, include:
- Diversion - steering substance users toward health-oriented assessments and, if needed, subsequent support programmes, either instead of, or alongside, criminal justice processes.
- Deferral - a type of diversion that provides substance users with an opportunity to avoid criminal justice processes if they agree to a health-oriented assessment, and in some cases a subsequently recommended support programme.
- Depenalisation - a reduction in criminal penalties for cases in which someone is found to possess or use small amounts of illegal drugs but is not associated with more serious offences such as supplying drugs, importing drugs or other crimes.
This survey closes on 11 March 2022.