Contact with the criminal justice system
NOTE: Quotes are presented word for word apart from minor editing for readability and clarity. Identifying details have been removed. Square brackets show text that has been added, e.g. ‘I want to maintain [my current level of drug use]’. Ellipses within square brackets […] show where text has been removed, e.g. ‘Counselling was good but […] I would have liked more information about other treatment options’.
Most of the people interviewed for this website have not had contact with the criminal justice system. Those who have describe coming into contact with police, the court system and the prison system in a range of ways. Some have seen police operations such as roadside alcohol and other drug testing or sniffer dog searches, or been searched by police on suspicion of possessing an illegal drug. They talk about their experiences of policing and the measures they take to avoid police detection. A few have been charged with criminal offences such as drug possession, cultivation or trafficking, or other offences that are considered to be alcohol or other drug related such as offences committed after consuming alcohol or another drug, or to fund consumption. These could include traffic offences, assault and offences involving damage to property. Among those arrested or convicted for minor offences, most have participated in diversion programs. These refer people into treatment or education programs. Some of those who have served custodial sentences talk about the difficulty they had accessing treatment and harm reduction services while in custody. Several of the people interviewed lost custody of their children due to their contact with the criminal justice system. They describe this as a traumatic experience, one that prompted changes including participation in drug treatment.