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  • Writer's pictureCreevey Horrell Lawyers

DRUG DIVERSION PROGRAMS IN QUEENSLAND. ARE DRUG LAWS CHANGING IN AUSTRALIA?

In the beginning of 2023, Queensland’s Police minister Mark Ryan expressed interest in expanding Police Drug Diversion Programs across the state. The PDDP is designed to provide eligible offenders with a second chance to address their drug-related issues through education, treatment, and support, rather than being processed through the criminal justice system. By expanding the program, more individuals may be able to access these services, potentially leading to improved health outcomes and reduced crime rates.


Currently, the program is offer to minor-drug offenders (those in possession of less than 50 grams of cannabis) professional help, instead of criminally prosecuting them. However, the police minister wants to expand the program to include all drugs, such as heroin, meth, and cocaine. Under this new proposal, those found in possession would firstly be given a warning, then upon second offence, be directed to complete a diversionary program.


The proposal has been made in the belief that it will save police time and enable officers to target those supply and manufacturing drugs. Furthermore, Queensland Police argue that it will prevent further harm to minor-drug offenders, as research has shown that those that participate in diversion programs are less likely to reoffend.


There are several types of drug diversion programs in Australia, including:

  • Court diversion programs: These programs are run by the courts and provide an opportunity for eligible offenders to avoid a criminal record by undertaking drug treatment and other programs.

  • Police diversion programs: These programs are run by the police and provide an opportunity for eligible offenders to receive a caution instead of being charged with a drug offense, as long as they undertake drug education or treatment.

  • Drug courts: These courts are designed specifically for drug-related offenses and provide an intensive treatment program to offenders as an alternative to imprisonment.

  • Treatment referral programs: These programs are designed to provide early intervention for individuals who are at risk of developing drug-related problems.

To be eligible for drug diversion programs, individuals must meet certain criteria, such as having no previous drug-related convictions, being willing to undertake drug treatment, and having committed a minor drug-related offense. Furthermore, offenders will have to admit to use in an interview.


Offenders will then be referred to a professional assessment and be assisted in creating a drug rehabilitation plan. However, offenders will only be offered diversion once.


If you have been charged with a minor drug offense, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. A lawyer who specializes in criminal law can provide you with advice and representation throughout the legal process.


When you meet with a lawyer, they will discuss the details of your case with you and help you understand your legal rights and options. They may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to have the charges reduced or dismissed, or they may recommend that you participate in a drug diversion program.


It is important to remember that even minor drug offenses can have serious consequences, including fines, imprisonment, and a criminal record. A criminal record can impact your ability to find employment, obtain housing, and travel overseas.

By seeking legal advice early on, you may be able to minimize the impact of a minor drug offense on your life. A lawyer can guide you through the legal process and work to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

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