The NSW Drug Court will start sitting at Dubbo on February 20 next year.
Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders said the Drug Court will make a real difference to the region.
“This is the first court of its kind in regional NSW and a great win for our community,” Mr Saunders said.
“Beating addiction and drug use is not just a criminal justice issue, but also a health issue.
“The Drug Court is proven to be efficient at driving down crime, and its opening on February 20 will be a great day not just for our community, but for people right across western NSW.”
In June 2021, the NSW Government announced almost $30 million to expand the NSW Drug Court to Dubbo, following a $3.7 million expansion of Dubbo Courthouse.
The announcement builds on the Government’s $7.5 million commitment to build and operate a residential rehabilitation facility in the Dubbo region, and $5.8 million over four years to expand the Youth Koori Court to Dubbo.
Attorney General Mark Speakman said the Dubbo Drug Court was a much-anticipated addition to the region’s justice system and would change many lives for the better.
“Success in the Drug Court program takes commitment and hard work, but it is a tried and tested program which helps break the cycle of dependency and reoffending and can hand people their lives back,” Mr Speakman said.
“Participants are supported to address the root causes of their problems to beat their addiction.
“The Drug Court is proven to have a long-term effect on reoffending, and to be more cost effective than ‘mainstream’ courts.
“If we are going to tackle drug use and addiction – and the problems they create for communities – a multi-agency partnership such as that which underpins the Drug Court is necessary.”
An interagency working group, made up of representatives from across the justice and health sectors, as well as other stakeholders, is currently preparing for the court’s commencement.
A program of education, awareness and stakeholder engagement is also being developed for the judiciary, the legal profession, and staff at referring courts.
Up to 80 eligible adult offenders will be able to undertake the program at the NSW Drug Court at Dubbo at any one time.
Participants in the Drug Court will undergo a minimum 12-month program, including mandatory detoxification in jail and drug testing up to three times a week in the community, while receiving interventions to address the underlying causes of drug dependency and offending. Violent or sex offenders are excluded from participating.