Victoria needs to re-assess its drug driving laws to measure impairment, not just the presence of drugs, a report into drug law reform recommends.
Victoria needs to re-assess its drug driving laws to measure impairment, and not just the presence of drugs, a report recommends.
Parliament's drug law reform inquiry released its 640-page report on Tuesday, making 50 recommendations on ways to overhaul the way illicit drugs are tackled.
"Drug driving laws differ from drink driving laws, with the former based on a detection threshold where any presence of a prescribed substance in a driver is deemed an offence," the report reads.
"Drink driving laws, on the other hand, are based on an impairment threshold with a prescribed blood alcohol content limit of 0.05. This is based on a historical science-based model that is accepted and implemented worldwide."
It recommends a drugs policy advisory council should be set up to guide Victorian governments and that body should examine alternative drug driving regimes.
"I think we need to look at the costs of that, look at the effectiveness of that, is that reducing our (road) toll?" committee member and Reason Party MP Fiona Patten told reporters.
Ms Patten said the report created a comprehensive road map for drug law reform.
It also recommends treating personal use drug offences as a health issue, rather than a criminal issue, with better diversion programs, further examination of legalised adult use cannabis in other jurisdictions and allowing authorities to do on-site drug testing at music festivals.
"Having something at the back of house, where emergency workers can find out exactly the substance that has caused harm at that event, will start the process for early warning systems and is a good first step," Ms Patten said.
The cross-house and cross-party committee visited Geneva, Lisbon, London, Vancouver, Denver, Sacramento and Wellington last year, to see how other jurisdictions managed substance abuse problems and community impacts.
The report states treatment and prevention of drug use are "chronically underfunded".
About 70 per cent of Victorian overdose deaths were due to poly-drug use between 2009 to 2016, according to Coroners Court of Victoria data in the report.
Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation president Alex Wodak, who helped establish a needle syringe program in 1986 and medically-supervised injecting centre in 1999, is referenced repeatedly in the report.
He told reporters the war on drugs had failed, creating more dangerous substances.
"There's a constant pressure on the market to make smaller drugs that are more powerful, but smaller drugs which are more powerful and occupy less volume are more dangerous," he said.
"This is one of the many reasons why we need to put less pressure on law enforcement and more pressure on health and social measures."
A government spokesman said it would give the report and its findings the "consideration it deserves and respond in coming months".