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Did you know that in 2016, there were around 3.1 million Australians who were reported using illicit drugs? This statistical information was according to the study conducted by the National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS). As per the said study, the most common illegal drug that was abused in the same year was cannabis, followed by misuse of pharmaceuticals, cocaine, and then ecstasy. This is why criminal lawyers in Sydney have decided to promote drug rehabilitation programs in attempts to reduce drug offences.

Illicit use of drugs has been one of the most common dilemmas in every country in the world and Sydney is no exception. Just like other countries, the abuse of the illegal substance is a serious offence and punishable by law.

In NSW alone, under the jurisdiction of their law, the possession, use, production or supply of a drug is highly prohibited. It is stated in the NSW Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985. Now, having said this, it is no wonder why any offence made under this act is taken seriously. In any event that any person fails to abide by the said law, they will receive punishment that may even lead to imprisonment.

However, in pursuit of a better form of discipline, the government of NSW, as well as the best drug lawyers in Sydney, encourage rehabilitation programs. These programs are intended to reduce the possibilities of such offences to be repeated.

Which Rehabilitation Programs are Sydney Criminal Lawyers promoting?

Rehabilitation programs are systems of projects or services that are offered to those people who have been addicted to drugs or alcohol with the aim to help them recover. Between the two, drug addiction or misuse is the more common rehabilitation type and—according to experts—people who are addicted to illicit drugs require more tailored help and attention.

Drug rehabilitation programs offer treatment and support to those who seek to overcome misuse or addiction to any form of drugs. The Australian government funds some of the rehab services and projects while many are run by non-government organisations and charities. It is a great solution to aid those who were once under the influence of an illegal substance and offer them a better future ahead.

The Benefits Of Rehabilitation Programs

The main objective of rehabilitation programs is to aid people suffering from drug addiction to improve their life, as well as gradually regaining their better selves along the process. The process can take time, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. Rehabilitation programs or rehab services provide a number of benefits to those people who have committed a drug offence.

The government of Australia, specifically NSW, promotes these services to help reduce the likelihood of committing another offence by the same offender and instead, lead them to a healthier and better lifestyle.

Sydney criminal defence lawyers are highly supportive of this notion as well and are working hand in hand with the government to encourage more people to consider this approach.

With the help of rehab services and programs, offenders will gain a deeper understanding of their present situation, the contributing factors of the offence, and the severity of the condition they are in. In such conditions, the awareness that they gain can help them avoid re-committing the same offence.

Furthermore, the NSW court is lenient to an offender who attended rehabilitation programs after being accused of a drug offence. There are several rehabilitation programs in NSW, and we’ll discuss the most common drug rehabilitation programs.

Understanding The MERIT Program

The MERIT (Magistrates Early Referral into Treatment) Program is a common rehabilitation program among the local courts of NSW. It is offered to those adult offenders who are willing to participate in working voluntarily as part of the bail process. It is actually a condition taken as part of a defendant’s bail requirements. In three months time, and once the offender has clearly completed the tasks provided, an evaluation will be done and provided to the magistrate to help them carry out the sentence based on the comprehensive report. The MERIT team closely monitor the offender’s progress and they are the ones responsible for submitting the reports to the magistrates.

This program allows adults with drug misuse problems charged with an offence to receive treatment within the span of three months. The treatments given can be in the form of detoxification, counselling and residential programs—if deemed appropriate by the magistrates and judges. With the help of the best and most reputable Sydney criminal lawyers, a “not guilty” plea can be endorsed, as long as the adult offender is willing to participate in the MERIT program. Taking participation in this program is far different from the admission of guilt according to the NSW court.

Drug Court Explained

The drug court of NSW is a specialist court, or known as a problem-solving court, that aims to understand the underlying issues that encompass drug dependency that results in the commitment of the offence. It is their duty to promote the offender’s reincorporation to the community, make them gain life skills that could be of great use when looking for regular employment as to avoid them from committing the same offence.

The two drug courts in NSW are located at Parramatta and Toronto, near Newcastle. The offender must be eligible for the drug court program before they can participate, which lasts for 12 months in which he/she needs to plead guilty beforehand. Once the program is complete, a sentence will then be decided by the court.

Usually, the drug court program has three stages wherein each offender is given a program that is tailor-fit to their specific needs. The people who are eligible for this program are being referred by the local and district courts. Any district courts located at Campbelltown, Parramatta, Penrith, East Maitland, Newcastle or Sydney can submit their referrals.

Most of the time, offenders gain eligibility when they are most likely to be sentenced to life imprisonment if convicted. Reputable drug lawyers in Sydney recognise that these are highly beneficial processed that provide professional assistance to the offenders along every step of the way.

Summing Things Up

Illicit drug dependence and abuse is a big offence against the laws of Australia, including NSW. It is not to be taken lightly—it can destroy the entire life of a person. With the help of the aforementioned rehabilitation programs, hope is not lost for those who have committed an offence. Rehab services are incredible solutions to help offenders to recover from addiction and regain their lives.

The government of Australia and its local courts, especially in NSW, are working hand-in-hand to offer help to those who need and seek it. In case you know someone who happens to be in need of rehabilitation programs, encourage them to take part in these programs and be an agent of change. We know facing a drug conviction is no walk in the park. Check out our take on what it’s like facing a drug conviction to get a clearer picture of the reality some of us might be facing.