It takes half a million steps to walk from Dubbo to Sydney – the distance a person in regional New South Wales may have to travel just to reach the drug treatment they need. In October 2018, Uniting are launching the Long Walk to Treatment. Together we’re walking step by step from Dubbo to Sydney to create a new path for drug reform and deliver a policy document that brings care closer to home.
Now Sir Richard Branson is adding his voice. As a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy he is drawing the line on drug policy. “It’s something I couldn’t agree with more. We’ve just got to get drug policy changed in Australia.”
Branson backs change to policy so that drug addiction is treated as a health problem and not a criminal problem. He hopes that all Australians will get the fair treatment they deserve.
Marion McConnell’s son did all the things that most kids do – he was an active, young man. One night, he overdosed on heroin. At the hospital, the police questioned him like they were criminals. Unfortunately, this frightened him away from the help that was available and he overdosed again. This time he was on his own. Marion thinks her son’s death was avoidable if it had been treated as a health issue instead of a criminal justice issue. She wants the law to change so that we can do all we can to keep our kids alive.
“They were doing the job that the law had told them to do. But the law was wrong.”
Liz Gal is a mother who has been in recovery for over 8 years. At the Uniting Medically Supervised Injecting Centre, she was saved from an overdose. It took her months to get accepted into a women and children’s program, where she got hope for the first time in her life. Now she speaks for her friends who are dying from addiction while waiting for treatment.
“If there were treatment centres for everyone who needed it, I would be the happiest person in the world”
Shantell wants to be the best mum she can be. But when you have two kids and must travel 400km to get the treatment you need, down days can be hard. She shares her story on how drugs changed the person she was and the long walk to treatment she had to take to get the help she needed.
“I really want to get off drugs. I don’t want to feel like this anymore”