You may have read or will read stories on the findings of the Queensland Productivity Commission this week that effectively concludes that imprisoning people for drug use is pointless.
Well, duh, you might say. But if it's taken this long and we're still locking people up instead of treating them, then maybe something is wrong along the line.
It's expensive, time-consuming and does nothing to deter drug use or help those suffering from addiction.
Some of you might already have this opinion, but many still do not, which is why the laws and culture around addiction have taken so long to change.
The statistics in the report show what many have often said. That is, that increasing imprisonment for drug offences does little or nothing to help the communities they're trying to protect.
Offenders aren't offered adequate services in or out of prison to deal with the root cause of their addiction. Many are simply let go back into the same environment they came from that led them to take drugs in the first place.
Or, if we're being real here, let's not pretend we don't know how rampant drug use is inside prison already, so what chance to these people have to change?
It is absolutely time that we take a mental health approach to drug offenders rather than a punishment model. It is too often society views drug users with disdain or contempt for all they supposedly do to contribute to a poorer community.
This is the fundamental change that needs to happen first, to view illegal drug users as victims rather than offenders.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a lawmaker out there that has had real experience with addiction and what it means for the person and those around them.
An addicted drug user can hurt their friends and loved ones in myriad ways but what if we saw them as being victims of the same sickness rather than collateral damage to a person that has lost control.
People that are addicted often don't start taking drugs for no reason and once it takes hold it's almost impossible to break, especially on your own.
If you're lucky enough to seek help before you're in too deep you quickly find that the resources you need are difficult to access or nonexistent.
It's been way too long. Whatever we're doing now does not work.