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Drug driving affecting the Barossa

We can’t pretend drink and drug driving is not an issue, according to Schubert MP, Mr Stephan Knoll.

In five years, across the Barossa Local Service Area, 969 people were caught drug driving in the region, a figure he wants to see reduced.

In Parliament last week, new laws were introduced which will result in those caught drink or drug driving more than once to undergo a drug dependency test and attend rehabilitation.

Mr Knoll, who is also the opposition police spokesman, welcomed the “two prong approach” to the issue.

“We know that rehab is needed to change people’s behaviour,” said Mr Knoll.

“It is a privilege to drive on the road. If you pass the rehab and the dependency test then you are less likely to reoffend.”

Mr Knoll said he hears many comments from constituents in the electorate about drug taking and “risky behaviours”.

“This definitely is a local issue,” said Mr Knoll.

“We (the Liberal Party) have been fighting for this change for six months. It is a significant win for the community.”

Mr Knoll said the bill for change was in Parliament
in June and he, and his colleagues, had been arguing the case
for rehabilitation to be added
to the clause.

In addition to this, the Liberal Party has released a policy to further curb drug use, which they will implement if they are elected in March.

“The aim is to stop young people taking drugs in the first place,” said Mr Knoll.

Mr Knoll said early detection is the key, where they propose to inject more money into drug awareness and education in schools.

“Sniffer dogs in schools is part of the policy,” said Mr Knoll.

“To identify who is dealing or taking drugs and stop them at that point… it will solve a heap of future issues.”

Mr Knoll said the Barossa is not as bad as Riverland and Mount Gambier but drugs in the community is a problem.

“If we choose to ignore it, it will only get worse,” said Mr Knoll.

“These communities are very open and honest with the problem and have actively and publically looked for ways to tackle it.”

The Government’s Statutes Amendment (Drink and Drug Driving) Bill initiatives includes a three month licence disqualification for a first drug driving offence; increased licence disqualification periods for repeat drug driving offences; and a new offence for drug or drink driving (0.08 blood alcohol content and above) with a child aged under 16 in the car, requiring the driver to undergo a drug or alcohol dependency assessment before a licence can be reissued.

For the full story see this week’s edition of The Leader.