By Andrew Starke
The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) has seized on the latest drug statistics and the conviction of a high-profile police officer to repeat its demand for random drug tests.
AHA (NSW) CEO Sally Fielke said the drug issue had permeated every level of society with drug statistics spiralling out of control and even senior police not immune from the drug menace.
She renewed the hospitality industry body’s calls for random drug tests for people charged with anti-social behaviour offences and offered to put $100,000 towards a special project targeting ‘hot spots’.
“We now have drugs at every level of society – people are taking them at work, sports stars seem to take them on a daily basis and now we have seen three senior police officers suspended for testing positive after a police function in Sydney,” Fielke said.
“In recent weeks we have also had to deal with revelations of drug -related corruption at the highest levels with the now infamous Mark Standen case.
“It’s time for society to bite the bullet and acknowledge this very real social problem.”
Fielke said for too long it had been far too easy for all levels of Government to blame alcohol – and licensed premises – for all of society’s ills.
“It’s been easier – and cheaper – for all Governments to just blame hotels and clubs for any anti-social behaviour,” she said.
“But the police statistics themselves tell the story, time after time, quarter after quarter the drug figures in virtually all categories are rising.
“Alcohol is heavily regulated – and rightly so – isn’t it about time we tried a crack-down on drugs?
“Statistical evidence, anecdotal evidence and even common sense tell us that cocktails of drugs are an increasing problem on our streets yet no one seems to want to do anything about it.”
Fielke renewed the AHA’s call for random drug testing for people charged with anti-social behaviour.
“The AHA (NSW) has previously offered to put up $100,000 for a six-month trial of drug testing in selected areas and asked the previous Labor Government to match it, without success,” she said.
“We renew our call for funding to be matched in ‘hot spots’ across NSW.
“We’re sick of hotel staff and patrons being assaulted at the entrances to venues by people coming from home or their mates homes pre-fuelled with alcohol or drugs or a combination of both.
“We need to work together with police and Government on combating this scourge and the best way to do that is by random testing of those people doing the wrong thing.”