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Drink Spiking Made An Offence In Crackdown On Predators

Spiking of drinks will become a criminal offence after the State Government endorsed a proposal yesterday to crack down on sexual predators.
The Government has also given in-principle support to increase the penalties for people who carry ingredients used to make amphetamines or ecstasy in a bid to address the spread of illicit drugs.
Health Minister Brownyn Pike said that while laws already existed to cover drink spiking, they needed to be more specific to ensure that people did not slip through any loopholes.
Although current laws carry penalties of up to 10 years, the creation of a specific offence could send a message consistent with community attitudes," she said.
In addition to drink-spiking changes, a recommendation to look at new ways to tighten access to pseudoephedrine from pharmacies has also been supported by the Government, together with an idea to give security guards more training regarding the dangers of illicit substances. But the Government has ruled out a contentious proposal to voluntarily test party-goers for amphetamines, arguing that people would be unlikely to do the tests because they would be exposed as illegal drug takers.
It has also debunked proposals to randomly drug test security guards or create a mandatory framework to govern dance and club venues. A push to create a new child abuse-related law protecting children exposed to drug manufacturing was also refused.
Marg D'arcy, program manager for the Centre for Sexual Assault at the Royal Women's Hospital welcomed the push to make drink spiking an offence. She said drink spiking was becoming increasingly common, particularly in summer when it often accounted for about half the centre's sexual assault cases. Opposition health spokesman David Davis said he also supported the plan.
The recommendation adopted and rejected by the Government yesterday were contained in a bipartisan Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee report released in May.

AAP (1-12-2004)
Farrah Tomazin


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