The parliament of New South Wales in Australia is cracking down on drug and alcohol fueled violence with a wave of new laws and mandatory minimum sentences – and steroids are being specifically targeted.
Among the laws passed were new restrictions on when people can get into nightclubs and when they can be served alcohol as well as a new guidelines for sentencing people guilty of assaults on others while intoxicated. Assaulting someone while intoxicated will land you a minimum eight year sentence under the new guidelines. The police were also given new powers to conduct alcohol and drug testing on assault suspects.
The most interesting new sentencing guideline, however, is the increase in the maximum sentence for selling or possessing steroids, from two years up to 25 years. Australia has seen a recent explosion of steroid use among young men and several sensationalized stories of violence by steroid users have fueled a backlash against these drugs.
Robert McEwen, whose son Michael was in a coma after being punched by a steroid user in December, said he was concerned that the mandatory sentences were not inclusive enough. He pointed out that the new laws have harsh penalties for drunk assailants but exempt sober ones.
“People are upset about the light sentences that these people have received,” he told AAP after the legislation was passed on Thursday. “I think the judiciary has the scope to impose tougher sentences.”
For now, these laws and sentencing guidelines are confined to the NSW but law enforcement is calling for a national model of similar penalties for steroids and drug and alcohol-fueled assaults.