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Drug Diversion

Drug Diversion Queensland 

Court ordered drug diversion is a penalty imposed by a court which is primarily aimed to be rehabilitative. It involves the person being referred to a drug information and education session, to deter the use of illicit drugs and future charges. It should not be confused with police drug diversion, which has similarities, but has distinct eligibility criteria and is not a court ordered penalty.

Potts Lawyers have unmatched experience in representing clients charged with drug offences. As the oldest criminal defence firm on the Gold Coast and a leading firm in Brisbane, you can trust that your interests will be best protected by engaging one of our criminal lawyers.


Am I eligible for drug diversion?

A person’s eligibility for drug diversion depends on:

  1. The nature of the offence, with only certain minor offences being eligible; and
  2. The nature of the person’s prior criminal history.


Which offences are eligible?

Drug diversion is available for the following charge(s):

  1. Unlawful possession of a dangerous drug (for personal use only);
  2. Possession of things connected to the personal use of dangerous drugs;
  3. Possession of things used in connection with the administration, consumption or smoking of a dangerous drug;
  4. Possession of needles or syringes while failing to take reasonable care; and
  5. Possession of needles or syringes that have not been properly disposed.


However, the possession of the dangerous drug must be for what the law considers a minor amount. The amount depends on the type of drug identified. A table detailing the upper limits of each eligible drug is below.

Drug Upper Limit of Quantity
Amphetamine 1.0g
Barbituric acid 5.0g
4-Bromo-2,5-dimethoxyamphetamine 0.02g
4-Bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine 0.02g
Cannibis sativa 50.0g
Cocaine 1.0g
Codeine, except where it is compounded with 1 or more other medicaments in such a way that it cannot be readily extracted and where it is contained—

(a) in divided preparations containing 30mg or less of codeine per dosage unit; or

(b) in undivided preparations containing 1% or less of codeine 5.0g


N,N-Diethyltryptamine 1.0g
2,5-Dimethoxy-4-Ethylamphetamine (DOET) 1.0g
2,5-Dimethoxy-4-Methylamphetamine 1.0g
N,N-Dimethyltryptamine 1.0g
Fenethylline 1.0g
Fentanyl 0.0025g
Gamma hydroxybutyric acid 1.0g
Heroin 1.0g
Hydromorphone 1.0g
Ketamine 0.2g
Lysergic acid 3 tickets or tabs
Lysergide 3 tickets or tabs
Methadone 1.0g
Methcathinone 1.0g
5-Methoxy-3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine (MMDA) 1.0g
2-Methylamino-1-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl) butane (MBDB) 1.0g
4-Methylaminorex 1.0g
Methylamphetamine 1.0g
3,4-Methylenedioxyethylamphetamine (MDEA) 1.0g
3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) 1.0g
4-Methylthioamphetamine (4-MTA) 1.0g
Moramide 1.0g
Morphine 1.0g
Opium 5.0g
Paramethoxyamphetamine (PMA) 1.0g
Pethidine 1.0g
Phencyclidine 0.2g
Psilocin 0.04g
Psilocybin 0.04g
Tetrahydrocannabinol 1.0g
3,4,5-Trimethoxyamphetamine (TMA) 1.0g


The above weights include any admixture.


What factors from a person’s criminal history are relevant?

Drug diversion is not available if a person:

  1. Has current pending charges or a conviction of an offence related to drugs (in the District or Supreme Court), of a sexual nature, or involving violence against another person (some exceptions apply); or
  2. Has previously had 2 drug diversion programs, including both police and court-ordered drug diversion programs.


Is there anything else a person must do?

Yes, a person must plead guilty to the eligible charges. That is, they must accept that they committed the offence(s) alleged.


Will a conviction be recorded?

A conviction will not be recorded if drug diversion is ordered. However, if a person does not comply with the requirements of the drug diversion program, they may be resentenced for the original offence. This could include a conviction being recorded against them. The specific order includes being put on a good behavior bond with a recognizance, for a period determined by the court and with a condition that the person attend the diversion program.


What does the program consist of?

The drug diversion program involves attending a drug education and assessment session. It includes factual information about the consequences of illicit drug use and assistance to stop using drugs. Attendees are strongly encouraged to make full disclosures about their drug usage to the program, as that is kept confidential. The court will only be informed about a person’s attendance, or lack of attendance.

The sessions also involve counselling, and are usually for a duration of 2 – 2.5 hours.


What happens if a person does not attend, does not participate, or attends under the influence of drugs or alcohol?

As the court-ordered drug diversion program is a sentence imposed by a court, failing to comply means a person will forfeit the recognizance made at the time of the order. A person may be brought before the court and re-sentenced for the original offence, which would likely consist of harsher penalties. A conviction could also be recorded. Additionally, if a person has had drug diversion ordered on two occasions, they are no longer eligible for it in relation to future charges, increasing the severity of the punishments imposed.