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Australia report on drug policy

An excellent new report from Australia 21 Roundtable: The Prohibition of Illicit Drugs is Killing and Criminalising Our Children and We Are All Letting it Happen

This report came out of a roundtable discussion in January on the topic “What are the likely costs and benefits of a change in Australia’s current policy on illicit drugs?”

Lots of good stuff in there. It’s not a blueprint (like Transform has done), but a good call to debate, and a very strong condemnation of business as usual.

In spite of the increasing evidence that current policies are not achieving their objectives, most policymaking bodies at the national and international level have tended to avoid open scrutiny or debate on alternatives. […]

The biggest winners from the current policy are those in league with organised crime and those corrupted by it. […]

“What we want governments to do is feel quite uncomfortable about the predicament they have put us in. They are running a system that is causing a whole lot of harm. Until they begin to start looking for the solutions we are not going to make progress. When they begin looking for the solutions we are in the position to suggest ideas. It is the government that has the problem. Our task is to place it on their agenda.” – Hon Michael Moore […]

International drug prohibition has, until now, been maintained through international treaties and conventions, spear-headed by a US “War on drugs”. The recognition that this war has been comprehensively lost is leading to an international rethink about prohibition and about these treaties and conventions. […]

“For us, when we lost our son, we did not seek sympathy, we saw the injustice and craziness of our drug laws. We wanted people to focus on that, not on our suffering.” – Marion and Brian McConnell are founding members of Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform. […]

“Many people who think of themselves as the beneficiaries of prohibition are really net losers. Parents are much more at risk of losing their children under prohibition than they would be if there was some kind of system where we had some measure of control over illicit drugs.” – Non Professor Peter Baume […]

“I think the idea that prohibition kills is an important one. So my plea is how can we get governments to buy into this issue? I think they need to see that what they are doing and not doing, is causing a lot of the harms. At some stage they have to be held accountable for allowing this to happen.” – Hon Professor Geoff Gallop […]

By maintaining prohibition and suppressing or avoiding debate about its costs and benefits, it can be argued justifiably that our governments and other community leaders are standing idly by while our children are killed and criminalised.

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23 comments to Australia report on drug policy

  • Dante

    After 40 years of hearing “Save the Children” from the very people who are harming the children, this is a new wrinkle.

    Save the Children from the folks who created “Save the Children”.

    Ironic, eh?

  • Peter

    practically every high school student in america reads 1984 and yet the government can still get away with this perpetual war con

    • kaptinemo

      Reading and comprehension aren’t the same things, unfortunately.

      I have wondered the same thing. I went to the same kinds of public schools, had the same curriculum. Read the same books…and understood what I read, and why the teachers wanted me to read them.

      So…why is it, year after year, the country slides, lurches, and sometimes leaps in the direction of fascism?

      I can only offer that maybe the the author of this story was prescient.

  • claygooding

    It amazes me that Kerli and every former drug czar are still walking around.

  • strayan

    If the prohibition of drugs is killing and criminalising our children what does that make the people who support the policy?

    • A Critic

      Barbarians.

      “Niebuhr was right” said Goethe, “when he saw a barbarous age coming. It is already here, we are in it, for in what does barbarism consist, if not in the failure to appreciate what is excellent?”
      —ECKERMANN, 1831.

      What are drugs if not excellent? What is prohibition but the failure to appreciate that which is excellent?

      Barbarians fail to recognize the excellent nature of drugs, and so they destroy their lives with alcohol and seek to destroy that which they do not understand.

  • TheBestBits

    “For us, when we lost our son, we did not seek sympathy, we saw the injustice and craziness of our drug laws. We wanted people to focus on that, not on our suffering.” – Marion and Brian McConnell are founding members of ‘Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform’.

    “Many people who think of themselves as the beneficiaries of prohibition are really net losers. Parents are much more at risk of losing their children under prohibition than they would be if there was some kind of system where we had some measure of control over illicit drugs.” – Hon Professor Peter Baume AC, Former Chancellor of the ANU and Minister for Health in the Fraser Government

    “I think the idea that prohibition kills is an important one. So my plea is how can we get governments to buy into this issue? I think they need to see that what they are doing and not doing, is causing a lot of the harms. At some stage they have to be held accountable for allowing this to happen.” – Hon Professor Geoff Gallop AC, Former Premier of Western Australia

    “What we want governments to do is feel quite uncomfortable about the predicament they have put us in. They are running a system that is causing a whole lot of harm.” – Hon Michael Moore, CEO Public Health Association of Australia and former Minister of Health for the ACT

    “I am strongly in favour of legalising, regulating, controlling and taxing all drugs.” – Nicholas Cowdery AM QC Director of Public Prosecutions for NSW from 1994 to 2011

    “The key message is that we have 40 years of experience of a law and order approach to drugs and it has failed.” – Hon Dr Michael Wooldridge, Former Health Minister in the Howard Federal Government

    “The current policy of prohibition discredits the law, which cannot possibly stop a growing trade that positively thrives on its illegality and black market status. Like the failure of the prohibition of alcohol in the USA from 1920 to 1933, the current prohibition of illegal drugs is creating more harms than benefits and needs to be reconsidered by the Australian community.”

    “The move against prohibition is gathering momentum in other countries across the ideological spectrum as communities around the world place responsibility for the costs of prohibition where it belongs: with those legislators who continue, by default, to support the international prohibition approach.”

    “Beneficiaries of the current approach include the law enforcement industry, those who benefit from the occupancy of prisons and a thriving insurance industry that insures residents for the high rates of household crime. The converse of this is that law-abiding citizens are the biggest losers.”

    “Because the issue is trivialised in sound bites such as “Tough on Drugs” or “Soft on Drugs” the realities of prohibition are not seriously discussed and the major harms that result from this failed policy are not being addressed.”

    “By maintaining prohibition and suppressing or avoiding debate about its costs and benefits, it can be argued justifiably that our governments and other influential sectors of the community are standing idly by while our children are criminalised.”

    “It is time to reactivate Australian debate on this matter, drawing attention to the accountability of governments for allowing an unacceptable situation to persist , and the fact that the community has allowed this to happen.”

    “Drug taking undoubtedly produces serious harms to individual drug users and their families. Many of the harms to them, to others and to society at large are a result of the national policy of prohibition and criminalisation which, arguably, increases, rather than decreases, the risks of more people becoming drug dependent.”

  • darkcycle

    I know this is no open thread, but I just wanted to say that I’m feeling really beaten down by those raids yesterday (and the Northwest rain, coming down in buckets). I’m also rather disappointed that the media, even online, has for the most part failed to connect the raid and the Oakland police presence there to the school shooting that occurred simultaneously across town. I’m gonna sulk now.

  • n.t. greene

    It’s only a matter of time, folks. Pandora’s Box is wide open.

    Now we must keep up the work of disseminating good information as widely as possible. Minds are changing and will change, I am sure. Let those in power resist — it will only serve to make our cause stronger in the end.

    Ours is a battle against tyranny.

    • yeah… I think we’re getting their attention. That’s the sound of a million hammers pounding…

      … to quote my least favorite prez ever – “tear down this wall!”

  • Peter

    wait for the release of information that the gunman was “known” to smoke pot some time in the past

    • Servetus

      If not, he should have lit up some stash.

      Ever known anybody who finishes a few tokes of weed and says, ‘let’s go out and whack somebody’?

      I don’t.

      • Peter

        theyve got to keep the myth of the crazed hashishin/ assassin going. think about the guy who shot congresswoman last year

  • Emma

    Yeah, even the CIA assassination manual repeats that myth about the hash smoking assassins. The word assassin comes from words meaning either follower of Hassan (the leader of the original assassins) or faithful to the foundation (Asas). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassins

  • strayan

    I feel bad for Malcolm Kyle by posting this because I know it’ll means dozens of new posts: http://aivl.org.au/#p=255