5th Apr 2012
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Decriminalisation of drugs in Australia
Decriminalisation of drugs in Australia, News, Australia21

A think tank called Australia21 released a report on illicit drugs in Australia earlier this week. The group is comprised of former health ministers, high ranking law enforcement officers and premiers, including Senator Bob Carr.

The report into illicit drugs states that the war on drugs has been lost in Australia and raises the issue of decriminalisation of drugs. It is expected that decriminalising drugs would save the country billions of dollars in police man-hours and the associated costs of jailing offenders. The money saved could then be invested into treatment, education, rehabilitation and harm-minimisation programs, including medically-supervised injecting rooms.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said she is not in favour of decriminalising any illegal drugs.

Is the war on drugs still worth fighting in the traditional way or does it make more sense to legalise the use of illicit drugs and control the system for harm-minimisation?

Read Drew's blog on the unwinnable war on drugs
Read more on this issue from the SMH
Find out more from Australia21 and download the report
Read about how Portugal decriminalised drugs successfully





    COMMENTS

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    Ozetwo
    5th Apr 2012
    1:28pm
    Yeah and if we also legalize murder, armed robbery and all traffic offences we can dispense with the police forces and save billions.
    The unwinnable war on drugs has come about because we need to target those at the top of the tree and not the addict/dealers at the bottom.
    There is a huge amount of money involved and in these days of sophisticated computer systems and programs this must be able to be traced.
    Start locking up the Mr Bigs and corrupt police and politicians or better still take some of our neighbour Asian countries lead and bring in the death penalty for them.
    Airlie
    5th Apr 2012
    2:15pm
    The thing is Ozetwo, if taking 'recreational' drugs were not a criminal offence there would be no Mr Bigs. It is the unavailability from legitimate suppliers (like pharmacies or doctors) which creates the business and indeed the crime associated with addicts need to get large amounts of money to pay their suppliers. I have clients who are chronically dependent on drugs but their supply is regulated and managed at very low cost to them and the state. Of course, their drugs of choice are tranqs and analgesics nicotine and alcohol, all of which which do an enormous amount of harm to the users - but that's OK because they are "legal" drugs.
    And the day this country returns to capital punishment will be the day I leave because I do not want to be associated with such a barbaric practice.
    Ozetwo
    5th Apr 2012
    3:39pm
    Not really Airlie the Mr Bigs would be replaced by big business if it became decriminalized. I also find it more barbaric to let our society rot from within by ignoring the problems we face. Adding to the "legal" drugs does nothing to help the problems.
    ozimarco
    5th Apr 2012
    7:21pm
    The war on drugs was lost a long time ago. Drugs are everywhere, easy to get but they are not cheap. Hence, addicts have to get the money somehow, be it by burgling your house, robbing a corner store or mugging you in the street. They and those who can afford them are making big bucks for the Mr Bigs of the industry. Decriminalisation is the only way to go. Addiction should become a medical problem instead of a criminal offence. Using should not be punishable. Drugs should be made available in clinics, where their quality and administration can be controlled. Where appropriate, safer substitutes can be supplied. Addicts who wish to come off their habit should be given all the help they need. Decriminalisation is the only sensible way forward. Why should we keep doing what we know is not working?
    Ozetwo
    5th Apr 2012
    9:39pm
    I am from Queensland where the elderly can wait for 4 years for such non essential surgery as a hip replacement. I am sure that the addicts who, I suspect, won't have full medical cover will jump to the head of the queue for assistance (I don't think). The savings from policing will just get swallowed up by the already overburdened health sector. Save some of addicts from themselves by not legalizing it. Decriminalization is a soft out by lazy authorities or well meaning innocents who have thrown up their hands. It is interesting that the Netherlands who were at the forefront of the decriminalization push are now starting to rethink their previous easy going approach. I do agree , however , that the long term answer should include the medical rather than criminal treatment of addicts.
    PlanB
    6th Apr 2012
    3:22am
    It is a hard one, as there are so many Mr Bigs and so many drug dependents and we seem to have accepted it these days--what with shooting up rooms etc--where as others that need help with heath etc have to wait for help when they really need it. Do we just say if you can't beat them then join them !?
    burkie67
    6th Apr 2012
    1:21pm
    I am afraid decriminalising may be the only way to go. As much as I hate drugs and their effects (I have seen 2 sons destroyed by them) I agree it is impossible to get rid of them so why not tax the suppliers and manufacturers and put the money to use trying to help addicts?
    lasaboy
    7th Apr 2012
    10:56am
    you can't help a druggie unless they have hit bottom and want help, so there is NO help the druggies, unless they are at rock bottom, in Sweden they found the answer, they registered the druggies and gave them the drugs, no more Mr bigs, the drug problem died over time and is now a VERY SMALL problem and before you have a go, I AM an ex druggie, but I am a survivor as well so I got out and did the hard yards not the detox they currently do, it has to be hard so you NEVER ever go back there again
    PlanB
    7th Apr 2012
    11:08am
    Good for you Lasa good on you !
    Ozetwo
    7th Apr 2012
    11:44am
    Yes congratulations Lasa but your belief that it is decriminalized in Sweden is incorrect. In fact they have a Zero tolerance policy which seems to be working. There is an outline of the law as it is applied there in a wikipedia article: - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_policy_of_Sweden
    which is substantially correct.
    lasaboy
    7th Apr 2012
    7:39pm
    If they had had zero tolerance over here I would never have gotten involved in the first place, although back in my day even the police did not know what grass was, let alone the hard stuff


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