Author Archives: Alex Wodak

Alex Wodak

About Alex Wodak

Dr Alex Wodak, AM, is a physician and has been a Director of the Alcohol and Drug Service at Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital, President of the Australia Drug Law Reform Foundation, Board Member of Australia21 & the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association.

ALEX WODAK. Draft recommendations supporting drug decriminalisation released by the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into Ice 

The Commissioner of the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into Ice, Dan Howard QC, will now consider what amounts to a draft report by Council Assisting, Sally Dowling SC. He will submit his officIal report in January, to be then … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

ALEX WODAK. What can be done to improve the safety of young people taking illegal drugs at youth music events?

Leaked recommendations from a NSW Coronial inquiry into the deaths of six young people after taking illegal drugs at youth music events highlights the resistance of Australian governments to harm reduction and their entrenched reliance on restricting the supply of … Continue reading

Posted in Drug Reform | 3 Comments

ALEX WODAK. Drug law reform in the 2018 US mid term elections.The 2018 US midterm elections has important lessons for Australia regarding drug law reform. In ballot initiatives and elections for office, voters often supported drug law reform with only one major defeat. Presidential election years generally have many more ballot initiatives on drug policy.

The 2018 US midterm elections has important lessons for Australia regarding drug law reform. In ballot initiatives and elections for office, voters often supported drug law reform with only one major defeat. Presidential election years generally have many more ballot … Continue reading

Posted in Drug Reform, World Affairs | 1 Comment

ALEX WODAK. Drug Reform Series- Portugal’s successful drug law reform in 2001

Treating personal drug use as an administrative offence along the lines of a parking violation has worked well for Portugal. It has not only been a public health and public policy success but also a political one.

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ALEX WODAK. Drug Reform Series -Drug policy: prohibition and punishment is just not effective

The failure and futility of drug prohibition has been well accepted among political elites in Australia for a long time. It is time we debated the merits of regulation, combined with targeted health and social intervention, rather than blunt prohibition … Continue reading

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ALEX WODAK. Why is the drug policy debate in Australia stuck?

Drug policy in Australia has been debated for decades but doesn’t seem to be getting close to resolution. However some progress is being made. Examples include the Victorian government’s decision in 2017 to establish a Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Melbourne … Continue reading

Posted in Health | 3 Comments

PETER BROOKS AND ALEX WODAK. A response to the open letter from Crown Resorts on gambling.

On Tuesday 31 October a rally to support Women against Gambling, coordinated by the Alliance for Gambling Reform ( pokiesplayyou.org.au), was held outside the Victorian Parliament. This was (amongst others) supported by Fiona Patten MLC to send a message to … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Refugees, Immigration | 1 Comment

ALEX WODAK. Drug policy and why Victoria deserves better from Premier Daniel Andrews. Part 3 of 3.

Bad drug policy has been good politics for several decades. We can thank US President Richard Nixon for this discovery.  

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ALEX WODAK. How can making drugs easier to access save lives? 10 FAQs about drug law reform. Part 2 of 3.

Police, prison officers and politicians are standing side-by-side with drug users to call for law reform. They say the current practice of jailing people for personal use and possession instead of focusing on their health and safety leads to unacceptable … Continue reading

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ALEX WODAK. Do large seizures of illicit drugs really make a difference?

Large seizures of illicit drugs always attract considerable publicity, and are no doubt very positive for the law enforcement agencies and politicians involved. But do they benefit the community?  

Posted in Health, Human Rights, Politics | 4 Comments

ALEX WODAK. Global drug prohibition and national security

Buddhists say that everything has a cause and everything has an effect. Violence, oppressed minorities, rampant corruption and failed states are both causes and effects of global drug prohibition. Serious threats to national security are an important but rarely discussed … Continue reading

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Alex Wodak. Endgame in the protracted drug policy debate: are we there yet?

The long running debate about illicit drugs policy has moved a great deal in the last five years. But social policy reform is a different matter from a debate. Actual reform usually takes many decades. The recent growing consensus regarding … Continue reading

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Alex Wodak. Incarcerating Nations

In the 18th C Britain struggled to accommodate a growing prison population incarcerated for social reasons, mainly poverty. After the America revolution in 1776, Britain became unable to keep sending its excess prisoners to America. The solution was to establish … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 2 Comments

Alex Wodak. How should medicinal cannabis be provided lawfully in Australia?

Current Affairs Ms Sussan Ley, the Federal Health Minister, recently acknowledged that medicinal cannabis was likely to proceed in Australia but advocated proceeding cautiously. A Private Members Bill is under consideration and seems to have strong support including backing from … Continue reading

Posted in Health | 2 Comments

Alex Wodak. Prohibition and its discontents: who really killed Chan and Sukumaran?

The fall out from Indonesia’s execution of Chan and Sukumaran for drug trafficking continues. In their unprecedented press conference on 3 May, the leaders of the Australian Federal Police argued that under existing laws and guidelines, they were obliged to … Continue reading

Posted in Health, Politics | 3 Comments

Alex Wodak. The toxic combination of illicit drugs and politics: Australia confronts ice

  John Ehrlichman, the Watergate conspirator, claimed to have come up with the idea of waging a war on drugs while he was a member of President Nixon’s ‘Committee for the Re-Election of the President’, wonderfully referred to as ‘CREEP’. … Continue reading

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Alex Wodak. Why is illicit drug use considered evil?

It seems self-evident to many that the use of illicit drugs is evil. But why? When pressed, the most common response to this question is that illicit drug use is evil because it is against the law. So the next … Continue reading

Posted in Health | 1 Comment

Alex Wodak. Reducing the demand for illicit drugs

At his Congressional confirmation hearing in January 2001, the then Secretary of Defense-designate Donald Rumsfeld was asked whether US drug problems were best attacked by reducing demand or targeting drug supplies. Rumsfeld said that he believed that illicit drug use … Continue reading

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Alex Wodak. The current imbalance between public and private interests. 

The public interest, meaning ‘the welfare or wellbeing of the general public’, has always competed with private interests. Furthermore, public and private interests will always be in competition. What is so unusual about the current tension is the extreme imbalance: these … Continue reading

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