Attached is a collection of articles on drug policy reform, which were published as a series on Pearls and Irritations between 6 and 11 August 2018. This series is designed to draw attention to this important issue, and to the failure of our current policies.
Present drug policies are not working. Drug use with its enormous personal, social and national cost is increasing rapidly. This is despite the very expensive regulatory activities, particularly by police and Border Force. The ‘war on drugs’ has failed not just in Australia but around the world.
We focus on enforcement rather than the health of our people.
There must be a better way. This issue needs substantial and serious discussion. That discussion is sadly lacking today. What can we learn from overseas experience? In 2011, Portugal decriminalised the use and possession of quantities of drugs consistent with personal consumption. Benefits were huge and negatives were minimal.
Our political leaders are cautious, perhaps because of concern that they may be criticised as being ‘soft on drugs’. But, unfortunately the result of our caution is that the trade in drugs is largely left in the hands of criminals and is wreaking widespread personal and social damage.
We hope you find this drug policy reform series helpful in addressing what is widely regarded a major national problem.
Alex Wodak, President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, Mick Palmer, former Commissioner of the AFP, and William Bush and Marion McConnell of Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform have all assisted with this drug policy reform series.