From next Monday Pearls and Irritations will be posting fifteen articles on the need for drug reform.
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 are assisting with the drug reform series.
Other contributors in the series include Geoff Gallop.Peter Baume and Chris Publick
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? As Alex Wodak has pointed out, 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.
I have posted recent articles on this subject from Alex Wodak and Mick Palmer that indicate the ways we need to change
In the past Pearls and Irritations has published two important series. One series was organised jointly with Michael Keating on ‘Fairness, Opportunity and Security’. There were 39 contributors. These contributions were later published in book form. The second series was in association with Susan Ryan and Oliver Frankel on ‘Making housing affordable’. There were 15 contributors.
We hope you find the series helpful in addressing a major national problem.
We must face up to the failure of present policies.