Anyone’s child

Families remembering the loss of loves ones to drugs can find support at www.ffdlr.org.au Families affected by someone else’s substance use can visit:...

Denmark withdraws funding from the UNODC

Australia should take note of this recent decision by Denmark. Does Australia know if any of its donations to UNODC or Asian countries are used in part or full for executions of people convicted of drug offenses? Or used for compulsory treatment? It’s time that Australia made an open commitment to only donate funds for prevention, drug treatment or harm reduction. More information about the link between international aid, drug enforcement and human rights violations can be found on the London School of Economics...

Alternatives to Prohibition

Over in our right-hand column you will find a link to the newly released Australia21 report Alternatives to Prohibition: Illicit drugs: How we can stop killing and criminalising young Australians. You will also find links to a number of other reports that highlight different approaches to drug laws around the world and the effect they have had. The release of such a widely publicised document on drug policy draws a considerable amount of attention and generates a tremendous amount of discussion. Here are a number of feature articles that have appeared over the last week: Drug use is an issue for society, not the criminal justice system by Richard Horton Dobbing mothers unite for drug reform by Lisa Pryor Drug prohibition: moving to Plan B by Alex Wodak Australia’s pointless and deadly drugs crackdown by Greg Barns A new approach to drug reform: regulated supply of cannabis and ecstasy by David Penington Leaders know they have stupid drug policies, but don’t have the guts to change them by Tory Shepherd Expert supports legalising drugs in The Northern...

Measuring the Illegal Drug Economy of Australia

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has made an estimate of the size of the illegal drug economy in Australia. They report: Results for the 2010 year suggest Gross Value Added (GVA), Household Final Consumption Expenditure (HFCE) and Imports for the illegal drug economy is 0.5%, 1.0% and 0.4% of total Australian GDP, HFCE and Imports respectively. This paper has applied the OECD recommended methodology to estimate the value of the illegal drug economy in Australia. Please note that these are not to be regarded as official statistics. The report can be found by clicking...

Joint Statement Against Compulsory Treatment

UNESCO on compulsory drug detention: United Nations entities call on States to close compulsory drug detention and rehabilitation centres and implement voluntary, evidence-informed and rights-based health and social services in the community The continued existence of compulsory drug detention and rehabilitation centres, where people who are suspected of using drugs or being dependent on drugs, people who have engaged in sex work, or children who have been victims of sexual exploitation are detained without due process in the name of “treatment” or “rehabilitation”, is a serious...

The decriminalisation (or even legalisation) of drugs by Chris Berg

A few excerpts from Chris Berg’s great article on drug policy: The decriminalisation (or even legalisation) of drugs by Chris Berg. It doesn’t take more than a moment of thought to recognise that the rulings on which drugs are legal or illegal are governed by no particular logic. No theory from medicine or philosophy or psychology demands alcohol, tobacco and caffeine must be legal while marijuana, cocaine, and heroin must be prohibited. […] Whether a drug is illegal is nothing more than an accident of history. Drug laws were not written dispassionately by a panel of the best medical and ethical minds in the world. The laws bear no relation to the damage those drugs could cause or their danger to society – they were not written to minimise harm or protect health. Quite the opposite: the current schedule of drugs in the Western world has been driven by politics, expediency, prejudice, and sometimes outright racism. […] But the biggest cultural barrier to such reform is the current status illegal drugs have. In the sort of circular reasoning that only popular discourse can manage, the prohibition of drugs is mostly justified by their pre-existing legal status. Why are certain drugs prohibited? Because they are illicit drugs. But that status has been set by politics and moral panics, not dispassionate evidence-based risk assessments. Drug prohibition carries the legacy of the ugly politics of the past. Once we realise that, we may start to rethink the justice of a war that is, in truth, not against drugs, but against drug...