Insights – Sax Institute

The President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation Dr Alex Wodak was recently interviewed by the Sax Institute about drug prohibition and drug law reform. The Sax Institute is a national leader in promoting the use of research evidence in health policy. The video was made for Web CIPHER – a website for health decision makers and those interested in evidence informed...

Former Supreme Court judge says drug laws irrational

Drugs are no different to other indulgences, so why are they illegal? The distinction between illegal drugs and legal pursuits such as alcohol, gambling and cigarettes is irrational. Read the full article by Harold Sperling, QC, retired Supreme Court of NSW judge...

The good politics of bad drug policy has brought about the rise of ice

Dr Alex Wodak in the Guardian: Global drug prohibition evolved and peaked during the 20th century and is now declining. Many leaders now say that the “war on drugs” has failed. Worse than that it has encouraged more dangerous drugs to push out less dangerous drugs while acting like Viagra for politicians facing tough elections.   Bad drug policy has been good politics. But this has left Australia with a high prevalence of methamphetamine use and problems compared to many other countries....

United Kingdom: Injectable Opioid Treatment gets Government go-ahead

From King’s College London: IOT [Injectable Opioid Treatment] involves the prescription and supervised self-administration of injectable diamorphine (pharmaceutical heroin) or injectable methadone in a supervised clinical setting for opiate misusers Some patients don’t respond to our current treatments. This makes the availability of other types of treatment (second line therapy) a good idea. Unfortunately, Australians have no access to injectable opioid treatment. It wasn’t always so: Heroin was legally available on prescription in Australia until 1953. It was so widely used as a painkiller and in cough mixtures that Australia was the world’s largest per capita user of heroin. The 1953 prohibition of heroin was the result of international pressure on Australia to conform to the prohibition of heroin adopted by other countries, with some opposition from the AMA. Ironically, heroin, cannabis, and other drugs were prohibited in Australia well before their use became a major social issue. Perhaps the biggest problem we had with heroin at this time was doping in horse racing. Follow this link for a historical account of heroin prohibition in...

Evidence on the Portuguese decriminalisation of illicit drug use

I would encourage anyone who is interested in a balanced view of the Portuguese experience to read Caitlin Elizabeth Hughes & Alex Stevens latest paper. A full version of the article can be found here: PDF. It’s a good article, but there’s a point about Portugal that a lot of people seem to miss. Cue the Victoria Police: If you’re caught by police with drugs, you may end up with a criminal record. A drug conviction may also stop you getting a job, and you may not be able to travel to some overseas countries like the USA. In other words, if the drugs don’t hurt you a conviction will. The Victoria Police point out (quite rightly) that having criminal record is a harm in itself. This is where the Portuguese have it right, there is no sense in the use of criminal sanction to ruin someone’s career prospects or magnify the risks of using drugs. This is just one reason the ADLRF advocates for the urgent abolition of criminal sanctions for possession and other types of personal drug use. Please join or support our foundation...