The Times… are changing

Groundbreaking editorial from the Times. June 16 2016, The Times Breaking Good Public health officials have seen the logic of decriminalising illegal drugs. This is an important step towards putting violent gangs out of business. Would it ever make sense to jail a chain-smoker for smoking or an alcoholic for touching drink? On the basis that the answer is no, the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) is urging the government to decriminalise the personal possession and use of all illegal drugs. This is radical advice, but also sound. Ministers should give it serious consideration. Prosecutions in Britain for small-scale personal cannabis use are already rare. To this extent the new proposals would not do much more than bring the statute book up to date with the status quo in most parts of the country. But the change the RSPH has in mind would go much further. It would push Britain into a small group of countries that have switched from regarding the use of drugs including heroin, cocaine and ecstasy as a health issue rather than one of criminal justice. This is not a switch to be taken lightly, nor one the Home Office under present management is likely to take without sustained pressure from elsewhere in government. Yet the logic behind it and evidence from elsewhere are persuasive. Indeed, the government should be encouraged to think of decriminalisation not as an end in itself but as a first step towards legalising and regulating drugs as it already regulates alcohol and tobacco. The RSPH’s model is a drug decriminalisation initiative in Portugal that is now 15 years old....

World leaders call for end to “Disastrous” Drug War in letter to UN

“Humankind cannot afford a 21st century drug policy as ineffective and counter-productive as the last century’s,” letter says. Signatories include Former Presidents of Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Nigeria, Cape Verde, Switzerland & Poland; Former Prime Ministers of Greece, Hungary & The Netherlands, Distinguished Scholars, Jurists, Clergy, Business Leaders, Elected Officials, Celebrities and Others....

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...