Aims and objectives of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation
This Charter for Drug Law Reform, also endorsed by the Australian Parliamentary Group for Drug Law Reform, seeks to encourage a more rational, tolerant and humanitarian approach to the problems created by drugs and drug use in Australia.
Given that the members of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation recognise:
· the massive size and escalation of the illicit drug trade and the resulting prevalence and power of organised crime;
· national and international policies of prohibition have failed to suppress illicit drug supply notwithstanding enormous financial and legal resources expended in their implementation;
· current policies have led to an escalation of crimes against property and associated crimes of violence;
· prohibition is a greater threat to personal and community health than a system of controlled availability;
· civil liberties are being eroded in attempts to stem the supply of illicit drugs;
· the fact that drug use will continue in our society;
· potential profits and pyramid supply structure in illicit drug dealing lead to active recruitment of new drug users and active introduction of new products to existing users;
· prohibition increases the burden on the criminal justice system; and
· prohibition promotes corruption;
The Foundation aims to promote:
· The unequivocal opposition to policies of prohibition with regards to illicit drugs of dependence and psychotropic substances;
· the nation-wide adoption of drug policies based on harm minimisation strategies;
· the acceptance of responsibility to reform drug laws, policies and programs; and
· the establishment of policies that will control production, manufacture and distribution of drugs of dependence and psychotropic substances.
The Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation recognises that:
· Australia has current obligations under International Treaties;
· there is no approach to the use of drugs of dependence and psychotropic substances which will ever provide a drug free community;
· some measure of success has already been achieved through adopton of policies which give priority to the minimisation of harm;
· there is some positive overseas experience of new approaches to drug law which can provide useful models for Australian reform.
Therefore, the primary objectives of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation are:
· the urgent adoption of drug policies based on strategies of harm minimisation throughout Australia;
· the establishment and legalisation of readily accessible needle exchange and distribution programs throughout Australia;
· the introduction and maintenance of broad based methadone programs for all heroin users seeking this type of assistance;
· the expansion of drug rehabilitation programs in range and number to provide access and choice;
· the provision of politically independent finance and support for properly conducted scientific studies into the treatment of drug users, or the use and misuse of drugs of dependence and psychotropic substances, including alcohol and tobacco; and
· the development of educational programs based on self reliance and sound scientific research.
Short Term Goals
The immediate objectives of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation are:
· to seek to increase the focus of a National drugs strategy on the reduction of harm associated with drug use;
· to seek the abolition of criminal sanctions for the personal use of drugs of dependence and psychotropic substances throughout Australia;
· to seek the adoption, on a national basis, of the South Australian and Australian Capital Territory expiation notice model for the reform of laws regarding the personal use and cultivation of marijuana;
· to seek the adoption of appropriate medical uses of marijuana and heroin throughout Australia; and
· to seek the adoption, throughout Australia, of a medical model including consultation and prescription, for the distribution of selected illicit drugs.
Long Term Goals
The long term objective of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation is to seek a national commitment to undermine the black market and illicit trade in drugs of dependence and psychotropic substances, with its inherent problems, by adopting the following long term goals:
· the reassessment of Australia’s commitment to its International Treaties on illicit drugs and psychotropic substances;
· independent cost-benefit analysis of all policies which seek to resolve the problems of dependence and substance misuse;
· the reform of drug laws in planned stages with detailed evaluation of such laws at all stages; and
· the minimisation of the harmful use of drugs.