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|Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy|
|Drug Lore, The Questioning of Our Current Drug Law|
AUSTRALIAN DRUG LAW REFORM FOUNDATION
Few topics have given rise to more emotional debate than the topic of drug law reform. For many years now, the debate and government policies have been influenced by a great deal of mythology and fear mongering.
Many drugs that are now illegal were once prescribed by doctors and dispensed by pharmacists under a system of controlled availability. Thirty or so years ago, a heroin dependent user could obtain a supply of linctus heroin through this method. The dependent users maintained their health, remained productive in society and there was no drug problem' as we know it. Australia, under pressure from the US, prohibited heroin for medicinal and recreational use in June 1953. This action forced the dependent user who was taking regulated dosages of known quantities onto the streets, to deal with criminals and start injecting. This policy maximised harm. Not only was the user then exposed to a very risky practice in that there was no quality control of the drug, the user was introduced to a very risky form of administration - injecting. Many of those presenting with Hepatitis C today may have avoided that health risk if government policy had not forced heroin into the hands of back-yard dealers.
The harm that was done to society had a multiplier effect. Instead of treatment and regular contact with a health professional, the users' domain became the streets. The more energy put into law enforcement the higher the prices. As the prices soared, so did the rate of property crime. Insurance premiums increased. Huge amounts of taxpayers' money went into bigger and better law enforcement to try and clamp down on the problem. People went to jail in their thousands for possession, use, supply and distribution. Thousands of young people emerged from jail with criminal records, increased drug use and exacerbated health problems.
The amount of drugs available on streets steadily increased as did police corruption and violent crime. The system was not working. It still isn't. Alternative, rational strategies are called for.
The Australian Parliamentary Group for Drug Law Reform took the opportunity at the 7th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm to glean as much information from as many experts as possible on the subjects of law enforcement, health, economics and social development and how they are affected by current drug laws around the world. This we did by means of a panel which acted in a manner similar to that of a Parliamentary Committee hearing with witnesses appearing before us and answering questions.
The witnesses who voluntarily appeared before the panel were all very generous with their time and their information. We thank them sincerely for their commitment and courage for openly discussing this contentious issue. We thank Mr Bill Stronach from the Australian Drug Foundation and the program committee of the 7th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm.
The parliamentarians who made up the panel of this inquiry have given much of their time over the years to this issue, both privately and professionally. We would like to thank and acknowledge them for their work and dedication.
Finally, we express our thanks Tina van Raay, who, as Secretary of the Parliamentary Group, compiled this report; her dedication to the task, her organisational skills and her understanding of the issues brought this report into being; and to Ron Owens, an inaugural member and former Secretary of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, for his editing skills.
Michael Moore, MLAThe Hon Ann Symonds, MLC The Hon Mike Elliott, MLC
Law enforcement of Prohibition (Chapter 3)
Social Ramifications around the world (Chapter 4)
The United States of America
Harm minimisation in Prisons (Chapter 5)
Prohibition and Indigenous Peoples (Chapter 6)
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Schaffer Library of Drug Policy
Major Studies of Drug and Drug Policy
Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding - The Report of the US National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse
Licit and Illicit Drugs
Short History of the Marijuana Laws
The Drug Hang-Up
Congressional Transcripts of the Hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937
Frequently Asked Questions About Drugs
Basic Facts About the Drug War
Charts and Graphs about Drugs
Information on Alcohol
Guide to Heroin - Frequently Asked Questions About Heroin
LSD, Mescaline, and Psychedelics
Drugs and Driving
Children and Drugs
Drug Abuse Treatment Resource List
American Society for Action on Pain
Let Us Pay Taxes
Marijuana Business News
Reefer Madness Collection
Medical Marijuana Throughout History
Drug Legalization Debate
Legal History of American Marijuana Prohibition
Marijuana, the First 12,000 Years
DEA Ruling on Medical Marijuana
Legal References on Drugs
GAO Documents on Drugs
Response to the Drug Enforcement Agency
|Drug Information Articles|
Taking a drug test:
How To Pass A Drug Test
Beat Drug Test
Pass Drug Test
Drug Screening Tests
Drug Addiction Treatment