by David Perrin, News Weekly, September 2012.

The same siren voices calling for the legalising of illicit drugs such as cannabis and ecstasy have started again. This time they have used a front organisation calling itself Australia 21 and are even promoting their views in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Their tired arguments revolve around the myth that the war on drugs is lost. Australia has one of the highest drug-using cultures in the world, and cannabis is the most commonly used drug in our country.

Our current permissive drug policy of harm minimisation is leading to even more drug use in Australia, particularly among our youth. The magnitude of the problem has been highlighted by the latest annual report on illicit drugs produce by the Australian government’s national criminal intelligence and investigation agency, the Australian Crime Commission (ACC).

Its report highlights the involvement of organised criminals in smuggling drugs into Australia for distribution here.

by Shane Varcoe May 2012

The most effective ‘drug pushing’ measure ever - permission. There is a maxim that remains constant in our consumerist culture and that is ‘availability, accessibility and of course the key component permissibility all increase consumption’.

I was speaking with a close friend who spent years in the horse racing industry and he told me the story about the advent of TAB betting outlets and the reason why such measures were introduced. One of the key motivators was the desire to diminish, if not eradicate the underground ‘S.P (Starting Price) bookies’ who would ‘assist’ punters who couldn’t get to the race track to make a wager on the ponies!

The push by the Labor Government to soften Victorians up to a permissive policy on drugs has gone quiet lately (except for a major blunder by the Consumer Affairs Minister more on that in a moment). But that is to be expected - we are in election mode.

So instead we are getting various election sweeteners, eg. more money on this, more money on that. But voters can rest assured that if Labor is returned to office, the same harm minimisation policy will be promoted.

Australia is in the middle of a heroin epidemic. One response to this problem has been the proposal of some communities to establish heroin injecting rooms. It is claimed this will help heroin reduce the number of overdose deaths and get users off the streets. Premier-elect Dr Gallop has already said he is interested in exploring the idea.

However, those lobbying the hardest for injecting room are often skilled in the use of misleading information and deceptive arguments. The truth is, there is no real solid evidence for any of their claims.

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