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Drug Decriminalization Conversation Ramps Up In Australia

Mick Palmer spent decades locking up drug users, first as a policeman and eventually as the head of the Australian Federal Police. Now, Palmer—along with other law enforcement officers and politicians—is calling for the widespread decriminalization of drugs in Australia in order to turn the tide against a drug enforcement policy that has been shown not to work. […]

Former premiers and Australian police chiefs call for drug decriminalisation

The report, entitled “Can Australia respond to drugs more effectively and safely?”, makes 13 recommendations around minimising drug-related harm and the burden on the criminal justice system. Among them are reducing and, where possible, eliminating penalties for possession and use; expanding health and social assistance for young people struggling with drug addiction; and undermining the black market with a regulated “white” market. […]

Drugs: The big win that proves we lose

Since Mokbel was jailed, the flow of drugs has only grown. He brought them in by containers; now syndicates have their own ships. He was a smart local entrepeneur; now Australia is targeted by international cartels, well aware we pay the highest prices in the world. The truth is we are worse off now than when Mokbel was grabbed 10 years ago.  […]

As police admit to losing battle, Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation president Alex Wodak calls for ice ingestion rooms

As State Government officials tour the state for a series of Ice Taskforce roundtables, people at the frontline of the Australia’s ice epidemic have told the Sunday Mail the police-based “war on drugs” approach is failing. Instead, they say a greater focus on health services, funding for treatment programs and “safe use” information is the key to beating the ice scourge that has gripped many parts of SA. […]

An Interview with Ethan Nadelmann

(W)ho are the drug reform movement? We’re people who love drugs, people who hate drugs, and we’re the people who don’t give a damn about drugs. But every one of us believes that the war on drugs is not the right way to deal with it. And that weaving together of a movement is the thing that I’ve (…) taken the greatest pleasure and pride in. […]

United Nations drugs board slams killings in Philippines

In a new annual report, the INCB says ‘extrajudicial action, purportedly taken in pursuit of drug control objectives, is fundamentally contrary to the provisions and objectives’ of international drug conventions. […]

Duterte’s war on drugs riddled with corruption: Human rights group

A Human Rights Watch report released on Wednesday (Mar 3) stated that the police and gangs or vigilantes are often one and the same. The report said: “In several cases we investigated, the police dismissed allegations of involvement and instead classified such killings as ‘found bodies’ or ‘deaths under investigation’ when only hours before the suspects had been in police custody.” […]

Yes, we can do on-the-spot drug testing quickly and safely

Drug testing at music festivals is very much about intervention and encouraging behavioural changes, rather than just drily delivering a result. We know from research that the majority of consumers would not take a pill if test results indicated the substance wasn’t what they thought it was. […]

Why there’s no legal barrier to a Melbourne drug injecting room, despite political setback

Such facilities are often a gateway for connecting marginalised and disadvantaged people to vital health care and other support services. This includes, for those who want it, alcohol and drug treatment services. Most importantly, supervised drug injection facilities around the world have prevented many fatal drug overdoses. And Sydney’s Medically Supervised Injecting Centre has overseen nearly one million injections and managed over 6,000 overdoses without a single death. […]

The ‘War On Drugs’ Has Been A Deadly Failure

There will be more deaths in the months to come, and as the disparity between expert recommendation and government action becomes more apparent, so will the anger of (voting) parents and loved ones. And every time there is another tragic, unnecessary loss of a precious, precious young Australian, those who stand in the way of what the health community is demanding — now — need to take a long hard look at themselves. […]

Viewing addiction as a brain disease promotes social injustice

An insidious assumption of the diseased brain theory is that any use of certain drugs is considered pathological, even the non-problematic, recreational use that characterizes the experience of the overwhelming majority who ingest these drugs. For example, in a popular US anti-drug campaign, it is implied that one hit of methamphetamine is enough to cause irrevocable damage […]

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte Wants to Expand His Deadly Drug War to 9-Year-Olds

Duterte is looking to ramp things up further by lowering the age of criminal responsibility from 15 all the way down to 9. A bill that would do just that was actually introduced right around the time he was sworn in, and one of its co-authors says he expects it to be approved by the nation’s congress within the next six months. […]

‘Ice Wars’ message is overblown and unhelpful

Fear drives poor policy, policy that focuses on “crackdowns”, “zero tolerance” and scare campaigns. None of these things is effective. We know what reduces drug related harms in the community is a focus on support, on keeping people alive and on access to treatment. […]

Melbourne could open drug injecting room like Kings Cross

“If you have problematic injecting drug use and a number of people are requiring ambulance attendance because of overdose and a number of people are dying of accidental overdose and discarded equipment is in the streets, there’s public use going on and the local business community and local residents are sick of that and you’re lucky enough to have local police and council to support you, you tell me what the evidence based reasoning is not to open a proven service.” […]

Better Solution Than a Border Wall? End Drug Prohibition

So what’s the solution? Legalization. Yes, legalize marijuana, which is the number one producer of wealth for the cartels. End the federal prohibition, reschedule cannabis, invest in research and infrastructure, support medical advances and improve upon the nation’s economy all the while ending the war on drugs and dismantling the illicit market, which thrives on prohibition. […]

Needle exchanges in prisons can save money and lives

Incarcerated addicts shouldn’t be denied the health protections that are available to everyone else. The government should have faith in its evidence-based approach, and bring harm reduction inside prison walls. […]

War on drugs — It’s time to change tactics

Today law enforcement agencies continue to receive more than 65 per cent of the national drug budget to arrest people using drugs — so rather just saying we can’t arrest our way out of a drug problem, maybe it’s time to actually do something different. […]

Do large seizures of illicit drugs really make a difference?

Law enforcement attempts to interrupt the supply of illicit drugs are neither effective nor cost effective and they produce substantial collateral damage. Change is starting to happen in some countries and will eventually start in Australia. […]

Drug Prohibition Is Killing Young Australians

No organisations or individuals — not governments, police, teachers or even parents — have ever been able to stop young people using drugs. The exasperating truth is that all we can do as a society, and as parents, is to make it as safe as possible when they experiment with drugs. […]

Greens push for drug testing program after bad ecstasy blamed for overdoses

Greens health spokeswoman Colleen Hartland said a government-backed testing regime would be able to issue public alerts about dangerous drugs that could save lives. The push for drug testing comes after a bad batch of ecstasy was blamed for up to 20 overdoses around Chapel Street over the weekend. […]

AMA: Needle and syringe programs needed in prisons

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has called for needle and syringe programs (NSPs) to be introduced in prisons and other custodial settings, to reduce the spread of Blood Borne Viruses including hepatitis B and C, and HIV. […]

Call for pill testing after party death

Dr Alex Wodak supports the introduction of pill testing in night clubs and at festivals and raves. ‘The principle is simple, every drug death of a young, fit, healthy Australian could largely if not totally be prevented,’ said Dr Wodak. […]

Regulating cannabis is inevitable. We should talk about getting it right

The reality is that if the two million Australians who use cannabis every year cannot purchase supplies from a legal, regulated market, they will obtain their supplies from a black market. A legal, regulated market would free up more than 60,000 thousand arrests-worth of police resources and eliminate a major source of funding for organised crime. […]

Why Australia needs more Drug Consumption Rooms

The most important question we should ask ourselves is not whether we need another drug consumption rooms in Australia, but why only one such centre has been established in the country despite their very positive national and international record. […]

Zero tolerance for drugs doesn’t work. Let’s embrace zero harm

Looking out for the health and wellbeing of people who attend their events is good for everyone, including the sustainability of the industry. Safer drug use at venues means less use of emergency services. Safer drug use at venues means happier, healthier customers who are more likely to be repeat visitors. […]

‘War on drugs will fail’

“The war on drugs is a misnomer.” The crackdown “is a war on people, largely the poor and, in many cases, minor offenders (assuming for the purpose of classification that they are offenders). As in all wars, there are unintended consequences, including collateral damage to innocent bystanders. Victims are ‘suspects’ only…. […]

Morality and non-medical drug use

So long as others are not harmed, there are no moral grounds for restricting use of cannabis or heroin any more than alcohol or caffeine, argues A C Grayling. […]

In Defense of Suboxone

This isn’t a story about me. It’s about two friends who would likely be alive today if they didn’t feel compelled to stop taking a life-saving medication. […]

Nobel Peace Prize: Santos calls for ‘rethink’ of war on drugs

The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, has used his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech to call for the world to “rethink” the war on drugs. He said the zero-tolerance policy might be “even more harmful” than all the other wars being fought worldwide. […]

Dear Aussie media, please stop reporting non-stories about drugs at festivals

Drug arrests at music festivals make for sexy story fodder. But whilst the media outlets enjoy the clicks, these non-stories paint a biased and inaccurate profile of Australia’s festival scene and undermine the efforts of organisers and industry members to police their events and protect their punters. […]

World AIDS Day: We Can’t End AIDS Until We End the War on Drugs

We’re not going to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic until we end the war on drugs. We aren’t going to get to zero – meaning zero deaths, zero new infections, and zero stigma – until we end the war on drugs. Syringe access is essential, as is decriminalizing drug use and opening safer drug use spaces or supervised consumption facilities. […]

Duterte threatens to kill rights activists if drug problem worsens

Human rights advocates, beware. You might just be next in “The Punisher’s” crosshairs. President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to kill human rights activists critical of his take-no-prisoner tactic against illegal drugs, which has claimed the lives of some 5000 people allegedly involved in the narcotics trade. […]

Australia could see festival pill testing within this festival season

Speaking with ABC Radio National Dr David Caldicott said that pill testing in Australia right now is purely a political issue, with medical experts almost unanimously agreeing it’s a necessity. “I have great faith that it’s going to happen within this festival season, and it’s need has never been greater,” said Caldicott. […]

The ‘war on drugs’ has failed, and Australia must change its policies

The Age has for years been arguing the policy should be dumped in favour of a harm minimisation strategy based on decriminalisation, regulation and education. We continue to so advocate, and believe the resources being wasted on this misguided, indefensible “war” should be diverted from the criminal justice system to the health system, where there is a need for more treatment facilities and support to help those with drug issues recover and stay well. […]

Greens in radical new drug legalisation push

The Greens have made a radical change to their drugs policy which leader Richard Di Natale hopes will reignite the decriminalisation debate and pave the way for the legalisation of recreational drugs like cannabis. […]

Thousands of Free Pill Testing Kits Will Be Available at Music Festivals This Summer

Harm Reduction Australia’s president Gino Vumbaca explained how comprehensive clinical testing labs are a far more trustworthy alternative to reagent kits. These labs allow patrons to receive expert advice and chemical analysis of the pills they’re taking. The results are much more detailed and foolproof than those provided by DIY kits, which can detect active ingredients but not their dosage. […]

Singapore executes 2 for drug offences

It will not rid Singapore of drugs. By executing people for drug-related offences, which do not meet the threshold of most serious crimes, Singapore is violating international law,” said Amnesty International’s Rafendi Djamin. […]

Drug users swap stories, share warnings online in search for safety

“In the absence of a better system, people will use the systems that are available,” said NDARC researcher and Bluelight administrator Monica Barratt. “People are using drugs, and the internet is not going away,” Dr Barratt said. “We believe we need to change the way we approach drugs and talk about the best ways of dealing with these issues.” […]

The war on drugs has failed: doctors should lead calls for drug policy reform

Doctors and their leaders have ethical responsibilities to champion individual and public health, human rights, and dignity and to speak out where health and humanity are being systemically degraded. Change is coming, and doctors should use their authority to lead calls for pragmatic reform informed by science and ethics. […]

How Marijuana Won the Election

What Trump will do in light of his repeated calls for “law and order” and cracking down on crime is much harder to say. But if the man has an eye on winning a second term in 2020, he may not want to make weed his law enforcement priority. In most states where medical or recreational marijuana was on the ballot the initiatives got a significantly larger percentage of the vote than he did. […]

It’s Been a Historic Election for Marijuana

Across the US, voters have spoken, and they are embracing marijuana. In California, Florida, and even North Dakota, measures to legalize recreational or medical marijuana have passed handily. […]

Progress in war on drugs won’t come by locking more people up

Addiction is tough to beat, but the countries making progress aren’t calling for tougher laws and more prisons. How about we stop glorifying authoritarian law and order figures, declare a war on the war on drugs, and learn from the people and countries that are quietly and successfully setting about dealing with one of the biggest social problems of our time? […]

We Can’t ‘Breed Out’ Drug Addicts

Helping people with drug and alcohol problems is not the soft option, it is the smart option. Providing resources for family and treatment services achieves far better outcomes for the community than even more punishment ever will. […]

Drug users overseas to Duterte: ‘Stop playing God!’

“People who use drugs are not inherently evil or criminal. They are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, and grandparents. They care for their families and communities. People who use drugs are human beings, just as valuable and important in contributions to society as all other citizens.” […]

DIY pill testing: Is it better than nothing?

Formal analytical testing of the market — with pill testing at music festivals as the sharp end of a broader early warning system that involves hospitals, ambulance, and static testing points — could not only save lives, it may even change the way how young Australians use drugs. […]

Polling high

Support for marijuana legalization has hit an all-time high in the U.S., according to two recent national polls, raising the possibility that legal weed could pass in all nine states where it’s on the ballot in the Nov. 8 election. […]

Health Warnings On Drugs Shouldn’t Be Provided By Police

It’s time for Australia to get back into the business of acting on evidence when it comes to drugs and to lead in this region. If you want our kids to be safer then we cannot simply push out more of the same and expect things to change. […]

Duterte in War of Words With the International Criminal Court’s Chief Prosecutor

Fatou Bensouda said that she is “deeply concerned” by reports from the country. “Any person in the Philippines who incites or engages in acts of mass violence including by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing, in any other manner, to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC is potentially liable to prosecution before the court.” […]

Court frees Australian in drugs rap

A Philippine judge dismissed a narcotics trafficking charge against an Australian man after ruling police made up evidence, court documents show, as concerns mount about new President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. […]

Will decriminalization solve the drug scourge?

Two major human and civil rights organizations make a good case for it and advance the decriminalization discussion in a report released Wednesday. Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union are engaged in a major push to change the way federal, state and local governments deal with drug enforcement and abuse. […]

Medicinal cannabis: New laws allow access for Queensland patients of any age

Queensland GPs will soon be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis for patients under new laws passed by State Parliament on Wednesday night. However, Steve Peek, who uses cannabis oil on his dying eight-year-old daughter Suli, said the laws would not solve their problems. He said legal cannabis oil was too expensive and was not on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. […]

France Is Opening Its First Ever Drug Consumption Room

According to France Inter, the facility contains six injecting booths for people to use drugs intravenously, and an inhalation room for those who smoke. It will be open seven days a week from 1:30 – 8:30 pm, and will be run by the Gaia Association. […]

Once-powerful Philippines Church divided, subdued over drug killings

Opposing the drug war “in some locations becomes a dangerous job”, said Father Luciano Felloni, a priest in a northern district of the capital, Manila. At least 30 people, including a child and a pregnant woman, have been killed in his ‘barangay’, or neighbourhood, where he is setting up community-based rehabilitation for drug users […]

What The Philippines’ War On Drugs Can Teach Australia

We have fallen behind the rest of the world in adopting many evidence-based initiatives. We have experienced an evidence-based policy-free zone for far too long. Programs such as supervised injecting rooms, pill testing, needle exchanges in prisons and heroin prescribing are badly needed to reduce the toll from illicit drugs. […]

Aussie man tells of Philippine drug war

“How are you meant to believe that all these people who are being killed in buy-busts are guilty of drug dealing when they completely fabricated this whole thing against me?” […]

Australia earns Duterte’s ire

Malacañang has chided Australia for raising criticisms over the extrajudicial killings in the country through the media instead of the official channels. […]

Police promise not to charge ice users — could this be the answer to Australia’s drug crisis?

John Coyne, head of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s border protection program, told it was crucial police in this country adopted innovative ways to combat the ice crisis because “law enforcement on its own isn’t going to solve it”. “Chances are in the court system drug users won’t get a custodial sentence, but it will give them a drug conviction and that won’t allow them to drag themselves out of the [drug] mire. […]

Australia urges Philippines: Stop extrajudicial killings

“The Australian government is concerned about ongoing reports of human rights violations in the Philippines and we are monitoring the situation closely,” Bishop was quoted in the Australian Financial Review report as saying. “We urge the government to ensure the cessation of extrajudicial killings and offer all Filipino citizens their rights according to the country’s criminal justice system,” Bishop added […]