Top Menu

In the News RSS feed for this section

‘It would save lives’: Raver presents the case for pill-testing

Tony Trimingham’s son Damien also fell victim to a fatal overdose – but his view on pill-testing could not be more opposed to Mr Wood’s. He said he believed anything to make people think twice had to be worth trying. “We’ve got to introduce it, it’s a way of saving lives,” he said. […]

Concerns over pill testing ‘misinformed’

A leading Queensland civil libertarian has poured cold water on a warning that pill testing could be a legal liability minefield. Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers has entered the pill testing debate saying pill testers could be charged if a person dies from a drug that had been given the OK by a tester. […]

Consortium asked to test pills by festival promoters Australia-wide

“We’ve been getting calls from promoters all around the country wanting us to do pill testing, there’s been a change in momentum,” Mr Vumbaca said. “They do a hell of a lot of work in maintaining patron safety and protecting the health of patrons. While program like ours is not a silver bullet, it’s part of a suite of measures they’d like to have available.


I know all the risks but I’m still going to take drugs at festivals

In the absence of a better system, most of us just turn to past experiences and word of mouth as a safety net, which is exactly why we need pill-testing. Pill-testing isn’t going to save the man chewing his face off taking eight caps on a 35 degree day. But it will save the guy just having one because all of his friends are, assured by the knowledge it’s come from a reliable dealer but unaware of the true nature of the substance they are consuming. […]

Harm reduction is the key to pill testing debate

This week on The Drum on ABC TV, I asked advocate for drug reform, Alex Wodak, if he thought the political will would ever come for pill testing at music festivals. He replied: “Harm reduction debates almost always end up with harm reduction winning in the end, but it’s often a big struggle to get there.” […]

The young deserve protection, whether they’re taking risks or not

Working in healthcare I know the tragic consequences recreational drugs can have. We have a collective moral responsibility to protect people from this, but we are failing. Our young people are being killed with increasing frequency, but we refuse to change policy. They say stupidity is doing the same thing and expecting different results – are we displaying our stupidity, or do we simply not care? […]

Substances a ‘health issue’

“The benefits of pill testing go beyond being able to determine what the chemical make-up of a drug is and providing this level of information,” Ms Lucas said. “When a person has their drug tested at a pill testing tent, they are actively engaged with a health professional to talk about their drug use.”


New Zealand unveils plans to have pill testing at ALL music festivals – as Australia refuses to discuss the idea despite five overdose deaths since September

‘The war on drugs hasn’t worked in the past 20 years, so it’s time to change to a more compassionate and restorative approach,’ Mr Nash told Stuff. ‘If someone is dealing they will be taken through the justice system. But if it was someone who has one or two pills, you don’t want them to get a criminal record for a bad decision.’ […]

There’s merit in a pill-testing trial

The Age believes, cautiously, that a trial of pill testing at public events involving chiefly young people has merit. We have argued that the debate should be led by evidence rather than simple ideology. On this basis, a well-regulated trial makes sense. […]

Doctor-turned MP Kerryn Phelps floats pill-testing trial

The doctor-turned federal MP who once argued the controversial case for Australia’s first heroin injecting room has intervened in the debate over pill-testing, warning political resistance to government-sanctioned drug taking at music festivals was costing young lives. […]

Time to call a truce in the war on drugs

Is it time to call a truce in the war on drugs? Dr James Freeman looks at the evidence; and the evidence shows prohibition has failed, and decriminalising drugs ought to save lives and deliver both social and economic benefit. […]

New Zealand embraces pill testing as Australian politicians resist

As Australian politicians continue to rule out pill testing at music festivals, New Zealand appears to be embracing the controversial practice. The country’s Police Minister Stuart Nash said on Tuesday the idea of independent pill testing tents was “a fantastic idea and should be installed at all our festivals”. “The war on drugs hasn’t worked in the past 20 years, so it’s time to change to a more compassionate and restorative approach,” Mr Nash told New Zealand outlet […]

Former Police Commissioner: We Need Pill Testing Not More Arrests

I have become a spokesperson for the national campaign for safer, saner drug laws ‘Take Control’ because all the available evidence points to pill testing being a proven and genuine means of reducing harm and danger and saving young lives — not just talking about it. How can governments look parents in the eye and say they are doing everything they can – when they refuse to consider or even listen to the evidence around harm minimisation? […]

Pill Testing Debate Erupts After Two Deaths at Australian Festivals

Speaking to the ABC, Harm Reduction Australia president Gino Vumbaca called for a rethink on drug testing. “The continual reliance on law enforcement, extra policing, extra (sniffer) dogs, severe penalties, that all happens, but we see what happened at the music festival in New South Wales and festivals around the country,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. […]

How pill testing could change Australian music festivals

Pill testing could help warn others about dangerous batches of pills at Australian music festivals and deter drug suppliers from selling “contaminated drugs,” according to Dr Alex Wodak, president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation. […]

Here Are Just Some Of The Experts Who Back Pill Testing

Caldicott is just one of numerous experts in fields from harm minimisation and drug reform to police and medicine who have said pill testing should be considered to reduce drug problems at music festivals. “There’s not really that many experts you can find anywhere in the world who thinks that this is a bad idea,” Caldicott said. […]

Man dies after suspected drug overdose at Beyond the Valley festiva

Reason Party leader and upper house MP Fiona Patten urged the government to look at the decades of evidence from overseas that showed pill testing reduced deaths and ambulance calls-outs. Dr Alex Wodak, president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, said families were suffering unnecessary pain and politicians weren’t taking responsibility for it. […]

Parents call for pill testing as man dies from suspected drug overdose at Beyond The Valley music festival

The recent deaths have sparked a national debate around pill testing, with advocates renewing calls for the technology to be introduced in order to minimise risks. Since her son died, Ms Buccianti has been a fierce advocate of the measure, which she believes could have saved Daniel’s life. “My son would have never, ever wanted to come out of that festival in a body bag,” she said. […]

‘This Doesn’t Need To Be The Summer Of Festival Deaths’: Pleas For Drug Reform After Another Death

The national campaign for drug law reform, ‘Take Control’, has pleaded with the NSW Premier to reconsider her stance. “As always, we must be respectful of the family and remember that every single life is precious,” Ted Noffs Foundation CEO Matt Noffs said. “We have doctors and drug treatment experts standing by to make live music and festivals safer for our kids with pill testing.” […]

Man critical after overdose at Melbourne music festival as Victoria shuns pill testing

Reason Party leader and upper house MP Fiona Patten urged the government to look at the decades of evidence from overseas that showed pill testing reduced deaths and ambulance calls-outs. It’s tragic and it’s immoral for politicians to look away and put their heads in the sand when young people are dying and they could stop it,” she said. […]

Man dies after taking ‘unknown substance’ at Lost Paradise music festival

Pill testing advocates reissued their push for a rethink following the Lost Paradise death, including the Take Control organisation, which was launched by drug and alcohol treatment provider the Ted Noffs Foundation. Spokesman Matt Noffs said the “just say no” strategy had failed and urged the Premier to listen to evidence about pill testing.  […]

‘Unknown substance’ involved with fatality at Lost Paradise festival

The push for pill testing is being felt throughout the music industry after Canberra’s Groovin The Moo festival’s first on-site pill testing scheme was deemed a success by organisers. Despite this and despite being asked in an open letter signed by industry giants such as MusicNSW, Chugg Entertainment, Secret Sounds and more to consider pill testing it was not considered by the expert panel.  […]

Pill-dumping bins and sniffer dogs to be used at Perth New Year’s festival

Following the ACT trial, Edith Cowan University researcher Stephen Bright said the state government needed to seriously consider a pill test trial in WA. “I think there are so many new substances entering the market … from the conversations I’ve had with people, with consumers here in Perth so far it appears that the market sort of varies and sometimes it can be quite tainted and there are adulterants being put in ecstasy,” he said. […]

A Pivotal Decade for the Movement to End the “War on Drugs”

Of course, there is still much work to do. But in this reactionary time, advocates for sustainable and humane drug policies­, centered on harm reduction, human rights, and sustainable development, have joined together to provide a common defense and to continue building on the progress made to date. The Global Drug Policy Program has been honored to be a part of this united front, and we remain committed to supporting radical solutions, erasing stigma, and doing the crucial work needed to ensure a world where the “war on drugs” is just an unpleasant memory.


The Overwhelming Evidence in Favor of Harm Reduction

The evidence for harm reduction services is overwhelming. They keep people alive, are cost-effective, and foster healthier, safer communities. It is shameful that these facts are ignored by many. Until prejudice and fear stop ruling when it comes to drug policy, our health will continue to be undermined. […]

New Zealanders likely to vote for cannabis legalisation at referendum in 2020

A study conducted earlier this year by the NZ Drug Foundation found that two-thirds of New Zealanders support the legalization of cannabis for recreational use. “These results show that New Zealanders are ready for a future under which cannabis is regulated,” said Ross Bell, executive director at the foundation. “People realise that the way we’re currently dealing with cannabis isn’t working.” […]

Australians say yes to pill testing, new poll confirms

The poll follows the death of a young man at a Sydney music festival this month. A further two lives were lost at another music festival in Sydney in September. ‘Pill testing saves lives – that’s the bottom line,’ Dr Hester Wilson, GP and Chair of the RACGP Specific Interests Addiction Medicine network, told newsGP. […]

Drug experts say yes. Many politicians say no. What’s the evidence for pill testing?

Despite concern about pill testing increasing the appeal of illicit substances, research shows it can lead to less drug taking, and help people consume drugs in a safer way. “What’s clear from the results of the services operating [in Europe] is that people make different choices based on the results of the testing — some choose to put their drugs into an amnesty bin, others choose to take half as much as perhaps they thought they would,” Professor Ritter said.  […]

Fiona Patten moves to legalise cannabis, predicts revenue of $205m

Re-elected MP Fiona Patten has put drug law reform at the top of her political agenda by introducing a bill to legalise marijuana in Victoria, which she hopes will gain the support of the new Parliament. Ms Patten wants cannabis legalised so that it can be cultivated and manufactured while subject to regulation. […]

NZ to hold vote on recreational cannabis

New Zealand is set to hold a binding referendum on the legislation of recreational cannabis, the government has announced. The plebiscite would be held alongside the country’s next general election, in 2020, Justice Minister Andrew Little told reporters on Tuesday morning. Pro-reform campaign group New Zealand Drug Foundation welcomed the vote, with its chief Ross Bell saying the current approach to regulating marijuana was outdated and it was time for a change.


UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s Opioid Strategy Ignores What’s Most Proven to Work

Damon Barrett, director of the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy, points out that the Integrated Strategy emphasizes policing, rather than public health, and doesn’t seem any different from the status quo approach to drugs in general. The strategy also seems to mirror President Donald Trump’s Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem, a document co-signed in September by 129 UN member states, that was seen as a call to revamp the global War on Drugs. […]

Harm Reduction: Shifting from a War on Drugs to a War on Drug-Related Deaths

Policymakers can reduce overdose deaths and other harms stemming from nonmedical use of opioids and other dangerous drugs by switching to a policy of “harm reduction” strategies. Harm reduction has a success record that prohibition cannot match. It involves a range of public health options. These strategies would include medication-assisted treatment, needle-exchange programs, safe injection sites, heroin-assisted treatment, deregulation of naloxone, and the decriminalization of marijuana. […]

ACT could face High Court challenge of cannabis legalisation

The people behind the ACT’s initial push to open a safe injecting room almost 20 years ago say the current proposal is well overdue. A drug strategy report released this week flagged the possibility of Canberra finally getting a supervised injecting room, almost decades after legislation was passed. […]

Campaigner achieved victory over safe injecting rooms trials

Ann Symonds saved lives and changed lives. She saved them by fighting, losing, then fighting again to provide safe injecting rooms for drug users at Kings Cross. She changed lives by her efforts to create homes for women escaping domestic violence or the curse of drugs, by finding legal ways to keep women out of jail and to care for the children of incarcerated women. […]

ACT: Pill testing, safe injecting room in new Drug Strategy Action Plan

An expansion of pill testing at events in the ACT and revisiting a safe injecting room for opioid users are two of 43 measures contained in the ACT Government’s new three-year Drug Strategy Action Plan released today. The Government says harm minimisation underpins the Action Plan 2018-2021, which outlines the priorities over the next three years to tackle the harms from alcohol, tobacco and other drug use in the ACT.


Hardline approach to pill testing ‘failing’ to save lives

Dr Caldicott also hopes to avoid further tragedy. ‘We’re at the start of a summer season, a season which we know is very dangerous in the global sense,’ he said. According to Dr Caldicott, the illicit drugs he sees now are also ‘far more dangerous than any we’ve ever had’. He believes pill testing is a vital strategy in reducing deaths and injuries at music festivals. […]

Why Australia needs pill testing

Paul Dillon said heavier policing is a common government response to public outrage over drug deaths, but it has not done much to solve the problem.  ‘Drug use has not reduced at festivals or night clubs – people just take their drugs in a different way, or choose things not easily identified by drug dogs,’ he said. […]

Teen Dies of Suspected Drug Overdose After Sydney Dance Festival

In a fiery retort, anti-lockouts group and new political party Keep Sydney Open have argued that police’s “message” clearly isn’t working. “To the NSW Government and Police: insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and thinking the outcome will change,” they write on Facebook. […]

The U.S. Needs to Decriminalize Drug Possession Now

It’s not just the idiocy and ill will of the Trump administration in this area as in so many others but the reluctance of even progressive state and local legislators to embrace what’s already working elsewhere. It’s not just the political weakness of those who favor drug treatment over incarceration but the persistent belief among many treatment supporters, and the public, that the only acceptable alternative to drug use, whether problematic or not, is abstinence — and that the criminal justice system is an essential partner in forcing people to abstain. […]

‘We’re not this crazy church’: Vatican audience for drug reformist

In selecting Dr Wodak to speak at the Vatican’s ‘Drugs and Addictions’ conference on December 1, Catholic Health Australia CEO Suzanne Greenwood said she was aware the Drug Law Reform Foundation president’s opinions might not be equally held by the global headquarters of the church. Dr Wodak used his platform to call for the regulation of drug markets, the scrapping of criminal penalties for the possession of currently illicit substances and to treat drug use as a health issue.


Drug Foundation backs move to treat personal drug use as health issue

“The Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry has joined a chorus of other voices urging the Government to treat drugs as a health and social issue. Based on these recommendations the Government can be confident its plans to take a fresh approach to drugs is the right thing to do,” said Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell.


NZ: Mental health report recommends re-think on drug charges

The panel, led by the former health watchdog Ron Paterson, spent roughly 10 months consulting people around the country, holding more than 400 meetings and considering about 5000 submissions. The recommendations include taking strong action on drugs by enacting a stricter regulatory approach to the sale and supply of alcohol and replacing criminal sanctions for the possession for personal use of controlled drugs, with civil responses.


This Is How Coke, Ecstasy and Meth Would Be Legally Sold

Different drugs are associated with different risks, and the whole idea of regulation is to manage and reduce risk, so the regulatory tools you’d deploy are going to vary. Within stimulants there’s an enormous array of products and risks, so you’d have various models to regulate price, potency, packaging, vendors and marketing, but the principles and goals are the same.


Parliament lights up as Canberra gets baked

Dr David Caldicott, the clinical lead at the ANU’s Australian Medicinal Cannabis Observatory, told The RiotACT that a bill like Pettersson’s could limit the drug’s availability to underage consumers and undermine the illicit drug market in the ACT. “From a public health perspective, there are merits to an argument of a regulated market,” Caldicott said. […]

Community groups mount fight to stop mandatory drug detention laws

A coalition of community groups said there was no proof mandatory treatment worked and warned it would operate at an exorbitant cost. The SA Council of Social Services, Australian Medical Association, SA Network of Drug and Alcohol Services, Uniting Communities and Guardian for Children and Young People Penny Wright all called for the Bill to be withdrawn until a proposal about how the laws would operate was finalised.


Philippines police officers jailed for killing student in drugs war

Opposition senator Risa Hontiveros, who has railed against the drug killings, said the court decision proved that extrajudicial killings under Mr Duterte’s crackdown were really being committed by rogue members of the national police force. “This is a light in the darkness,” Ms Hontiveros said in a statement. “Despite the gruesome climate of killing and impunity in the country, this verdict sends the message that there is hope and justice.


‘Drug policies should be first of all concerned with preserving public health’

Usually, problems are photosensitive. Put them to the light and they disappear. Prohibition keeps us in the dark. There’s difficulty for research, for understanding the ramifications, of getting data, of understanding why people do it. The paradigm needs to change to move beyond the failure—and drug control is a failure as it is now. […]

Harm reduction is the right way to treat drug abuse

Some countries take things further. Many have safe injection rooms, supervised by medical professionals who check the drugs for safety. In Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, addicts who repeatedly fail methadone programmes may even receive free, government-prescribed heroin. “Heroin-assisted treatment” has been shown to reduce crime and deaths. And it appears not to recruit new users: shooting up at a government facility under a nurse’s gaze is hardly glamorous. […]

UK: We predicted banning legal highs wouldn’t work – and a new review shows it’s as bad as we feared


How ‘fixing rooms’ are saving the lives of drug addicts

“The only thing that stands in the way of the UK following the example of other European countries is the British government, who continuously state that they will not support drug consumption rooms despite the evidence and the fact they could save lives. It seems they are happy for the backstreets of our city and town centres to continue to provide such spaces.”


NZ: All angst and little action on drug policy

Despite plenty of posturing, hand-wringing and worthy words this year, little progress has been made on drug reform, as people continue to suffer and die, writes former Minister Peter Dunne. […]

The Crucial Role of Mothers in Reforming Drug Policy

Although these groups of mothers – and other family members – are not huge in their numbers, their stories are important for changing the narrative on drug use, and help change public attitudes towards drug policy. It is crucial for policymakers to hear their stories, and for fellow campaigners to elevate and amplify the voices of some of the people most devastated by the failures of the global drug war. […]

Greece Health Ministry Plans Drug Consumption Rooms

The Greek health ministry is preparing a legislative amendment to permit the opening of drug consumption rooms in Athens, after a university’s claim that it’s overwhelmed by widespread public drug use. The drug consumption rooms (DCRs) – if approved – will provide a hygienic environment and sterile equipment for people to consume drugs with under the supervision of trained medical staff, according to Greek newspaper, I Kathimerini. […]

Proposal for second pill-testing trial as Groovin the Moo moves to EPIC

One of the key players in last year’s trial, Dr David Caldicott, said the festival’s move to Exhibition Park gave the consortium more hope than if it had moved to Federal land, and it would now be assessing the specific needs of the new venue. He said the proposal for next year’s trial would build on this year’s success.


Getting My Club Drugs Tested Transformed My Partying Habits

Taking drugs is never completely safe. They all come with varying degrees of risk, which increase significantly if you ingest more than one substance at once. But if we want to curtail these overdoses, the government needs to fund pragmatic approaches like this, and sooner rather than later. Nobody needs to die when they go out dancing. […]

More Universities Should Follow Sheffield’s Harm Reduction Approach

Although neither Sheffield University nor the Student Union condones the use of drugs on campus, their approach acknowledges how students may use drugs during their time at university. The Student Union links to harm reduction guidance, including details about needle exchanges, while also providing external guidance from The Loop – a UK charity which provides drug safety testing, welfare support, and harm reduction services at nightclubs and festivals. […]

Pill-testing: budget office finds it would cost $16m to put services in major cities

The Greens have revealed a plan to open 18 pill-testing services across Australia at a cost of $16m, saying the policy would disrupt drug dealing networks and cut preventable deaths. The Greens leader, Richard Di Natale, a former drug and alcohol doctor, said the war on drugs had failed because 1 million Australians still used ecstasy and cocaine every year and a number of them were dying because they had no idea what they were consuming. […]

Hell Yeah: The Greens Are Calling For A Nationwide Pill Testing Program

“The war on drugs is a war on people — it has destroyed thousands of lives and wasted billions of dollars,” said Greens leader Richard Di Natale, a former drug and alcohol doctor. “Instead of protecting the community it is actually placing them at greater risk of harm. Pill testing has time and time again proven to reduce rates of harm both in Australia and overseas, whereas the Coalition and Labor Party’s approach of heavy handed policing with drug dogs only creates more misery,” he added. […]

Greens unveil plan for 18 pill-testing shopfronts across Australia

Recreational drug users would be able to pop in to a shop and test their pills under a plan by the Australian Greens. Party leader Richard Di Natale today paid a morning visit to a Melbourne nightclub to unveil plans for 18 pill-testing shopfronts, costing $16 million over four years. Six of the proposed shops would be in major cities and 12 in rural areas, with mobile facilities available for music festivals and special events. […]

The dollars and sense of drug law reform

As NZ Green MP Chloe Swarbrick points out, there is a certain hypocrisy in MPs who have used drugs presiding over archaic drug laws. But if the moral or health-based arguments fail to persuade them and us, perhaps the economic ones will. […]

NZ Drug Foundation calls for decriminalisation of use and possession of all illicit drugs

Ross Bell, executive director of the Drug Foundation launched a report on what it would look like if New Zealand moved to a “health-approach” to drugs, rather than a criminal. “We’ve proved ourselves ill-equipped to deal with public health emergencies when it comes to drugs. We’ve seen it most recently with the dreadful deaths from synthetic cannabinoids,” he said today.


International Commission on Drug Policy deserves attention

Yes, illegal drugs are dangerous. It would be irresponsible to simply legalise them. The International Commission on Drug Policy, which is chaired by Ruth Dreyfuss, the former Swiss president, recommends regulation instead. The Commission’s proposals deserve attention. We lack a better alternative. The experience Europe and North America have with alcohol shows that regulation is the best way to reduce harm because prohibition does not do the job. […]

Coroner compares drug prohibition laws to racism

A NSW coroner has likened the effects of drug prohibition to state sanctioned racism, saying future generations would look back at current laws on illicit substances with incredulity. […]

‘Disappointed’: Too late for off-site pill testing at Spilt Milk

STA-SAFE spokesman Dr David Caldicott said while it was a disappointing outcome, he understood the ACT government was still interested in future trials, and hoped it could also consider other off-site testing options, not necessarily linked to specific festivals. […]

Time for a truce in Asia’s war on drugs

Global attitudes on narcotic drugs are changing, but the shift has come too late for those caught up in Asia’s past decade of misguided and often lethal anti-drug campaigns. […]

A Victorian MP is throwing a pro-pill testing rave

A Victorian state MP is throwing a rave party to gather support for pill testing at music festivals and gigs. Fiona Patten’s Reason Party wants to install drug checking facilities at music festivals and other events as part of its drug policy it claims is “founded on early treatment and harm reduction”. […]

Opioid inquest told drug demand key issue

Dr Wodak, who was director of the Alcohol and Drug Service at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney for 30 years, discussed the effect of cracking down on the supply of only some drugs. “We’re dealing with a political problem, not a public health problem.” He called for heroin testing to be made available in clinics in “Dubbo, Wilcannia, Grafton” and around Australia so people from rural and remote areas didn’t have to travel hours to Sydney to see if their heroin was laced with fentanyl. […]

Music festivals ‘ignored’ with new drug laws

Significant questions have also been raised about the effectiveness of the new measures to reduce drug-related harm. ‘Given that most evidence suggests that heavy-handed policing doesn’t deter dealers or drug users, it’s unlikely it’ll have the impact they’re hoping,’ managing director of Music NSW Emily Collins said. ‘Experts in this field say that a health-focused approach has the best impact on the safety of festival-goers, and not just drug safety, but general safety. […]

Drug campaigners gather to remember victims in ACT

The president of the campaigning group, Bill Bush, said he welcomed the minister’s assertion that he had an open mind about reform. Mr Bush said one problem was that teenagers tried drugs as a matter of experimentation with forbidden fruit and then found themselves within the criminal system. Once in, it was hard to get out. […]

NSW festivals death law reform ‘does nothing to prevent harm’: ACT

An ACT government spokeswoman said while the territory would examine any available data from NSW about the effectiveness of these laws, its approach would be guided by evidence about how to minimise the harm from drugs. “We are disappointed that the response of the NSW government in no way seeks to minimise the harm of dangerous drugs. […]

NSW Gov Announces On-The-Spot Fines For Drug Possession At Music Festivals

Of the former law, Berejiklian speculated that the punishment for dealers who fall afoul of the new offence – on the off chance they’re proven guilty – would be punished with the same severity as manslaughter or grievous bodily harm; charges that currently carry prison terms of anywhere between 10 and 25 years’ jail in New South Wales. […]

Are WA’s ‘tough on drugs’ politicians about to drop their rhetoric?

Western Australia could be on the verge of abandoning its decades-old “tough on drugs” attitude to illicit substance addiction after both sides of parliament backed a plan to examine the decriminalisation of drugs. A high-powered parliamentary committee, to be chaired by Greens MP Alison Xamon with representatives from the Labor, Liberal and National parties, will look at “alternate approaches to reducing illicit drug use”. […]

Canada grew up and legalised cannabis. Over to you, Australia

Canada may stumble along the way, but there are potential upsides, among them more effective education about all substances; larger and faster clinical trials of its medicinal properties; and less use of alcohol. Legal cannabis may lose its rebellious cachet and experimental allure among kids. Bringing an underground economy to the surface starves criminals of a lucrative and untaxed black market. […]