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    Evaluating alternative cannabis regimes

    • Robert MacCoun, Peter Reuter (RAND)
    31 January 2001

    publicationCannabis is the cutting-edge drug for reform, the only politically plausible candidate for major legal change, at least decriminalisation (removal of criminal penalties for possession) and perhaps even outright legalisation (permitting production and sale). Compared with other drugs, the harms, physiological or behavioural, are less severe and the drug is better integrated into the culture. Throughout Western Europe and in the Antipodes there is pressure for reductions in the punitiveness of the marijuana regime.

    application-pdfDownload the paper (PDF)

  2. Thumbnail

    Evaluating alternative cannabis regimes

    • Robert MacCoun, Peter Reuter (RAND)
    31 January 2001

    publicationCannabis is the cutting-edge drug for reform, the only politically plausible candidate for major legal change, at least decriminalisation (removal of criminal penalties for possession) and perhaps even outright legalisation (permitting production and sale). Compared with other drugs, the harms, physiological or behavioural, are less severe and the drug is better integrated into the culture. Throughout Western Europe and in the Antipodes there is pressure for reductions in the punitiveness of the marijuana regime.

    application-pdfDownload the paper (PDF)

  3. Pot, politics and the press—reflections on cannabis law reform in Western Australia

    • Simon Lenton
    31 May 2004

    Windows of opportunity for changing drug laws open infrequently and they often close without legislative change being affected. In this paper the author, who has been intimately involved in the process, describes how evidence-based recommendations to ‘decriminalize’ cannabis have recently been progressed through public debate and the political process to become law in Western Australia (WA). This paper describes some of the background to the scheme, the process by which it has become law, the main provisions of the scheme and its evaluation. It includes reflections on the role of politics and the press in the process.

     

  4. Law enforcement and Australia’s 2001 heroin shortage

    • Kora DeBeck et. al., Evan Wood
    31 January 2008

    Globally, illicit drug policy is largely based on two central policy objectives. The first is to reduce the demand for illegal drugs mainly through criminalisation, drug prevention and treatment, and the second is to reduce the supply of illegal drugs primarily through law enforcement initiatives. 

     

  5. Image of UN Flag

    UN: conflicting views on harm reduction

    18 February 2008
    Article

    Conflicting views and policies within the UN system on harm reduction have become a major concern. Consistency in messages is crucial especially where it concerns joint global programmes such as the efforts to slow down the HIV/AIDS epidemic; efforts in which harm reduction practices like needle exchange and substitution treatment play a pivotal role. 

  6. Cannabis debate in Australia

    Tom Blickman
    04 June 2008
    Article

    In Australia a vicious debate on cannabis policy started when Alex Wodak, the head of the Sydney drug and alcohol clinic at St Vincent's Hospital, suggested that marijuana be regulated like alcohol or tobacco. He proposed to sell cannabis legally in post offices in packets that warn against its effects.

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    Randomized controlled trial of dexamphetamine maintenance for methamphetamine dependence

    • Marie Longo, Wendy Wickes, Matthew Smout, Sonia Harrison, Sharon Cahill, Jason M. White
    31 May 2009
    Paper

    This study tested the impact of a long-acting form of amphetamine as medication to help control dependent use of the closely allied stimulant, methamphetamine. Prescribed usually for the treatment of pathological sleepiness or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, effects of the amphetamine tablets prescribed in the study take several hours longer to emerge than normal amphetamine and last three to six hours longer, giving it a 'smoothing' profile similar to methadone for heroin users; non-rapid onset make it less intensely pleasurable, and longer duration suits it to once-daily administration.

  8. Randomized controlled trial of dexamphetamine maintenance for the treatment of methamphetamine dependence

    • Marie Longo, Wendy Wickes, Matthew Smout, Sonia Harrison, Sharon Cahill, Jason M. White
    18 June 2009

    This study tested the impact of a long-acting form of amphetamine as medication to help control dependent use of the closely allied stimulant, methamphetamine. Prescribed usually for the treatment of pathological sleepiness or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, effects of the amphetamine tablets prescribed in the study take several hours longer to emerge than normal amphetamine and last three to six hours longer, giving it a 'smoothing' profile similar to methadone for heroin users; non-rapid onset make it less intensely pleasurable, and longer duration suits it to once-daily administration.

     

  9. Australian Overseas Development Assistance and the Rural Poor

    • Dianto Bachriadi
    11 November 2009
    Report

    Australian overseas development assistance is not simply driven by a desire to assist poorer countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The fundamental premise of Australian aid is, first and foremost, its own national interest.

  10. Marijuana Legalization

    • Peter Reuter (RAND)
    30 June 2010

    A number of other countries have implemented changes in law that significantly reduce the extent of criminalization of marijuana use. Only in Australia and the Netherlands have there been any changes on the criminalization of the supply side and in neither of those countries is it legal to both produce and sell the drug. The relaxations so far, with the exception of the Netherlands, have not been very great i.e. have not much changed the legal risks faced by a user of marijuana. Thus it is perhaps not surprising that the changes in prevalence of use have not been substantial. This paper provides a brief review of the changes that have been tried outside the US. The emphasis is on the nature of the changes and how they have been implemented rather than on outcomes.

     

  11. The punishment must fit the crime, even for drug users

    Gino Vumbaca
    02 November 2011
    Other news

    The case of the Australian boy arrested on drug charges in Bali offers the opportunity to review our nation's own response to drug use, both here and abroad. While empathy for the boy's family is warranted and genuine, the case should also raise the question of what would happen to someone in Australia caught with a similar small amount of cannabis or other illicit drug.

  12. The great debate that no one's talking about

    David Marr
    03 December 2011
    Other news

    Scientists, lawyers, police, social workers, doctors and directors of public prosecution are pleading for change but no political party will touch the issue in Australia. Public debate on the subject remains as primitive as ever. After all these years we are still dealing with the basics – over and over again. That's no accident. It's what moral panic driven by some media does.

  13. The Prohibition of Illicit Drugs is Killing and Criminalising our Children

    • Bob Douglas, David A. McDonald
    02 April 2012

    It is time to reopen the national debate about drug use, its regulation and control. In June 2011 a prestigious Global Commission stated that the 40-year “War on Drugs” has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. It urged all countries to look at the issue anew. In response to the Global Commission report, Australia21, in January 2012, convened a meeting of 24 former senior Australian politicians and experts on drug policy, to explore the principles and recommendations that were enunciated by the Global Commission.

     

  14. Drugs war 'a failure' that bred criminals

    02 April 2012
    Other news

    Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr, is among a group of prominent Australians who said the ''war on drugs'' is a failure. ''The prohibition of illicit drugs is killing and criminalising our children and we are letting it happen,'' says a report released by the group, which includes the former federal police chief Mick Palmer, the former NSW director of public prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery, the former West Australian premier Geoff Gallop, a former Defence Department secretary, Paul Barratt, the former federal health ministers Michael Wooldridge and Peter Baume, and the drug addiction expert Alex Wodak. (See also: Gillard and Carr divided over decriminalisation of drug)

  15. Majority relaxed about cannabis use

    21 May 2012
    Other news

    More than half of Australians support reduced legal penalties for use of drugs such as cannabis and ecstasy, an analysis of a federal government survey shows. The findings contrast with the Herald/Nielsen poll released after the recent report of the think tank Australia 21 – urging to reopen the national debate on drug use, regulation and control – which showed that two-thirds of people opposed decriminalisation. But that is explained by the different way the poll questions were structured, said Alison Ritter, who heads a drug policy modelling program at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of NSW.

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    Salas de consumo de drogas

    Eberhard Schatz, Marie Nougier
    31 May 2012

    idpc-salas-consumoDurante los últimos 10 a 20 años, las salas de consumo de drogas (SCD) se han convertido en una parte integral de estrategias de tratamiento de la dependencia a las drogas y de reducción de daños en una serie países de Europa occidental, Norteamérica y Australia. No obstante, éstas aún no han llegado a ser implementadas en la mayoría de los países en el mundo.

    application-pdfDescargar el informe (PDF)

  17. After 33 years, I can no longer ignore the evidence on drugs

    07 June 2012
    Other news

    "As a 33-year police practitioner who was commissioner of the Australian Federal Police during the 'tough on drugs' period, I fully understand the concerns of those who argue there is no reason to reconsider drug policy and I shared many of them until recent years," the former commissioner of the Australian Federal Police and director of the Australia 21 think tank, Mick Palmer, writes. "The reality is that, contrary to frequent assertions, drug law enforcement has had little impact on the Australian drug market. This is true in most countries in the world."

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    Proponen legalizar cannabis y éxtasis en Australia para combatir el aumento de drogas

    Susan Schaefer
    08 September 2012
    Other news

    australia21-2landscapeEl último estudio sobre drogas ilegales efectuado en toda Australia y difundido este domingo propone al Gobierno legalizar la cannabis y el éxtasis para controlar el aumento de estupefacientes en el país. El profesor Bob Douglas, coautor del informe de 54 páginas, dijo que ha quedado claro que la prohibición de las drogas no funciona y que hace falta adoptar otros enfoques, como la legalización y el control gubernamental del consumo.

  19. Legal use of cannabis, ecstasy for over-15s backed by state medical body

    10 September 2012
    Other news

    A report by a group of prominent Australians that recommends Australia rethink its criminalisation of illicit drugs has been backed by the Victorian branch of the Australian Medical Association. The report recommended that cannabis and ecstasy be decriminalised for people aged 16 and older, who are willing to be recorded on a national confidential user's register. Users would be able to purchase drugs from an approved supplier, likely a chemist.

  20. Drug use is an issue for society, not the criminal justice system

    Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet
    10 September 2012
    Other news

    There is no reliable evidence that tougher criminal sanctions deter drug use or offending. On the contrary, criminalisation worsens the health and wellbeing of drug users, increases risk behaviours, drives the spread of HIV, encourages other crime and discourages drug users from seeking treatment. A report by Australia21, Alternatives to Prohibition, subtitled Illicit drugs: how we can stop killing and criminalising young Australians, sets out the lessons learnt about the failed war on drugs from other countries, especially Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Portugal.

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