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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Chan and Sukumaran execution 'illegal', but Indonesia ignores Australia again

    01 May 2015
    Other news

    The execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran was illegal under international law according to advice provided to Julie Bishop, but Australia's request that Indonesia submit to the judgment of the International Court of Justice was ignored. The Australian ambassador asked Indonesia's consent on March 10 to explore the issue before the international court, but the Foreign Minister still has not had a reply. The Australian government had strong legal advice that the men's execution was illegal under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Indonesia signed in 2006. (See also: Bali nine execution: pair's lawyer describes 'machinery of death)

  4. An injecting room worked for heroin. Let's have one to help beat ice

    30 March 2015
    Other news

    In its report on the methamphetamine market, the Australian Crime Commission identified ice as the illicit drug posing the highest risk to Australia. Perhaps it’s time to establish a safe place for ice users along the lines of the heroin injecting centre: a place where users can be monitored, where adverse physical and mental reactions to the drug can be professionally dealt with.

  5. 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.

     

  6. Drop charges over ecstasy, police urged

    21 March 2013
    Other news

    Ecstasy users should not be charged by police, former Labor health minister Neal Blewett said during a provocative keynote address to the peak police drug and alcohol forum in Australasia. Dr Blewett believes resources should target the most serious drug abusers, adding that cannabis laws around the country were ''chaotic'' and also needed reform. ''Already we struggle with drugs, including designer drugs scarcely on our horizon in the past,'' said Dr Blewett.

  7. Medical marijuana finds crossbench backers in Australian parliament

    05 January 2015
    Other news

    The campaign to legalise marijuana for medical purposes in Australia is gathering strength with a group of crossbench senators and MPs pushing for the issue to be top of the agenda in the new parliamentary year. A group of senators and MPs are pushing for the legalisation of medical marijuana to help the sick and potentially provide a new industry for "innovative" farmers. (See also: Medical marijuana: let the doctors, not politicians, sort it out)

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

     

  11. Victoria to legalise medicinal marijuana

    18 December 2014
    Other news

    A bill to legalise medical marijuana could be put to Victoria's parliament before the end of next year, with the Labor government determined to reform the state's drug laws. Premier Daniel Andrews said that the Victorian Law Reform Commission had been asked to submit a report in August next year to determine not if, but when and how the laws should change to allow terminally and chronically ill people access to medicinal marijuana. (See also: National marijuana legalisation inches closer with new bill)

  12. Majority of Australians support medical marijuana

    22 July 2014
    Other news

    Almost two-thirds of Australians support the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal purposes, according to a new poll which coincides with a renewed push to relax the laws. It comes as NSW Premier Mike Baird indicated that he supported the use of medical marijuana, despite having concerns about its supply and regulation. Earlier this month Cassie Batten was questioned by police after admitting to using cannabis oil to treat her disabled three-year-old, who has epilepsy and suffers from profound seizures. 

  13. 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.

  14. Drug possession arrests double in past six years across NSW

    27 November 2014
    Other news

    The number of people arrested for possessing drugs in New South Wales (Australia) has doubled over the past six years, with NSW leading a national trend towards increased law enforcement directed at individual drug users. Yet the spike in arrests appears to have done nothing to stem the tide of drug use, with the state this week hitting the 1 million mark for the number of people who have recently used illicit drugs. The data comes as the NSW Bar Association released a report finding drug prohibition has been a failure and calling for reform. (Fact sheet: Cannabis and the law)

  15. 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)

  16. 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."

  17. First lesson for new inquiry into ice: we've lost the war on drugs

    Alex Wodak
    16 December 2014
    Other news

    Five Labor and three Conservative governments adopted harm minimisation as Australia’s official national drug policy on 2 April 1985 and every Commonwealth, state and territory government since then has implemented harm minimisation programmes. 

  18. 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.

  19. ecstacy-pils

    Call to make ecstasy legal and sell it at pharmacies

    04 July 2015
    Other news

    Australians should be able to buy a pure form of ecstasy from their local pharmacy to curtail the harm caused by contaminated blackmarket pills. Melbourne pharmacist Joshua Donelly and leading doctor Professor David Penington say many Australians taking the drug were probably swallowing contaminated versions that put them at greater risk of harm. In the Journal of Law and Medicine, Donelly said although no drug was completely risk-free, compared to other drugs MDMA caused "negligible" harm to users and people around them.

  20. Tony Abbott backs legalisation of medical cannabis

    16 September 2014
    Other news

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott has thrown his support behind the legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes.

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