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‘Just say no‘: Australian Medical Association rejects Greens’ new drug legalisation push
The Australian Medical Association has distanced itself from a new relaxed drugs approach being pushed by the Greens, saying it underestimates the harm illicit drugs do to the community.
Association president Michael Gannon told Fairfax Media he welcomed any initiative that shifted the public conversation about illicit drugs towards rehabilitation and treatment instead of policing and the justice system.
It came as no surprise that an opinion piece in The West Australian (6.1.17) by aspiring Greens candidate, Alison Xamon, stated that: “The current punitive approach to drug use has failed dismally — the size of the problem is escalating”. This is to be expected from a member of a Party which only a few years ago used this mantra as an excuse to adopt a policy for decriminalisation of drug use prior to an election. It is also consistent with use of the term ‘recreational drug’ to describe what journalist Zoltan Kovacs reported in The West that it was wrong to describe illegal drugs that could cause death, illness and violence as ‘recreational’.
In the wake of the release of the WA Government’s Meth Strategy, Council for the National Interest (WA) conducted a Drug Forum at the Royal Perth Yacht Club on Sun 14.8.16. The present government’s policy represents a departure from policies adopted over the past 40 years which have increasingly focussed on harm minimisation, instead of harm prevention, and as such are nothing short of an unmitigated dis-
CEO of Drug Free Australia(DFA), Jo Baxter prepared an extensive presentation as to why Australia has achieved the status of ‘ice’ capital of the world. According to the UN World Drug Report 2015, comparisons of Australia’s drug usage with Sweden showed that for 15-64 year olds, figures of per capita drug use were higher for all categories. Sweden with 40% of Australia’s population has 29,500 problematic drug users, Australia has 220,000 cannabis users and over 220,000 ‘ice’ users. Since Sweden has adopted a vigorous intolerance to drug use, clearly these figures render statements that prohibition does not work untenable. In fact Australia would do well to emulate the Swedish strategy; with a restrictive drug policy, an emphasis on court enforced rehabilitation (as opposed to enforced prison sentences) and an emphasis on rehabilitation.
Australians are paying world record prices for illicit drugs and hence it comes as no surprise that organised crime syndicates, especially in West Africa and China, are targeting Australia where the lack of political will has only compounded the problem. The WA Government Meth Strategy appears to be focussed on balancing rehabilitation with primary prevention. (Extract from February FACT)
Australian Family Association (WA)