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Prohibition of Illicit Drugs is Killing and Criminalising Our Children and We Are All Letting it Happen

NCJ Number
Bob Douglas; David McDonald
Date Published
28 pages
This is the report on the consensus of a roundtable held at the University of Sydney on January 31, 2012, in order to discuss the "likely costs and benefits of a change in Australia's current policy on illicit drugs."
Eight themes emerged from the roundtable. First prohibition puts the production, distribution, and control of illicit drugs in the hands of criminal enterprises and exposes youth, police, and politicians to their corruptive influence. Second the harms resulting from prohibition substantially outweigh the benefits from police efforts to suppress the criminal drug industry. Third the harms include deaths, home and property crime, clogged prisons and courts. Fourth the "war" on drugs continues to be costly while achieving little in reducing drug distribution and use. Fifth in a time of recession for mainstream economies, profits from the black market trade in drugs are soaring, meaning that the criminals are better resourced than drug enforcement efforts. Sixth the current system of drug control ensures that a steady stream of young people become dependent on illicit drugs. Seventh resources spent on a law-and-order approach to drug control could be better spent on managing drug use as a health and social issue, as is done with nicotine and alcohol. Eighth the issue of the control of harmful drugs should be a subject for discussion and debate about what works in limiting the harms drugs cause. This requires consideration of a range of alternatives and a focus on research that examines what does and does not work. 25 references and a list of roundtable participants