by Dr Gonzo
To change results needs changed methods. Do the same thing expecting different is madness.
|I am Australian...I love this country and its people. A place of extremes...beautiful and picturesque with some of the most unique wildlife found on the planet. When Gondwanaland broke away from Asia millions of years ago, making it the largest island on earth, it created isolation and many specialised animals which are found nowhere else.
But our isolation does not protect us from issues other countries have, such as drug importations. The borders of Australia are protected with vigilance by a government that fears drug use amongst its people, and because of this, the cost to purchase drugs in Australia is astronomical.
America has its war on drugs, and we all know nobody is winning that war. Demand will always create supply...no matter what penalties the authorities place on narcotics possession, supply or manufacture.
In my opinion, it makes sense to address the issues which see an increasing percentage of a population WANT to get high, instead of knee jerk reactions of policing and punishing a group of (mostly) young men and women...thereby giving these people criminal records that remain on their records for life.
Drug use is a health issue, NOT a law and order issue. The property crime created from illicit drug use stems from the cost, availability and stigma attached to it.
These young people are without doubt making poor choices, and some die as a result of their illicit drug use. But, what I am proposing should reduce not only accidental death by overdose, but bring huge benefits to any government with the guts to implement it.
Most users of illicit drugs are not strangers who lurk in dark alleyways looking strung out and desperate...they look just like any other son or daughter, brother or sister. They are not monsters who cannot be saved. They are young and impetuous, just as we were when we were their age. Sure, they are choosing different drugs than most parents used when they were young (alcohol may be legal, but it is far from safe and is just as addictive as any other drug if a person has a genetic predisposition). And the social and direct health problems alcohol causes can only be described as an epidemic on a global scale.
Tobacco is one of the leading killers of human beings in history, and yet, it is sold at every corner store and mall all around the planet. Legal? Yes. But, just because one drug is and another is not, doesn't make one a better choice but for only one reason...the law.
When these young people go to buy their drug of choice, they have to go to a dealer who makes out as if he is a friend to them but he isn't. A dealer has only one friend and that is profit, and couldn't care less about what he/she sells to your loved one, neighbour, workmate, friend or just someone you have never met because these are the people who are the average illicit drug users anywhere in the world. And these drugs are cut with anything that is cheap and available. Robberies are the norm, rip-offs happen every day, and getting busted by the cops is what they fear the most.
I propose to create a place where the drug user first has to register as an addict. Then, they must get a health check and receive counselling each time they are dispensed uncut, measured and safer drugs than they could ever hope for on the streets. Then and only then, they can purchase their drugs, without the risk of contaminants (which are a huge cause of harm to the user), of being ripped off or having unscrupulous dealers offering girls to pay for their drugs with their bodies.
The state of Oregon in the US has decriminalized small quantities of 'hard drugs' and this is going to have a huge impact if and when young people who choose this lifestyle cross paths with the law. Once this new vision becomes the norm, then the next level is to take control off the cartels and organised crime networks and place the responsibility (and profits) in the hands of those who have the best interests of our youth first and foremost.
Income generated from sales could be used to provide better services when an addict chooses to stop using. The amount of money that would be saved from not having to police the current unworkable and impudent illegal drug laws would be a bonanza for any government with the guts to look at the problem and take the only action possible to end organised crime networks from operating in the drugs distribution racket.
The black market in illicit drugs would collapse (and I wouldn't be surprised if the cartels would become legit, work with the government and pay taxes...ending street wars between gangs, another benefit which would save countless lives), crime rates would plummet and every time these young people go to get their drugs they would be offered drug counselling as a first line of helping them...because eventually, ALL drug users come to their own point...where they themselves have had enough and WANT to change...to receive help for the causes of why they chose drugs to escape in the first place.
People fear that which they do not understand...and they believe whatever propaganda they are fed by those who know better than we do. But the reality is, no matter where you live in the world, this war on drugs is a war against its own people...and it is a war that can never be won. Human beings, as a species, have always sought the roots and leaves of certain plants. We naturally seek to escape and to tell us now that certain drugs (the one's that governments and multi-national pharmaceutical company's tell us to take (alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals...on which the revenue raised they rely on for their very existence), are ok, but others are not is hypocritical.
If ever there was a conspiracy theory with substance, this would be near the top of the list...why the two most deadly drugs mankind has ever known happen to be pushed to those who are in general of a lower socioeconomic group and so more vulnerable to addiction?