"We should aim to discourage people from abusing alcohol and smoking tobacco and maintain legal sanctions on street drugs so that we can prevent even more use and abuse of potentially dangerous substances."
Pro drug activists persist with the notion that if legal sanctions were to be removed on marijuana that somehow this would help solve western societies modern obsession with street drugs. Furthermore they argue that to prohibit them is an infringement on an individuals civil liberties. They also shamelessly promote the idea that it would be economically viable to sell marijuana in the same way as alcohol and tobacco. Unsurprisingly this point of view is enthusiastically supported by international corporations and individuals who want to control 'the addiction industry' in order to reap enormous profits.
The following is an extract from "be ALERT and ALARMED"
"I wonder what all the people who support removing legal sanctions on marijuana would make of the following letters:-
Dear Mrs Walters,
I am 21 years of age and have been smoking pot now for approximately 8 years in which time I have gone from being a very outgoing, happy person who earned the Queen Scout Award in Venturing and attempted HSC at school, to becoming a completely useless individual. I have completely alienated my entire family and friends to the point where I would rarely say more than a dozen words a week at home and rarely visit or be visited by past and present friends. I have no-one and nothing except for a job as a store man which I am barely holding on, (due to my short-term memory loss) and a love for sport which I am slowly losing interest in because I cannot enjoy it mentally.
I am writing to you now because I am sick of the side effects which I can see no escape from and I am scared that I will never be that same individual I left behind all those years ago. I do not know what to do or who to turn to and for that matter who I am anymore. Basically I am lost.
I have tried giving it up before and have lasted no longer than 3 weeks; I shifted to Queensland to try to dry out, but after 3 weeks I was drawn back to Melbourne. My symptoms are severe irritability, a complete loss of short-term memory (this letter was written four times before it was at all logical) and mental depression. Marijuana is practically the only subject matter I can converse about in any logical form and this scares me, as I am unable to hold an intelligent conversation about any other subject. E.N – Victoria
A beloved member of my family began to use drugs around the age of fifteen. She saved lunch money, pocket money etc. and purchased small amounts of marijuana whenever she could. Occasionally, empty bottles of alcohol could be found in her room, in cupboards, behind beds – this is how it all started.
After leaving home at eighteen, she added amphetamines to her list of ‘recreational drugs.’ Suddenly, one day she lost her mind. She could hear voices, believed that people were stealing her brain and seemed to be pursued by all kinds of terrors. This is a true story and many young people are having similar experiences.
The beautiful relative of whom I speak is my daughter who is now in her early twenties. She was once highly intelligent, extremely beautiful and had an exciting future ahead. NOT ANY MORE!!!!
She is now unable to care for herself; she doesn’t worry about how she looks, how she lives or what happens to her. She is unable to concentrate for more than maybe fifteen minutes on any given subject and her only solace seems to be in drinking alcohol for she is now afraid of other drugs. She needs to be constantly on medication.
Perhaps she will recover, but even if she does, five years have gone from her life. Five years when her school friends have completed university educations or gotten married and made families etc. She has no job, hardly any possessions and few friends and no motivation to help herself.
To those who wish to decriminalise the use of marijuana, I say “you are ignorant of the extent of the damage being done to vulnerable children and of the pain being suffered subsequently by their families.”
To those who smilingly tell us that marijuana is a ‘harmless recreational drug’ I say –“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” I know better.
Y.N. – New South Wales
Dear Mrs. Walters,
I have had a problem with marijuana for the past six years. I became addicted to it after smoking it for about four years. I could see that it used to make me paranoid and introverted around a lot of people, but everyone used to say that it was a normal effect, so I didn’t worry.
I am 22 years old now and I started smoking at about 13. It was fairly the norm around my area.
Without going through the whole long story, it took me to the state where I thought I was schizophrenic, I had imaginary diseases like cancer, I thought I was “chosen” to lead a revolution against the government and that I was to be made a religious martyr like Jesus. I became unbelievably paranoid, I still am, to the point that I only left my house to score or go to work.
At the moment I’ve stopped for 70 days roughly, I attend N.A. I can’t afford to smoke again as I fear I won’t be able to make it through the mental torture that I experienced that last time I smoked. I would probably kill myself. I’m still pretty insane at the moment although it probably doesn’t show in this letter.
Anyway thank you for tackling the problems that are associated with this drug. I’ve been to numerous doctors and most of them just said, “cut down your smoking.” Well I know I couldn’t cut down, but I had to stop, otherwise I know I would and will die.
S.T. - Victoria
Dear Mrs. Walters,
My son Todd started experimenting with Marijuana at the age of about 15, up until this time he was considered to be an excellent student at school. I did not know that he was using marijuana at the time, but I did notice that his grades started to slip, and that he also started to wag school. I went to the school to question various teachers as to what was happening with him, and was told that he just didn’t seem to be that interested in his school work anymore.
He dropped out of high school after year 11, and then went on to do an electronics course at the Tafe College, which he dropped out of after 6 months. The following year he started to do a Computer Programming course that he always wanted to do, but dropped out of it also after 6 months.
Over the years we have gone through hell. He has lied, cheated and stolen thousands of dollars’ worth of property off us. We have watched him go from a young boy who loved everything about his life to a deadbeat. We have got him out of trouble and stood by him time and time again. He is exhibiting signs of schizophrenia and our greatest fear is that he will suicide before we are able to get help.
It is a tragedy to watch someone you love destroy his life!!
I can only wish you well in what you are doing to try and combat this terrible cancer, as it is tearing families apart.
M.R – New South Wales
My son who is 18 years is smoking it with his mates. It started out being once a week now it’s nearly every night. We are having “hell” with him; our family is breaking up over my son Mark. I have been to doctors and they tell me he will grow out of it, but that was 6 months ago. Last year he dropped out of VCE with 3 weeks to go, lucky he got a job, but how long will it last, he’s hard to get out of bed, lost all interest in family, lost weight and our house which used to be a happy family is now a nightmare.
I have in my archives almost a thousand similar letters. However I don’t have to rely on anecdotal evidence anymore, medical literature abounds with research citing the health risks associated with the use of cannabis, particularly for young people. Although these letters reflect only a fraction of the suffering and heartache of families, I hope they give you an insight into the whole wretched business. It is hard to credit that so many lives, not to mention the wasted potential of young people who are caught up in this epidemic pattern of drug use are not considered the priority when it comes to drug policy.
The World Health Organisation merged its previous definition of drug addiction and drug use into the single term `drug dependence'.
“Today drug dependence and its functional manifestations must be considered as resulting from an impairment of cerebral neuro-transmission, reversible at first but capable of leading to a chronic and, at times, irreversible deregulation of brain function.”
There is also a school of thought that believes drug dependence is not a symptom of the factors that originally led to contact with the drug (experimentation, peer group pressure, etc.) nor is it necessarily the result of psychological, cultural or economic problems but that it is an independent condition and learned behaviour which has taken on the character and force of a natural drive.
The pleasure/ pain principle is the unconscious regulator in the animal world and it guarantees the survival of the species. However the euphoric effect of the drug short circuits this pleasure/ pain principle and the final result is an artificially induced drive with the strength and character of a basic drive that in many cases may be even stronger than sexual craving.
Sex, hunger and thirst are compelling natural drives that register in the limbic area of the brain. However these natural drives are regulated by nervous system controls. Psychotropic drugs including marijuana also register in the limbic area of the brain but unlike our natural drives drugs are not subject to built in neurological controls. They act directly on the brain’s pleasure mechanism and not through the sensory pathways.
Q Why are you particularly concerned about removing sanctions on marijuana?
A: There is a concerted effort by well-funded international consortiums of pro-drug activists to remove legal sanctions on marijuana and introduce some other street drugs into western culture. This is why it is important to examine historical precedents where psychoactive drugs particularly marijuana have been inculcated i.e. ‘normalised’ into a society. And most importantly once this happened how it was virtually impossible to reverse the situation.
The controversy about marijuana/hashish caused as much debate in the ancient Muslim world as it does today. Between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries ‘medieval activists’ wanted hashish to be made freely accessible to the general public. Many scholars and religious leaders objected to this. Their objections were not the result of religious fervour but they believed that it would cause wide-ranging cultural and economic disaster. They referred to it as ‘the weed that impairs body and mind and damages society.’
However the pro-hashish factions outmanoeuvred them. As the historian of the era Al Magrizy noted: there was ‘general debasement’ within the community once ‘the weed’ became endemic. By the time the detrimental effects of hashish became obvious and despite the determined and often drastic attempts by sultans and emirs to reintroduce restrictions it has remained part of the culture in many Middle Eastern countries.
Not only are there manuscripts about the controversy during the ancient Muslim era, but there is also an interesting account of the situation that Napoleon and his army encountered when they conquered Egypt in the 1800s. One officer reported that:
“The mass of the male population is in a perpetual state of stupor.”
Hoping to breathe some life into the stagnant nation but mostly wishing to protect his own soldiers Napoleon decreed:
“The use of the strong liquor made by some Moslems with a certain weed called hashish, as well as the smoking of the flowering tops of hemp is forbidden in all Egypt”.
Although he managed to restrain his troops from using the drug Napoleon had little effect on cannabis use in the Moslem world.(49)
Q: But you can’t compare Australia with Medieval Muslim history.
A: In a modern technologically sophisticated society like Australia, where a high standard of skill and expertise is necessary the end result of cannabis use would be even more damaging than those experienced in Middle Eastern Countries.
Malcolm Muggeridge a well-known English journalist and author who spent years at the Cairo University observed first hand the results of hashish/cannabis use among many students. He recalled the way these particular young men were invariably `stoned’ when they arrived for lectures and how much they were despised by their fellow students. Muggeridge made the following comment in his autobiography:
“I know of no better exemplification of the death wish at the heart of our way of life, than this determination to bring about the legalisation of hashish so that it may ravage the West as it has the Middle and Far East.”
Comments about the destructive effects of marijuana are also found in the writings of Jerry Rubin, an ideologue of the 1968 Students' Movement. He claimed that:
“Legalise pot and society will fall apart”. (32 -34)
No two people could be further opposed ideologically and politically than Muggeridge and Rubin. However both are in agreement that the norms and values of society would be seriously threatened if cannabis use became widespread.
One of the remarkable things I noticed during my years of counselling was that it was often the most sensitive and intelligent young people in particular who were attracted to the mind-altering experience of marijuana. This fact brings into question the possibility of losing some of Australia’s future artists and intellectuals if street drugs become part of our culture.
Q: What about modern drugs?
A: In the 1960s Sweden decided that the best way to overcome the problems associated with heroin and amphetamines was to repeal the law and introduce even stronger controls. At the United Nations conference in 1971 Sweden initiated the prohibition of modern designer drugs, and included hallucinogens, barbiturates and stimulants.
Q: What about cocaine?
A: Coca is one of the oldest and most potent stimulants of natural origin. Originally cocaine-based remedies were promoted as a cure-all in Europe and the U.S. However, it is extremely addictive and by the nineteenth century non-medical use of cocaine started to emerge as a health and social problem, particularly in the U.S., and by 1903 consumption had increased about five times from 1890.
Not only was it being used by the wealthy and sophisticated but cocaine was also given as a stimulant to predominately black American workers engaged in heavy manual labour in foundries and factories. Employers believed it was such a powerful drug that it would increase productivity.
In 1886 a pharmacist, John Pemberton, produced an elixir of coca and kola that he called Coca Kola. Subsequently the name changed to Coca Cola but in 1903 the coca component was discontinued when it became clear that it was habit-forming. As with opium, cocaine is considered a dangerous addictive drug and classified as illegal by the international community.
There is a wide range of side effects associated with the use of cocaine. These include chronic fatigue, insomnia, irritability, and depression. Direct damage to the nasal passages can also be a serious consequence of snorting. Death can occur as a result of overdose or an accident while under the influence of the drug.
With injection and freebasing, absorption is much more rapid and the prospect of cardiac toxicity increases dramatically. Not only that, but withdrawal from cocaine is often associated with paranoid psychoses and severe depression. Many users try to control mood changes by alternating cocaine with alcohol and other drugs. It is also well established in the scientific literature that central nervous stimulants may give rise to criminal activity.
In Ancient Peru after the Spanish Conquest in 1554, the habit of chewing the Coco leaf that was originally restricted by the Inca leaders to religious ceremonies was encouraged by the Spaniards to enable farmers and miners of the Andes to work under adverse conditions with limited food intake.
Bolivian tin miners still receive daily allowances of coco leaf as part of their wages. This is to help them with exhausting work. Some might argue this is beneficial however it is not consistent with the concept of human dignity to keep people in a state of subservience to fulfil the economic interests of large corporations.
Neither is it consistent with the concept of human dignity to maintain today’s drug addicts in a state of dependency and hopelessness. If we go down the track of introducing the use of dangerous, addictive, mind altering drugs into Australia and then having created a significant number of addicts maintain their addiction through maintenance programs then in my opinion, we are no better than the corrupt corporations who exploit the weak and dependent.
Q: But aren’t you making a value judgment?
A: Of course I am making a value judgment. Everyone makes judgments based on their values. Actually I find the way in which you asked that question very interesting. It is a platitude that has become very popular.
Q: What do you mean?
A: It infers that making a value-laden judgment is the same as making a logical mistake. It supports the concept of ethical relativism. There is no doubt that values/ethics are part of the drug ‘conversation’ but I don’t think we can assume that all values expressed are equally valid. The values of Squizzy Taylor were relative to him and Sir Weary Dunlop’s were relative to him. But their respective values are not, on that account equally valid or worthy of praise or blame.
Q: Is that why so many people tolerate their friends using drugs?
A: Exactly, they say nothing because they have don’t want to appear to be making a so-called ‘value judgment’. I think we are having a similar problem with other populist theories. We are being overwhelmed by trendy abstractions. If we are not careful we will soon be too intimidated to express an opinion about anything at all.
Q: Is there a particular reason for this?
A: There has been a monumental change in traditional social and ethical standards since the 1960s and the conflict of liberties we are experiencing in western countries in the twenty first century are unprecedented. Accompanying these social changes has seen progressive western societies such as Australia cease to make collective ethical judgments about good or bad behaviour. As a result, the negative social consequences of drug taking are rarely emphasised and no one appears to be considering the impact that the endemic use of drugs will have on future generations. Nowadays it has become very trendy to be ‘non-judgmental’.
Q: But no one has the right to judge other people.
A: There is a difference between compassion and empathy with people who are drug dependent and expressing an opinion about social issues. Particularly about the use of illegal drugs that are so detrimental to the community.
It is very easy to manipulate a discussion on the legalisation of drugs by accusing opponents of being ‘judgmental’ or suggesting their point of view is based on ‘moral considerations’. Religion does not own ethics and morals and those who imply that somehow it is only people with religious affiliations who object to legalising drugs suggests to me that they lack any real evidence to support their claim and therefore resort to disparagement.
Q: Do you think Australians favour any particular values?
B: One of the basic principles of nineteenth century liberalism – now referred to as secular liberation – is the pursuit of happiness. This has led many people to believe that their personal fulfilment takes precedence over the rights of the community. i.e. the common good. On the other hand the fundamental principles of those who hold traditional values are respect for each other and responding to other peoples needs and legitimate rights. They believe that these are the values that are more likely to generate peace and social justice.
This is where a conflict arises in relation to drugs. Nonetheless I believe most Australians regardless of whether they hold religious or secular values, respect and respond to each other’s rights and needs. This is evident whenever there is a public appeal national crisis or a call for assistance to rescue people in floodwaters or to fight bush fires. I think we are a generous nation and share a spirit of egalitarianism and fair play and I have no doubt that parents and teachers will be very concerned once they are alerted to the fact that there has been an attempt to deceive them into believing that the drug problem will be resolved if it is left to a select group of people whose endgame is legalisation.
Q: But societies are always in a state of flux.
A: I quite agree – challenging the status quo is the cutting edge of progress and since the beginning of time societies have been formed and reformed by political and social revolutions. However although the various movements of the 1960s have had enormous multiplicative effects on the present generation and while acknowledging that many of the reforms have made a positive contribution to the cause of social justice, it would be a serious error of judgment to place drug use in the same philosophical context.
Few rights are absolute and all actions must be exercised with a sense of social responsibility and obligation to the common good. Also there are limits to the pursuit of happiness. The main one being that it is not acceptable to disadvantage or endanger one’s fellow man. In Western society we are experiencing a drug epidemic and too many young people are being exposed to the dangers of an enormous variety of inherently dangerous addictive, mind-altering substances.
Q: Why is it called a drug epidemic?
A: It is often considered that some kind of microbes are involved if we talk of epidemics but in fact other forms of contagion can also occur. The literature abounds with descriptions of small local and mental epidemics. (Nils Bejerot M.D. Addiction - An Artificial Drive ISBN 0-398-02527-4) Local outbreaks of suicide and arson can occur now and then. Even in the Middle Ages bizarre mass phenomena such as epidemics of dancing have been recorded. In the seventies there was an epidemic of falling (Benaim, Horder and Anderson 1971)
The drug epidemic:
To gain a complete overview of the drug issue it is very important to understand the unique way in which the use of illegal drugs has changed from being an aberrant form of behaviour to becoming an acceptable social activity for many people.
Sweden was the first country in Europe after the Second World War to experience an epidemic pattern of drug use – I am of course referring to drug taking behaviour – and it is of considerable interest because it has been closely studied and documented.
In Sweden the epidemic pattern of drug use started with a fairly small group of people ‘living on the fringe’. As well as being involved in other unconventional behaviours this group had been using drugs for years.
Some enterprising people within this group either directly or indirectly associated with crime saw the potential for making money and gradually introduced drugs into the community, particularly targeting young people.
Dr. Nils Berejot Research Fellow in Drug Dependence at the Karolinska University Sweden identified three distinct patterns of abuse:
Therapeutic:- That is medical use of addictive drugs which give rise to abuse and addiction, e.g. patients who become habituated to prescription drugs (Valium, Serepax, Pethidine, etc.)
Cultural:- This pattern is demonstrated by the coco chewing of South American Indians, cannabis smoking in certain parts of Africa, India and the Middle East, opium smoking in the Far East and alcohol consumption in the Western world. These inebriates are socially acceptable within the community, although severe cases of dependence can develop.
Epidemic:- It is the contagion factor in contemporary drug-taking behaviour that classifies its pattern as `epidemic'. This means that, because of the sheer size of the population of drug users, drug taking cannot be attributed solely to an individual socio economic background or psychological problems
Dr Berejot also identified the fact that:-
“Characteristically it arises among tightly knit fringe groups. After many years it spreads to other groups, usually criminals and the avant-garde. In its third phase, drug taking spreads to wide-ranging groups of the normal population, in particular, young people.
Whilst psychological, cultural or economic factors may account for some drug use, the `epidemic pattern' with its inherently contagious nature is the view favoured by the international scientific community.”
The epidemic pattern is characterised by the following:-
It spreads almost without exception through psychosocial contact between an established user and a novice.
It spreads rapidly.
It is subject to fashion.
It has close interaction of exposure and susceptibility.
The pressure of exposure causes people to react differently over a period of time.
According to Berejot:-
“The addiction rate to narcotics among the medical profession is estimated to be 30-50 times greater than that of the general population”.
These statistics suggest that easy availability and the inherent addictive properties of narcotics are important factors in involvement with psychotropic drugs.
Recently it has been suggested that there are similar problems in the Australian medical profession. Some doctors claim that misuse of drugs; particularly Propofol by anaesthetists is increasing. Some practitioners believe that there should be random testing and stricter regulations of drugs in hospitals.
Q: Are there examples in history of epidemic drug use?
A: The first recorded drug epidemic took place in Ireland at the beginning of the nineteenth century when people began to abuse a new chemical substance used in industry.
Then there was the well-documented epidemic of gin abuse in Great Britain.
In Egypt in the 1920s heroin and cocaine caused significant problems and about the same time heroin presented similar manifestations in the United States.
In Japan in the fifties there was widespread use of amphetamines and ten years later they experienced another epidemic, but this time with heroin.
‘Reformers’ reject the premise of the ‘epidemic pattern’ of contemporary drug use. It does not suit their agenda at all. They want us to believe that illegal drugs are so much a part of our lifestyle that nothing we could possibly do would curtail the situation let alone reverse it.
Q: How have other countries responded to this drug epidemic?
There is no example of an epidemic pattern of drug abuse that has been overcome in any country without restricting supply and implementing sanctions against users and traffickers. Where countries have liberalised drug laws the problem has been exacerbated.
An experiment enabling addicts to receive their drugs through prescription was tried in the United States - 1923, Great Britain - 1959-1964 and Sweden - 1965-1967 but these strategies were later abandoned.
The British adopted a medical model allowing physicians to prescribe heroin to addicts. This ‘British system' worked satisfactorily as long as addicts were few in number and all registered. The unofficial index of Britain's Home Office in 1936 noted that there were 616 addicts – 147 of those were from the medical profession. Most of the other cases were of therapeutic origin.
At the time the prescribed supply of narcotics was seen as the best way of avoiding the development of a black market.
Q: Was this experiment successful?
The British government's attitude changed as the problem became unmanageable in the sixties when heroin had to be dispensed to more than a thousand users. Each addict had to be provided with daily doses of heroin as well as the equipment required for injection of the drug four to six times a day.
In an article in the British medical press Chapple and Marks wrote:-
“It has been discovered that one of our patients has made at least eleven people into heroinists (sic) while he was under treatment with legal prescriptions from his own doctor. These eleven are now legalised addicts and probably extending the abuse to others. We consider that no further prescribing of heroin to new addicts should be allowed.”
Because of this logistical problem and because of the diversion of the drug to non-registered addicts – the grey market – heroin began to be progressively replaced by methadone maintenance. Methadone, the long-lasting synthetic drug Physeptone needs to be taken orally once a day.
Ironically in Australia there is now a grey market in methadone. According to Victorian Coroner Jacinta Heffey:-
“Methadone is widespread in the community and too readily finding its way into the hands of vulnerable people it was never meant for. The number of deaths of third parties occasioned by the abuse of the system by the people for whom it is designed is shameful.”
A report into methadone takeaway dosing prepared by the Coroners Prevention Unit found sixty one of the sixty eight methadone overdoses between 2010 and 2011 were cases where the methadone had come from the programme.
Ms Heffey said that based on the known figures as many as forty-two people who were not on the methadone programme could have been fatally overdosed on drugs from programme users between 2010 and 2011 – two people a month. According to Ms Heffey:-
“A desire to retain the programmes clients, may have created an expectation they would be entitled to takeaway doses shortly after joining, as a result of this process, third parties have been able to access a dangerous drug which in many cases has ended in their deaths.”
Almost thirty years after the program began health authorities concede they have no idea how many people are on methadone how many have become drug free or how many have died of an overdose.
Q: But so many ‘experts’ claim that prohibition is responsible for the increase of drug use.
A" Of course they do – this is part of the pro-drug activist’s strategy. They will never acknowledge that this modern obsession with illegal drugs is an 'epidemic'. They claim that prohibition i.e. the mythical ‘war on drugs’ is the reason for the upsurge in drug use. They ignore the fact that it is the demand for drugs by adolescents and young adults that underpins the drug market. They continue to promote the notion that street drugs can be used in a controlled or safe way and that it is an infringement on peoples civil liberties to prohibit there use. This has to be one of the greatest follies of the twenty first century.
Q: What reasons do people give for legalising drugs?
Doctor Alex Wodak - Head of the drug law reform movement in Australia made some curious comments in a recent speech:-
“…to have severe sentences; severe criminal sanctions for people who take drugs that might harm themselves, then we should also be handing out sentences for people who smoke tobacco or drink too much alcohol or who over eat and do not take enough exercise, who go hang gliding, who go mountain climbing so why do we on people who take drugs?”
With respect to Doctor Wodak, we are not ‘‘picking on drug users” we are trying to prevent young people from becoming involved in a lifestyle that can prevent them from reaching their potential and in some cases ruining their lives and those of their family. I can assure you that hang gliding and mountain climbing do not cause short-term memory loss, confusion or have an impact on mental health. And no, smoking tobacco, over eating or not exercising do not cause violent behaviour associated with crack, cocaine and ice.
Surely it would be eminently more sensible to discourage people from abusing alcohol and smoking tobacco and maintain legal sanctions on street drugs so that we can prevent even more use and abuse of potentially dangerous substances.
Q: But why not change the law?
We have laws to ensure a certain standard of behaviour is essential for a civilised society. Crime cannot somehow be eliminated or the behaviour of a drug user changed simply by redefining it as legal. There are many crimes that we have failed to eradicate.
Should we legalise rape, theft, and remove speed limits simple because we have failed to eliminate them? No, we maintain our policing of anti-social behaviours in order to reduce the numbers. If we failed to do this, the results would be catastrophic.
Rather than teaching young people to use drugs ‘responsibly,’ we need to concentrate on reducing the number of teenagers using party drugs and marijuana. It is also the most effective way of cutting down on the number of cocaine ice and heroin users. This is’ harm elimination’ rather than ‘harm minimisation’. I am sure once responsible adults realise that it is young drug users who provide the stimulus for the drug culture, they will realise that the key to solving it is prevention.
However with all the cultural supports for ‘partying’ (a euphemism for getting ‘stoned or drunk,’) the shenanigans of the pro-drug activists and ineffective drug education, it is proving to be exceedingly difficult to promote the ‘drug free’ message. We need to review our drug education and prevention strategies. We also need to keep young people who use marijuana within the criminal justice system.
A: Because it gives magistrates and judges the opportunity and authority to direct them to drug education and/or rehabilitation and hopefully this will stop them from a lifetime of drug use. No one wishes to unfairly penalise young drug users, however a court appearance can often play an important role in preventing further involvement in drugs. Most of the parents of a chronic drug addict that I know, wish that their family member had been prevented from continuing their use of marijuana by a court appearance at an early age.
The intention of the 1988 United Nations Convention (Article 3(6)) that requires the possession and use of marijuana to remain a criminal offence is in order to help and protect young offenders.
“The reason for insisting they be bought into the judicial system is to enable magistrates to use the power of the courts to direct them to remedial measures.”
I think it is time to increase the number of Drug Courts in Australia where specially chosen magistrates who understand the fragile state of those who come before them can advise and encourage them. We also need to increase the number of Rehabilitation Centres.