Although the media sporadically reports on major narcotic raids, the general consensus about the war on drugs is that small battles will not win this war. Despite all the money spent on drug enforcement worldwide, illicit drugs are still relatively cheap and widely available. Increasingly drugs are being viewed as a social problem rather than strictly a legal one.
So is it time to rethink traditional approaches to the illegal drug industry? Countries like Portugal and Argentina are forging ahead with drug reforms, but will Australia follow suit?
In this panel from the provocative Festival of Dangerous Ideas the argument is put forward that decriminalization and regulation would be the best solution to addressing the problems associated with drugs.
Greg Barns is an author, political commentator and barrister.
He was an advisor to NSW Premier Nick Greiner and also for the Howard Government. He is also a spokesperson for the Prison Action and Reform Group.
Michael Duffy is an Australian radio presenter and newspaper columnist. He presents the Counterpoint program on ABC Radio National.
He was originally hired in an attempt by Radio National management to find, in the words of Australian Prime Minister John Howard, a "right-wing Phillip Adams."
Norm Stamper is the former Chief of the Seattle Police Department.
He is an advisory board member for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and is the author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing.
Dr. Alex Wodak is the Director of the Alcohol and Drug Service at St. Vincent's Hospital in Sydney.
He is also President of the International Harm Reduction Association and the author of Drug Prohibition: A Call for Change.
Physician Alex Wodak discusses reforming the war on drugs, including legalizing marijuana and repealing criminal penalties for personal possession and consumption. He says the focus of drug reform should be on harm reduction, not prosecution.
Drug that produces analgesia (seeanalgesic), narcosis (stupor or sleep), and drug addiction. In most people narcotics also produce euphoria. Those that occur naturally in the opium poppy, notably morphine, have been used since ancient Greek times. The main therapeutic use of narcotics is for pain relief. Most countries limit the production, sale, and use of narcotics because of their addictive properties and detrimental effects and the incidence of drug abuse. With the development in the 19th century of the hypodermic needle and of heroin, five to 10 times as potent as morphine, the use and abuse of narcotics increased dramatically. A narcotic overdose can cause central nervous system depression, respiratory failure, and death.
the current PROHIBITION of CANNABIS as just a plant must be repealed ,, treat it like TOMATOES.. HUMANS have had their HUMAN rights to use , grow & posses this natural plant , TAKEN AWAY by authorities who have MORAL & RACIST ISSUES on their agenda. AMERICA is in the hands of greedy powerful prison building & drug pharma groups with NO GOOD intentions. PROHIBITION is an extremely pervasive EVIL that continues to do much DAMAGE around the WHOLE WORLD.
however , many countries have seen the light & are reforming this reppressive stance on their own citizens. COMPASSION & CARE ,,, when did you last hear these words in a prohibitionist argument ? consider the "TOMATO MODEL" we should be free to grow & use as we please. GO the "TOMATO MODEL" or try to prohibit tomatoes, that's how how obscene & ridiculous this drug law really is.
EDUCATE NOT INCARCERATE.
Marcross...Thank you for leaving a grounded and reasonable comment! Unlike the "Conspiracy Theory" laced comments by the others your comment is grounded in reality. The only way to get at the problem is approaching it from a rational point of view. The Alex Jones crowd likes to blame everything real & make believe on certain boogeymen. This approach causes rational people to turn away.
I think we have it pretty good in the west Dana, I hear what your saying & the bully boys that run corporations do have a lot to answer for, but like Austin said, spend just a few weeks in India or Africa & it puts a whole new perspective on how good we actually have it. The drugs debate isn't about the end user, although the end user is in most cases the victim of a wrought from all sides, its about the outrageous profits made by the drug cartels, government agencies & private prison operators. If you legalize drugs you risk putting all those government employees out of work & were talking thousands of them, the private prison operator risk losing hundreds of millions in easy money & of course the drug cartels lose their fat profits. You'll find the biggest donations to anti drug politicians come from the drug cartels & the religious right, both should be seen as the most dangerous & evil forces in western politics today.
If you think that life is so boring and mindless today for the average Western person please read a history book or travel to a country that is not as rich as a Western country. Also, you might want to and one more adjective : hard.
you want to win the war on drugs go after the people who made life so boring and mindless that you want to inject toxins into your body to get away from it ,the people who made you happy to work 10 hrs a day 5 days a week to enjoy 2 , the people who raised taxes so much the dollar is worth 4 cents compared to 1913 , the people who profited off human misery . aka the Rothschild , Rockefeller , the Bilderberg group , they have destroyed everything good , the people who produce depleted uranium munitions , the people who send poor family's kids to fight war for profitable military industrial machine , the world is polluted because we allowed corporations to have human rights , the lobby groups who manipulate everything for a agenda that serves no purpose only to destroy life's dreams of being able to raise a family with out Baxter international injecting them with cowardly toxins . there is no end to the list now .