Drug Policy Australia is a public health NGO primarily concerned with promoting new approaches to minimise the health risks and other harms caused by the use of both licit and illicit Drugs which affects the wellbeing of all Australians.
"We believe that legally enforced abstinence is unrealistic and counter-productive in modern Australia which has one of the highest per capita consumption rates of illicit drugs in the western world."
According to the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey published by the Australian Government's Institute of Health and Welfare, 3 million Australians aged over 14 used illicit drugs within the preceding 12-months. It is estimated that Australians spend over $7 billion a year on illicit recreational drugs.
Some of the greatest harms from using illicit drugs are because they are illegal.
Illegal drug production is unregulated and many drugs are manufactured in backyard labs. Users cannot be sure what’s in them or how potent they are, so the risk of adverse reactions, including overdose and death, is high.
A large proportion of the work of the justice system – police, courts and prisons – is occupied with drug-related offences. Many people have a criminal record for possessing drugs intended for personal use, which can affect their work prospects.Read more >>
Essay by Kofi Annan former Secretary-General of the United Nation
In my experience, good public policy is best shaped by the dispassionate analysis of what in practice has worked, or not. Policy based on common assumptions and popular sentiments can become a recipe for mistaken prescriptions and misguided interventions.
Nowhere is this divorce between rhetoric and reality more evident than in the formulation of global drug policies, where too often emotions and ideology rather than evidence have prevailed.Read more >>
Pill testing, or drug checking as it’s known in Europe, provides feedback to users on the content of illegal drugs, allowing them to make informed choices.
Taking illicit drugs, especially ecstasy, is not particularly unusual. A 2010 survey found more than 11% of 20- to 29-year-olds and 7% of 18- to 19-year-olds had taken the drug in the previous 12 months. According to annual research among 1,000 ecstasy users, 70% of these pills are taken at clubs, festivals and dance parties.Read more >>
Psychedelic experiences have left an indelible mark on my soul that I hold dear to my identity today.
I am not alone. According to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2013, one in three of us have tried cannabis and one in ten regularly indulge. Hundreds of thousands of us use MDMA (ecstasy), LSD, psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and many others every year. I’m a child of the internet age and the communities we have built together online cross the national boundaries. Psychedelic culture is a global phenomenon, expressed through art, music, philosophy and celebrations across the globe.Read more >>
“Why are the police proceeding with this?” was my question. My client said what she had in her pocket barely registered on the police station’s weighing machine.
One of my first cases as young lawyer was plea bargaining for a PhD university student arrested for a small amount of cannabis because she happened to be talking to a person ‘of interest’ to police. Other people are unlucky too.Read more >>
Harm Reduction Australia’s Statement on the National Ice Action Strategy
Harm Reduction Australia has welcomed the Federal Government’s first step to shift from a law enforcement focus to a health-based approach to addressing drug issues in Australia.
There is little doubt that the Government recognises the evidence and value of treating drug use as a health issue.
However, if Australia’s response is to evolve, be agile and truly reflect the current evidence, then there is a pressing need for all governments to also embrace harm reduction as a critical component of their health based response to drug use.
While demonstrating real progress, the recent announcement falls short of this mark.Read more >>