With further investment and stricter enforcement, the war can still be won.
- Australian prison populations have been increasing for some time, mainly due to convictions for drug offences. The weight of illegal drug seizures has more than doubled over the last decade. Yet rates of illicit drug consumption and related harms have generally trended upward. At what point do we abandon this faith-based approach to policymaking?
- In the US, we have seen aggressive enforcement and sentencing for nonviolent drug offences contribute significantly to mass incarceration – particularly of African-American males – with no clear evidence of a reduction in drug use or related harms. The US is not an example of a successful war on drugs for Australia to follow.
- Destroying crime syndicates and trade routes increases the price of drugs while failing to address the demand, which simply creates a profit motive for more criminal activity.
- The economics of the war on drugs means it can never be won because the more you succeed in disrupting supply, scarcity results in higher prices, which means bigger profit.
- Arrests and seizures give the impression that something is being done to protect us, yet the harm resulting from drug use continues unabated. We must hold lawmakers to account by ceasing to allow tough posturing and extravagant waste to stand in for rational, humane drug policies.
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