Drug law reform: current status, future prospects? Australian Parliamentary Group for Drug Law Reform Dr. Alex Wodak  Aust...
Topics <ul><li>Global situation </li></ul><ul><li>Growing support for harm reduction  </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing problem...
Topics <ul><li>Recent arguments for WoDs? </li></ul><ul><li>Where to from here? </li></ul><ul><li>Summary </li></ul>
Global situation <ul><li>Steadily worsening: # countries; quantities, types drugs; adverse consequences </li></ul><ul><li>...
Growing support harm reduction  <ul><li>Harm reduction debate is over: science won </li></ul><ul><li>More countries adopti...
Harm reduction policy, programs: 2 <ul><li>Asian countries switch: China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, Taiwan, Ind...
Major recent harm reduction gains <ul><li>UNGASS AIDS 2001 ‘implement harm reduction programs by 2005’ </li></ul><ul><li>U...
Major recent harm reduction gains: 2 <ul><li>WHO adds methadone to Essential Drugs List 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>WHO rejects...
Increasing problems with WoDs <ul><li>Excessive reliance drug law enforcement impedes HIV control </li></ul><ul><li>Friedm...
Increasing problems with WoDs: 2 <ul><li>No legal measure associated with injectors per capita  </li></ul><ul><li>All 3 le...
Increasing problems with WoDs: 3 <ul><li>Growing concern seriousness HIV </li></ul><ul><li>Growing evidence WoDs doesn’t w...
Increasing problems with WoDs: 4 <ul><li>Endless supply new, more toxic drugs  </li></ul><ul><li>Pervasive police, officia...
Increasing problems with WoDs: 5 <ul><li>Major new critiques:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Strategy Unit Drugs Project Phase 1...
New books alternatives to prohibition <ul><li>King County Bar Association </li></ul><ul><li>Chief Health Officers, Canada ...
Why is opinion shifting? <ul><li>Evidence getting much stronger </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail, internet reducing ‘information a...
Recent new arguments for WoDs <ul><li>Australia’s heroin shortage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>80-90% reduction opium production ...
Recent new arguments for WoDs <ul><ul><li>Seizures data doesn’t fit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why was amphetamine traffic...
Recent new arguments for WoDs <ul><li>Cannabis psychosis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Science still disputed </li></ul></ul><ul><...
Where to from here? <ul><li>Problem: politics and economics opposed </li></ul><ul><li>What’s popular doesn’t work; what wo...
Where to from here? <ul><li>Progress on this issue only possible from centre-right? </li></ul><ul><li>Can centre-left make...
Summary <ul><li>Global situation steadily worsening: # countries; quantities, types drugs; consequences </li></ul><ul><li>...
Summary: 2 <ul><li>Need approach economically & politically sustainable  </li></ul><ul><li>Compromise: </li></ul><ul><ul><...
Summary: 3 <ul><li>Slow evolution, not rapid revolution </li></ul><ul><li>Other social policy changes very slow e.g. regul...
Links <ul><li>Strategy Unit Drugs Project Phase 1 Report: Understanding the issues’ </li></ul><ul><li>http://image.guardia...
Links: 2 <ul><li>King County Bar Association </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.erowid.org/psychoactives/law/law_policy_proposal...
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Canberra Drug Law Reform Apgdlr 2006

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Canberra Drug Law Reform Apgdlr 2006

  1. 1. Drug law reform: current status, future prospects? Australian Parliamentary Group for Drug Law Reform Dr. Alex Wodak Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation Canberra, 3 July 2006 [email_address]
  2. 2. Topics <ul><li>Global situation </li></ul><ul><li>Growing support for harm reduction </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing problems with War on Drugs (WoDs) </li></ul><ul><li>Alternatives to prohibition </li></ul><ul><li>Why is opinion shifting? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Topics <ul><li>Recent arguments for WoDs? </li></ul><ul><li>Where to from here? </li></ul><ul><li>Summary </li></ul>
  4. 4. Global situation <ul><li>Steadily worsening: # countries; quantities, types drugs; adverse consequences </li></ul><ul><li>Global drugs economy now $US 322 billion/year </li></ul><ul><li>Growing indications political elites aware massive policy failure </li></ul>
  5. 5. Growing support harm reduction <ul><li>Harm reduction debate is over: science won </li></ul><ul><li>More countries adopting harm reduction policy, drug law reform </li></ul><ul><li>International: WHO, UNAIDS, UNODC, World Bank, Red Cross </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing adoption programs: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>25/25 EU members methadone, NSPs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>25/25 Central, Eastern Europe, C Asia NSPs </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Harm reduction policy, programs: 2 <ul><li>Asian countries switch: China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, Taiwan, India </li></ul><ul><li>Australia: oppose as political strategy, support as public policy </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing international uptake, evidence controversial programs: e.g. prison methadone, prison NSPs, injecting rooms, heroin treatment </li></ul>
  7. 7. Major recent harm reduction gains <ul><li>UNGASS AIDS 2001 ‘implement harm reduction programs by 2005’ </li></ul><ul><li>UN Commission Narcotic Drugs 2005 support harm reduction 17:3 </li></ul><ul><li>UNAIDS PCB 2005 support harm reduction 21:1 </li></ul><ul><li>WHO, UNAIDS, UNODC 2005 joint statement methadone treatment </li></ul>
  8. 8. Major recent harm reduction gains: 2 <ul><li>WHO adds methadone to Essential Drugs List 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>WHO rejects attempt INCB re-classify buprenorphine 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Zig-zag gains, not straight line </li></ul><ul><li>Often major contradictions </li></ul><ul><li>1300 delegates 93 countries at 2006 IHRC </li></ul>
  9. 9. Increasing problems with WoDs <ul><li>Excessive reliance drug law enforcement impedes HIV control </li></ul><ul><li>Friedman et al Relationships of deterrence and law enforcement to drug-related harms among drug injectors in US metropolitan areas AIDS 2006, 20:93–99 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>89 large US cities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li># drug injectors per capita </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HIV seroprevalence among injectors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>drug arrests per capita </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>police employees per capita </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>corrections expenditures per capita. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Increasing problems with WoDs: 2 <ul><li>No legal measure associated with injectors per capita </li></ul><ul><li>All 3 legal measures positively associated with HIV prevalence among injectors </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>legal measures little deterrent effect on drug injection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>but may increase HIV </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>consider alternative methods maintaining social order </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Increasing problems with WoDs: 3 <ul><li>Growing concern seriousness HIV </li></ul><ul><li>Growing evidence WoDs doesn’t work – ‘encouraging progress to still distant goals’ 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing # ‘narcostates’ </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing income for ‘narcoterrorism’ </li></ul>
  12. 12. Increasing problems with WoDs: 4 <ul><li>Endless supply new, more toxic drugs </li></ul><ul><li>Pervasive police, official corruption </li></ul><ul><li>Fiscal conservatives concerned ‘high taxing, big government’ </li></ul><ul><li>Drugs are a market: wherever strong demand, always supply </li></ul>
  13. 13. Increasing problems with WoDs: 5 <ul><li>Major new critiques: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Strategy Unit Drugs Project Phase 1 Report: Understanding the issues’ UK Blair Cabinet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Are We Losing the War on Drugs?’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>David Boyum, Peter Reuter American Enterprise Institute </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. New books alternatives to prohibition <ul><li>King County Bar Association </li></ul><ul><li>Chief Health Officers, Canada </li></ul><ul><li>Vancouver City Hall </li></ul><ul><li>Transform, UK </li></ul>
  15. 15. Why is opinion shifting? <ul><li>Evidence getting much stronger </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail, internet reducing ‘information asymmetry’ </li></ul><ul><li>Declining US prestige – ‘but the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy’ Downing Street memo, July 2002 </li></ul>
  16. 16. Recent new arguments for WoDs <ul><li>Australia’s heroin shortage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>80-90% reduction opium production Burma from 1996 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Heroin shortage other countries supplied by Burma e.g. Canada </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Was funding really increased? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Did drug law enforcement really become more effective? </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Recent new arguments for WoDs <ul><ul><li>Seizures data doesn’t fit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why was amphetamine trafficking also not affected? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shift to amphetamine trafficking? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased consumption China? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prediction 1996 Wardlaw </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Amphetamine psychosis 60% increase </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluation embedded? </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Recent new arguments for WoDs <ul><li>Cannabis psychosis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Science still disputed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If cannabis so dangerous, why let bad guys regulate it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Health effects still inflated, no deaths </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problem distinguishing drug effects from policy effects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why tobacco, alcohol legal? </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Where to from here? <ul><li>Problem: politics and economics opposed </li></ul><ul><li>What’s popular doesn’t work; what works isn’t popular </li></ul><ul><li>Articulate alternative plans </li></ul><ul><li>Expand international network </li></ul><ul><li>Learn from history harm reduction </li></ul>
  20. 20. Where to from here? <ul><li>Progress on this issue only possible from centre-right? </li></ul><ul><li>Can centre-left makes that easier? </li></ul><ul><li>Major role business groups </li></ul><ul><li>Important UN review 2008: 10 years from ‘a drug free world: we can do it!’ </li></ul>
  21. 21. Summary <ul><li>Global situation steadily worsening: # countries; quantities, types drugs; consequences </li></ul><ul><li>Massive failure policy increasingly recognised </li></ul><ul><li>Ripe political correction but pragmatic approach opposed by morality based approaches </li></ul>
  22. 22. Summary: 2 <ul><li>Need approach economically & politically sustainable </li></ul><ul><li>Compromise: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Drug users get some but not all desired drugs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community accept drug use cannot be eradicated, partial eradication worse for everyone </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Summary: 3 <ul><li>Slow evolution, not rapid revolution </li></ul><ul><li>Other social policy changes very slow e.g. regulation sex, gambling </li></ul><ul><li>Are communities ahead of politicians? </li></ul>
  24. 24. Links <ul><li>Strategy Unit Drugs Project Phase 1 Report: Understanding the issues’ </li></ul><ul><li>http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Guardian/documents/2005/07/05/Report.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Are We Losing the War on Drugs?’ </li></ul><ul><li>David Boyum, Peter Reuter </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. aei .org/publications/ pubID .22192,filter.all/pub_detail.asp </li></ul>
  25. 25. Links: 2 <ul><li>King County Bar Association </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.erowid.org/psychoactives/law/law_policy_proposal1.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>Chief Health Officers, Canada </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.cfdp.ca/bchoc.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>Vancouver City Hall </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.csdp.org/research/preventingharm_report.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>Transform, UK </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.tdpf.org.uk/Transform_After_the_War_on_Drugs.pdf </li></ul>

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