Australian Cops: "Policign is not the Answer" 1/9/98

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On Jan. 2, the Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence, a group made up of many of the nation's chiefs of police, released a stunning report on the prospects (or, rather, the lack thereof) for enforcement to have an impact on the problems associated with drugs. The report notes that despite vastly increased spending, law enforcement has failed to make a dent in either supply or demand, and indicates that upholding the law is in many cases harmful and counterproductive. "On one hand, there is the public expectation that they (police officers) will uphold the law and proceed against drug offenders," the report says, "on the other hand, it is widely recognized that street-level policing can actually lead to harm to both drug users and society."

The report notes that cannabis laws, and their enforcement, may well have the effect of pushing users toward the purchase and use of harder drugs, and points out that efforts targeting drug dealers had been singularly ineffective. It goes on to cite the steady increase in availability, and decline in price of drugs on the street as just one indicator of the failure of enforcement as a tool of drug policy. The report comes several months after the federal government cancelled, at the last minute, a proposed experiment in heroin maintenance modeled on the successful Swiss trials. That decision brought much condemnation from both inside and outside the government. Australian press reports at the time claimed that the US State Department had made substantive back-room threats against Australia's legal opiate industry if the trials were held.

To find out more about the reform movement in Australia, visit the web site of Family and Friends for Drug Policy Reform at

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Issue #24, 1/9/98 A Look Ahead at 1998 | War on Patients to Escalate: Federal Government Announces Plan to Raid Cannabis Buyers' Clubs | DRCNet Exclusive!! British Euro-MP's Ordered by Blair to Vote Against Commission Recommendations for EU Drug Policy | Ann Landers, Anthony Lewis Trash Drug War: DRCNet subscribers are urged to respond! | Candle Correction | Giuliani Pledges a "Drug Free New York" | Heroin in New England -- Cheaper, Purer Than Ever | Federal Anti-Drug Ad Campaign to Hit Airwaves | America "Works With" Her International Partner | US Counternarcotics Base to Replace Air Force Base When Panama Canal is Turned Over | Signature Drive Underway for Industrial Hemp Ballot Initiative in California | UK: Home Secretary's Son Found Dealing Cannabis, Legaliation Debate Rages | Australian Cops: "Policign is not the Answer" | "Smoke a Joint, Lose a Limb?:" Pending Mississippi Bill Threatens Dismemberment For Convicted Drug Violators | Student Suspension Overturned | Jury Nullification Ballot Initiative in California | Job Opportunity at DPF | Editorial: A "Drug Free New York?" C'mon Rudy
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