Pubdate: Thu, 15 Apr 1999
Date: 04/15/1999
Source: Canberra Times (Australia)
Author: Alex Wodak

UNDER current policy 84 per cent of Commonwealth and state government
expenditure on illicit drugs is allocated to law enforcement.

In recent years this criminal-justice-based approach in Australia has
achieved spreading illicit drug use, a doubling of drug-overdose
deaths, rapidly increasing crime rates and sufficient official
corruption linked to drug prohibition to launch two Royal

Yet the communique released after the 9 April drugs meeting of the
Council of Australian Governments only promises more of the same.

But not all countries are going backwards.

Drug-overdose deaths in Switzerland halved in the same period that
ours doubled.

Drug use, deaths, disease, crime and corruption will keep on
increasing in Australia until our politicians give priority to health
and social responses to this issue.

That is how Australia handled heroin dependence up till

(Dr) ALEX WODAK President, Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation,
Darlinghurst, NSW Director, Alcohol and Drug Service, St Vincent's
Hospital, Sydney