By Gary Nunn / The Guardian
Nat Gombos hesitated before participating in a new campaign encouraging young professionals to speak openly about their illicit recreational drug use.
“I still struggle with it, thinking through the potential ramifications” the 28-year-old says. “I ask myself if it’s smart. But nothing happens without people agitating for change. By not speaking up, I contribute to the wall of silence harming people.”
The solicitor from Sydney, who takes drugs such as MDMA, ketamine, cocaine and cannabis every few months, says this silence presents a false narrative of what drug-taking looks like.
Gombos is participating in a campaign by registered charity Unharm called Let’s be honest/Change the story. One of the major tactics Unharm is employing to achieve their “legal and safe” drug use goal is mimicking the strategy of gay equality law reform movements: by persuading people to “come out” about their use – especially those who dispel stereotypes. Unharm’s ultimate goal is to decriminalise all drug use in Australia by 2030.
This has been done to varying degrees by other countries: Canada and 18 US states have legalised cannabis use and supply, and Portugal decriminalised all illicit drug use in 2001 and it has been regarded as a success, with fewer drug-related deaths and less drug-related crime. Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Chile, Peru, Uruguay and the US state of Oregon have also all decriminalised drug use in one way or another.