We should 'just say no' to Australia's approach to drugs


We should 'just say no' to Australia's approach to drugs

17 January 2017

By Gino Vumbaca

One man is dead and over 20 people have been hospitalised in Melbourne over the weekend after taking what is believed to be a 'bad batch' of MDMA (ecstasy) pills, again highlighting the drug policy paralysis afflicting Australia.

The responses to this latest episode of young people's lives having been placed at high risk are the usual ones. Search for someone to arrest for providing the pills and then issue a general warning telling people not use any drugs as they don't know what is in them. Richard Nixon and Nancy Reagan would be proud.

The advice that people don't know what is in the drugs they are taking is correct but is based on a false premise that this information alone will suffice to deter people from taking the drugs. I guess it is safe to assume that campaigns that tell people to not drink too much, not to drive fast, to eat healthily and not overeat, not to smoke and so forth are all singularly effective on their own and require no further policy interventions to assist people in these decisions. They have been told "do as we tell you" -- so it's case closed.

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Thumbnail: Chapel St, Melbourne - site of 20 overdoses in a weekend CC Mat Connolley