Drug Free Australia                                                                                                            

Promoting Illicit Drug Prevention Initiatives Nationally


Important Brief to the Australian Community and Parliamentarian


Australia21’s Push for Decriminalisation of Drugs is Disingenuous

The current push for the decriminalisation of all illegal drugs by representatives of Australia21 (including Jeff Kennett)[i],[ii] is entirely disingenuous; it does not accord with Australia21’s main objective of legalising all illegal drugs.

Australians clearly do not want drugs legalised.  The 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey of 25,000 Australia[iii], [iv] indicates that:

  • 99% of Australians do not approve the regular use of heroin, speed and ice
  • 98% do not approve use of cocaine and ecstasy 
  • 90% do not approve of cannabis use 
  • 93-95% do not want use of heroin, speed, ice, ecstasy or cocaine legalised
  • 74% do not want cannabis legalised

Australia21’s most recent 2017 report[v] cites various police administrators and judges who believe that the war on drugs has failed and say alternatives need to be found. 

Drug Free Australia’s response is that these Australia21 representatives of law enforcement and the judiciary appear to ignore the fact that:

  1. Australia has never had a war on drugs.  For more than 30 years Australia’s Drug Policy has done everything to facilitate drug use  – i.e. needle and syringe programs, methadone maintenance  and injecting rooms
  2. Claiming  that we are failing with our policing of drugs is the same as saying that the war on speeding has failed, as drivers continue to speed. Should we then legalise speeding?  The same is true of most crime . . . stealing, rape . . . police never seem to eradicate them, but they create an important deterrent.

Australia21’s central rationale for requesting regulation/legalisation of all drugs is that criminals will be put out of business.[vi]  They claim that legalisation erases the profits for criminals selling drugs.  But research shows that decriminalisation still maintains a black market to supply drugs for users, because demand increases under decriminalised regimes.[vii]  Alternately, compulsory rehabilitation of drug users as in Sweden, which moved from the highest levels of drug use in the 1970s to the lowest in the OECD by the 1990s[viii], reduces drug use AND criminal supply.  Australian legislators can transform this country by implementing compulsory rehab in place of jail. Enhancing our state drug diversion processes would go a long way to support this, rather than giving up on people who suffer addiction.


[i] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-20/jeff-kennett-backs-drug-decimalisation-in-australia/8369970

[ii] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-20/former-top-cops-want-white-market-in-illicit-drugs/8369102

[iii] http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=60129549469&tab=3 – Policy and Attitudes Table 9.6

[iv] http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=60129549469&tab=3 - Policy and Attitudes Table 9.18

[v] http://australia21.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Can-Australia-respond-to-drugs-more-effectively-and-safely-Roundtable-report-Final.pdf

[vi] http://australia21.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Can-Australia-respond-to-drugs-more-effectively-and-safely-Roundtable-report-Final.pdf see recommendation 2, page 8 – “The policy should include substantially reducing, if not eliminating, the size of the criminal marketplace by incrementally moving psychoactive drugs from the black market to the ‘white’ market. This should be accomplished by regulating and, where possible, taxing the supply of currently illicit drugs, . . .”

[vii] https://drugfree.org.au/images/13Books-FP/pdf/Decriminalisation.pdf

[viii] https://www.unodc.org/pdf/research/Swedish_drug_control.pdf

Gary Christian­­­­­


Drug Free Australia

0422 163 141









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