According to the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey Report, published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the 2013-14 Illicit Drug Data Report by the Australian Crime Commission:
- 20 % of all 18 - 30 year olds have used cannabis recently
- 10% of all 18 - 30 year olds have used ecstasy recently
- 112,049 Australians have been arrested for drug offences in 2013
In addition to these significant use rates, it is estimated that Australians currently spend approximately $7 billion each year on illegal, recreational drugs, with the enormous profits of this illegal market ending up in the pockets of organised crime.
As a result of treating drug use as a criminal matter rather than a social & health issue, the production, sale and use of illegal drugs is wholly unregulated. As a consequence:
- the enormous illegal market trade in illicit substances escapes taxation, such as GST on their sale and income tax on profits
- thousands of Australians are convicted every year for simple drug possession offences. Aussies who do not otherwise have any criminal involvement
- the enforcement of drug prohibition takes up police time and resources, clogs up the courts and jails while costing millions of dollars that could be better spent elsewhere
- the Australian public healthcare system foots many of the costs involved with treating problematic drug use and it’s devastating impact on the individual, their families and their communities
- synthetic drugs are being produced with potentially toxic ingredients, rather than undergoing strict safety standards, as are applied to medicinal/pharmaceutical drugs; and
- Many people who use drugs are forced into the criminal underworld at a great cost to their health, their families and to the community at large.
We don’t proclaim to have all the answers of what the best regulatory approach to currently-illicit drugs is, but we know the current prohibition is causing more harm that good. We want to get the national discussion begun and to convince the Australian people, as well as the Federal & State governments, of the pressing need for drug law reform in Australia.
Royal Commission on Illicit Drugs
We are calling on the 46th Parliament of Australia to establish a Royal Commission of enquiry into the health, social and economic costs associated with the criminalisation of recreational drug use, including the costs associated with organized crime, terrorism and corruption.
Click here to sign our Petition call for a royal commission into drug policy.
Conscience Vote for Politicians
We believe that all politicians should be allowed a conscience vote on the question of drug law reform.
Responsible Contribution to Policy debate in the Senate
Drug Law Reform Australia intends to remain a single-issue party but is also committed to making a responsible contribution to policy debate and negotiations on other issues.
In line with our general commitment to conscience voting, any of our elected parliamentarians will be allowed a conscience vote on all issues that they are required to consider other than drug law reform.
However, one important principle that we will adhere to as a party committed to responsible government will be that we will not be involved in any attempt to remove a democratically elected government by blocking supply.
A New Regulatory Model for Drugs
We believe that a new regulatory approach to drugs should be considered to replace prohibition. To this end, we propose the following:
- The possession and use of drugs such as cannabis and ecstasy, which are used relatively harmlessly by millions of Australians, should be decriminalized;
- A new regulatory approach should be considered for the production and sale of various types of drugs, along the lines of what is being introduced in other jurisdictions including New Zealand, Portugal, Switzerland and Colorado and Washington in America;
- The level of support for people seeking help through the health system for their addiction to drugs should be dramatically improved, emphasizing harm prevention and reduction;
- All Australian parliamentarians should be allowed a conscience vote on drug policy, which will allow evidence-based policy initiatives to be developed, tested and implemented.
Drug Law Reform Australia does not intend to reinvent the wheel when it comes to proposals for how a new system would work. There are many international examples of new systems achieving real success in removing criminal sanctions while improving health outcomes for drug users and reducing various social harms related to drug use.
There is also a wealth of research on these issues that is publicly available on the internet. Please go to our Research Links page for more information