Drug plan is failing: new trial needed

In October 2016, what was then the largest drug haul for 2016 was achieved when approximately one tonne of crystal MDMA was saved from entering the community. At the end of December 2016, 500 kilograms of cocaine was halted in NSW and 600 kilograms was intercepted in Tahiti. Most recently a boat was intercepted off the coast of Tasmania carrying 186 kilograms of cocaine (“Arrests follow seizure of cocaine”, Canberra Times, 19 Jan, p14).

No matter the size of drug seizures, the amount of drugs on the streets continually increases. One would think if seizures were having a positive impact that they would decrease over time but data collected by the AFP shows this not to be so. The AFP annual reports state that in 2009-10 drug seizures were 1244.9 kilograms, but in 2015-16 they were 9528.5 kilograms.

Whether so much money should be allotted to a system that is making little real impact surely deserves government attention. Alternative strategies such as decriminalisation and sharing the available resources more equitably with health deserve a trial.

– M. McConnell, CLA member, Giralang ACT

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