During my recent Australian book tour for Pills, Powder and Smoke: Inside the Bloody War on Drugs, the Canberra Times consistently featured the work and its themes (likely due to the fact that this progressive Territory is very open to drug reform and just legalised cannabis for personal use).
Last weekend the paper published yet another story, this time on how a government should rate happiness and wellbeing and my comments about it, and a letter to the editor in response to a recent editorial that called for a radical rethink of the futile drug war (while referencing my call to legalise and regulate all drugs):
I fully agree with “There is a way, but ‘just say no’ is not it” (Editorial, September 15).
The “war on drugs” was declared over 50 years ago, nothing has changed. In fact more people are using illicit drugs today. The cost must be close to $20 billion. Large numbers of people in prison, more costs. Seizure rates, the same as in the 1980s, about 10 per cent. Thousands of people have died needlessly. Thousands of families destroyed, for what? So politicians, can pretend that voters will except their failure, as long as politicians, keep feeding voters with lies.
It’s a relentless, nonsensical obsession, with failure, a failure of monumental proportions. I find it almost impossible to believe that after all these years of failure and the many state and federal inquiries, all recommending treating drug dependence as a health problem. Governments continue to waste billions of taxpayers money. Nothing has changed.
I call it, Australia’s largest policy failure is “the war on drugs”. It is clearly a shameful embarrassment to this country. Other countries have achieved great success in drug law reform. Evidence is there to see. All this evidence is ignored by our politicians. They have to protect their “just say no” failure.
Michael Gardiner, Coombs
Here’s the full PDF article of the story above: