- Get a friend to signup
- Get a family member signup
- Spread the word by sharing our posts on Facebook and other social media
- Forward this email to like minded groups or organisations
- Write a letter to the editor about us
that the seizure will be but a small blip (if any) in the supply of amphetamines,
that the huge profits to be made from amphetamine sales will simply attract new suppliers to replace those arrested."
- In spite of intensive efforts to interdict supply illicit drugs are readily available in the prison
- Syringes currently find their way into the prison and are shared
- NSP programs reduce the spread of blood borne viruses
- Health services available outside the prison should also be available to those incarcerated
- Prisoners are sent to jail as punishment not for additional punishment
- Prisoners should be released from prison at least as healthy as when they entered
- The safety and health of prison officers will be improved
- Overseas countries have successfully adopted NSPs in prisons
- Homelessness reduced to 1%
- Unemployment reduced from 73% to 44%
- Illicit drug use reduced § Health of individuals improved
- Serious property offences reduced by 98%
- Other property offences reduced by 88%
- Selling soft drugs reduced by 70%
- Selling hard drugs reduced by 91%,
Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform was formed as a direct result of heroin related deaths in the Australian Capital Territory. It believes that prohibition laws are more the problem than the solution. It seeks alternaive laws and policies that substantially reduce the deaths and minimise the health and social harm to users, families and society.
FFDLR believes society should help people come through any drug using experience alive and as healthy as possible. In other words FFDLR is about promotion of life and wellbeing. This is more important than being "drug free".
Highest drug seizures and arrests = Costly losing battle
The latest Illicit Drug Report states that over 93,000 illicit drug arrests were made and 23.8 tonnes of illicit drugs were seized in 2011/12 - "the highest reported in the last decade," says John Lawler, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Crime Commission.
Lawler's forward to the report suggests a losing battle by police throughout Australia. He says: "There have been changes in the availability and use of drugs ... increased availability of drug analogues and novel substances ... changes to drug supply routes and concealment methodologies ... technology continues to empower buyers and extend the reach of sellers" ... but ... "constant is the presence of organised crime. The illicit drug market remains the principle source of profit for organised crime".
In a year of highest arrests and seizures why is this battle being lost? A clue lies in the hidden market/fishing rule: if your favourite fishing spot nets you more fish then you can be sure that there are more fish to be caught. Thus in this year of more users and drug captures, you can be sure that there are more available to be caught. The amount of drugs available on the streets could be as much as 238 tonnes.
The same rule applies to arrests but it is mostly not the dealers that are arrested - most arrests are of users (81.7%).
Unfortunately, no costs associated with the capture of drugs and drug users are included in the report for us to evaluate just how much this losing battle costs. Australian cash-strapped governments should look to this area for cost-saving in balancing their budgets.
Still time to join the Drug Law Reform Australia Party
The Drug Law Reform Party's strategy of making drug law reform an election issue depends on getting 500 members and registering as a political party.
It isgetting close to this goal but needs your help to spread the word.
At the current rate of members joining they will be about 50 short of the AEC requirement.
Here’s what you can do to help.
There is free supporter membership and $25 full memberships available. Both qualify for the Party to be registered by the Electoral Commission. Link here>> to the Party's website.
You can also view Marion McConnell speaking at the launch of the party here:
Recent amphetamine seizure represents one month's use
"The seizure by police of 585 kg of ice, whilst a great effort, only represents an estimated 6.8 percent of Australia's yearly usage1, or in other words one month's consumption", said Brian McConnell, President of Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform.
"While this new report of the 'largest drug bust ever' could lead one to believe the end of the drug trade is near, in reality the report simply camouflages the ineffectiveness of trying to prevent drugs coming into Australia."
Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform has for many years been calling on law enforcement organisations to report their efforts in a more effective way, avoiding the sensationalism, and reporting seizures relative to consumption.
Large seizures usually indicate an increase in importation of the drug.
"The real stories contained in this news are
"This is a classic case of repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different results."
"Until the whole concept of prohibition is examined and different approaches are attempted, nothing will change."
1Based on estimated annual consumption for 2010
For more information: Contact Brian McConnell (02) 6254 2961 or mobile 04 0907 4033
Global Declaration by parents and families for better drug laws
A Declaration for parents, family members and their friends and Family Organisations, who have witnessed and suffered from the existing response to drugs.
A Declaration for Parents, family members and their friends have suffered greatly as a result of the prohibition drug laws and policies.
A Declaration for family members have died or been murdered, been imprisoned, suffered poor health and denied essential treatment services as a direct or indirect result of prohibition drug laws and policies.
A Declaration that will call for governments of each country to re-align their drug laws and policies so that human rights are protected, problematic drug use is treated as a health and not a criminal issue, and a Declaration that also calls on the Secretary-General of the United Nations to evaluate existing treaties and to promote an international drug control regime that causes the least possible harm.
Find out more and how to sign the Declaration here >>>
Australia21 has released its second report "Alternatives to prohibition- Illicit drugs:how can we stop killing and criminalising young Australians".
This second report on Illicit Drugs was launched by Dr Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet, on Sunday 9 September, at the Adelaide Convention Centre, on the eve of the 2012 Population Health Congress. The Report focuses on what Australia can learn from the experiences of three countries (Portugal, Switzerland and the Netherlands) which have liberalised their drug regimes in some way, and one country (Sweden) which has followed a strict law enforcement policy.
An edited version of Dr Horton's remarks at the launch was published on the opionion page of the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday 10 September - access it here>>.
Media release by FFDLR:
Australia21 report can save young lives
Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform congratulates and welcomes the second report from
Australia21 entitled "Alternatives to prohibition - Illicit drugs: How we can stop killing and criminalising young Australians".
"Australia21 is one of the few organisations that has had the courage to speak publicly on the
grave consequences that is visited on young people and their families because of our prohibition
drug laws," said Brian McConnell, President of Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform.
"Prohibition has been an experiment that has failed. Even though the United Nations recognised
this in 1988, it and the rest of the world persisted, thinking that if they tried even harder it might
just work. "
In its 1988 convention on drugs the UN, among other things, said that it was "Deeply concerned
also by the steadily increasing inroads into various social groups made by illicit traffic in
narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, and particularly by the fact that children are used in
many parts of the world as an illicit drug consumers market and for purposes of illicit roduction,
distribution and trade in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, which entails a danger of
And yet it continued with the same failed policies with no evaluation and it even believed that it
could achieve a drug free world by 2008.
"Australia21 has examined the prohibition policy and has identified some of the possible options
for consideration. In short Australia21 has thrown the gauntlet down and challenged Australian
governments to discuss the alternatives," said McConnell.
"It is telling that Australia21 has focused on the fact that the drug laws are killing our young
people as this report is released just one day after the 20th anniversary of the overdose death of my oldest son. If the use of drugs had not been driven underground by the prohibition laws and if it had been treated just as a health problem, we would not have been in the dark about his drug use and we might have been able to save his life........" Read full media release here>>>
It is time to reopen the national debate about drug use, its regulation and control
Australia21 has released a report entitled "The prohibition of illicit drugs is killing and criminalising our children and we are all letting it happen".
The report states in clear terms that the present prohibition drug laws have failed and it is time to reopen the debate.
The report was written following a round table discussion attended by health experts, former members of parliament, a former AFP commissioner, a former Director of Prosecution and QC, academics, family members and young people.
Media Release by FFDLR: Open debate for better drug laws needed High level Australia 21 report supported
Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform strongly supports and endorses the Australia 21 report of its high level roundtable that calls for an open debate on Australia's prohibition drug policy.
"Criminal syndicates and corrupt officials, who run this hugely profitable black market trade, are the result of prohibition laws. Governments pour money into law enforcement, yet more than 75 percent of the drugs are consumed undetected. Only small change is given to the more effective health based options. Our young people are easy targets for both the drug trade and law enforcement. Prohibition drug laws do not protect our children," said McConnell.
"Governments and members of parliaments make those prohibition laws and they must be held responsible for the collateral damage that those laws cause", said McConnell. "They must evaluate the laws that they have supported. It is time for governments and members of parliaments to overcome their fear of debating failed drug policies. It is now time to end the procrastination and inaction".
Read the full media release here >>
Petition for a public debate about drug laws and policies
On Thursday 17 November Marion McConnell on behalf of FFDLR presented a petition of over 300 signatures to Amanda Bresnan, Greens member for Brindabella, for tabling in the ACT Legislative Assembly.
When handing over the petition she said:
"Our prohibition drug laws were never based on evidence or research but rather on false morality, racial prejudice and international pressure.
"It is incumbent on our lawmakers to realise their full responsibility in all the actions they take, or don’t take, and all the possible flow on consequences. Politicians must realise how important their actions are in what happens to families and the whole of society through their decisions on drug policy.
"In all these years since my son died I have not swayed from this conviction that our drug laws are unjust. It is the young and vulnerable who are sacrificed while the multi billion-dollar illegal drug industry continues to flourish.
"The possibilities flowing from it could be quite significant. It could contribute to saving lives, reducing social costs, reducing crime and corruption, and save the ACT budget significant sums of money."
Read the full text here>>
You may also be interested in....
FFDLR's 16th Annual Remembrance Ceremony for 'those who lose their lives to illicit drugs' is now on YouTube here>>>
The Beckley Foundation's Global initiative for Drug Policy Reform which also has a petition addressed to Ban Ki Moon and all Heads of State saying: "We call on you to end the war on drugs and the prohibition regime, and move towards a system based on criminalisation, regulation, public health and education. This 50 year old policy has failed, fuels violent organised crime, devastates lives and is costing billions. It is time for a humane and effective approach."
Review of Portugal's drug decriminalisation
In 2001 Portugal decriminalised all drugs including heroin and cocaine. There were many who predicted adverse outcomes such as rampant drug use, high rates of drug tourism, increased addiction and related illnesses. However some eight years later, none of these predictions have eventuated.
Dr Caitlin Hughes presented at a Public Meeting Thurs 17 Nov 2011, 12:30pm
ACT Legislative Assembly. The title of her talk was "What can we learn from the Portuguese decriminalisation of illicit drugs. Find the PowerPoint presentation here >>> and the news release from the UNSW National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre here >>>.
FFDLR supports introduction of a needle and syringe program (NSP) in the ACT prison for the following reasons:
opinion piece here>>
Read editorial in August 2011 Newsletter here>>
Read about international experience here>>
The Public Health Association of Australia was commissioned to say how it could be done.
Read report here>>>
The ACT government asked for submissions on the PHAA report. Read some reports here>>>
Regulating drugs - does it work?
Here is what happened when just one illegal drug was regulated and controlled:
and this approach saved money. Read more here>>>
Retired Supreme Court Judge speaks out for Drug Law Reform