Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform

committed to preventing tragedy that arises from illicit drug use

PM rejection of NCA evidence frightening


The frank and fearless advice of the NCA about the clear and present danger illicit drugs and organised crime pose for Australia is welcomed. The acceptance of that advice by the ALP, Democrats and the Greens is also welcome.

"Prime Minister Howard’s rejection of the NCA evidence is frightening because he is not listening to this expert body," said Brian McConnell, President of Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform. "Since Prime Minister Howard rejected the heroin trial in 1997 there have been over 3,000 unnecessary heroin overdose deaths, and the NCA advice demonstrates unbridled crime increases. Howard’s recalcitrance has allowed these deaths and the crime increases to happen."

"The Swiss have demonstrated the success with their heroin trial which also reduced crime by about 70% in the areas where their trials were conducted."

"PM Howard angrily claims supporters of a heroin trial have thrown up their arms in surrender. This is not the case - families have thrown up their arms in despair that the prime minister will not listen. He has also said that there will never be a heroin trial while he is prime minister. Families will get a chance at the up-coming election to rectify this matter and choose someone who is prepared to try."

"The cover up by AFP Commissioner Keelty is also frightening. On July 19, 2001 the Melbourne Herald Sun reported him saying that the heroin drought ‘was more a result of a business strategy by Asian crime czars than a shortage of the drug’. Now he is saying AFP seizures are the reason for the heroin drought. But this is unlikely because the NCA points out that seizures amount to no more than 12% of the heroin arriving in Australia."

Asian crime czars have now moved into methamphetamines, cocaine and ecstacy.

The NCA acknowledged the considerable business acumen and the large sums of money at the disposal of organised crime.

"It is probable that the recent large seizures of these new drugs represent at best only a small sample of the total amount arriving in Australia and the large quantities seized only indicate the much larger quantities come in. Based on NCA estimates this is an 88% failure rate."

"Every possible option for combating this must be ruled in, not ruled out as the PM has done."


For more information: Contact Brian McConnell (02) 6254 2961