Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Green Drug Policy

The Greens have just announced their new drug policy. The fine details are left open but it's good to see an emphasis on consistent treatment of all drugs (including alcohol and tobacco) and expert evidence-based assessment of which drugs get which legal treatment.

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Blogger Rich said...

While an improvement on current policies, the Green Party policy is still based on prohibition, and runs into all of the problems of prohibition. (It causes crimes to be committed to pay for expensive prohibited drugs, and generates a "business model" for criminals to make and import those drugs).

Possibly if they tried to legalise at least one drug in each general category it would help:
methadone legal, heroin illegal
cocaine legal, methamphetamine illegal
'e' and cannabis legal anyway

That way those so inclined would probably use the legal drugs (cheaper and easier to get) and limit the market for the remaining illegal substances.

30 September 2004 at 2:57 PM  
Blogger Greyshade said...

You've obviously seen more detail then me. The crucial point to me is that all drugs are treated consistently and that decisions are made by experts on the basis of evidence. Your suggestion may have merit but I don't really know what factors control drug choice. I know there are large numbers of alcohol and cannabis users who se the drugs at levels which involve minimal risk of any harm. I can't speak for the others.

30 September 2004 at 6:51 PM  
Blogger jarrod said...

Rich, I know you're only using examples, but I think you've got the heroin/methadone thing backwards. From what I understand, a methadone habit can be more difficult to kick than a heroin one (and is far less satisfying to the user, moreover, meaning that the illegal drug would still remain tempting). Furthermore, if a regular and consistent supply is available, a heroin/morphine user can play a fairly normal part in society - where the health and social problems tend to lie is when people can't afford to maintain their habit (causing them to potentially rely on crime to keep it up, and to focus on their addiction rather than on work, food, family, etc), and when the drug supply is adulterated, possibly with unpleasant additives, or otherwise unpredictable. I don't think heroin is a problem in NZ to the extent it is in the UK or even Australia, but in those countries a substantial amount of property crime is drug related - ensuring an inexpensive and readily available supply of heroin for addicts would surely result in a reduction in crime. One report from the NCIS suggests that in at least one major city, 70% of reported crime was "committed by problematic drug users". Note that heroin is also one of the cheapest drugs to produce commercially - a couple of dollars a dose will do it.

1 October 2004 at 12:45 PM  
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