Despite having drug prohibition policies in place, the drug trade in Victoria continues to rise dramatically, and Greg Barns is labelling those policies as failed ones in an article for The Age.
Significant increase in drug offences
Barns says that despite Victoria spending billions on the implementation of its drug policies, use and possession offences for all drugs in the state have grown by 68 per cent over the last five years. He also cites a report by The Age that says almost 18,000 drug use-possession offences were still recorded in the past financial year.
According to Barns, Australia should look into the example of Portugal decriminalising the possession and use of all illicit drugs. Instead of filing offences against people caught possessing and using drugs, the Portuguese government sends them to a panel of legal, health, and social work professionals. More often than not, they are not penalised in any way, and are not forced to undergo treatment. Barns points out that because of this policy, Portugal has seen a decline in drug use.
While there are numerous arguments for drug legalisation, there are also many points against it. Those against decriminalisation say it could lead to an increase in the number of casual users, who could then become drug abusers. More drug users also means more health problems and lower productivity for the country. Whatever savings a government can get with lower criminal cases to pursue and taxation measures on those drugs, everything will be offset by rising health costs and loss of productivity.
To read the full article, click here.