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I honestly can't believe this topic is getting attention in Australian politics. The issue was going to get raised eventually, but I'd thought it'd be at least another 5 years before a politician had the balls to say something about it.

Is this a last ditch effort from Labor or legitimate discussion because it's such a big issue and change is necessary? I'd like to think the latter, the PM has already demonstrated she is completely against the drug reform. I know it's an issue close to Bob Carr's heart because he had a son that died of a heroin addiction.

On one side of the fence, you have people who are completely anti-drugs and they are of the belief illicit drugs should not be tolerated. I'd like to pose a question to people with this viewpoint. Why is it not up to the individual user to decide what they do/don't ingest in their body? Where does accountability come into it? You also hear people say stuff like decriminalization and making illicit drugs legal will just make them more accessible and will create more drug users. To counter this, I'd like to ask where is the proof that decriminalization or legalization will create more drug users? There is no data to backup these claims, and more importantly, even if that were to happen, why is that a problem in itself?

The fact of the matter is that there are plenty of people that live normal lives yet indulge in illicit drugs. For some people, alcohol is not their drug of choice. Why should you hold that against them, and more importantly, what business is it of yours when it doesn't affect you? When used in moderation, it allows them to function normally and doesn't negatively impact their work/family lives, etc.

Hospitals will tell you the biggest problem they have to deal with by far is alcohol, a legal drug. If you look at marijuana, it's decriminalization in SA/Canberra, in the state of NSW although it's not decriminalized as such, the police pretty much don't view it as a crime when you're caught with small quantities, assuming it's for personal use. Have these lax laws increased marijuana usage, are persons addicted to marijuana posing a problem for hospitals? If they have, the increase has been marginal.

If you look at Portugal's drug reform policy that was put in place in 2000, the reported lifetime use of illicit drugs increased from 7.8% to 12%, lifetime use of cannabis increased from 7.6% to 11.7%, cocaine from 0.9% to 1.9%, ecstasy from 0.7% to 1.3%, and heroin from 0.7% to 1.1%. Not only are the increases across the board fairly marginal, it has been proposed that this effect may have been been related to the interviewees being more truthful in their responses due to a reduction in the stigma associated with drug use, which makes a lot of sense. So basically the gap in these statistics is likely inflated.

Although it's widely known that alcohol is a huge problem in todays society, when looking at illegal drug use, it could be suggested making them illegal is adding to the problem. By handing over the manufacturing and distribution to organised crime syndicates, not only does it make it more expensive to buy drugs, it makes it impossible to have any sort of quality control. In fact, most problems associated with the use of illicit drugs is the lack of purity of substances. Put simply, what you think you are buying isn't what you are getting, and the adulterated ingredients is the main culprit and doing the most harm.

Isn't harm minimization and education far more advantageous than just saying no when it comes to drugs? If it were possible to regulate the market, it would ensure what you are buying is in fact what you think you are getting, and the taxes generated from the sale of drugs could be used for important issues like education, drug treatment/therapy, etc. You would have fewer issues because quality control would be in place, and the funds dedicated to education would ensure young people would know about the pros/cons of drug use/abuse and they could become more informed about harm minimization.

Not only would it put a massive dent in the huge profits derived from the sales of illegal drugs on the black market, new drug reform would allow current illicit substances to be used in clinical trials to dig deeper into their medicinal uses. For example, several studies have shown the potential of LSD in it's ability to treat alcoholism and other addictions. There has also been suggestion that MDMA is immensely useful to PTSD sufferers.

I know it's highly likely nothing will ever come of this conversation, but what exactly is terrible about these proposed drug reforms?