A former top Australian cop talks sense. The war on drugs has failed. We should stop criminals having a monopoly on drugs by regulating and taxing drugs and putting those who break tax laws in jail for a very long time.
The reality is that, contrary to frequent assertions, drug law enforcement has had little impact on the Australian drug market. This is true in most countries in the world.
In Australia the police are better resourced than ever, better trained than ever, more effective than ever and yet their impact on the drug trade, on any objective assessment, has been minimal.
In the Herald last week, the opposition health spokesman, Peter Dutton, asserted that ”law enforcement does achieve significant results and is not yet at its peak of effectiveness”. I feel compelled to respond, because frankly the evidence does not stack up. In Australia last year, 86 per cent of drug users said that obtaining heroin was ”easy” or ”very easy”, while 93 per cent reported that obtaining hydroponic cannabis was ”easy” or ”very easy”.
The price of street heroin and cocaine decreased by more than 80 per cent in the US and Europe in the past 20 years. Despite a huge investment by the US in drug law enforcement, northern Mexico has descended into a drug cartel battlefield, driven by the demand for illicit drugs within the US. At the local level, our young people can and do purchase illicit drugs with ease and generally with impunity. If this is an effective policy at work, I am not sure what failure would look like.