ZERO TOLERENCE: A New Drug Policy for AUSTRALIA
As a treatment and recovery professional with 20 years experience in this field, working with many addicts and their loved ones on the front lines, I have been grappling with the dilema of how can we as a society stem the growing public health problem of drug addiction.
Not a week goes by that I am hearing from Australian families from all walks of life that are being torn apart by the consequences of drug addiction. This is across the board in all states, cities and regional areas. It is heartbreaking to say the least.
Grandparent after grandparent having to take over the care of young children, because the their adult children are so out of control, and in some cases causing harm to their innocent little children. Parents reporting being physically and emotionally abused by their own children. Parents becoming frieghtened of their own children. Ive had a few parents becoming suicidal because they have been so traumatised by their loved ones drug addiction.
I have even had cases over the last few years of parents having to re-mortgage their homes to pay off drug dealers for their loved ones drug debts, because their lives have been threatened by these "scumbag" drug dealers.
The Government of our day is spending millions and millions fighting terroism, and sure this is a serious issue, however I believe the real "terroism" fight is in the fight agaist drug addiction in our own backyard. Many lives are being senslesly lost each day due to drug addiction in this country. It is estimated that at least 35 people are dying each week in this country directly from drug addiction. Yet in comparison the amount of money invested by the government in fighting drug addiction is very minimal compared to the money thrown at terroism. Doesnt make any sense to me at all, except there obviously must be more "VOTES" in the terroism fight than drug addiction.
Sydney's senior law enforcement agency has made the astonishing admission that they have lost the war on drugs, as reported in the Daily telegraph on 27th January this year. The Telegraph also reported that organised crime in NSW is “out of control” and anti-drug agencies are failing dismally to stem the tsunami of narcotics flooding the streets.
The Telegaph also revealed that the number of drug lords operating in Sydney has soared to 607, and law enforcement officers are unable to track them due to the criminals’ use of hi-tech encrypted phones.
These shocking revelations follow a recent report by the NSW Crime Commission which says “organised crime is at levels not seen previously in NSW”. The report found the rise of “public enemies” was “almost entirely driven by the prohibited drugs market” Methamphetamine (ice) and cocaine supplies are high and prices for both are considerably lower than five years ago,” the report says. Offshore interests decide the volume of drugs that are imported into Australia and the domestic drug consumption market will consume whatever is available. When an oversupply occurs, the result is a reduction in the price of prohibited drugs, which is precisely what we are seeing at present.
SO WHAT IS THE ANSWER??
IN MY RESEARCH OVER THE YEARS....Sweden is the model nation for a drug-free society. Its drug consumption rates are a fraction of those in Spain and Germany, and what follows is low crime rates. What a surprise!
When you hear hysterical cries from the pro-drug lobby about the futility of law enforcement to curb drug use, they rarely cite Sweden’s zero-tolerance approach. The Swedes as a race condemn illegal drugs and, with the exception of a few pro-drug academics, they support their police and judiciary in keeping drugs away from young people.
Critics cite a number of overdose deaths among recidivist drug users, but those critics won’t or can’t tell you how many thousands of lives have been saved.
Here in Australia, the folly of "harm minimisation" and the head-in-the-sand attitude of our governments to a drug-free solution are appalling. It’s time we had a debate that included all Australians, not just the so-called experts.
Personally I believe ZERO-TOLERANCE has to be the answer. It would give the authorities and health services the opportunity to identify the individuals that need help, and then the problem would be given back to the addict. What this means very simply.....identified addicts would be given the choice accept help or suffer the consequences.
One of the goals of Swedish drug policy has been not to punish drug users, but to offer help and rehabilitation, described as a "caring chain" of outreach services, detoxification, out-patient care and institutional care comprising abstinence based treatment. I believe that this type of drug policy, perhaps with some adjustments, may be our only way of steming this soul destroying and heartbreaking epidemic of DRUG ADDICTION in our land.
Robert Frank Mittiga
International Addiction Recovery Coach / Therapist
Ph 0432 944 027 EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org