Friend: This, for example, I agree with although I question the way drug law enforcement is enforced and whether certain aspects of the law is workable:
Weathurburn & Hall: "It's a sad fact that many dependent drug users only seek treatment when the personal and financial cost of continued drug use gets too high. The financial cost is attributable in large part to prohibition.
"The personal cost includes trouble with police and the courts, which is one of the most commonly cited reasons for entering treatment.
"Coercing drug-dependent offenders into treatment is known to be effective in reducing drug use and drug-related crime.
"We don't have to choose between treatment and drug law enforcement. We can and should support both."
This is nothing more than Drug War rhetoric. The first sentence would more accurately read "It's a sad fact that VERY FEW dependent drug users seek treatment only when the personal and financial cost of continued drug use gets too high."
The statement projects the Drug War myth that illicit drugs users are typically dysfunctional addicts and that drug use is a scourge on society. The facts, however, do not support this characterisation.
1. They are talking about maybe 1.5% of drug users. Why should the other 98.5% be persecuted, searched and jailed?
2. Even granting what they say is true for the 1.5%, only a tiny fraction of those actually succeed in getting clean after rehab. They nearly all relapse many times before they stop, regardless of police persecution. "Seeking treatment" is only a beginning.
3. Interdiction does nothing about the social and personal problems most addicts have that drive them into addiction. Until these are solved, the problem is unlikely to go away.
4. If you subtract the harms of prohibition, addiction (while I wouldn't choose it) is not actually much of a problem, certainly not enough to justify jailing the number of people we do.
5. Jail is not much of a deterrent to these people. They can still get drugs in jail, they get a bed and three meals a day. They get to see their long-lost mates, and don't stay in for that long anyway.
6. There are not nearly enough rehab places for those who do want them. The MSIC has a contingency fund to pay some upfront costs for people who want to have a go, because there are rarely any free spots available.
7. Police action has little effect on hardcore users. That's why we consistently see around 200 injections per day in the MSIC in the midst of perhaps the highest concentration of sniffer dog activity in the state. The dogs mainly get recreational users carrying pot or pills.
I could go on.