Friday, June 12, 2009

Crime Commission says drugs more popular than ever

“In 2007–08 the number of cocaine detections at the Australian border increased by 71 per cent, and the number of cocaine seizures was the highest on record,” says the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) on the release of its Illicit Drug Data Report 2007–2008.

Cannabis and ecstasy use remain high and heroin is on the increase following a rise in production in Burma. There were a whopping 52,465 cannabis arrests in 2007–08. Some 86% of these arrests snared users, not dealers. 

Most illegal importation into Australia is via the post.

So much for the facts. It's the spin accompanying them that's interesting. 

One might conclude from the above that prohibition isn't working. But no, the Sydney Morning Herald gushes about Australia's "cocaine binge" and the ACC talks about "the scourge of illicit drugs" even as it admits that other indicators such as hospital admissions have not risen.

If the drugs were such a scourge, you'd wonder why so many people were taking them. No, Virginia, it's not because of addiction -- ecstasy and pot are not physically addictive and by far the majority of coke users are strictly recreational. 

Of course the bikie wars had to be dragged in. See if you can spot the fallacy in this Herald quote from the ACC's chief executive, John Lawler:

Mr Lawler said recent violence in the Sydney underworld was linked to illegal drugs.

"Drugs are in large part what is driving it - competition for market share, people trying to muscle in on market share and other ructions within the outlaw motorcycle and organised crime groups," he said.
No, Mr Lawler, prohibition is driving it as that's what creates the link between drugs and criminals.

But you wouldn't expect a crime executive to push a line that might put him out of a high-paying job, would you? 

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