Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Clive Small reveals size of drugs market

Clive Small, the former senior NSW cop behind much of the information used in the Underbelly series, is out spruiking his next book. He exposes the shallow spin that constitutes most police announcements about drug busts, referring in a radio interview to the four tonnes of ecstasy tablets that was nabbed in Melbourne a few years ago without making any difference to supply or price. Police get only a tiny fraction of the illicit drugs in the market.

Mr Small reminds us of the size of the $12 billion drugs black market and exposes Police successes in that area as mere fiddling around the edges ('Organised crime is out of control', SMH 27 October). He speaks blithely of "spending the big money needed to fight organised crime."

But he ignores the proverbial elephant in the room: that prohibition makes possible the vast profits that feed the beast, which is now so large that financing an effective drugs war would bankrupt whole areas of expenditure elsewhere and create something approaching a police state.

It was the repeal of prohibition that brought down Al Capone's gangs, and the same is required now. Whatever problems drugs cause they are less than the harms of prohibition and are best dealt with by education, regulation and treatment. The tax revenue would be a bonus.

Clive Small would do well to listen to his US counterpart, Norm Stamper, who takes the same arguments to a more logical conclusion.

1 comment:

PMFAddictionTreatmentCenter said...

Thanks for the post.
Placing monies in the coffers for education regarding drug usage has always been something I've been fond of since I started this path many many years ago.