Wrap Up – The Australasian Drug and Alcohol Strategy Conference

As part of my work with Eros Association, I attended the ADAS Conference in Sydney at Luna Park.  The conference was largely run for and by law enforcement in Australia and New Zealand, with the event attended by police officers from all the states and territories, federal police officers and officers from New Zealand.  There were also scientists, researchers, industry representatives and alcohol and other drugs (AOD) workers.

Overall, the conference was quite interesting.  It was good to see a side of the debate that I don’t often get to experience first hand.

There was a wide variety of view points expressed at the conference, ranging from tough on drugs, zero-tolerance rhetoric to progressive, reformist discussions.  It seemed that it was usually those from the police force that expressed the former view point, and those working in scientific fields the latter.

Tweets to expand on:
Police commissioners note that political support is necessary to deal with problems properly – Drink-driving used as example.
“It is very hard for our politicians to ignore good, hard, robust evidence on how to best deal with issues.”
Police commissioners speaking at #ADASC – People vote for tough drugs strategies, yet majority use and abuse drugs – What do police think?
Apparently drug dealers are “dealing in death” according to Mike Gallagher(?) … Rhetoric nonsense if ever I’ve heard some!  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Gallacher)
Of 871 police detainees, Drug Use Monitoring in Australia found that only 4% used synthetic cannabinomimetic products.
Every speaker so far speaks on emergent psychoactive substances as if they r incredibly harmful,where no evidence nor baseline exists
Dr. Karen Blakey up now, noting that in the past 18 months, 90 new compounds have appeared in Queensland alone
Dr. Peter Vallely recommends reading this article, on current producers of emergent psychoactive substances: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1267582/The-Chinese-laboratories-scientists-work-new-meow-meow.html
‘Astroturfing’ – When a producer of a novel psychoactive substance spruiks their own product on forums and other social media.
Winstock:The majority of drug users surveyed in the global drugs survey won’t change their usage if civil or no penalties r applied

Police commissioner for NSW spruiking supply-side policing. Also justifies policing of drugs in terms of “safety”, keeps bringing up death of girl many years ago. Prohibition DIRECTLY feeds in to the problems. And why are the harms associated with drugs considered from such a stringent view point, while the harms of other activities are never spoken of in the same way?

NT Police commissioner talking about inhalant problems and alcohol problems – Noting that their strategy was to remove products which people used problematically, including listerine.

Removing products from the market doesn’t reduce demand – This is the fallacy of prohibitionist philosophy.

If there are problems, reducing demand or, alternatively, providing health and welfare outcomes for the problematic is the best option. Avoiding problems is best – but not always possible.

“What we don’t see a lot of when we’re out enforcing the law, is personal responsibility” – Here, here.

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