Friday, November 22, 2013

Would Drug Law Reform improve the Effectiveness of Drug Treatment - Alex Wodak - ISAM 2013, Kuala Lumper

Presented argument against controlling supply of drugs at national level. The essential argument is that drug addiction is predominantly a demand problem rather than a supply problem.

IMG 1891Question for War on Drugs?IMG 1889IMG 1892
If we can't keep drugs out of prisons, how can we expect to keep it out of our neighbourhoods?
If drug traffickers are better resourced than law enforcement, how can we expect to compete?
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Drug law reform - redefine drugs from primarily criminal justice to primarily health
Increase funding health, social interventions
All drug treatment expand capacity improve quality broaden range
1.7 billion dollars spent in 2009 -2010 in Australia,
law enforcement 66%
Treatment 21 %
Prevention 9%
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Rand Organization 1993 showed that drug treatment versus drug law enforcement , return on a US dollar - law enforcement is loss making, whereas treatment givens greater than $7 return on a dollar

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Current Drug Tratment
-Only field of medicine where incremental gains often dismissed - abstinence only 'success'.
-have to work 'under' mental health rather with mental health
Zurich study - greater law enforcement to greater cases

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In the question and answer period after I made a number of comments on behalf of prohibition, drug courts and against legalization. I was very impressed that Alex Wodek responded by saying, I don't want my children to do marijuana at all but I'd rather they got their marijuana from someone like Stephen Harper than someone like Al Capone. We later discussed Dr. Halstead's opium addiction with the recognition that there are those who are high functioning individuals who might well be able to manage drugs but the concern is the marginalized, young and old. He described a scene where he saw in Tehran their program which had methadone and/or needle exchange. "You couldn't have both. The Methadone line up looked like you and me whereas the needle exchange group looked, haggard, sick, torn clothes, like they'd sleep in the park the night before. I wish I could have had a picture of the two lines."

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