Brian McConnell
Brian McConnell campaign leader

FFDLR media release supporting Australia 21 report

Open debate for better drug laws needed
High level Australia 21 report supported

Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform strongly supports and endorses the Australia 21 report of its high level roundtable that calls for an open debate on Australia's prohibition drug policy.
In spite of the increasing evidence that current policies are not achieving their objectives, most policymaking bodies at the national level have tended to avoid open scrutiny or debate on alternatives, the report says.
"An honest debate of Australia's drug laws is well overdue", said Brian McConnell, President of FFDLR. "This year marks 100 years since the first international prohibition drug treaty was signed in The Hague. In that 100 years the world has seen a growth in organised crime gangs, more illicit drugs in increasing varieties, increasing costs for governments, continuing drug related harms and deaths and trauma for families. Thousands of people fill our prisons, most of whom would be better treated by health services. 100 years on, the situation has become worse, not better."
The trigger for Australia 21's high level roundtable was the 2011 report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy which documented a global increase in opioid, cocaine and cannabis use. A recommendation of that report said: “Act urgently: the war on drugs has failed, and policies need to change now”.
According to the Australia 21 report, prohibition puts the production, distribution, and control of illicit drugs into the hands of criminals and exposes young people, police and politicians to their corruptive influences.
"Criminal syndicates and corrupt officials, who run this hugely profitable black market trade, are the result of prohibition laws. Governments pour money into law enforcement, yet more than 75 percent of the drugs are consumed undetected. Only small change is given to the more effective health based options. Our young people are easy targets for both the drug trade and law enforcement. Prohibition drug laws do not protect our children," said McConnell.
"Governments and members of parliaments make those prohibition laws and they must be held responsible for the collateral damage that those laws cause", said McConnell. "They must evaluate the laws that they have supported. It is time for governments and members of parliaments to overcome their fear of debating failed drug policies. It is now time to end the procrastination and inaction".

UPDATE #1
Media Release
Launch of Families Global Declaration calling for better drug laws and policies
Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform has today launched a declaration to be signed by family organisations, families and their friends calling on all countries to align their drug policies to deal with drug use as a health and social problem not as a criminal one.
The Declaration also calls on the United Nations to evaluate existing treaties, promote evidence based policies and an international drug control regime that causes the least possible harm to our children, individuals and to society generally.
"Parents, family members and their friends have suffered greatly as a result of the prohibition drug laws and policies," said Brian McConnell, President of Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform. "Family members have died or been murdered, been imprisoned, suffered poor health and denied essential treatment services as a direct or indirect result of those policies."
"This is not just a problem for families in only one country, it affects families in all countries and it is a problem that originates from the UN drug conventions which are founded on the basic premise that global prohibition policies can prevent drug use. But they have not prevented drug use and have caused more harm than was ever intended."
The Declaration is modelled on the preamble to the 1988 convention on narcotic drugs, which does identify the failures of the previous conventions but then simply continued with the same failed policies.
"Our attempt," said McConnell. "Is to bring attention to the effect that these policies have on families, which are the cornerstones of our human society, and to promote drug policies that cause the least possible harm."
The Declaration is being launched throughout the world through organisations that are concerned about the effects drug policies have on families and through organisations that provide services to persons using drugs.
When sufficient signatures have been received the Declaration will be presented to individual countries and to the Secretary-General of the United nations.
The declaration can be found at http://ffdlr.org.au/Declaration

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