Real problem, random response

Driving while impaired is clearly irresponsible and unfair to other road users. That’s why we have random breath testing for alcohol. The legal blood alcohol limits are based on empirical research about how alcohol affects driving ability.

Over the last few years, Australian states have begun testing motorists for illicit drugs as well. Driving while impaired by illicit drugs is no less irresponsible than driving under the influence of alcohol.

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Defqon1 another failure for police

On Saturday September 20 the Sydney International Regatta Centre in Penrith hosted Defqon1 2014. Over 200 police officers from Penrith Local Area Command, the North West Metropolitan Region and the Dog Squad were present at the event.

Three drug detection dogs were reportedly screening attendees at the entrance. During the event police reported conducting 372 person searches with 83 drug detections – a false positive rate of over 75%. This is unusually high given that over the life of the program in NSW the false positive rate for all types of locations has been 65%.

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Dogs at Defqon1, Phase 2: Dear Minister...

"In recognition of a shared commitment to harm reduction, we have asked Detective Inspector Healey to share any evidence that general drug detection operations using dogs have reduced the risk of harm to patrons of similar events in the past. At the time of writing he has not provided that evidence.

Given that prevention of health harms is a core business of the Ministry and the Department of Health, we feel it is necessary to take those concerns to you as NSW Minister of Health."

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No really, call off the dogs

Last Friday we wrote to Detective Inspector Healey, acting chief of the Penrith Local Area Command. He’s the man responsible for overseeing the police operation at Defqon1, a hardstyle dance music festival in Penrith on September 20.

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Call off the dogs at Defqon1

Last year 23 year old James Munro overdosed and died at Defqon1 in Sydney. In his father's account, he took three pills after he saw there was a drug dog operation at the entrance. That was a preventable death and should not happen again.

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An ice user's story

"I know from my extensive work with people with drug and alcohol problems in Sydney, the drug ice can have severe consequences. It is becoming more prominent here - particularly in disadvantaged communities  -  and is responsible for a lot of heartache and broken lives. 

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione is right to say the community needs to work with law enforcement agencies to try to combat the use of methamphetamines. But all social problems need to be dealt with in a manner proportional to the threat they present to the community and illicit drugs are no different.

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Drug policy, dog lovers and good life

Ever noticed that disagreements about drugs and drug policy often get personal and emotional? And have you noticed that they often come to an impasse, where each side understands the issue in very different ways?

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Support. Don't Punish - wrap up of the 2014 day of action

On Thursday June 26th 2014, people in more than 100 cities across the world took part in the second 'Support. Don't Punish' Global Day of Action, calling for drug policy reform and better support for harm reduction services. As part of the day of action, Unharm ran an event at the Wayside Chapel in Sydney.

 

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'The abject failure of drug prohibition'

Fresh out in the Australian & NZ Journal of Criminology, The Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation's Dr Alex Wodak: 'The abject failure of drug prohibition' 

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Solid majority of Australians supports medical cannabis

A recent, robust survey conducted with over 3,000 Australian voters found that 66% supported the legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes. 

But you know what? That's been the case for TEN YEARS (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2004-10).

Medical cannabis in Australia - it's time.

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