14.3 C
Byron Shire
April 19, 2021

War on drugs

Latest News

Head-on crash car traveling in wrong direction

Police say that two men are in hospital after an accident on the M1 overnight, when emergency services responded to reports of a crash involving two cars near Clothiers Creek

Other News

Beach Hotel gets a $6m makeover

Owners of the Beach Hotel, Moelis, say they undertook extensive repairs and updates to the tune of around $6m after COVID-19 forced closure and limited trading last year.

Poetic plea from Gaza

Gareth W R Smith, Palestine Liberation Centre – Byron Bay This heart cry from Gaza, written by Gazan poet and...

ALP puts war power reform on the agenda

The Australian Labor Party will hold a public inquiry into how Australia goes to war if elected to government next year.

Northern Rivers Food Harvest food trail will return in 2021!

The Northern Rivers Food Harvest Food Trail, to be held on the weekend of 1–2 May 2021, is guaranteed to be a very Northern Rivers experience, reflecting and celebrating the distinctive provenance of our region’s food. The Trail will offer lots of wonderful eating and drinking experiences; being jam-packed with our most-acclaimed restaurants, producers, farmers and growers.

Beware of flood damage scams

NSW Fair Trading is warning consumers about opportunistic tradespeople trying to take advantage during the flood recovery process as the state gets back on its feet.

Red Cross offers additional bushfire grants

Australian Red Cross is opening a final round of support grants for people affected by the bushfires who are suffering extreme financial hardship.

 Dave Lisle Mullumbimby. 

Full marks to Jason Patrix for writing about ‘Sniffer Dog Madness’ in The Echo last week.

If you missed it, Jason related a story about police with sniffer dogs invading a Mullumbimby pub and subjecting patrons trying to enjoy a mid-afternoon schooner to a thorough sniffing. Mandy Nolan related a similar event in a recent Soapbox column. 

So what is it with this current iteration of the war on drugs? Drivers are subject to ‘random’ drug tests which detect residual traces of illicit substances without reference to impairment and those enjoying legal drugs on licensed premises are intimidated and scrutinised for illicit substances.

It’s weird, given the abject failure of the current war on drugs and its historical precedents. And it’s especially weird when one considers the focus in this area on cannabis eradication and the fact that America, which generally seems to inspire our policymakers, is moving towards legalisation for both medicinal and recreational purposes (albeit in a hesitant, piecemeal manner).

After reading Mandy’s riff on drug prohibition I delved into the official data and discovered that these local anecdotes are consistent with what is happening across Australia.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s latest Illicit Drug Data Report is essentially a boast about how many people are arrested for drug offences. An organisation ostensibly concerned with ‘a safer Australia that is better connected, informed and capable of responding to crime and criminal justice issues’ seems to think that arresting drug users is the means to such an end.

In the 2014–15 reporting year there were 133,926 illicit drug arrests nationally, of which 66,309 related to cannabis. And here’s the good bit. The Commission’s arrest statistics helpfully distinguish between ‘providers’ and ‘consumers’. Eighty-four per cent of all drug arrests were ‘consumers’ – defined as those ‘possessing or administering drugs for their own use’. Of those arrested for cannabis, 88 per cent were users.

This is patently ridiculous. While Jason Patrix sees this as money talking I prefer sociologist Loic Waquant’s slightly richer explanation. He suggests that such ‘diligent and belligerent’ law-and-order programs are the response of political elites attempting to reassert the authority of the state and their own legitimacy, which have both suffered since the abandonment of the mission of social and economic protection.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

1 COMMENT

  1. Well said Dave ! The spit test on motorists and others has nothing to do with drug eradication and everything to do with social control , now that the Churches can no longer exert it. Also pertinent is the fact many have pointed out the saliva test is for dope that ordinary people use and not for the cocaine that is the preserve of rich people like that head honcho of Ch. 7 . Grrrrr….

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Housing crisis and Council

Avital Sheffer, Mullumbimby Population growth in this Shire is inevitable like it or not. Those who are being pushed out by the unfolding housing tragedy are...

Flawed plan

Kai Beijerbacht, Mullumbimby For those of you who haven’t been living under a rock, I’m sure you are aware of the ever-increasing housing shortage crisis in...

Affordable myth

Patricia Warren, Brunswick Heads There is a ‘myth of affordable housing’ in Byron Shire. Well may councillors lament the lack of ‘affordable housing’ in Byron Shire but...

Midwife quits

Deb Walsh, Fernleigh It’s become untenable for me to continue working in hospitals. I have quit. I will be deregistered soon by my own choice. Working with...