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Byron Shire
May 10, 2021

Editorial: Failing the drug test

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As a parent it is hard at times not to fall into the trap of authoritarianism. It always seems like a simpler, clearer way forward – I’m the boss and I want you to do what I tell you for your own good. You’ve got to the count of three – I know best!

That is where papa ScoMo is going wrong. Rather than looking at the evidence of whether or not drug-testing recipients of welfare such as Newstart and the youth allowance will actually help people, he is sitting on his moral high horse and dictating his wishes based on his personal and religious beliefs.

According to the ABC and RMIT fact sheet that has tested the theory of ScoMo and Social Services Minister Christian Porter that drug testing will help recipients get off drugs it is ‘wishful thinking’

‘Of six reports put forward by Mr Porter’s office in defence of his claim, only two specifically relate to drug testing of welfare recipients and both strongly reject it as a viable strategy,’ says the ABC report.

‘The other four relate to the drug treatment of offenders in the criminal justice system.

‘Experts say that, rather than lots of evidence, there is no evidence, here or overseas, to show that mandatory testing will help unemployed drug addicts receive treatment and find jobs.’

This is just another dangerous arm of the Pentecostal, puritanical war on drugs that has led to the deaths of millions, funded the sex slave and illegal arms trade, and destroyed communities worldwide.

Rather than being subject to the religious and moral whims of government ministers, the approach to drugs and drug policy should take into account the reality of drug use, behaviour, and outcomes. Not only do many people like to take drugs for fun and relaxation – and happily hold down jobs, have families and are vital members of their communities (see Friday night beers) – but people who have drug and alcohol problems need treatment and help.

Drug addiction is a health issue and should be treated as part of the health portfolio and funded to give real and demonstrably effective treatment and interventions.

Continuing the war on drugs by singling out the most needy and vulnerable people in our society is a surefire way to further marginalise people, stop them receiving benefits, and drive them into further crime.

If you need further clarification on the failure of the war on drugs check out Why The War on Drugs is a Huge Failure by YouTube site Kurzgesagt www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJUXLqNHCaI. It is a simple explanation – and as it takes into account free-market economics one hopes even our fair prime minster ScoMo could potentially understand it!

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  1. If harm minimisation really was the focus of drug policy, then drugs would be legalised, regulated and taxed. Taxes would be directed to assisting those who experience drug related issues. Consumers would know the strength of drugs they are using, and drugs would be free from harmful byproducts. There would be well-researched age, public place and driving restrictions placed on drug use. The multi-billion dollar drug industry would not fund the black market. People who choose to use (currently) illegal drugs would not face the great harm caused by the legal system – which arguably causes far more harm than drugs themselves, and certainly exacerbates the harm that is caused by drugs. It is quite obvious that harm minimisation is NOT part of our government’s drug policy. It is time for some True Leadership when it comes to drug policy.

  2. Newstart is for job seekers. If you are using drugs you are not job seeking. So NO payments.
    Help to get off drugs needed, maybe pay remote farmers to help you cashless.

    • I’m not advocating drug use, but the notion that you can’t drink or smoke pot occasionally – or even other drugs for functioning addicts – and look for a job at the same time makes no sense; it’s a non-sequitur. It would only apply to full-time addicts, not drug users in general.

  3. The LIbs and Nats are only interested in bullying the ‘poor’. They do not care.
    There are not enough jobs to go around and while I don’t encourage drug use I absolutely oppose this drug testing policy. If they can afford to run these tests, they can afford to increase Newstart – an appallingly low payment.
    I see a growing number of calls for a revolution, and it is coming. A non-violent gathering of those that have had enough of punitive policies. Join us on facebook at The ‘Revolting’ Poor.

  4. I’d like to see the whole parliament locked up for
    a month or so (yes behind bars) & fed alternat-
    ing peanut paste & vegemite sandwiches only.
    All Libs-Nats-Labor & most of the other rats who
    pretend they represent those who voted them in.
    The public’s inherited a shambolic mindset lot of
    drones, users & abusers. Now – if they were
    insects we would most likely smoke them out …
    literally. I think there’s only one word for our
    governing bodies & that’s sadism.

  5. The psychological term to describe the governments problem is a “control neurosis” unfortunately it is untreatable and colours the governments neurotic response to asylum seekers, the unemployed, schools and the Labour Party. They need treatment but the opportunity to administer the only reasonable corrective measure passed with the election.


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