Posts Tagged ‘war on drugs’

If small-time drug dealer shadh1 had purchased his drugs from Australians, his jail term would be less than half what he received.

As a drug dealer, shadh1 was really really bad at his job.  One of the key performance indicators is an ability to stay off the radar of law enforcement authorities, who are obliged to arrest and prosecute people who sell drugs to other people when they find out it’s happening.

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Shadh1 failed miserably at the whole stealth thing.  He allowed customers to pass on his phone number to complete strangers for the purposes of ordering drugs, kept every single incriminating text message ever sent or received and left all the paraphernalia that screams ‘drug dealer’ strewn around his house.  He ordered drugs to his home address and his own name from countries from which mail is known to be more heavily scrutinised.  When twelve pieces of mail went missing, he just kept ordering more – to the same name and the same address – without stopping to wonder what happened to the ones that never showed.  He created a vendor account on the most famous online black market in the world, choosing an unusual username – the only other place it could be found was on his BMW’s numberplate.

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I haven’t yet written a background blog to my latest Fairfax Feature, Dancing With Molly.  If you happen to have come to my page as a result of that article, please have a quick look at a couple of relevant earlier posts:

Crap analysis shows wee problem with tough ecstasy laws – what happens when resources are directed into cracking down on MDMA? You create a crystal meth problem.

Why politicians and law enforcement should embrace Silk Road – to me, this is a microcosm of what life might be like with legalised drugs.  Knowledge of what is in the drugs you are buying, cutting out drug-related crime in Australia (though sadly still propping it up overseas), eradication of violence arising from drug deals.

I hope to see an intelligent debate on drug reform in Australia.  The fine folk at Australia21 must be incredibly frustrated to see their hard work and extensive knowledge ignored by the major parties.

Is Silk Road’s owner – The Dread Pirate Roberts – sailing off into the sunset with wads of cash? Has he sold Silk Road as a going concern and included the goodwill of his name and reputation in the price?

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Last month I published a piece in The Age about the ‘dark web’ – sites that can only be accessed through anonymity software.

The picture someone decided was totally appropriate and non-hysterical

What became lost beneath graphics of demons emerging from computers was a line I wrote in response to proposed legislative changes that could lead to the web history of any device connected to the internet being logged and retained for up to two years for law enforcement purposes:

“But such measures will have no effect on those who conduct their criminal activities on the Dark Web because nothing is logged — there is no history to keep. And some argue such measures will cause more people to seek out anonymity services — the same services that provide access to the Dark Web.”

In researching that article, I spoke to many people – university professors, a representative of Tor and law enforcement – who agreed that the measures proposed by Roxon are a ‘feel-good bandaid’ rather than an effective tool to catch criminals.

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Yesterday the Australian Institute of Criminology released a report that independently verified what they had already been told by users themselves:  when ecstasy is not available, recreational drug users turn to crystal meth.

Your dunny might be telling tales on you

The verification came from an analysis of sewerage water from a municipality in Queensland.  “Estimates were made of the average daily dose and average daily street value per 1,000 people. On the basis of estimated dose and price, the methamphetamine market appeared considerably stronger than either MDMA or cocaine.”

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Online drugs marketplaces are far better than the current alternative.

The author outside a perfectly innocent restaurant

Despite what certain newspapers and ‘current affairs’ shows would have you believe, the vast majority of drug users – even chronic drugs users – are happy, non-violent people who hold down regular jobs.  They don’t take drugs because there’s something lacking in their lives.  They take them because they enjoy them and because most recreational drugs don’t put the imbiber out of control like, say, alcohol.  And are far less likely to kill users than, say, tobacco.

The so-called ‘war on drugs’ has been a complete failure.  This is the opinion of pretty much all the people who ought to know – drug researchers, health professionals, former premiers, a former national police chief and former Defence Department chief Paul Barratt.  It seems the only people who don’t think so are politicians who need to appear ‘tough on crime’ to procure the votes of shock jock listeners who believe that all drug users are junkies ready to steal their wallet for their next fix.  Oh, and criminals.  Criminals don’t want prohibition lifted.

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