A US drug law reform expert who wants to see government regulate illicit drugs is meeting with Australian police and public officials this week.
Former Seattle police chief Dr Norm Stamper will also be guest speaker at public forums in Sydney and Melbourne to discuss how he believes the US has lost the war on drugs.
“I’m here to learn from what is happening in Australia and to outline the mistakes America has made,” Stamper said.
“I would hate to see your country heading down the same track as the US.
“Australia was a world leader in its response to AIDS, in developing a new approach to drug policy, I believe your country can become a beacon to the rest of the world on this front as well.”
Stamper’s controversial approach includes governments taking control back from the hands of drug traffickers by regulating illicit substances, instead of throwing money at enforcement agencies to deal with the problem.
“Under a system of government regulation, both substance abuse and costs to the health care system would be reduced,” he said.
“Communities would be safer, their citizens healthier.”
It is estimated one in every seven Australians takes illicit drugs and more than a third have used an illicit drug at least once in their lifetime. One in ten prisoners is imprisoned for drug-related offences, costing the country $22.5 million a day.
Stamper is the guest of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation and will speak tonight in Melbourne and wrap up his tour in Sydney on Friday.
info: Stamper will speak Thursday, October 8. Free lunchtime lecture with Q&A @ UNSW