THE STATE government is fuelling the demand for dangerous drugs and must take responsibility for its behaviour, a leading researcher says.
Charles Sturt University politics lecturer doctor Oliver Villar slammed the government for “demonising” the debate on drugs.
Dr Villar who completed his PhD on the drug trade in Latin America said the current system was not working and called on the government to look at the big picture.
“The prohibition system allows the criminal element to grow and the drug profit flourishes,” he said.
“It is counter-productive as it stimulates demand which creates the market for crime and the system keeps going.”
Dr Villar said this meant more people were thrown in jail for breaking the law and addiction rates went up as people sought drugs elsewhere.
There was no silver bullet solution, he said, and the debate should not be either for or against decriminalising drugs.
“Those who want to decriminalise drugs are painted as hippies, addicts and crazy people,” he said.
“That’s how ridiculous the debate has been.”
Dr Villar said he was not surprised to hear people risked their lives taking synthetic cannabis, a banned substance, to fulfil their cravings.
“If they can’t get it [cannabis] they’ll make a worse product than the actual drug and soon it’ll be poison sold on the street,” he said.
Dr Villar insisted he was not advocating selling drugs openly on the street but demanded a different approach on drugs which worked in European countries like Netherlands and Portugal.
“You are not fixing the problem because the government criminalised it,” he said.
“It’s a far more complex problem and the focus must be prevention, treatment and education.”
Dubbo residents should not listen to ideological arguments presented by politicians as they just cared to win office and not about taking real action to help.
“The drug cartels don’t want to see it decriminalised as this will seriously undermine their operations and profits,” he said.
“Cutting out their financial sources would dry up the drug trade.”
A leading researcher backs calls to change the law to allow medicinal use of cannabis and marijuana.