THE WAR on drugs can only be won if drugs are decriminalised, according to a leading researcher.
Charles Sturt University lecturer of politics Dr Oliver Villar told the Daily Liberal the main problem with drugs was not the health issues, but that non-violent offenders faced the full force of the law instead of being rehabilitated.
Dr Villar has researched the cocaine drug trade in Latin America and believed that as long as drugs were criminalised, the price of drugs would be sky-high and drug lords would be unstoppable.
Decriminalising drugs meant drug offenders would be treated as victims needing help, he said, instead of criminals locked in jail, and that it did not mean the selling of drugs freely.
“All we’re doing is feeding the demand for drug cartels and opening the market for people to get drugs,” he said.
“Taxpayers’ money is being used to throw them in jail and to win politicians’ votes. It’s just not working.”
He called on Dubbo residents to look at the big picture of the drug world and how it impacted on those in power.
The global drug trade, he said, was part and parcel of the global financial system and trillions of dollars have been laundered while Western nations watch on.
“The United Nations said during the Global Financial Crisis the drug trade kept us afloat and when you look at it this way it’s terribly scary,” he said.
Dr Villar strongly backed calls for the federal government to decriminalise drugs as it was a “positive step in the right direction”.
However, he said he understood it would be “political suicide” for the government.
An analysis of a government survey recently showed more than half of Australians supported reduced punishments for use of drugs like cannabis and ecstasy.
He said people 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.
“If a drug dealer in Kings Cross was selling heroin and making lots of profit they would see a lot of their clients disappear.
“Cutting out their financial sources would dry up the drug trade.”