Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Friday, July 29, 2005


Friday 29 July 2005, 10 � 11am

Soci252, Level 2, Link Block, Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology Building.


Associate Professor Greg Newbold
School of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Canterbury


The emergence of an identifiable 'drug problem' in Australia, New Zealand and Britain occurred less than 40 years ago. This paper begins by looking briefly at the effects of various drug control strategies in New Zealand since the late 1960s and concludes that the efforts reported so far have been largely ineffective. Although styles of illegal drug use have changed, the magnitude of use is apparently higher than ever, particularly in relation to more dangerous substances such as opiates and amphetamines. This is part of an international phenomenon: it is difficult to find a single instance of a drug control policy that has produced a sustained reduction in drug use anywhere in the democratic world. Successful policies targeting certain drugs have typically been short-lived or have resulted in increases in alternative forms of use. This paper argues that eradication policies are futile, and that harm reduction is the only realistically attainable objective. In order to succeed, such policies need to differentiate between drugs that are potentially very harmful and those that are not, and focus upon the former. Moreover, the paper argues that the majority of drug users are casual, and only a minority use drugs in a way that produces a significant risk of harm to themselves or to others. It is at these latter groups that harm reduction policies should concentrate their attention.


A former intravenous drug user, heroin dealer and prison inmate turned criminologist, Greg Newbold has knowledge of the drug trade that is both practical and academic. He has published a number of book chapters and scholarly papers in the field of drug trafficking and organised crime, and has recently returned from Australia, where he was a keynote speaker at the annual conference of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.
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