An open letter from Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Jerome Gelb, on recent comments made by Prof. Steve Allsop on the decision by the WA Government to ban synthetic cannabinoid Kronic:
Dear Professor Allsop,
I was disappointed to read your reported comments regarding the knee-jerk reaction of the W.A. Government to the emergence of synthetic cannabinoids, by almost immediate prohibition. I am disturbed by your failure to state emphatically that banning drugs of concern is both dangerous & futile.
In the absence of any evidence that the prohibition of illicit drugs has had anything other than a devastatingly opposite impact on the demand, supply & use of illicit substances than the outcome desired by its instigators, scientists in positions of influence, must remain true to scientific principles & inform both the public & the Government of the facts regarding the utter failure of current drug policies, often labelled as the “War on Drugs”.
The criminalisation of illicit drug use has resulted in the creation of a ruthless black market comprised of numerous, rival organised criminal enterprises that are now wealthy enough to pose a real threat to legitimate governments, both in terms of their unlimited ability to corrupt officials and their ever increasing resources to purchase arms & to equip their members with weapons more modern & lethal than those available to many nations.
Psychoactive substances have been used by humans throughout recorded history & all instances of prohibition as a means of minimising associated harms have been unmitigated disasters.
If you have been keeping abreast of current developments in this issue, you will have read of the Global Commission on Drugs recent meeting and report, the report by LEAP – Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (14,000 Police members), the NYT unprecedented op-ed piece last week by Fmr President Jimmy Carter, the support of decriminalisation, regulation, rehabilitation & education by Richard Branson & George Soros, the statement by former Supreme Court Justice Ken Crispin, the op-ed piece by Fmr NSW DPP Nick Cowdery, the patronage of Australian LEAP by Robert Richter QC and the numerous experts in the AOD field who are frustrated & enraged by the terrible damage accruing to prohibition policies.
You need to seriously consider your stance on this issue & review the evidence in its entirety. If you do, you will cease encouraging bans on drugs & join with the growing, rational, concerned, evidence based side of this crucial health debate, which for far too long has been used as a political football by self-serving politicians.
I implore you to read the above-mentioned reports, to look up the recent Vienna Declaration on Drugs & to engage with those of us who work at the coalface with the addicted, whose illness has been punished by prosecution, incarceration & traumatisation, instead of receiving timely & accessible treatment & psychosocial rehabilitation – all completely unavailable, underfunded & overcrowded due to the massive resources being wasted on interdiction & punishment.
Over to you: which stance do you agree with?