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Report raises important questions on illicit drugs policy

AMA Victoria has welcomed today’s Australia 21 report on new approaches to dealing with illicit drug use.
The report looks at the experiences of European countries in dealing with illicit drugs and discusses lessons to be gained for Australia. Minimising harm, as opposed to outright prohibition and law enforcement approaches, is a key focus of the report.
The report is the product of a roundtable discussion from July this year in which AMA Victoria President Dr Stephen Parnis was a participant.
“It is really important that we keep looking at the evidence on this issue and don’t allow ourselves to become closed minded about the best way to deal with drug problems in our society” said Dr Parnis today.
“If we keep our eyes open to what other countries are doing, then where appropriate, we should be able to implement improvements in the way we deal with the issue here in Australia”.
“Any approach we take to drugs should be wholly based on the evidence at hand; we cannot allow prejudice to drive drugs policy in this country”
“The time for debate on this issue is now and in this respect this report is very useful”.
The July 2012 Roundtable included a group of 22 high level experts from across Australia, who examined changes in policy in four European countries and considered future options for Australia.
The discussions identified a range of ways in which Australian policy could be adjusted. AMA Victoria is supportive of a sensible and reasoned debate on the issue which is, most importantly, evidence based.
The Australia 21 report titled Alternatives to Prohibition illicit drugs: How we can stop killing and criminalising young Australians and is available at

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