The Unquestioning Acceptance by Australian Courts of Irrational Laws Regarding Illegal Drugs, Leads to Cruel Punishment, and Makes Criminals of Decent People.
A submission by Dean R Dowling B.Sc. to The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Family and Community Affairs
Many Australians labour under the misconception that all drugs that have been officially labelled as “dangerous drugs of addiction”, are indeed so, and should be prohibited. However, there is, in fact, no reputable evidence that all drugs currently so labelled do cause pharmacological harm! Drug laws have been established by decree, and are based on belief, not scientific facts. This means that severe punishment for possession and/or use of proscribed drugs, most of which are far safer than alcohol, is both cruel and unjust.
Over the years the author has been refused the right to present his findings at seminars run by:
1. All State and Federal parliamentary drug committees.
2. The S.A. Institute of Justice Studies.
3. S.A. Australian Crime Prevention Council.
4. The S.A. Law Society.
5. The Law Chapter of the Alumni Association of Adelaide University.
6. The numerous International drug conferences in Australia.
The most recent refusal was from the S.A. Premier’s Adelaide Drugs Summit, June 24-28, 2002. These refusals are confirmation that governments and regulatory bodies want to conceal the truth about illegal drugs, and maintain world-wide misconceptions to justify the hypocritical, unjust and cruel punishments meted out by the Courts for infringements. In the eyes of our legislators it appears that any drug (except alcohol) that gives pleasure and happiness must be prohibited and automatically defined as “a dangerous drug of addiction”, whether or not it causes pharmacological harm.
The legal profession, from the Supreme Court down, supports current drug laws without demanding proof that proscribed drugs are indeed “dangerous drugs of addiction”. It seems that ‘truth’ has been established by decree, something we associate with religion rather than secular justice! As the laws are based on things that are untrue, it seems that in jurisprudence a lie is not a lie if it is ‘the Law’.
To rational, free-thinking people it would seem incumbent on our courts of justice to demand proof of the danger of drugs before imprisoning people for 25 years; confiscating property; and accepting tainted ‘evidence’ obtained from ‘witch-hunts’ conducted on hearsay from anonymous callers. But this is not the case.
No one wants the courts to have the power to make laws, but we do expect them to check the truth of the facts on which laws are based before adjudicating!
This article looks at:
i. The jurisprudence and ethics of the drug laws,
ii. The real pharmacological harm of the drugs,
iii. The compartmentalisation of the mind on the drug laws,
iv. The historical basis of the drug laws and why there are such draconian penalties,
v. The incredible fact that no politician will justify their penalties for drugs which are safer in all respects, including hangovers than the socially acceptable drug, alcohol
The philosophy and ethics of Australian Law.
For the sake of argument, say we have three drugs A, B, and C. Drug A is pharmacologically and psychologically far more harmful than drugs B or C in the following 6 respects: [i] Death rates [ii] Addiction rates [iii] Withdrawal [iv] Overdose [v] Destruction of brain/body cells [vi] Behaviour.
Logically and ethically, one would expect the law to punish users of drug A, and prefer people to use drugs B and C. Instead, in Australia the reverse is true. Drug A is feted as the most appropriate social drug while 25 years jail and disproportionate confiscation of property is the punishment for producers and users of drugs B or C.
Surely this demonstrates the highest level of hypocrisy and injustice? Is it ethical to insist on obedience to cruel and unjust laws based on false premises? What principle in jurisprudence allows the Law to be used as the instrument for cruelty and injustice?
If people prefer to relax with drugs B or C instead of drug A, and thus do less harm to themselves, why should the State want to punish them?
98% of drug deaths in Australia are due to alcohol/tobacco. In 1980 (the year of the Justice E.S. Williams Royal Commission on Drugs) the Federal Department of Health figures on death due to drugs were: Narcotics 90, barbiturates 280, alcohol 3600, alcohol related 1829, road alcohol 3478, (total alcohol 8907), tobacco 16,200. Similar figures have occurred every year since.
Even in drug ravaged U.S.A. in 1985 the deaths due to alcohol/tobacco were 400,000 relative to only 3562 due to ALL the illegal drugs COMBINED.
[Note that everything is toxic in sufficient quantities. The question is how much and in what way? One can die from drinking 14 litres of pure water (convulsions, coma), 10 grams of caffeine, or 2 kilograms of sugar].
Research conducted unwillingly by the U.S. Army on its Vietnam War veterans showed that nearly half used heroin (95% pure). 7% of those stayed on it on return to the U.S.A. with only 1% of these being addicted. The research was forced on the U.S. Army because many soldiers claimed disability pensions on the grounds that heroin addiction is permanent and disqualifies the user from any sort of productive life. Originally, the heroin was smoked until Authority clamped down and it became more cost-effective to inject.
The addiction rate for social Alcohol drinkers is 15% with another 5% “at risk”. (“Addiction” is when stopping taking the drug leads to withdrawal symptoms not present before taking it.)
*For Heroin, 48 hours and the symptoms are like a bad cold. It is the easiest to treat.
*Withdrawal from Alcohol takes 6-7 days, and is accompanied by all or some of the following: convulsions and seizures (“the rum fits”), toxic psychosis (hallucinations – “pink elephants”, persecutory delusions), cardiovascular impairment, D.T.’s (delirium tremors), and death.
*But the worst, most horrible, and hardest to treat withdrawal is from the respectable Benzodiazepines (valium, serepax, mogadon, euphnos et al). Martindale pharmacopoeia reports addiction rates of 44% on the normal therapeutic dose after 4 weeks, with withdrawal lasting more than a year. (Beatrice Faust “Benzo Junkie” took 3-4 years). CAT scans show brain damage similar to alcohol. They also cause depression as a side effect, yet they are prescribed for people suffering from pre-existing depression! They also cause headaches. But despite the scary side effects there’s nary a whimper from the Federal Department of Health warning the public about the benzodiazepines. Why? Just imagine if the authorities could pin those facts and figures on cannabis or heroin! What those in charge of drug laws tell the public about drugs has nothing to do with the nation’s health, it is political convenience.
*An overdose of heroin, if pure, produces a relatively slow death caused by respiratory depression. It takes 12 or more hours. However, there is a prompt (within one minute) recovery possible with the antidotes nalorphine or naloxone. Most heroin deaths are due to the unknown concentration and/or the junk impurities, [due to bad drug laws] which lead to blood clots or pulmonary oedema, not the heroin itself.
*Death caused by overdosing on alcohol can be rapid. The only method of preventing death is to use a stomach pump.
Destruction of body/brain cells
*Pure heroin causes no harm to any part of the body.
*The harm caused by alcohol is well documented. Damage to the nervous system, heart, brain, liver, foetus, circulation, kidneys… just about everything!
*After taking heroin a person’s behaviour is normally passive and peaceful.
*After imbibing alcohol people usually become boorish and aggressive.
Cannabis – interestingly, corresponding information to the above for cannabis is not obtainable, although cannabis is the most widely used drug, after alcohol, and widely researched.
Law makers have been trying for years to pin something bad on cannabis. First, they said it was an aphrodisiac for rapists; then later the opposite, it lowered sex drive and sperm count. Then they said it caused cancer and chromosome breaks, but went quiet on this when it turned out that aspirin and caffeine caused a greater rate of genetic damage. People like Dr Anderson (The Age 19/06/00) are running the line that cannabis causes schizophrenia. In reply Christopher A. Joseph, Ohio US (The Age 19/06/00) states; “Some doctors believe these types of patient are alleviating their symptoms by self medicating with cannabis, not causing the disorder with chronic use. Cannabis’s main active ingredient THC has proven to be an analogue for the neurotransmitter anandimide, something schizophrenics have a deficiency in,” and quotes as reference The Lancet, The New England Journal of Medicine, and The Journal for the American Medical Association.
Under the Title “High Time for Hooligans” The Australian (16/06/00) reported that the Dutch have stumbled upon a way to keep European soccer thugs from trying to kill each other: give them reefers. Eindenhoven police were expecting riots, stabbings arson and civil mayhem at the European Cup. It didn’t happen because “the cream of England’s thugs was smoking pot which is easily and legally available in the Netherlands. Post game fury was kept in check by street vendors offering ready-rolled reefers”. Any “research” results by the United Nations Narcotic Commission are immediately suspect for “post hoc ergo propter hoc” – after the banning comes the lying fallacious reasons.
Both cannabis and heroin, if pure, are extraordinarily gentle and safe drugs. This could be because the body itself produces small quantities of its own heroin and T.H.C. as a sub-set of the class of endorphins produced by the body (The Age 22/7/90, The Australian 10/8/90).
Joggers and long distance runners get “high” on their own endorphin heroin-like molecules produced by their own bodies.
Dr H. Dale Beckett (The Age 21/01/85): “Heroin is very gentle and if proper care is taken in self-injecting, it is extraordinarily safe”. (Tissue damage results because of the bacteria in the non sterile street heroin and/ or dirty needles).
Dr Jean Leanane (National Times 12/12/82) in charge of the detoxification Unit at the Rozelle Psychiatric Hospital: “Heroin withdrawal is the easiest that we have, 48 hours; next comes alcohol and barbiturates 5 days’ but the worst kind of withdrawal is the respectable Serepax and Valium (Fits, convulsions, hallucinations 3-4 weeks).”
Dr Les Drew (Federal Department of Health Advisor) ABC TV 19/06/86: “Withdrawal from heroin is just like the ‘flu no worse – more like a bad cold than the ‘flu. It is very hard to get addicted to heroin you’ve got to really try”.
The Reverend Dr. John Williams (The Age 06/04/82): “Tony did not kill himself. Heroin as such did not kill him. I killed him. The Volvo socialists and white wine whingers of the world killed him. The Laws of the Land killed him. Politicians killed him.”
The Justice Williams Royal Commission on Drugs (page F35) stated: “Major drug offences are among the most serious of crimes. The growing community awareness of the problem has allowed governments of recent times to equate these offences with murder and to provide penalties, including sentences of life imprisonment” Williams decided 5 kg cannabis, 0.3 kg heroin etc, was “trafficking”. Lesser quantities got 5 years for “possession”. No penalties for alcohol. The Williams Report is another example of how the legal mind can come to any conclusion it wants to or needs to, irrespective of reason or evidence. Considering the evidence it seems both ethical and reasonable to allow people who prefer to relax with drugs less harmful than alcohol, to do so. It seems senseless indeed for the state to attempt to punish or ‘rehabilitate’ them by introducing them to alcohol!
Logically, if drug penalties were proportional to their pharmacological harm, imbibers of alcohol should get the longest prison sentences.
A small, unaccountable clique of Christian and Moslem authoritarian religious temperance wowsers conspiring with the U.S.A., have gained control of the U.N. World Health 0rganisation Narcotics Commission and, with their “expert” advisers, determines drug policy for the whole world. It has little to do with pharmacological drug harm and everything to do with religious attitudes and face-saving.
An example of the idiocy of the U.N. Narcotics Commission and the Federal Department of Health was their misrepresenting out of existence the safest and most effective sedative drug methaqualone. When combined with an antihistamine, diphenhydramine, it became “widely abused” i.e. a recreational drug, Mandrax. But the recreational effect was from the antihistamine, not the pure methaqualone. The outlawing of methaqualone led to people being forced to use benzodiazepines. The U.N.W.H.O. made a double mistake, but are not going to admit it.
Harry J Anslinger was head of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which enforced the prohibition of alcohol in the U.S.A. from 1919 to 1933. When prohibition was repealed, Anslinger, in order to keep and justify his existence and job, created Orwellian lies about a new killer drug – cannabis. Cannabis was first recorded by the Chinese in 2737 B.C., and in the State of Virginia in 1631, it became compulsory by law that farmers grow a certain percentage of cannabis because of its diverse and deep industrial use. It is the toughest natural fibre in existence (hemp rope etc.) and produces three times as much fibre per acre as cotton, and four times more pulp than woodchip to produce quality archival paper. Because of its toughness, cannabis was a great threat to the new artificial nylon fibre industry and the latter joined in the misrepresentations about cannabis.
Along with its medicinal use (glaucoma, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, chemo-therapy cancer), cannabis is being denied its use for society because of Harry J Anslinger’s misrepresentations and lies. Considering the history of drug laws, the ‘Law’ appears neither majestic nor dignified.
In 1937, Anslinger had a hearing conducted before Congress, which resulted in the Cannabis Tax Act, and the whole legal injustice was launched. The reason for a tax law instead of direct prohibition of the drug itself was to avoid a Constitutional test of the U.S. Bill of Rights. A small number of one-sided witnesses recited every conceivable form of degeneracy due to cannabis. A pharmacist and veterinarian testified about the effects on the personality of dogs. Furthermore, the U.S. Government grants research licences only to those researchers who it knows are sympathetic to pinning something bad on cannabis. Good credentials would be membership of the Moral Majority.
In 1946, Anslinger became the U.S. representative to the U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs and this gave his baseless views even more respectability and authority. The Big Lie became The Truth. – Classic Orwell.
In 1961 at the instigation of Anslinger and without any public hearing, the U.S. Senate brought in the International Treaty of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Anslinger was well satisfied, and gloated; “These people (Leary, Ginsberg, far out professors) are wasting their time, now we’ve got this treaty.” Australia is a signatory to this treaty.
Around 1901 in N.Z., U.S.A., and Canada the Opium Prohibition Act came into force with the stated intention of preventing opium smoking by the Chinese. But the reasons were not pharmacological. The reasons were the economic conflicts between the Chinese and Whites.
The Chinese were intelligent, industrious and well-disciplined. They also used opium to relax, which did not hinder them. If it had hindered them then the whites would have encouraged their opium use, as the whites encouraged the use of alcohol among the indigenous people of all their conquered lands. (Professor Thomas Szasz Head of Psychiatry, Berkeley University.) “Ceremonial Chemistry”.
The cannabis laws were similarly used to get at the Mexican and Negro minorities. Ideal scapegoat drugs.
Why are the penalties so severe? The Christian Temperance movements from the 1850’s onwards campaigned for alcohol and opiate prohibition. Authoritarian religions want control over how people get spiritual pleasure and happiness.
In Hindu India, hashish is used in their ritual worship of Shiva, one of their trinity of gods. A bag of hashish can be bought in government shops for $5.00 but if brought into Australia you may get 20 years or, in Bali, execution or life imprisonment. Schapelle Corby is but one example. The Catholic Mass uses alcohol in its ritual worship of their triple god.
Religions reckon suffering makes people see the need for God and Jesus. Pleasurable drugs take people away from God, Reality and Suffering, so they must be bad. Nothing is more cruel and vindictive that moralising, self-righteous authoritarian religious bigots. That is why the drug laws are so cruel. Harry J. Anslinger in a Playboy February 1970 panel discussion [page 74] said, “History is strewn with the bones of nations that tolerated moral laxity and hedonism”.
“Christians are the enemies of freedom and pleasure.,” wrote David Marr in ‘The High Price of Heaven.’
There are appalling injustices around the use of drugs, particularly in the U.S.A. where disproportionate confiscation of property, even before the trial (if found not guilty one can attempt to claim it back), is coupled with mandatory prison sentences of 5 years without parole for “manufacturing” 100 or more cannabis plants.
It’s the same dictatorial religious mentality that citizens suffered – from about 1234 to 1836 C.E. in Europe and America – Christian witch and heresy hunts, extreme punishments, confiscation of property and anonymous dobbing-in, even by children of their parents! The 1487 Malleus Maleficarum, the handbook for Inquisitors, is a sickening account of the atrocities religions are capable of in pursuance of power and control. Sadly, the WA Labor Government is guilty of confiscation of property and assets except personal clothes and photos, for drug offences.
These have been set up to divert users of the non-toxic cannabis and heroin (addiction rate 1%) back to the legal toxic drugs alcohol (addiction rate 15%) and the benzodiazepines (addiction rate 44%) which cause permanent brain damage? Where is the logic in that?
Reasons for the Misinformation
Both heroin and cannabis are cheap to produce. Illegality makes their black market prices and profits high. Police estimates of the value of ‘drug busts’ is based on arbitrarily inflated black market prices. The last thing drug pushers want is their relatively harmless opiates to be legal.
But the main reason is that a vast legal bureaucracy benefits by these unfair drug laws either through corruption, or selling their services. Police drug squads, the D.E.A., the N.C.A., judges, prosecuting /defending lawyers, government health bureaucrats, drug rehabilitation centres, prison officers, forensic scientists, politicians… all have an interest, in turning a blind eye to the pharmacological truth that the opiates are relatively safe.
Unjust and bad laws mean unnaturally enhanced numbers of law-breakers and hence the legal profession is kept busy. You can hear the dollar coins dropping every micro-second in a court case.
Drug prohibition causes the growth of criminal gangs, house breaking, violence, fraud and police corruption. The real crime is “Criminogenesis” – unfair, illogical and unjust laws that make criminals of decent, honest people.
The Power of Definitions If the farrago of misrepresentations by the U.N.W.H.O. Narcotics Commission had been nipped in the bud, we would not have a drug problem, except for alcohol and the benzodiazepines. The biggest problem for heroin users is the impurities, the cost, and being caught. 88% of clients in the Ballarat Drug and Alcohol Centre were there for alcohol, the rest by court order, having to choose between that or jail.
Cannabis used to be defined by the law as a “drug of addiction”, but since that was patently false, it became the vaguer and hence harder to disprove “drug of dependence” (we are all dependent on water, nay, even addicted). It is now a “dangerous drug of dependence”. Our law makers are adept spin-doctors! But the law is attempting to define white as black. When the legal system convicts because cannabis has been defined, not on facts or evidence, to be “a dangerous drug of dependence” then the legal system is aiding and abetting injustice and the litany of lies concocted by parliament to justify cruel punishments.
In Jurisprudence when a law is a lie by all other criteria, it is apparently not a lie by legal definition. Such delusions of infallibility are laughable in religions; distinctly alarming in our Courts of Justice!
The Department of Public Prosecutions
Nicholas Cowdery, the N.S.W Director of Public Prosecution, who says he wants drug reform, was asked the following question by the author at the Adelaide Festival of Ideas (13/07/01) “The Law defines cannabis and heroin as dangerous drugs of addiction. Scientifically they are not. Now one is under oath to tell the truth in court so why don’t you direct the jury to find the accused not guilty on the grounds that the Law itself is a liar, because these drugs are not dangerous drugs of addiction?”
The D.P.P. replied that he had to apply democratically made Law.
I countered by reminding him that that was the Nuremberg/Eichmann Defence, and Hitler, whose laws they were enforcing was democratically elected by the German people with 53% of the vote.
Cruelty of the drug laws:
1. In Australia in 1983 a woman who took the telephone calls for a drug syndicate, [a first offender] got the following conditions for bail; to report 3 times a day, seven days a week. This went on for three years until she had a nervous breakdown from this exquisite form of legal torture. Only then were the bail conditions relaxed to 3 times a week for the next 2 years, until her trial when she got 10 years jail. (Sunday Age 25/8/91).
2. In N.Y. State a lawyer built his house by himself over 9 years on 48 hectares. The D.E.A., on a tip-off, raided his house and found 110 cannabis plants (with no intention to sell). He got 5 years mandatory, no parole jail, and under the 1988 U.S. Federal Asset Forfeiture Fund Law the government seized all his house and land. If an owner wants to get his assets back, he must go to court to prove his property was innocent of “facilitating a crime.” In another case 2 telephone calls was sufficient to confiscate a home. (Sunday Age 18/7/93).
3. In California, a retired 73 year old electronics engineer was busted for 164 small cannabis plants on his property, which his 56 year old de-facto used for her crippling pain from spinal disc displacements. She committed suicide when subpoenaed to testify against him. He stood to lose everything he worked for over a lifetime. (The Age 24/2/93).
In the Netherlands cannabis has been tolerated for more than 30 years. There are 1500 cannabis “coffee shops”, 600 of which are located in Amsterdam. The local hemp/weed (“nederwiet”) is grown in greenhouses. Most of the imported hemp comes from Morocco and Turkey.
Estimates indicate that 750,000 locals inhale on a regular basis. The biggest “coffee shop” in Amsterdam is the $1.4 million Grasshopper and crowds still gather at the Amsterdam Hash Museum. Despite tremendous pressure from Belgium, France, Germany, the U.S.A. and the U.K. to introduce prohibition, the Netherlands have resisted. There is a present worry that the capitalist Russian mafia are getting involved. (The Age 17/6/95). The day’s prices of hash are read over the radio like stock exchange reports and heroin is sold on the barges in the canals in Amsterdam.
Yet the fabric of Netherlands society has not been torn asunder by these drugs and if there are terrible health and social problems from them why hasn’t the Netherlands banned them after more than 30 years of massive use? Is it that both cannabis and heroin are extraordinary gentle and safe drugs and our leaders have lied to us in true Orwellian fashion?
Note: For wounded German army soldiers heroin was called the Heroic Drug because it stopped the pain and the soldiers stayed awake, whereas morphine stopped the pain but the soldier went to sleep. (Background Briefing 5RN 23/7/95).
The Effect of Cannabis on Driving
A Victorian study of 1052 fatalities, by Dr Olaf Drummer from The Department of Forensic Medicine at Monash University showed that the people who had tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC, the active ingredient in cannabis) in their systems were less likely to be the cause of a fatality than those who had no THC in their systems.
Drivers who had alcohol in their systems were seven times more likely to be the cause of a fatal accident. Dr Drummer suggested that drivers who had taken cannabis over-compensated by slowing down. (The Age l5/8/95).
Dr Hindrik Robbe, Institute of Human Psychopharmacology in the Netherlands, tested in very heavy traffic the effect of moderate cannabis doses (300 micrograms/Kg body weight) and showed that the psycho active THC did not impair driving performance. (13th International Conference Adelaide August 1995 (The Advertiser 9/8/95).
This is backed up by our own Dr Jack McLean who agrees “studies overseas show that drivers were able to perform safely in heavy traffic after smoking moderate amounts cannabis (The Advertiser 9/8/95).
Jack McLean also said, “Cannabis was not a significant cause of fatal road crashes, the overwhelming concern was alcohol.” (The Advertiser 7/6/96) and again, “While alcohol vastly increases the risk of crashing, cannabis could decrease risk slightly.” (The Advertiser 5/12/97) Prof. Pennington said the same in The Age 5/6/96.
The effects of cannabis on driving is less than 2 hours (The Age 23/3/94). The half life of cannabis is 7 days but is not psychoactive so that this presence in blood and urine does not mean it is affecting driving skills. (The Australian 23/3/94)
Traces of cannabis in fatalities do not necessarily implicate cause.
Transport S.A. report: Blood samples of 2500 drivers in S.A. : “the culpability rates for injured drivers who tested positive for cannabis were no higher than those for drug and alcohol free drivers” Dr. Jason White, (The Advertiser 19/10/98)
*Passive inhalation of cannabis smoke from some one else can lead to a positive result in saliva road drug tests. (The Age 7/12/04).
*PhD graduate Dr Marie Longo, from the University’s Department of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology analysed the blood sample results from 2500 South Australian drivers injured in road crashes for alcohol, cannabis, stimulants and tranquillisers…Her major finding regarded tranquillisers, with a significant relationship emerging between having tranquillisers either at the prescribed levels or above and being culpable in crashes.
Dr Longo, who now works as a Project Officer for the Drug and Alcohol Services Council, also found: Alcohol still overwhelmingly plays the greatest role in road crashes – it is the most frequently detected drug, and produces the greatest effects; Conversely, and perhaps controversially, cannabis has a negligible impact on culpability; Stimulants also have little effect on culpability.
“The most interesting result for me was the tranquillisers, because of the ramifications it could have,” she said. “What I found was that if a person took tranquillisers like Valium or Serepax at or above prescribed levels, the chance of being culpable in a road crash would increase from the 53% chance if you had no drugs to 70% if you had the tranquillisers.
The really important thing to emerge from this is that this increase in culpability was not only for having above the prescribed levels of tranquillisers in someone’s system, but also at the prescribed levels….” Another interesting finding from Dr Longo’s study was that by itself, cannabis had little or no effect on culpability in crashes – although when combined with alcohol or other drugs, culpability rates began to soar. ([Adelaidean] University of Adelaide, April 2002.)
The continuing drug scenario
The author was not permitted to speak at the 7th. International Conference on the Reduction of Drug related Harm (“Harm Minimisation”) in Hobart in 1996. “Harm minimization” is a deceptive title to cover-up the fact that lawmakers have overstated and demonised opiates in a most dishonest manner. To cut the Gordian knot of the evil and cruelty that result from the present drug laws, the public should be told the pharmacological truth about opiates.
Drug Laws in Other Countries
In February 1996 an English girl, Sandra Gregory, was sentenced in Thailand to 25 years imprisonment (after waiting 3 years in prison for the trial) for trafficking (?) in 87 grams of heroin. Law Professor Norval Morris has said that Thailand’s jails are amongst the worst in the world. Her physical health is deteriorating and she is losing her mind, breaking down and crying and keeps on repeating “it’s not fair, it’s not fair, it’s really so unfair.”
Three Australians, Doniger, Spinner and McKenzie each received 50 years imprisonment for each possessing 38 grams of heroin.
The response of Australia’s white and red wine connoisseurs to these appallingly cruel and sadistic sentences is; “Druggies know the law is severe on drugs”, “The Law is the Law”, you cannot complain about other countries’ laws”. Echoes of the Nuremberg/Eichmann defence.
But the reason why the laws are so draconian in the S.E. Asian countries is simply because of U.S. government pressure. Opium was legal in Thailand 30 years ago, but the U.S. government acting through the U.N.W.H.O. Narcotics Commission, put pressure on these countries to outlaw the opiates with the slogan: “SAY NO TO DRUGS, YES FOR AID”.
People must realise the initiative for the worldwide conspiracy of misrepresentation and demonising of the opiates came and comes from the U.S.A. What is so appalling is how and why this abysmal situation has been allowed to go on for so long.
The problem is how to get the truth to the public.
The major newspapers are no help.
The successful decriminalisation experiment with opiates in Holland does not count as evidence for decriminalisation, because the demonising of the opiates is in part based on religious belief and values, and hence it is difficult, if not impossible, to use reason, logic, facts, evidence and truth.
In desperation, I figured that since there is a maximum of 7 years prison for fabricating evidence, 14 years for perjury and 2(?) years for creating a false belief, then the judiciary and politicians should be charged with the above criminal offences, and an imprisoned person should charge the Authorities with false imprisonment.
But the cost would be prohibitive and, like religion, the Law is Infallible. We’ll just have to live with the fraud that the Law is about Truth and Justice.
Adolf Hitler said “people are stupid,” and, “what luck for the rulers that men do not think.” Spike Milligan reckoned the human race was an appalling species. Such statements reverberate when considering the drug laws.
Are Our Courts Unjust?
In a letter to The Age 7/4/91 John McNicol of the ACT Social Conscience Group wrote: “According to an old English and American common law tradition, trial by jury gave Juries the power to rule not only on the guilt or innocence of a defendant, but on the validity or justice of the law itself. So if a jury finds a law to be unjust, they have the power to invalidate the law and acquit a defendant. Why are not modern day juries instructed on this part of their role? To keep the Law mysterious?”
We know the law on cannabis and heroin is based on lies, so why don’t defence lawyers for those charged with opiate offences direct the juries to acquit because the law is unjust?
The U.S.A. brought on the International Treaty of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and Australia is a signatory to this treaty. Opponents of drug reform say we cannot break the treaty. But since the U.S., acting through the U.N.W.H.O. Narcotic Commission has misrepresented the harm of opiates, then Australia could abrogate its obligation on the grounds that its signature was gained through false pretences.
Failure of the drug war
In 1996 there were 37 heroin drug related deaths in Holland with a population of 15.5 million. Most of the 37 were foreigners, because the foreigners were too scared to ring for an ambulance. Holland for decades has had a policy of pseudo-legality of the opiates (cannabis and heroin). The Dutch authorities used to go to rave parties not to arrest people but test the Ecstasy tablets for concentration and purity. This has now been stopped by the new Dutch Christian Government just as they are going to stop the government regulated medicinal cannabis for chronic pain sufferers like multiple sclerosis and cancer (The Age 23/03/05.)
In Australia in 1980, the deaths due to heroin were 90. (Alcohol 8907). In 1996 there were 642 deaths due to heroin, mostly unnecessary, because of its unknown concentration and the junk impurities, which cause allergic reactions, blood clots and pulmonary oedema.
Thus in 16 years the heroin death numbers have multiplied 7 times despite the millions of dollars spent on this “Drug War” in Australia. If the Australian authorities were genuine about reducing deaths due to heroin, they should stop making criminals out of ordinary people and ensure all drugs are pure and safe as they do for alcohol!
When the police say they made a $1 million drug haul, they’re quoting the inflated street value. If the drugs were legal it would only be $100; i.e. divide by 104.
The Law has created a fake scenario, linking drugs with the Mafia, house-burglaries, corrupt police, violent crime etc. they are linked, but solely because they are illegal! If the truth was told, and the laws repealed, criminal activity would cease. Bad laws create criminals – it’s as simple as that.
Interestingly, heroin linctus, to be taken orally, was legally available from Australian chemists up to 1953. Heroin was the drug of choice for child-birth, cancer pain and cough suppressant for the aged, besides its recreational use. The liquid form avoids the problems of injection. In 1953 the Australian government yielded to the U.N.W.H.O. Narcotics Commission, legislated to prohibit heroin, and later signed the International Treaty.
Police Drugs Conference
The author attended the Police Drug Conference in the Hilton Hotel, Adelaide, in April 1999, although they had rejected his paper, “The Jurisprudence of the Illegal Drug Laws and why the Draconian penalties.” The paper was rejected, not because what he wrote was false, but because what he said was true. Those in authority who know the pharmacological truth on drugs, suppress these truths and keep on with their misrepresentations to justify the existence of the drug laws. They apparently couldn’t give a damn about the hypocrisy, injustice and unnecessary deaths.
During a seminar titled “Drugs education in schools”, the chair refused to allow a reading from the New Scientist 21/2/98, which stated: “Dutch teenagers get among the highest scores in the world on international science and mathematics tests. If there are serious problems caused by legalising cannabis, then 20+ years of the Dutch experiment has not revealed what they are.
Furthermore, Holland has an overseas trade surplus. (+5% of G.D.P.) (c.f. Australia $230 billion overseas debt) (-5.8% of G.D.P) and is in the top league in electronics and biotechnology. Holland’s tolerant laws on cannabis etc, have not deleteriously affected Holland’s industry, intelligence, creativity, or social fabric.”
It was very depressing for those concerned about truth and the health of the nation to realise that drug laws are made and supported and enforced by people with small and closed minds seeking peer approval instead of the best solutions to the problem.
I distributed relevant material to individuals and publicly asked this question:
“How can lawmakers justify the legal use of the toxic drug alcohol which causes permanent irreversible brain and body cell damage (liver, heart, pancreas, foetal, kidney) with an addiction rate of 15%+, while at the same time prosecuting and imposing severe and harsh punishments on those who use non-toxic opiates? [Opiates are non-toxic because the body self-produces its own opiates including the numerous cannabinoids, which block pain, regulate the immune system, enhance reproduction and protect the brain from stroke and trauma damage. (The Age 19/02/99).]
Indeed, one could properly argue that those who use opiates are making the sensible, intelligent decision to use drugs which don’t cause irreversible organ damage.”
There was no response because of the quasi religious mentality of law makers and enforcers regarding drugs. Their apparently infinite capacity for deception and self-deception means it is impossible to use reason, logic, facts and truth in the drugs debate. Like those who believe the Virgin birth and the Resurrection on the evidence of the Bible, they believe what they choose to believe regarding drugs.
In the Justice Sir Edward Williams Drug Commission Report 1980; on page F35 it states: “Major drug offences are among the most serious of crimes. The growing community awareness of the problem has allowed governments of recent times to equate these offences with murder and to provide penalties including sentences of life imprisonment.”
Harsh words indeed, but Justice Williams did not bring an objective mind to the task, having sat on the board of Foster’s Brewing (The Age 21/1/99); and being a ‘good’ Catholic.
Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of the report is on pages A34-A36 where there is a list of all the ‘evil toxic effects of alcohol’ and yet, despite that, Williams advocated life imprisonment for those who make the intelligent and rational decision to use non-toxic drugs! His report reveals the intelligence and value system of the legal mind and Judiciary.
The dishonesty and demonising of heroin is recounted in a review of a book by Dr Joel Fort “The Pleasure Seekers” (U.S. Nation, 29/12/69). The public has been lied to from the start, and there’s no indication the lies will stop as that would mean admitting their fault.
Religious witch-hunts lasted 600 years from 1234 to l836. The drug ‘witch-hunts’ are going to last as long because those in control have the same quasi-religious attitude to drugs as the inquisitors had to ‘heresy’. Religious wowsers in the USA failed to outlaw alcohol, but found it easier to outlaw the opiates because opiate use was by ethnic minorities. This has developed into a world-wide tragedy. The history of drug prohibition is disgusting.
Miscellaneous questions, observations and notes
* Where is the logic in the Drug Courts diverting non-toxic cannabis and heroin users back to the legal toxic drugs alcohol and the benzodiazepines which cause irreversible brain damage?
* Is it sensible to make unjust laws so that the ‘Law’ falls into disrepute?
* Is it a good idea to make laws that make criminals of otherwise honest and decent people?
* Aldous Huxley argued that some drug was necessary to assist people to express the frustrations and needs of the primitive drives coming from the lower centres of the brain, which developed earlier in the evolutionary tree than the higher centres like the cerebral cortex. These primitive drives and needs, if frustrated can result in mental illness and/or antisocial behaviour. He reckoned the Ancient Greeks kept their civilisation and sanity more because of their periodic sensual orgies and dances fuelled by opium, than because of their philosophers.
* The difference in the concepts of truth (and justice) between the disciplines of science and philosophy, and the discipline of the Law, are depressing indeed! In law [where drugs are concerned] truth is established by authoritarian decree in the face of facts and evidence, and a lie is not a lie if it is the Law. In science and philosophy, truth is what can be demonstrated and proved with facts; and a lie is making a false statement knowing it to be false.
* Alcohol is a threat to prison peace, not illegal drugs.
“Dr John Ellard, a commissioner with the NSW Corrective Services Commission, said it doesn’t matter if drugs, including heroin, are used by prisoners; you have a nice quiet jail and a not very productive workshop, but there are not fewer problems. However, said Dr Ellard, orange juice and Vegemite should be banned from jails to stop convicts making home brew which was far more likely to cause violence and prison riots.” (The Australian 2/03/85) To which can be added the other legal drug to cause aggression in prison; the benzodiazepines, one of which, Rohypnol, is nicknamed “Rambos.”
Dean Dowling, retired physics lecturer from the University of Ballarat has been engaged in the fight for Truth and justice in Australian Drug laws since 1970. He has published articles on this topic in the South Australian Humanist Post in August 1994, and in various subsequent issues commencing October 1995.
“Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drugs.” Commissioner, Justice Edwards S. Williams. Book A34 – A36.
‘Use and Abuse of Alcohol. Notes for Medical Students’
Dr J. N. Santamaria, Director Community Medicine St Vincents’ Hospital Fitzroy, Victoria.
“Drugs, Medical, Psychological and Social Facts” page 34. Peter Laurie (Pelican 1984) Monograph Series A, No 2, Executive Office of the President, Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention, May 1974.
By Dean R Dowling