As I’m sure you know, over the past few years both the media and Government have reflected a pretty massive public crackdown on illicit substances and drug offences in Australia.
Dr Don Weatherburn of Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research BOSCAR has admitted the Bureau has actually been at fault as a result of officers incorrectly reporting substances for nearly a decade. How does that happen? We’d like to know too.
According to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, last year alone there were 13,350 recorded drug offences regarding possessions/uses, which never actually happened.
All this means for us is that the statistics of ‘inflation’ over the past seven years have been kind of, completely wrong. Speaking to Sydney Morning Herald, Dr Weatherburn stated that the statistics for drug offences have made the issue of an apparent ‘drug crisis’ much worse than it actually is.
“It is a large number, but the crucial issue is the trend with drug offences, I’m not saying this is not a bad mistake, but it doesn’t seem to have affected the trend [in drug use reports] from March 2012 to March 2018.”
“Between 2010 and 2011, however, BOCSAR did release crime trends suggesting that trends in recorded drug possess/use offences were worse than was the case.”
This perception of a supposed drug problem has been said to have carried on into the support of some very controversial legislation regarding policing and law enforcement.
“What role have these inflated statistics had on informing drug policing and law enforcement? This dramatic overestimation of drug detection may have led to a perception of a drug crisis.”
“We have seen a quite aggressive use of drug detection dogs, and policing at music festivals but to what extent have those tactics been launched to false data?”
Dr Alex Wodak of the Australian drug law reform stated that the current laws regarding drug offences are actually having an adverse impact on the community, and what kind of legislation would actually accommodate the nation the most.
“Increasing drug use statistics are often used to justify crackdowns [on drug users], which are often introduced for political reasons rather than on the basis of evidence.”
“The statistics on drug use going up or down has remarkably little impact on drug policy and we just keep on doing what we’re doing. Sadly, evidence and drug policy often contradict each other, and that’s been increasing recently.”
There is much debate regarding current laws surrounding the issue, and many are beginning to challenge the seemingly harsh drug offence laws in Australia.