Law Reform in Action- Drugs and the Law

Law reform in action- Drugs and the Law

The Law Reform in Action Topic that I would like to study is ‘Drugs and the Law’.   The studies of this topic are mentioned in our syllabus, and the first dot point instructs us to identify and investigate a contemporary law reform issue. The investigation of ‘Drugs and the Law’ can be started by the question of “what are illegal drugs?” and the drug laws in NSW. It is an offense to possess, use, produce or supply a drug in NSW that has been prohibited. Majority of the drug charges in NSW are placed under the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985. This Act creates offences for; the use, possession, supply, trafficking and manufacture of prohibited drugs, cultivation and possession of prohibited plants, aiding/betting/taking part in offences involving prohibited drugs or plants, and possession of drug-use implements. It also classifies many drugs as ‘prohibited drugs’ which includes common street drugs - cannabis (marijuana), heroin, ecstasy, amphetamines, LSD, cocaine, methadone.

The next dot point in our syllabus instructs us to examine the conditions that give rise to the need for law reform, the agencies of reform and mechanisms of reform.   The most common drug offences are for possession, use and supply of prohibited drugs. Prohibition in Australia makes all behaviour related to drugs, criminal offences. There has been a significant increase in the prevalence of drug use since the 1960s, and particularly within young age groups. A statistic revealed, that in 2004 around 15 per cent of Australians over the age of 14 reported using drugs in the last 12 months. The vast majority of illicit drug use in Australia involves cannabis.

Every year approximately 400 people die from illicit drug usage. Thousands of people suffer the short and long term health consequences of drug dependence, unsafe injecting practices and infections. Consequently, their families suffer along with them. However, despite all the devastating...