Tuesday 6th May 2014

The Australian Christian Lobby said it hopes a drug forum today won’t lead to the decriminalisation of some illicit drugs.

Today’s drug forum organised by Alcohol Tobacco and other Drugs Council (ATDC) in Hobart discusses decriminalising drugs such as cannabis and the ‘success’ this has had in other countries.

ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said it’s important society sends a strong message about the harm of drugs.

“The law plays an educative role in our society. Decriminalising illicit drugs such as cannabis sends the message that taking drugs is ok and can be safe,” he said.

“We should not be advocating for something that has the potential to ruin people’s lives and families.

“A recent study in the United States found that young people who smoke cannabis (even as little as one joint a week) had brain abnormalities that affected emotion and motivation. There is also heightened risk of adolescent users developing schizoaffective disorders in adult life.

“Australia has a clearly demonstrated problem with alcohol and drug abuse in the community, particularly amongst young people,” he said.

Mr Brown said people suffering an addiction to drugs should be given real solutions to their problems.

“Consideration should be given to other approaches like the successful Swedish approach to illicit drugs. The Swedish model makes drug rehabilitation mandatory for those found addicted and strong policing of street selling,” Mr Brown said.