Drug use drug statistics pill testing
(Image: Getty Images)

Following yesterday’s discussion on the numbers behind drug use in Australia (spurred on by the constant debate around pill-testing at music festivals), readers took the opportunity to fill in some gaps. Elsewhere, some readers weren’t ready to let the Nationals off the hook for the Murray-Darling fish kill, and we received some support for our idea to nationalise Australian sporting leagues.

On the truth behind drugs deaths

Laurie Patton writes: Forty years ago NSW attorney-general Frank Walker called for decriminalisation of marijuana (back then much less potent than today’s product), arguing that making it illegal simply created a supply chain back to dealers who’d market more dangerous drugs. Guess what happened?

John Ransley writes: Very useful article, but “recent use” and “use in the last 12 months” don’t give a full picture. The 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey don’t seem too interested in frequency, but there is this:

Frequency of use

While cocaine and ecstasy were used by more people than methamphetamines in the previous 12 months, they were used much less frequently. For example, in 2016:

  • The majority of people using cocaine and ecstasy only used it once or twice a year (64% and 51% respectively) and only 2–3% use it at least once a week.
  • Cannabis and meth/amphetamine users were much more likely to use the drug on a regular basis with 36% and 20% (respectively) using it as often as weekly.

On the Nationals’ failings

Venise Alstergen writes: The rural voters who endorse creatures such as Barnaby Joyce who go out of their way to degrade and destroy our national heritage — who allowed big companies to grow cotton and rice in this, the driest country on earth — have no one to blame but themselves. Either they are too stupid to care about their fate, or too blind to see the ruin of their way of life.

Jock Webb writes: As a regional voter, I am at a loss as to how the nationals get elected in rural seats. There is a fear of anything vaguely left to be sure, but almost every Nationals member of my electorate has been as thick as an ironbark post.

On the need to nationalise sports codes 

Mark E Smith writes: While I’ve long said the main purpose of sports administrators is to make politicians look good, I’m afraid a lot of the blame must lie with sports fans. The grand ripoff has happened in reasonably plain view, much to the amazement of many not blinded by sport. You’ve just sat back and watched your games right after being told of the latest rights deal, CEO power grabs, shafting of supporters, stadium builds, and on it goes. The government grant money on top rubs salt into the wounds.

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