NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (Image: AAP/Bianca De Marchi)

Yesterday Crikey‘s legal affairs columnist went hard on NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, saying she and the “rest of the anti-pill-testing rabble are driven by blind, bull-headed ignorance”. Readers tend to agree. But, as many point out, those kind of bull-headed and ignorant policies get votes.

On pill-testing

Joe Boswell writes: Malcolm Bradley says the US “war on drugs” started under Ronald Reagan, but Reagan only expanded it. It started under President Nixon in June 1971, and while I wholly agree with Bradley about the policy’s diabolical cost and harm, it is actually a great and continuing success in terms of its real objective. John Ehrlichman, who was Nixon’s domestic policy chief, said in 1994 that the war on drugs was aimed at “the anti-war left and black people”:

We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalising both heavily, we could disrupt those communities … Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course, we did.

Frank Dee writes: Hey, I’m with Berejiklian. We all know that teenagers don’t get pregnant or catch sexually-transmitted diseases because they’ve given up sex. We all know that they don’t strain their eyesight because they’ve given up their smart devices, and we all know they’ve abandoned the myth of global warming to settle down and take up a mortgage. Gladys’ knowledge of teenagers and twentysomethings is that of an omniscient and wise adult, and of course, music festivals will never have another fatality under her watch.

John Lawrence writes: “It’s just dumb, that’s what it is. Blind, bull-headed, unthinking ignorance. And that is no basis for lawmaking at all.” That sentence could also apply to all those sheep taking drugs. Just saying.

Richard Shortt writes: Illicit drugs have not been stopped through 30+ years of the war on drugs and the very best efforts of all agencies engaged. Prohibition-based policies with heavy law enforcement overlays have not stopped supply, demand or access. It’s well and truly time for a complete first principles review and rethink, but no conservative politician (or Labor one for that matter, I suspect — outside the ACT) is ever going to willingly go down that path. Prohibition provides too much opportunity to talk tough, make tough laws and harangue those who use to be wasted by a review that may change the playing field.

It’s not about health, it’s not about harm reduction, it’s about votes, and prohibition gets votes.

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Peter Fray

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